Today the internet gives us a lot of benefits for anyone and anywhere to learn a new skill. You don’t need to go to college or university to learn a new subject and improve your professional skills. There are different online courses available. Moreover, you can also demonstrate your expertise by creating your own online course.
Creating an online course is one of the most effective and fastest ways to present yourself as an expert in your niche and make a lot of money from your website. According to Statista, the global e-learning market will exceed $243 billion by 2020.
Once you understand the importance of your time and work, you will need to build an online course that makes others quickly sign up, to provide fast and reliable communication solutions for your business and better customer service for potential learners.
Here you will learn the basics of how to turn your knowledge into your first successful lead-generating and money-making online course.
1. Choose the Right Topic
Choosing a subject must be something that you love and you are ready to dive in head-first. The main thing you should do while choosing your course topic is to define what problems your target audience can meet regularly and how you can help them fix it.
You can take a look at your website analytics to check out the most engaging posts on your website. Usually, the most popular content shows what your target customers want to learn. So, you don’t need to go to university and learn this subject. Try to think about your life experience, skills, and talents you have to do that.
For example, you’re good at cooking and your blog is all about cooking your favourite dishes. If you see that people are coming to you for your recipes, I guess it’s time to create a cooking online course. The simple truth is that you love your topic and you have experience with it, then this topic will work for you.
2. Set Your Goals and Objectives
Writing your goals and objectives is important for any online course to make the planning process transparent and cohesive. Your goals should reflect what you want your students to learn and give this direction and focus for your work with them. While your objectives tell learners what they can expect or not, once they have learned this course.
Briefly, learning goals are usually broad, long-term, and not always measurable, while learning objectives define the expected results of educational activity.
Once you set your goals and objectives, you can do the following:
- You can help students interrelate their goals through their courses.
- You can plainly organize the course by developing a logical flow of learning milestones.
- You can easily connect your objectives with assessment methods.
- You can communicate high expectations to your students.
You should use your learning goals as a great pitch for your course sales page and increasing sales. Your objectives should be clear, measurable, and short. For example,
Learning Goal of the Photoshop course:
- Students will learn how to use Photoshop CS6.
Learning Objectives for the Photoshop course:
- Students will be able to work with colours and manipulate layers.
- Students will learn how to warp Smart Objects and save every single pixel in your original image.
For each learning objective, try to create relevant activities to achieve that objective. By using these activities, your learners will achieve your learning goals. These activities can include performing different tests, quizzes, discussing issues with other learners, answering questions, and more.
3. Structure Your Course Plan
This is an important stage where you need to take a look at all of your content, group together your similar ideas, tips, topics, and sub-topics into modules and place your lessons within those modules in the logical order. If your lectures look inconsistent and illogical, that will have a negative long-term impact on your students that may drive away from your online course.
Your course structure should include sections with a few subsections in each of them. Try to keep them short and simple. Students usually find it difficult to digest too long subsections.
You can make short videos around 10 minutes or even less. Make sure to stick to your main idea of your subsection. Create and refine the unique style of your online course. Fortunately, there are a bunch of free templates you can benefit from.
Note that people pay attention to your course structure and decide whether they want to sign up or not. Each section and subsection should show value to your students. Each section should include a quick overview of what you are going to teach, explain learning outcomes, and provide useful resources that let students go deep into this subject.
For example, Udemy provides a great course structure for their CCS courses that clearly explain what you’ll learn in each CSS course. Each one is logically structured and provides detailed information for beginners and the option to move to a more senior software developer position.
4. Gather, Write and Edit Your Course Content
Writing course content is quite a difficult task. It’s essential to collect as much as possible valuable information to cover all the bases and provide all details. Too much or too little information? You need to find the right content balance. Try to divide it into pint-sized pieces of content to let people easily digest the information.
Make sure to plan all content that you want to write so that everything makes sense and adds value to your learners. Include content that answers burning questions of your target audience and fill gals not provided by your competitors.
To make it more interesting and acceptable, you need to add visual and interactive content. For example, you can create different video tutorials, interactive quizzes, worksheets, or slideshows to refresh your online sales course. Just make your content more fun to learn by adding extra elements.
Once you finish producing a content course, check it for grammar and spelling mistakes. Everything should be accurate and sequenced in a clear, logical way. For non-native English speakers, it can be a challenging task. Fortunately, you can find a lot of different online English courses to improve your grammar, writing, and conversation skills.
5. Pick the Right Online Course Platform
Once you define your course content, you need to find a great online course platform that can provide you with a high-quality learning experience and are great for online course creation. Fortunately, there are a lot of online learning platforms available on the market.
For example, LearnWorlds offers the ability to run your online course in one place that makes the overall process easy and affordable at the same time. Besides, you will get a set of marketing tools that help you promote and sell your online course.
Make sure that this kind of online platform can take a commission from each online course. When choosing a platform, it’s important to take a look at some things like pricing policy, customizable features, interface, customer support, in-build tools, and many more. Anyway, many of them offer a free trial to test all the features and define whether they work for your needs.
6. Use Chatbots and Email Marketing Tools
No matter how awesome your online course could be, without the interactive element, a student could stop caring about the course before it is finished. Using chatbots is a simple solution for teachers and course creators to increase the learning experience of learners. The chatbots also give an option for students to ask questions, build the credibility of online education, and detect the weak points of the course.
Chatbots like Tidio serve as a great course tool that can help with some aspects of marketing to promote your brand, provide updates, and ask learners to share your content. Chatbots easily integrated with Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook can communicate with thousands of students simultaneously.
Email marketing is a great way to convert more leads into paying customers and nurture your relationship with your learners. Using email marketing services will help you inform, educate, and interact with your subscribers to make the most of your online course.
7. Find the Perfect Pricing Model
Now it’s time to strategize the pricing model for your online course. You should figure out what you are going to spend and estimate the number of students you need to refund your money and start earning. Notice that the price is closely tied with the market demand and whether people are ready to pay for this course.
There is no right pricing strategy for an online course you should follow because in most cases it depends on what you are going to deliver, what marketing methodologies you are using, and how much value you are adding to your course.
The best way to do that is to analyze your idea against competitors in the marketplace. Check out how they deliver content, how much they charge, and how your course can be different. If you consider that you’ve made yours better, you can drive up the price for your online product. Never undercharge as that will look like it provides less value for your customers than your competitors.
8. Market Your Online Course
Once you complete your online course, it’s not the right time to relax and make money. You need to make every effort and launch an ongoing marketing strategy to promote it. The more people will know about your course, the more revenue you can produce. There are a lot of ways to market the course, ranging from creating a blog post and sending out an email to your subscribers to social media.
If it’s your first online course, the best way to show your expertise is to share useful content for free. For example, you can give a free guide that solves the pain points of your target audience. That will help you reach and heighten the audience’s interest in the early going. Moreover, offering free content is a good way to boost your brand awareness and build a strong foundation for a high-converting sales funnel.
Another way to sell your course is to create a pre-sell email campaign. To do that, you should have an extensive email list to share with your subscribers, but this way is also the most effective to achieve your goals.
Once you get enrollments, ask your learners for reviews and feedback as you can use them for your business’ advantage. To learn what is right, we usually look at what other people are doing and consider that it’s right.
I mean if other people like your online course, that information will influence people’s decision to sign up or not. For example, to generate more sign-ups for their English language courses, edX collected success stories from their students and put them on their blog.
Podcasts are also a great way to engage with your target audience and generate new sales for your online course. The beauty of podcasting is that you have the freedom to make some changes to constantly improve it for your learners.
Make sure to measure the results of your online course. You can send out emails to your customers to find out their progress and their thoughts about the course. Once you know that, you can easily decide what to do next. If required, you can go on improving the course and generate more sales.
Here Are Some Mistakes You Should Avoid for a Successful Online Course
- Avoid creating lengthy videos — They should be less than 20 minutes. Students have really short attention spans.
- Don’t be a perfectionist and take it easy — Even if this is your first online course, don’t worry too much about all the details. Without trying it out, you won’t learn your mistakes and create the best version of your course. Just go on analyzing your market, improving your course, and landing your first paying customers.
- Keep improving your online course — Testing your product with real users is a good way to figure out any possible mistakes and fix them. For example, you forget adding a buy button or including a learning video you mentioned earlier. Continue to proofread your content for mistakes so that you can become immune to any issues you have met within the course.
Now you have more than enough knowledge to create a useful online course for others. Don’t underestimate your skills.
I hope these 8 steps will give a clear idea of what you should expect from the overall process of creating an online course and start earning money while you are at it.