Are you thinking about creating an online course? However, you are not sure what the process entails. Or maybe you are interested in creating one but you are scared that what if nobody buys? You fear all the hard work you put into creating the program will be wasted and you are not sure if you should proceed.
Worry not, I am here to help. Here’s is the process I use to create and launch ecourses, and teach others, too. I have broken it down step by step so you are clear on what should happen when and why. Let’s get started!
Step #1 Validate your idea
What’s the first step you need to take if you are thinking of creating an online course? And not just an online course, an online course that is going to be profitable, help grow your business and make a bigger impact.
A course that helps you stop trading hours for dollars, or finally launch your business. It starts with the right idea.
Brainstorm a list of ideas you might be interested in creating your training on. But then don’t just toss a coin and pick any random idea, or choose the one that seems the easiest option, or the most exciting. Your first job is to validate your idea.
Start by talking to at least 5 people one on one. Ask them about some of the biggest frustrations in their lives (as related to your topic). Ask them what needs urgent attention. Pay attention to what they tell you. Ask open ended questions. Your job is to determine what kinds of products these folks are looking to buy.
Hang out in Facebook groups and online forums. Listen when people ask questions and air their frustrations. Do surveys.
Finally, look at what is available in the market already. What is selling well? Go to Amazon and look for reviews for popular books. What do people like? What do they don’t like? Now based on this information, carefully select your idea. Ideally your idea should be something you are excited about, have expertise in and there is a demand for.And always remember, competition is a good thing.
Step #2 Identify your ideal customer
After talking to a bunch of people and listening closely, you will be able to confidently create an ideal customer avatar. You will know exactly the kind of person you want to serve, or not serve.
For instance, you will decide whether you want to create a course aimed at a beginner audience or an advanced one. You’ll know if your ideal customer need a high touch program or are they happy with a self-study course. You’ll discover if a premium experience and branding is important to them or not.
Just by talking to people, you’ll feel super confident in attracting to the right people. And when you do, make a note of what they say: the actual words they use. These are very useful for putting words on your marketing material and sales copy.
Your messaging will be spot on because you have identified their needs and are literally speaking their language. You’ll provide everything they need from you and so they are far more likely to invest with you.
Step #3 Stop obsessing about the name
People obsess about choosing the perfect name for their ecourse. They want it to be memorable, unique and catchy. They fear that the name has the power to make or break their course.
This is hardly true. People won’t make a decision based solely on the basis of what’s it called. Plus, I don’t know about you but I always struggle with naming my programs and packages. And if you are anything like me, I have a suggestion: Go for a very simple, clear name that spells the big benefit of your course.
For example some of the names that come to mind are Blog that Converts, Get 1000 Subscribers, Big Launch, Video Traffic Academy and Facebook Profit Lab. I love these names because they are short and to the point. They tell you straightway when you are going to get when you enrol. There is no confusion whatsoever.
If you want something a bit more creative, you can always talk to a copywriter or a naming expert.
Step #4 Don’t tie your pricing to your worth
You may have heard people say that raise your prices, create a premium course, and charge what you are worth. I always want to scream when I hear this advice. It’s rubbish. Your prices have got nothing to do with your worth. As a human being, you are priceless.
Pricing is just a marketing tool. You can create something for $99 dollars and make 30 thousand dollars, or you can create something for 10 times that amount and only sell two programs. So what does they say about you? Nothing! (Maybe the fact that you didn’t do your research properly but certainly nothing suggesting anything about your worth.)
So, calm down for a second. Look at your course. What is the value your customers are going to get? Is it a high touch program or mostly self-study? High level of support means you can charge more.
What’s the branding and positioning like? Are you providing a stellar customer experience with all the bells and whistles? Sure, you can charge more. What is the duration of the course? How much material are you providing? What is the actual nature of the problem you solve? Courses that save people money or time, improve their relationships and health, or make money can carry a much higher price tag.
Step #5 Make friends with technology
Are you excited about creating your program but always get stuck when you think about how you will actually deliver it?
I don’t blame you. There are tons of platform choices available. You have third party options like Fedora, Learndash, Thinkific. You have plugins to protect your content. You have options to host your own course like Zippy Courses, Optimize Press, Simplero and Kajabi. No wonder you are about to tear your hair out.
My advice is simple. Firstly do your own research of the most popular options. Search no more than 10. Then decide what is doable at this point in time, meaning look at your resources. How much time and money you’ve got?
The ideal scenario is to hire someone to set up the backend for you so you don’t have to worry about ta single thing, but yes, it will cost you money. So go with the platform that looks like something you can work with, and also willing to hire someone to help you if you get stuck.
Now decide on if you want to password protect your content, host your course or use a third party platform.
Step #6 Do the Math
So what’s your launch strategy? Don’t tell me you are going to create the course and hope that buyers will come. Please don’t tell me you are going to manifest buyers, either.
Yes, I am a closet woowoo (look that up if you don’t know what this. Hint: A person that believes in Law of Attraction, Energy work, EFT, etc) but I am also super practical.
So yes, go ahead and put an intention out to the Universe that you want 50 people to enrol in your course. Done it? Great, now let’s work out the numbers. You are looking at 2-3% conversion rates. So if you need 50 people to buy your course, you need to be have about 1500 people on your list. You have got to start thinking about that if you don’t have that many people.
If you have a list size big enough to support your launch, fantastic, move on. If not, start thinking about how you are going to get these people. Don’t leave it till the last minute. You need to start building your list now. As soon as you lock in your idea, start the list building process.
You can do guest blogging, run Facebook ads or hold webinars. You can create partner relationships with other list owners and you can network in Facebook groups and online forums.
Sure, your list will grow when you launch but think about the peace of mind you’ll have with knowing you have the most or all the people you need.
Step#7 Create a launch plan
You don’t require a complex, lengthy launch plan. In fact for your very first course, I suggest keeping it very simple.
Decide on the type of launch appeals to you. Do you want to do a series of blog posts/emails? Do you want to do video? Do you want to do webinars or would nothing short of a properly produced video series suffice? Choose one plan of action and stick to it. Don’t look at what others are doing. Play up to your strengths and choose the route where you and your content shines.
The goal of a launch plan is to know when and how you will be promoting. The job of a well-executed plan is to let people know about your course so make sure you mark all the important dates on your calendar (for promotion).
Without a simple launch plan, you’ll just make the process unnecessarily complicated and stressful. Don’t do that.
Step# 8 Offer introductory pricing
Assuming this is your first ever ecourse, I want you to offer introductory pricing. Offering a beta round means you take a bunch of people through the course who do not expect perfection and are more likely to forgive any mistakes and shortcomings.
You give them a discount because you are looking for feedback so you can improve the course and make it even better. The people will give you testimonials and will become future advocates for you.
Give them a big incentive to join before everybody else.
Step#9 Nail your sales page
You have three options:
- You can write the sales page yourself and hope that it’s good.
- You can write the sales page and get a copywriter to review and tweak it.
- You can hire a copywriter to write it for you.
You can opt for the first option if you are a decent writer and/or this is not your first time writing a sales page. Normally I advise people to get some help. Sure, you can totally outsource the task provided that you have the budget to do so. Make sure you do your diligent research to find someone who will be a right fit for you.
Now, if you have taken the time to develop a strong relationship with the people on your list, even if your sales page is not a master piece, it should be able to do the job. I have bought so many products where I didn’t even read the info on the sales page because I trusted the seller. However, it needs to be written well for a cold audience who might be coming from ads or social media sharing.
Step #10 Create and deliver a stellar program
Lastly, create, design and deliver a course that will knock their socks off.
What are your students hope to accomplish by enrolling in your course? What outcomes need to be met? A stellar course doesn’t look pretty or has killer branding. It’s the content that matters the most. It’s how you teach.
Plan out your modules. Decide on the medium. Is it going to be text-only? Do you want to shoot video or teach using slides? Is there any live component or all pre-recorded?
Give them a step-by-step or easy way of reaching their goals. Don’t overwhelm them by giving them too much information. They’ll thank you for it. Include any nice-to-have information as supplementary materials and bonuses.
Plan your course so they don’t abandon it halfway through. Plan your course so your people are the true winners.
Have you created an online course? If so, how did it go? Do you plan to teach one? Leave a comment and let us know.