Online education has grown tremendously in the 21st century. Thanks to the increasing availability of the Internet around the world, many people have access to resources for which previous generations had to pay large sums.
To meet the ever-increasing demand for valuable content, many entrepreneurial creators have set up online courses for their audience. When done well, these programs are a fantastic way to help others and boost your credibility.
Unfortunately, many online course launches fail. And often the reasons why they do so are quite similar. Before creating your own, consider asking yourself these seven questions.
1. Did you find a clear demand in the market?
The idea of following your passion is well intentioned and you should definitely do something that interests you. But at the same time, you have to solve other people’s problems if you want to make money from anything. Looking at all the bestselling online courses, you will notice that they meet this particular need.
Before creating an online course, it is important to verify that the market wants what you plan to offer. You can do this through market research and you have many options.
If you already have a mailing list, you can let subscribers know that you will be doing a course. You can give them the option to register and offer a first-mover discount. You can also find out what people are looking for by searching social media platforms like Twitter and Reddit.
And if you have a large following on YouTube, you can ask subscribers to tell you anything in the comments section or through the Community tab. Once you’ve determined that enough people are interested in your course, you can start creating it.
2. Do you know enough about the topic you will be discussing?
When creating an online course, you have to remember that your credibility is at stake. While you can create something that gives you a quick paycheck, you will lose trust in the long run if the content isn’t good enough. And if that happens, you can also expect your earning potential to drop.
You need to make sure that you have enough knowledge about the topics you include in an online course. Although you don’t need a college degree, you should at least have practiced what you preach for a few years. For example, if you’re creating content about photography, there’s no point in doing a street photography course when you’re specializing in portraits.
You will find several indicators that you have sufficient knowledge. If you’ve talked about it regularly online, you’ll likely have built a large following that will trust you. Likewise, a long professional career works as social proof.
3. Have you already built a viable audience to sell to?
Let’s say you determined the need for your online course and created it. What if no one knows? The answer is simple: you’re not going to make a lot of sales.
Many online creators only create courses once they have built up a large enough audience. Although you don’t need millions of followers or subscribers, you do need at least enough to generate a return on your investment. The number will vary depending on the cost of your course and the niche you serve.
If you don’t have a large audience, but have a significant level of knowledge, you might find some luck in paid advertising.
4. In what format will you create your course?
Although your audience largely determines what your course includes, you still have creative freedom in how you present your information. And if you’re creating content online, you can choose the format that you think will best help you do so.
You can choose from several online course formats. Many creators create video courses, which you’ll often find on platforms like Skillshare and Udemy. However, you can do written lessons if you prefer to do so.
Whatever format you create your course in, you need to make sure the content is easy for your students to follow. You should also choose an appropriate platform to host the program.
5. How will you handle payments?
One of the beauties of selling products online is that your potential for scalability is huge. However, it is also one of the biggest challenges. You need to think seriously about the payment methods you accept, as economic trends differ from country to country.
With many platforms, you can integrate payment processing from various vendors, including major card services. If you operate more locally, you might want to think about country-specific solutions. Each country also has different rules regarding sales tax, so you’ll need to keep that in mind when processing payments.
6. What will your launch strategy look like?
Once you have decided to create your online course, you will need to consider the launch phase. If you want to maximize your sales, it is advisable to create excitement some time in advance.
There are several methods you can use to launch your online course successfully. Social media is a great tool for breaking news, and you might want to consider running paid ads. You can also advertise in search engine results.
If you have a podcast or YouTube channel, consider sharing some information about your course at the beginning or end. You can also share the registration link in the description.
7. Why are you creating the course in the first place?
It’s easy to see dollar signs and get carried away when creating products online. And if you run a business, money is of course an important aspect. But at the same time, you have to remember that you are an entrepreneur if you start an online course and entrepreneurs solve problems.
People will see through you if you only do things for the money. It will also be very clear in your inbox, and those who don’t know you will probably be discouraged from following you later.
Make sure your intentions are good when creating an online course. It’s okay to admit that you haven’t yet found a problem to solve or that you don’t have enough knowledge. But in these cases, wait until you have before making your products.
Think carefully before creating an online course
Online courses are a great way to earn money without requiring a lot of maintenance. However, you will only generate long-term revenue and meet the needs of your audience if you identify a clear problem that needs to be solved.
Before jumping into creating online courses, you can save time by thinking carefully about what is worth doing and what isn’t.