11 Steps To Create A Successful Online Course
Have you ever thought about creating an online course? To create an online course you basically just have to be good at something!
Everyone has something to teach, we all have unique interests, hobbies, passions, skills… and life experiences – that can be translated into an online course.
The market for online courses is massive and growing, the online course industry is estimated to reach a whopping $325 billion by 2025! And there are actually many people who are able to make a living selling online courses – some even bring in 6- and 7-figure incomes every month.
And according to Teachable, a popular learning management platform, it’s easier and faster to monetize a course than a blog or a YouTube channel.
What’s so fascinating though is that there’s a market for almost any kind of course: From topics like Cake Decorating and Watercolor Painting to Home Repair, Computer Programming – and Dog Training. Just do a search on Google or YouTube about something you’d like to learn – or create a course about – and I’m pretty sure you’ll find it!
And don’t get discouraged if you find many online courses already on the internet about a topic you’d like to create a course about, because that’s also a good sign! It shows that there’s a market for this topic and other people are monetizing it – so you can too!
If you’d like to know how to create a successful online course, here’s what you need to know to get started.
11 Steps to Create a Successful Online Course:
1 Choose a Course Topic
The first step is to choose a course topic! Perhaps you already know exactly what you want to create a course about. But in case you don’t know, a good way is to make a list of things you have a good knowledge about, skills, hobbies and experiences you have and then choose a topic from that.
It’s ideal that you choose a topic you’re passionate about, otherwise it will be difficult for you to create an interesting and engaging course.
2 Define your Target Market & Identify a Specific Problem
When you’ve chosen your course topic, you must define your target market. Describe the typical person you think would be interested in your course: What age are they, where do they live, education level, interests and so on.
And in relation to your course topic: What problems do they have? What questions do they have? And what results do they want?
Then you identify a specific problem that you have a perfect solution to.
3 Market Research
Before you start working on your course, you should check if there’s a market demand for your chosen topic. For this, you need to do a research online to learn more about the market and your competition: What courses already exist about this topic? What content and solutions do they offer? What’s the price for those courses? etc.
You also want to research your target market: Are they discussing your topic online and on what social networks and sites do they hang out? Are they asking questions about your topic, what are they searching for – and what keywords and keyword phrases do they use?
It’s important you try to find out if there’s a gap in what the market want and what is being offered.
Furthermore, if you have an email list or a social media following, you can send out a survey and ask if they would be interested in a course about your topic idea and some more questions related to that.
4 Compelling Learning Objectives
If your market research validates your course idea, the next step is to set up compelling learning objectives, so that your potential students know what they will learn and achieve if they take and complete the course.
Additionally, the learning objectives will help and guide you when you do the content collection for the course, so that you don’t get overwhelmed with content but know exactly what you need.
5 Collect Content & Create a Course Outline
When collecting content for your course, always consider what your students need to learn, step by step, to achieve the learning objectives of the course.
Then to create a course outline you start with grouping similar themes, tips and ideas from your content together into modules. Each module should focus on teaching one skill or concept, i.e. one step closer towards the final learning objective. Then break down the modules into lessons.
Keep the lessons short, 5-10 minutes is better than 10-20 minutes, because most people prefer to learn in bite-sized chunks.
What delivery methods make best sense for your lessons, considering your topic, the content and the students? Is it video, PDFs, text, slide decks or audio?
If you e.g. have to demonstrate many things in your lessons, then video is the best obvious choice. The best option though is to have a mix of delivery methods for your lessons, because some students prefer video, some prefer audio and then some prefer reading.
When you’ve decided what method or methods you’ll use, it’s time to plan, design and create the actual lessons.
7 Name & Price of the Course
Now it’s time to name and price your course. The name is the first thing anyone will encounter when they see your course. Try to think of something unique that will make it stand out and peak their interest.
Pricing is a significant aspect, since it brings direct impact on your results and business. The price point depends on many things. To start with, what’s your purpose with the course? Is the main purpose with the course to sell another product or service? Then you probably should give it away for free as a lead magnet or sell it for a very low price.
On the other hand, if your main purpose is to monetize the course itself, you have to try to figure out a price point that meets your sales objectives and at the same time attracts enough students to pay for it.
You may however want to start out with a lower price and then increase it when you can show good reviews and testimonials from students who have completed the course.
Additionally, you may over time expand the course and add more content: downloadable worksheets, checklists, templates, eBooks, coaching etc, that can justify a higher price.
8 Set Up & Launch Your Course Online
Now that you have an amazing course ready, it’s time to share it with the world!
The question is how will you set it up and share it on the internet? There are several ways how this can be done. The perhaps simplest way is to share your course via email(s) and store your course in e.g. Dropbox or Microsoft’s OneDrive or Google Drive.
You can also set up and share the course on your own website by using a WP plugin like LearnPress.
Yet another option is to use an all-in-one platform like Teachable or Thinkific – or a marketplace like Udemy. If your course encompasses quite a lot of content, an all-in-one platform is most likely the easiest way to host and sell your course.
When you have set up your course online, it’s time to launch it. Before the “BIG” launch, it’s smart to do a pre-launch. Either by giving the course away to a few people or selling it for a low price.
This gives you the opportunity to test the course with a small group before you market and sell it to a bigger audience. By testing everything first with a few students, you have the possibility to fix any issues and also to improve your course content before you sell it to a higher price and to more people.
To sell your course, you have to market it. Set a budget and create a marketing campaign or a marketing calendar, to outline the marketing activities you plan to do to promote and sell your course.
There are several free marketing activities you can do, like sending out emails about the course to your list (if you have one), create and publish posts and videos about the course on your Social Media platforms and create short videos about it and publish them on YouTube.
If you have a blog or website, you’ll of course promote the course there as well. If your website is in the same niche as your course, then your visitors are potential students. You can promote your course on many places: in the sidebar, top bar, at the end of a blog post, on your About page, on the Menu tab etc.
You can also use paid advertising to reach a much larger audience. Some options are Google Adwords, Facebook ads, LinkedIn ads, and YouTube ads. What’s important is that you choose to advertise where your target audience hangs out online.
Furthermore, you can host a live webinar where you share some of the content from your course, giving your audience a sneak peak. Then at the end of the webinar you promote the course.
Moreover, there are Forums where you can participate in discussions and answer questions – and then add a link to your course. Other ways are guest speaking on pods and guest posting on blogs – and then mention and promote the course.
10 Create a Community
To keep your students motivated and engaged, create an online community with all students. In the community they can ask questions, interact and share experiences and ideas with each other.
It’s a way to make the course a bit more social as well. An easy way to create a community is setting up a Facebook Group – for you and your course students only.
You want to make sure that your students give you feedback about the course. This is invaluable information, since it can help you to tweak and improve the lessons, and also give you great ideas for other courses in the future.
And ask for testimonials from happy students, which you then can publish on social media and on your sales page. It’s the best marketing you can get!
Moreover, when you have tweaked and improved the course, perhaps also expanded the course with an additional module, lesson or bonus material – you might be able to increase the price!
So that’s it, now you know the steps how to create your own online course!
And… if you want to learn more about how to create and launch a course online, and specifically how to create a course people will BUY…. then you’ve got to get this:
What do YOU have a passion about that you would like to share with other people? Or what experience, skills, expertise or knowledge would you love to teach?
Please let us know in the comments here below!
Ps: Download This FREE Workbook To Help You Get Started Creating Your Course:
…And Here Are Some Awesome Tools and Resources That Can Help You Even More To Succeed Online: