7 Things You Must Know Before You Create Your Online Course
When I did my first online course, and it didn't sell, I was devastated. And the funny thing about it is. I did everything the gurus told me to do- all the successful people in the online course creation world. Yet, I wasn't able to sell my course. And I'm like, what's wrong? Is it just me? Is this whole thing a scam? What's going on here? So after I got over my initial pity party, I had to figure out those details. What were the things that stood in the way of me being successful? Why was I not able to sell my course?
If you are at the beginning stages of creating a course or creating your first online course, or you created one, but you haven't yet seen the results. You, my friend, are in the right place. There are seven things you must know before you create your online course. I wish I had known these when I started my first online course.
1. The Tech Can Be Simple
Tech can be simple, but it's easy to overcomplicate. I see this all the time. People who want to create an online course get overwhelmed with all the tech.
It's easy to see why right?
There are so many options out there-, Podia, Teachable, Kajabi. And that's a few, but there are literally hundreds of different tech course hosting platforms that can be used for an online course. And all of them are wonderful. They sound great, but it's easy to get caught up in choosing what's the best one. What's the perfect one for my course? So here's what I would offer you to consider. Keep the tech very simple.
When you're starting out with your first course, a brand new course, or if you have some already under your belt, what you want to start with is validating your course. When I say validating, that means determining if people will buy your course. You want to keep it simple, streamlined, and easy for that validation.
Because you're quicker to market! If you're overloaded with many different tech platforms, tech apps, and all types of software that you don't really need, it slows down the process. And my friend, you don't make money building a course, spending all these months, in some cases years making it. You make money when it's out there, and you're actually selling it. It's essential to think about keeping the tech process simple.
Once you sell your course, once things start moving, you've got students, that's the perfect time to add on.
You can increase the level of technology you have. Still, my advice is you need a simple platform to host your course and an email service provider to contact the people who are potential buyers for your course. And that's it. Those are the main platforms that you need.
Do a test run. Most of them have a free trial. If you follow me, you know, I'm a big fan of Kajabi, Thinkific, and Teachable. You can give them a test run and see which one feels right for you and your business and how you want learners to experience the content that you create. So number one is to keep the tech simple.
2. Course Prices are All Over the Place
So the question becomes, I'm creating this course, but what should I price it at?
A couple of things I want you to consider with the pricing is number one, what is your specialty? What's your niche? That will have a significant impact on the pricing.
For example, I have one of my clients, an actual client. They did a course on artificial intelligence versus a client that did another course on organizing the home. Both are very successful course creators.
The difference is that the niches are more specialized. So artificial intelligence is going to be a higher-level niche than organization. Now I want you to hear this because this doesn't mean I wouldn't do a course on organizing the home, but you've got to think about where you are positioned in the market.
- Where are you positioned in the market?
- You also want to look and see what's already out there in the market.
- What are the courses in your niche?
- What's your specialty?
- How much experience do you bring to the table?
- What is your unique approach to the topic?
All of those will impact the price, plus what your offer is.
So when I say course, that is your content, the curriculum, but what else are you offering students? Are there bonuses?
What I call, what makes it valuable add-ins like community, one-on-one time with you, or group coaching. All of those will impact the pricing. You want to look at the complete picture when you consider the pricing.
3. It's Challenging to Sell a Course Without an Audience
I want you to consider that it is challenging to sell a course without an audience, not impossible but challenging. So, with my first course, I did not have an audience. It was a course for women with executive presence.
While I was selling the course or attempting to sell the course, I also had to build the audience. That was the hard way to do it, and my goal again is to make it more simple, easier for you.
Look at how you can start building your audience even before you ever record your first video. Before you create your content.
You want to focus on building your audience first. Then you sell the course.
You can build your audience as you prepare your content, get ready to go live for your first session or prepare everything for your course content. That should really be the initial step when you're thinking about selling an online course.
What I mean by audience building is having people on your email list. So yes, you can have 10,000 followers on Instagram, and that's fantastic, but prime is having those 10,000 people on your email list.
You don't own Instagram, you don't own Facebook, but you own those names and email addresses on your email list. That's what you want to build.
Build a list of potential buyers with your email list, and you do that with an irresistible lead magnet.
Think of something that would appeal to your audience that they can get from you for free. A lead magnet could be anything from a guide to free training, to a checklist. So start there with your course creation journey.
4. Two Ways of Selling
Let's move into number four, two ways to sell your course. You can sell your course as an evergreen course or do launches. Evergreen means that your course is available all the time. It means that I can go to your website and see that your course is available there. I can just click the button and buy it instantly. I'm then in your course. That's evergreen. The launch means that there's an open and close date.
For example, we had a seven-day open enrollment date in one of the courses that I launched for a client. After those seven days, that course was no longer available for enrollment. We did open it up for enrollment four months after that and then four months after that again. So you can see the difference between evergreen and a launch.
Evergreen is available right now for people, whereas it is available at certain times with a launch.
You may be thinking, well, which one should I choose?
Why would I choose the evergreen over the launch?
Let's first talk about why you would choose the launch. The launch is where you can have a cohort style, a group of students coming in taking the course at the same time. There's that sense of comradery and community.
So, from an administrative point of view, it can be easier for some businesses to manage a group at one time. Let's say you have a six-week course, you know, once you run through those six weeks, you've completed that cycle of students, and you can move to some other things in your business.
Using the launch method is also an opportunity to get people off the fence. This has been proven even in psychological studies to work.
Many of us tend to procrastinate, right?
So, when you have a launch period, what that does is it gets people off the fence. They think I need to get in now. Because they can only enroll in the course during that specific period of time. This is a way to get people into action.
Evergreen works excellent for people like me. If your client likes instant gratification, then this is perfect, right?
I don't want to wait three or four months to get your course. When I see your course, I know I need it right now. I want it right now. I will go ahead and sign up for it right now.
Evergreen appeals to those that want instant gratification. The second thing you want to think about if you sell your course using evergreen is, does your course appeal to people at a point of need?
For example, you teach people how to show up in interviews for top companies and how to ace interviews. Now let's say they've got an interview coming up in a week.
If your course is on launch style and you're not launching until three months from now, they're not going to be able to get your course.
But if your course is an evergreen course, they can go right to your website, click the buy button and sign up for your course. So it makes sense for courses that assist with an immediate need to use evergreen because the course is available right now.
Another example would be that your course is about helping babies sleep at night. You've got a mom that's got a three-month-old baby. She's tired. She can't sleep. She needs help right now. Right?
She doesn't want to wait until you relaunch your course in four months.
You need to think about your business, clients, and from there, use that to make a good decision about how you would sell your course, whether it would be evergreen or launch.
5. You Can Learn a Lot from the Competition
You can learn a lot from your competition. When I say this, people often shy away from their competition.
You want to know as much as possible, and here's why my friend. You do not want to copy them. There are laws against that. We don't want to do that. We need to keep it ethical.
But the point of studying your competition is its business intelligence for you.
What do I mean by that?
Business intelligence in terms of determining what does their program include? When I say competition, you will look for people who have a similar course on a topic that you want to create, you want to study that.
- What do they include?
- What don't they include at that price point?
- What are some of the gaps? Meaning, what are some of the things missing now?
One great way to do this is to be a part of their community. , To have open ears, open eyes, listening, watching, seeing what happens within the community. Understanding what's working well in their course and what's not working well.
Why would you want to do that again?
You want to take that knowledge to the next level. For example, maybe you've seen gaps in their program. This happened to one of our clients that her competitors weren't offering enough support. When she did her course, she added a lot of extra support.
How did she know this?
Well, she was a student of the competitor's course. She purchased the competitor's course. She was there in the community.
She saw some of the students' concerns and gaps and knew she wanted to level up. That's what understanding and knowing about your competition helps you to do.
It helps you level up and know where the challenges are with the course and in the target market. That allows you to set yourself up uniquely and offer something very different.
A different experience that will help you to stand out in the marketplace. Check out, learn from your competition, and use that to help you create an incredible learning experience for your students in your course.
6. Two Ways to Promote
When promoting your course, you have two options: You can do organic, and/or you can do paid. Organic is just how it sounds - free. Well, I'm got to say it's not totally free because you have to invest your time.
What would be examples of organic promotion?
- Posting on social media.
- Sending emails to the list of potential buyers that I've already created.
- Reaching out to my Facebook group, a network of other business owners, telling them, Hey, I just created this new course that's open for enrollment. I would love for you to check it out.
Organic is typically free. Another great way to use organic is other people's audiences. Being interviewed on someone's podcast or being a guest blogger on someone's site. That gets lots of traffic.
In other words, you are trying to get eyes on what you've created and show what your course offers, and organic is one way to go.
The second is advertising. Think of Facebook, Google, YouTube, and LinkedIn ads. This is where you actually spend money for people to see your ads. Whatever you're promoting for your course, you're paying.
There are a couple of things to consider because I know what you're thinking - which one would be best for me?
If you use advertising, you have to spend more money. But, remember I said organic was investing time? Think of it as sweat equity. You're spending time.
You're doing those things. You're reaching out on social media. You're getting people to sign up for your lead magnet. You're promoting that your course is ready and open for people to sign up. You're pushing all of that out through your networks, right?
You're actually creating an ad and putting it on a social media platform. You're paying people to see your ad.
I personally tend to like to start with organic. There are a couple of reasons for that.
First, if your course is new, you want to validate that it's a course that people are interested in.
You don't want to invest money yet unless you have the funds. You don't want to invest until you can build some organic traffic.
I literally got people signed up through LinkedIn and Facebook organically in my first course.
I didn't have any ads. I use ads today, but when I started out, I did it organically, and we had to work. I worked behind the scenes. I was doing DM's (direct messages)., I was posting and sending messages., I was making connection requests. All this took a good investment of time. Then once I saw people were interested, meaning they bought my course and that it was gaining traction, I took it to the next level with ads.
Organic is slower, ads are faster, but there's an investment. The thing about ads, you must invest money to test to find out what works with your market.
There's no get rich quick scheme. If anybody's telling you that, be careful. It's many "experts" not telling you about the money they spent to get things off the ground. You must test the ads and different audiences to see where it clicks. But once it works, my friend, you are golden.
Think about where you are, your budget, your time limit, whether both would work. You can even do a mix. I've had clients and students in my program do a mix. They do a little bit of organic some paid ads.
7. Totally Possible
The final thing - is it's totally possible. Remember I started talking about when I did in my first course, and it didn't sell?
I think this is just a scam because I don't understand how these people make money with courses.
I did everything they told me to, but then I had to take a step back to figure out where I was off, what things weren't working, what I was doing wrong.
Now I'm here to tell you that it is totally possible to have a successful, profitable, brilliant course that helps people. To do that, you've must be in it for the long term. You must put in the work. It's not going to magically happen.
You just can't throw your course on a website and think people are just going to sign up. I would love for it to be that way, but it just doesn't work like that.
We've stuck in it for the long term for those like me who have successfully created and sold courses. Like I said, my first course didn't sell anything, but I didn't stop there.
Also, think about what works better for you.
Are you the type of person that needs accountability, or are you the do-it-yourself person and can get it done?
Some people are do-it-yourselfers. They can get it done. While other people need accountability, they need more support.
If you've been trying to get your course off the ground for a while, chances are, you probably need some more support. You need support, or maybe you're just not even sure where to start.
That's an issue for a lot of people. I'm not sure where should I start? First, you need to find a proven roadmap or find someone who has gone on the journey successfully to help you. Only you can determine what is best for you.
I'm so excited about what you will create.
Ready to go from idea to sold?
Download the free guide, The First 7 Steps to Create a Profitable Online Course