Define your course idea
Deciding on a topic for your course may be the most challenging aspect of this process. You should spend ample time brainstorming different subjects that you can talk about that others would find useful and meaningful. It is most helpful to give potential students actionable content in a how-to format rather than simply just explain what something is.
The most monetizable topics will add value to your students and give them a transformation of some kind that can improve their lives.
Most inexperienced course creators make the mistake of trying to pursue the largest market opportunities. However, the easiest way to get started with a profitable course idea is to find an underserved niche market.
Many free tools allow you to find attractive niche markets. We suggest that you get started looking at search volumes using the Google AdWords Keyword Planner, and size of audiences and interests using the Facebook Ads Manager (you won’t have to pay a dime to do research using these tools.)
Don’t worry if you have too many ideas! Just pick one and get started. You can always come back later to create courses on the other topics you have brainstormed, so keep your list stored in a safe place.
Step 2: Set clear goals
When you teach online courses, you are usually in control over how much you charge for your students to view your class material. Therefore, determine how much money you would like to make from the class, and estimate how many new students you could potentially capture by marketing your product to the audience you’ve identified. You can then work backward to the amount of money you should charge for the course.
Step 3: Create your email list
Growing your email list is arguably the most important step to take if you want your course to be profitable.
The best way to build an email list with an interested target audience is to give something of value away for free. This ideally will be a teaser product that introduces or sells your course in some way.
For example, you could give away a free e-book that you created, a membership to your website or blog, podcasts and more. Create content that delves into the material that the course will offer, but leaves plenty of value in the product that the consumer will be paying for.
Step 4: Set the price of your course
Many people struggle to set a realistic price for their course. For example, some people think that they can learn anything they needed to on any topic for free by using the Internet. However, it may take them months or even years as well as plenty of trial and error to get to your current level of knowledge on the topic.
The most valuable thing your course offers to its students is a shortcut to an outcome. The reality is that many people are willing to pay for a faster and easier way to learn more about a topic. There is value in your ability to condense the information that you have learned as well as in your capacity to provide all of the content to your students in a user-friendly manner.
However, most new course creators make the mistake of setting the price of their product too low. What you should bear in mind is that consumers associate low prices with lower quality. We’ve found that by selling your course for at premium price point, your students will view the material as being more useful or beneficial simply because they paid more for it.
Step 5: Set the foundation for your business
If you are preparing to create and launch a course, it is most helpful if you create your own online sales platform and school. There are plenty of online marketplaces that allow you to submit a course to take advantage of their current marketing and student mailing lists. However, these marketplaces usually limit your ability to control prices, take a portion of profits from you, and don’t give you full access to your students’ contact information.
Step 6: Create useful, valuable, and friendly course content
your next step is to turn your knowledge into an engaging online course. It is helpful to create an outline as a first step, and this outline should detail each step that your students should follow to achieve the transformation that your product advertises.
Many of the most successful courses feature both text and video. They also may have ample graphics or images that add value to the students.
Fortunately, it is no longer expensive to create professional-level content. Your phone or laptop camera can help you record high-quality video lectures, you can use free tools like Google Slides to design beautiful presentations, and you can even hire skilled professionals from all around the world who will help you do this for a very low price.
Step 7: Present your course to the market (launch it!)
Depending on how you approach this, it can take a substantial amount of planning and effort to get to the point where you are ready to launch your course, but we recommend investing an equal amount of effort in designing and executing a launch strategy.
After analyzing hundreds of businesses go to market, we’ve distilled a basic framework that can be adapted to launch online courses in most industries. It’s a sequence of emails that are meant to educate, provide value, and sell your product to your audience:
– Day 1: Tease your audience about what’s to come
– Day 2: Share a personal story and how that led you to create the course. Explain what is in the course
– Day 3: Announce that the course is now open for enrollment
– Day 4: Answer the most frequently asked questions in public (some people might have doubts about your product but just don’t take the time to ask the necessary questions)
– Day 5: Offer a surprise bonus for those that buy immediately
– Day 6: Say “thank you” and show social proof
– Day 7: Make a logical argument to buy now and say your course is closing or that the launch pricing is ending soon
– Day 8: Send three emails reminding people about the end of the launch