Online education has grown significantly during the 21st century. Thanks to increasing internet availability around the globe, many people have access to resources that previous generations had to pay significant money for.
To meet the ever-growing demand for valuable content, many entrepreneurial creators have put together online courses for their audiences. When done well, these programs are a fantastic way to help others and grow your credibility.
Unfortunately, many online course launches fail. And often, the reasons they do are quite similar. Before creating one of your own, consider asking yourself these seven questions.
1. Have You Found a Clear Market Demand?
The idea of following your passion is well-intentioned, and you should certainly do something that interests you. But at the same time, you need to solve other people’s problems if you want to make money from anything. Looking at any best-selling online courses, you’ll notice they meet that particular need.
Before you create an online course, verifying that the market wants what you’re planning to offer is important. You can do so through market research and have plenty of options.
If you already have a mailing list, you can inform subscribers that you will make a course. You can give them the option to sign up and offer first movers a 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 audience on YouTube, you can ask subscribers to let you know what they want in the comments section or via the Community tab. Once you’ve determined that enough people are interested in your course, you can begin making it.
2. Do You Know Enough About the Topic You’ll Discuss?
When making an online course, you must remember that your credibility is on the line. While you can create something that gives you a quick payday, you will lose long-term trust if the content isn’t good enough. And if that happens, you can also expect your earning potential to dip.
You must ensure that you have enough knowledge about the topics you include in an online course. While you don’t need a university degree, you should at least have practiced what you preach for a couple of years. For example, if you create content about photography, it’s no good to make a street photography course when you specialize in portraits.
You’ll find several indicators that you’ve got sufficient knowledge. If you’ve talked about it regularly online, you’ll probably have built a large audience that trusts you. Similarly, a lengthy professional career works as social proof.
3. Have You Already Built a Viable Audience to Sell To?
Let’s say that you’ve determined the need for your online course, and you’ve gone ahead and created it. What happens if nobody knows about it? The answer is simple—you’re not going to achieve many sales.
Many online creators only create courses once they’ve built a significant enough audience. While you don’t need millions of followers or subscribers, you do need at least enough that will generate a return on your investment. The number will differ depending on your course’s cost and the niche you serve.
If you don’t have a large audience, but you do have a significant level of knowledge, you might find luck in paid advertising.
4. What Format Will You Create Your Course In?
While your audience will largely determine what your course includes, you still have creative freedom in how you present your information. And if you’re making content online, you can choose whichever format you think will help you do so the best.
You can pick from several online course formats. Many creators make video modules, which you’ll often find on platforms like Skillshare and Udemy. However, you can make written courses if you’d prefer to do that.
Regardless of the format you create your course in, you’ll need to ensure that the content is easy for your students to follow along. You must also choose a suitable platform to host the program on.
5. How Will You Handle Payments?
One of the beauties of selling products online is that your scalability potential is huge. However, that is also one of the biggest challenges. You must think strongly about the payment methods you accept, as economic trends differ from country to country.
With many platforms, you can integrate payment processing from various providers—including the major card services. If you’re operating more locally, you might want to think about solutions specific to that country. Each nation has different rules regarding sales tax, too, so you’ll need to keep that in mind when processing payments.
6. What Will Your Launch Strategy Look Like?
Once you’ve decided to create your online course, you will need to consider the launch phase. If you want to maximize your sales, building up the excitement a while beforehand is a good idea.
You can use several methods to launch your online course successfully. Social media is an excellent tool to announce the news, and you might want to think about running paid ads. You can also advertise in search engine results.
If you have a podcast or YouTube channel, consider sharing a little information about your course at the beginning or end. You can also share the sign-up link in the description.
7. Why Are You Creating the Course in the First Place?
It’s easy to see the dollar signs and get carried away when making online products. And if you run a business, money is of course an important aspect. But at the same time, you need to remember that you’re an entrepreneur if you launch an online course—and entrepreneurs solve problems.
People will see right through you if you do things only for the money. It’ll also be very clear in your messaging, and those that don’t know you will probably be put off from following you later.
Make sure that your intentions are right when making an online course. It’s okay to admit that you haven’t found a problem to solve yet, or that you don’t have enough knowledge. But in those cases, wait until you have before making your products.
Think Very Carefully Before You Create an Online Course
Online courses are an excellent way to earn money without needing much maintenance. However, you will only generate long-term income and meet your audience’s needs if you identify a clear pain point that needs solving.
Before jumping into online course creation, you can save time by thinking carefully about what is and isn’t worth making.
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