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How to Create a Successful Online Course

If you’re looking for a low-overhead, high-margin business model that allows you to potentially reach thousands of people in a short period of time, look no further than online courses. But in order to succeed, there are a few things you’ll have to get right.

Why Create an Online Course?

With so many different ways to make money online, why should you consider online courses? Well, there are a few specific reasons that come to mind:

  • Low threshold. As explains, “Teaching online doesn’t require any proof of your credibility. With some experience, passion, and consistent effort, you win over your audience. You need to provide value to your potential learners to make money from what you know!” This makes online course creation a practical and easy solution for anyone, no matter the background or experience.
  • Low overhead. Unlike most businesses, which require a significant commitment of materials, resources, or manpower, you can create a course with nothing more than a computer, internet connection, basic software, and time. Most courses have margins of 90 percent or more.
  • High scalability. Another great thing about an online course is that it’s totally scalable. Whether you sell the course to 10 people or 10,000, there’s very little (if any) additional work that has to be put into the course. You might require more customer service and support, but the course itself remains the same.

In addition to these benefits, there’s also the benefit of building a brand. When people take a course that you create, they build a certain level of trust and familiarity with you. As a result, it’s easier for you to sell them additional products and services in the future.

In fact, a course is a great way to launch a business. Over time, your course basically serves as an entry-level product that gets people into your brand ecosystem. However, it can also serve as a high-ticket offer. It’s not uncommon for a quality course to sell for thousands of dollars.

5 Tips for Creating Online Courses

Now that we’re clear on the why, let’s dig into the how. Here are several tips for creating online courses that sell:

  1. Know Your Audience

Most course creators make the mistake of starting with a topic for their course. Based on this topic, they create the course. Then they try to find an audience for it. But this is a backward way of approaching course creation. It’s a lot like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. You find yourself cutting stuff out, changing material, and making sacrifices. And 9 times out of 10, it creates a disconnect between the course and the people who are supposed to buy it.

A better approach is to start with an audience of people and identify their biggest problems and desires. Because as any successful marketer knows, a hungry audience is the most important element of a successful product.

  1. Choose Your Topic

Once you have an audience, you can choose your topic. Ideally, the topic touches on something that’s essential to the prospect’s health, wealth, or comfort. It should also be a topic that allows you to create quick results for the individual. 

  1. Outline Your Course

Before you create the actual content for your course, begin with an outline. Start by creating modules. Then break those modules down into individual segments and lessons. Then create bullet points for what you’ll cover in each of these segments. This is how you outline a course and add maximum value.

  1. Create the Content & Materials

Armed with a detailed course outline, creating the content and accompanying materials is simply a matter of sitting down and recording, writing, and designing. And because you already know everything that will be covered, you can move much faster and more efficiently. 

One really neat trick for online courses is to create some sort of offline element, bonus, or complementary piece that helps merge the online and physical worlds for the student. A custom bound workbook is a great example. By delivering it in both digital and print form, you enhance the perceived value of the course.

  1. Go to Market

Finally, it’s time to price the course and go to market. If you’re looking for a lot of volume, you can price your course anywhere from $30 to $300. This is considered a fairly low price point and most people can reasonably afford a course in this range without having to spend a lot of time thinking or planning. If you’re interested in a higher-margin course with fewer students, try charging anywhere from $500 to $3,000. 

Your launch and promotion strategy is highly dependent on your price point. A low price point is conducive to simple Facebook ads that are driven to a short landing page. Higher-priced products – like a $3,000 course – will need a more involved sales funnel (and possibly even a sales team).

Putting it All Together

You don’t need a massive audience or impressive background to launch a successful course. More than anything else, it’s about proper planning and careful execution. A compelling idea that’s packaged well and delivered to the right audience will sell.

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