Crafting a successful online course in 2023.
A step-by-step guide
Crafting and selling online courses offer an impactful way to monetize and share your expertise.
Globally the elearning sphere stands on the verge of reaching a valuation of 300 billion in the coming half-decade. If you are you interested in launching your online course this guide will equip you with:
- the skills to identify the perfect topic
- establish yourself as a trusted source in your domain
- develop compelling course material
- select an optimal platform
- leverage marketing avenues for maximum returns and much more
By the end youll have a comprehensive roadmap to debut your elearning course with flair.
Laying the foundations for your course
Online courses captivate students more than ever, solidifying elearnings place in mainstream education.
Launching a noteworthy online course requires meticulous planning from content design to marketing.
Step 1. Choose and research your course topic
Your course topic selection stands as a pivotal decision. You must ensure your course addresses a genuine problem for a digital audience.
See yourself not merely as a course creator but as a solutions provider with tangible value to offer.
Kickstart your research by exploring current topics people seek answers for tools such as ahrefs and google trends. These can illuminate trending and upcoming subjects but remember dont base your decisions purely on these insights – they just offer a guide.
Stay ahead of your audience in terms of knowledge and expertise. The skys the limit with online courses from culinary arts to jujitsu basics. You must prioritize passion and expertise.
Choosing a deep-rooted passion ensures a seamless creation and delivery process guaranteeing top-notch value for students
Step 2. Assess market demand
After pinning down a topic, validate its demand. A common misconception is the saturation of a subject due to existing courses, however a plethora of courses indicates a high demand your goal
Outshine them by providing distinct superior solutions.
Platforms like Udemy and Coursera can provide insights into popular courses in your niche. You will want to aim to find a niche intersection with a topic you are passionate about, knowledgeable in, and in high demand.
Step 3. Cultivate your authority
Although you need not be a subject matter guru, foundational knowledge remains essential. As you delve deeper, you will uncover material for your course while honing your expertise. Students often prefer relatable instructors so strike a balance between knowledge and relatability
Step 4. Identify your target demographic
With a topic in hand zero in on your intended audience. Then specify who will benefit most from your course.
Consider age, gender, educational background, and employment status. For instance online courses often see a 70-30 gender split favouring female students.
Leverage social media platforms like Facebook Groups Linkedin and Instagram to gain insights and refine your target audience.
Step 5. Design your course blueprint
Planning ensures your course delivers tangible results. After defining your topic and audience, sketch out a detailed course structure that will cater to your audience needs – whether its a professional management course or a light-hearted cooking class, though not obligatory, an outline provides a structural framework for your course ensuring coherent content flow.
Step 6. Establish clear course outcomes
After structuring your course, define its anticipated outcomes. Potential students need to visualize the benefits of your course, so by clearly outlining these results, you increase enrollment probability.
Highlight these outcomes on your course page ensuring learners recognize the value theyll gain. Well-defined outcomes also attract the right students, thereby enhancing satisfaction and reducing dropouts and refund requests.
Step 7. Create the course materials
Create the actual course materials after youve completed each of the above steps. Its finally time to jump in and create the actual course material. Here you have many choices regarding the medium.
I recommend going with video courses as these have the most impact. Along with the video you also need to provide suitable study materials in the form of powerpoint presentations, ebooks in pdf format, or self-assessment questionnaires.
Each course will be different but the only goal is to create additional materials that help your students get results. The most common problem online course creators face, is determining which materials to include in the course and which to leave out.
No matter what topic you choose, youre sure to find multiple resources and references to use.
In todays age of information overload heres where your online course outline and outcomes will guide you. When selecting materials for course creation be sure that you include only those aligned with your course structure, as doing so will help you streamline the course content and reduce creation time
Finally once you have all the material, its time to record the videos and here you have much flexibility. It doesnt take a pro videographer to create high-quality online courses, all you need is a good webcam and screen-capture software such as Camtasia.
Choose from screen-capture videos, talking head-style videos or even a combination.
If you already have webinars or podcasts on the topic dont hesitate to repurpose the content for your online course. All that matters is that you stay on topic and provide value.
Step 8. Monetize it
Now that you have created the online course content, its time to decide how you want to monetize.
You can use tactics such as offering a free course as a lead magnet, or setting up a subscription-based model. Youll also have to perform market research here.
For premium courses check out the prices of similar courses on popular eLearning platforms and understand the enrolment rates.
Another aspect you need to keep in mind, is the purchasing power of your target audience. After all theres no point in pricing a course so high that no one can buy it.
Here youll have to strike the perfect balance between profitability and affordability one last thing regarding pricing set your online course price to be less than the value youre providing if you want to charge higher than the market rates youll need to provide better content than the competition – its as simple as that.
Step 9. Select the appropriate delivery channel
You will want to select the appropriate delivery channel after completing the above steps. You must decide how to deliver your course to your audience. In general there are three standard methods by which you can sell online courses, and each of these is discussed below under separate headings.
Online course platforms
Online course platforms are one of the most popular online course distribution methods. Platforms like Coursera and Udemy are vibrant course marketplaces where you can sell your tutorials
These platforms provide a stable integrated environment for course uploading marketing and selling.
Coursera front page if youre uploading a course for the first time you should take advantage of these platforms goodwill and marketing reach. They make the process smooth and comfortable allowing you to upload testimonials and worksheets and customize your course content.
Here is my Thinkific review and why it is my number one pick for online course platforms and is the one that i use.
Learning Management Systems (LMS). A LMS is an online education system that can link to your website and work as a brand platform for your course. An LMS makes everything from creating online courses to setting up a profitable online course business a simple process.
While many LMS options are available I recommend Thinkific, Learndash, Spring or Teachable are excellent alternatives. These online course platforms let you fully customize your courses and make every step from course subject or idea to creating and distribution a breeze.
If you have a website that you want to host the online course on, you can select from numerous website plugins available on the internet. WordPress provides the most flexibility for creating an online education membership site
Whichever option you choose ensure you have the tools for enrolling and validating students. Also remember to integrate your learning platform with payment gateways for easy enrollments and refunds if needed
Step 10. Build an email list of raving fans
Most online course creators and startups make the mistake of thinking theyll have a steady income stream once their course is up and running. In reality the real work begins after youve created and uploaded your course as you now need to market your online course.
Email marketing is the best way to do this From experience email marketing still provides the highest ROI among all digital product marketing channels.
To take advantage of email marketing you must create an email list of people to whom you can sell your course. I would recommend running a social media marketing campaign to gather emails.
You can even offer part of your online course for free as a bid to capture leads. Once youve got a sizable email list you need to send personalized targeted emails to those learners who showed interest in your course.
In this way you can ensure they can leap from prospects to paying customers.
Step 11. Create a sales landing page
Dont think youre out of the woods yet, for capturing emails is only half the battle won. Sending captivating emails is the best way to bring customers to your course landing page and website.
Once they arrive however you need to ensure they have an incredible experience, and the best way to do this is to create a landing page that reflects your online courses.
In essence a high-quality landing page is the best way to ensure learners get complete course content information. When creating the landing page you must consider several factors such as the target demographic, your audiences interests, and your subject matter.
Another good step is to create different landing pages for different audiences and test which works best.
Such a split-testing model will give you a clear idea of organizing the page layout.
Step 12. Jump on to the marketing bandwagon
Email lists, landing pages and social media teasers are all parts of the bigger marketing plan you must follow to succeed in your online course launch.
An ongoing marketing strategy is essential to ensure that the word gets out about your online courses.
Here you have several options, you can run early bird campaigns that offer attractive discounts or even search engine or social media ads. Moreover you can also take advantage of content marketing strategies and promote your target list.
I am sure you have already understood that the last three steps including this one were dedicated to marketing the courses. Marketing is vital because the moment you stop marketing your course is when you effectively stop selling
Step 13. Nurture a dedicated community
At this stage youve finally published your course but now theres an even more critical part of the process – building a dedicated community of students.
One of the drawbacks of online courses is that they take away a lot of the direct interaction that comes with a classroom learning environment, however you can easily overcome this using online channels such as a social media group and video conferencing webinars that allow you to interact with your students.
Learning is a social process people love interacting with others on the same journey. Such interactions help make learning more enjoyable and foster a sense of community.
Another advantage of nurturing a dedicated community is that this helps to spread word-of-mouth publicity about your course and when your customers become vocal advocates for your brand your course will grow organically
Step 14. Remember to update your course
Over time the last point you need to focus on for creating an online course, is updating your course. Skill demands change over time and new skills must be added to your course repertoire. You cant expect a three-year-old course to provide the same value to your students as it did at the time of launch.
Ensure you continuously add and update new course materials according to market demands, that way your online course remains relevant today and provides value to your existing students.
Choosing the right topic for your online course
When creating an online course choosing the right topic is essential – after all if you dont have a relevant topic that captures your audiences attention, no one will sign up for the course.
It is essential to take some time to research and find out what is famous, already popular and in demand by potential customers. It is also essential to ensure you create content that resonates with your target audience.
Ask yourself what problem does my course solve what type of people would benefit from my course.
Consider conducting surveys or focus groups to get feedback from potential customers about which topics they think would be most beneficial for the course.
Once you have identified a relevant topic for your online course, start creating content. Its all important, whether its step-by-step tutorials, videos, slideshows, worksheets, quizzes, activities and so on, to ensure each content is exciting and engaging so students stay engaged throughout the course.
Your online course should also be structured logically and include multiple lessons with clear objectives.
Be sure to keep each lesson concise but comprehensive so that students can master the material efficiently and quickly while having a solid understanding of the subject matter afterwards.
I hope this course creation overview has helped you understand the online course creation process!
While online education has pros and cons, the pros outweigh the cons, with eLearning statistics showing that this industry is on a highly upward trend.
Getting into this niche is a good idea – not only will you be creating a steady income stream, but you will also have the advantage of sharing your expertise and emerge as a thought leader in your niche.
Now thats better than any passive marketing strategy money can buy!