Thinking of creating an online course?
You’ll find a lot of information on how to format your heading. Or how to design your cover page. Or even how long your course should be- which are all important. But they’re not the most important part about writing and selling an online course. Here are the three essential aspects of creating an e-learning course and actually make money from it.
1. Identify Your Audience and Decide on a Topic
If you’re to read only one tip in this article, this would be it. Identifying your audience and deciding on a topic is critical to the successful sale of your course. You need to find a topic your target audience would be interested in buying.
Learning to type fast, speak in Ubbi Dubbi, or play the piano- these are things people pay actual money to learn. Because it solves a problem for them, what marketers call “scratching an itch.”
The big question here becomes how do you decide on a topic your target audience would want to buy?
- Hangout in your target audience social groups and forums
Create buyer personas for your target audience. Find out social forums your audience hangout. What are they talking about? Is it something you’re knowledgeable on?
Offer your thoughts in the form of comments or create an original post on a popular topic. It helps establish you as an authority in the field. And the more original (accurate) information you provide, the more trust you build with your target audience. Which goes a long way in increasing the success of your course marketing efforts in the platform.
- Create a list of topics
Once you’ve spent some time in your target audience online social groups and have a better understanding of their interest. Create a list of topics they would pay to learn. Weigh the subjects against your skills and knowledge in the area. If the latter far outweigh the former- you’ve found a topic for your online course.
2. Make It Clear Why Your Course Matters and Pitch Your Material Appropriately
Simon Sinek, the creator of the golden circle, once said, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Apply the same principle when selling online courses. Let customers know the solution your course provides. The more details you provide and back with evidence the more likely it is your customers understand why your course matters.
Be very clear on the results learners can expect from taking your course. Will they make X times more money? Will they increase sales by Y per cent? Or will they improve productivity in Z days and have a more fulfilling life? Tell your audience.
Pro tip: make the reason why your course matters part of the headline.
It makes it easier for customers to find you. And when your target audience is researching a topic and they immediately find you, they feel like they’ve found the right person to help them solve a specific problem. Selling them on your course becomes so much easier.
When it comes to pitching your material appropriately, building your brand is the most important thing.
And how can you do this?
- Take charge of your social media assets
People don’t trust businesses they can’t find on social media with substantial followers and posts. Legitimize your e-learning business. Create profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other platforms where your target audience hang out. It’s a way for your business to say “Hey! I’m real and this is what I have to offer.”
- Create free content and aggressively market it
Create free content to publish on your digital assets. Cross share it on forums and groups you’ve identified have an interest in the topic. From infographics on your website, blog posts on popular publications, and comments on influential websites. To collaborate with other course creators, guest posts on e-learning platforms, newsletters to your email subscribers, and case studies on topics your course covers, write a variety of free content about your course topic.
It goes a long way in getting your name out in the e-learning industry. Increasing traffic to your website and building your brand. The more content you put out the easier it is for people to find you- so don’t stop writing.
3. Start with a Minimum Viable Course
Before the perfectionists reading this start throwing some virtual stones know this; In the course creation business done is always better than perfect.
Think of it this way, start-ups (or even established companies) normally launch products with enough features to satisfy early adopters. The creators and developers wait for feedback. And only then will they modify the design and features to make a final product.
If we were to apply the same principle when creating online courses then we shouldn’t wait to create a perfect course. Create a valuable course and start selling. Once you start getting feedback from learners, you can work on removing, adding, or changing things to make your training better.
Most course creators get stuck on the little details- the length of the course, the title of the course, or the design of the cover page. But it’s identifying your audience that helps you pick a profitable topic for a course. It’s describing in detail why your course matters that influence people to enrol in your course.
Your course may not be as perfect as you would like it to be but if it offers value, then it’s good enough to sell.