How do you create your first online course?
For many entrepreneurs building a business online, an online course is a natural additional revenue stream.
You may be currently working with clients on a one-to-one basis. Are you delivering local workshops? Do your customers ask you to help them figure stuff out? Are you fed up restricting your income to trading your time for money?
If the answer to the above questions is a resounding YES, then maybe its time to think about creating your first online course!
Back in 2015, I invested substantially in a training course on how to create my first online course. My teacher was the excellent David Siteman Garland, and his course is called Create Awesome Online Courses. You can check out his free webinar on 7 Steps to Creating an AWESOME Online course here
Since then, I have created and launched several online courses and a membership site. How did I get started?
What is your course topic?
Firstly you need to think of what your course is going to be about. What is your topic? How do you come up with an idea?
Don’t make the mistake of thinking – oh but someone else already teaches that – because people tend to buy from the online teachers that THEY follow. If you spend time growing your Know, Like and Trust factor, then your audience will want to learn from YOU.
Write down the key things that your audience ask you. If you are working with clients on a one to one basis regularly, what are the common areas that you are able to help them with?
Every time you see a question in a Facebook group that you are able to help someone with, take a moment to copy and paste that question over into a google doc to keep track of. You will soon see that the same questions crop up time and time again.
Outlining and planning your course
Next, you want to start thinking about outlining your course. Ideally, you will keep the number of modules in the course to a reasonable number. What does reasonable look like? Well if you created a course with 47 modules in it, I think your potential customer would become overwhelmed with the thought of trying to work through it. Group your questions into topics. For example – when I created my course on Facebook for Business, I included training on What, When and How to post on Facebook into one module. The section on Facebook Ads was large enough to have its own module.
What is your course going to include? For me, I like workbooks and checklists. Having something to print out and work through, as well as access to the online training videos works well for the learning style. Everyone learns differently. In the CAOC course above, you can download the audio files as some people prefer to learn while they listen. Others prefer to consume their learning through video.
Now that you have created your course, what’s next?
Marketing Your Course
Start to raise awareness of your course. Ideally, you will have an existing email list, but if you haven’t yet started, now is the time! I use Convertkit to send emails to my audience. You can also mention your training in Facebook groups, Twitter chats or wherever you are connecting with your potential customers.
There are different ways to market and launch your first course, but the one I have used successfully is the Three Part Video Series. This is a series of free training videos (training.. not promotion) that genuinely help your audience. An example of three videos I have created for my audience:
- How to create your first online course
- The top mistakes to avoid making when launching an online course
- The tech tools you need to create, market and launch your first online course
Another method of marketing your new course is to run webinars with the offer of your course at the end. I would create a webinar that teaches your audience valuable content. Any of the three titles above would make a great webinar. THen you pitch your course live at the end of the webinar.
The main difference between the free three-part video series and the webinar method for me is that the three-part video series is pre-recorded whereas the webinar is usually delivered live. I recommend that you test out which works best for your audience.
How do you sell your new online course?
Once you have marketed the course – you need to get some sales! When selling something like an online course, creating some sort of sense of urgency is vital. Maybe you will ‘close the doors’ to new sales or maybe you will offer a bonus that is only available if someone buys before a certain date. Without urgency, you will find it hard to get your customer to make a decision to buy, or to prioritise buying your course over something else that they need to spend money on in their business.
Don’t forget to look after the customers who do purchase your course. Are you going to have a community alongside the course? Give your customers a way to contact you if they have any questions or queries. Even in the online space, word of mouth is very powerful. If you treat your customers well, the chances are when someone else asks about your course, they are going to recommend it.
Don’t be afraid of failure
The only thing worse than putting out a course that you need to update and improve, is not putting out any course at all. I see entrepreneurs who spend months worrying about the little details on their online course, and not putting it out there to their audience. They get totally stuck and don’t move forward because they want their first course to be perfect. Sometimes, done is better than perfect!
One way to get around this, is to launch a beta round of your course. I am launching my Create Your First Online Course group programme as a beta group. What is a beta group?
The beta group of my programme will be getting access to each module as it is released. I am hosting a group call each week to go over the training, and to get input from my beta members on what they would include or leave out. Being a beta group member means that you get to give feedback on the course, feel included in the course creation and … you get it for a far lower price than the finished product!
Let’s make this the year you start to work with your audience on a one-to-many basis!