4 Crucial Things To Consider Before Creating An Online Course
Online courses, membership sites and online coaching packages are popping up left and right, and the demand for those digital products is higher than ever before.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
"Distance learning", "how to create online courses" and "starting an online business from home" have been three of the hottest search terms on Google in 2020.
Research and Markets has reported that the online education industry is predicted to become a $325 billion industry by 2025. Many business owners, especially coaches, consultants and online entrepreneurs, are taking action and adding an (additional) passive income stream to their product suites. Others are starting to build their very own e-learning platforms.
However, many course creators out there are making the same mistakes when creating their online courses. Course creators get very excited about creating their digital products and dive right into creating them, which, in many cases, will result in them creating a product nobody wants to hear and see about. Most forget to consider the simplest steps every business should take before starting a new project.
You must assure that your course idea consists of these three components:
You (or others) have enough knowledge and expertise about the topic
You have passion for the topic
Your idea has a high market demand
In this article, you will learn about four crucial steps you must take before creating your next online course, mastermind, coaching package or membership site.
Related: 3 Effective Marketing Strategies For Selling Digital Products Online
1. Research and validate your topic properly and in-depth
Before jumping into creation mode, you want to find out if there are many people out there who are actually interested in your course idea. If you are the only person on the planet who gets excited about your topic, it may not be the best idea to create a digital product about it.
Here are a few questions you can ask yourself when validating your course idea:
Does your course idea have high market demand?
Are there other experts in the industry who already created an online course about this topic?
Are there books on Amazon about it?
Does your topic get thousands of hits on Google?
Are there communities out there who love the topic? (Facebook groups, membership sites, etc.)
If most of your answers to these questions are "yeses," you might have something great in front of you. This doesn't 100 percent validate your topic — the ultimate validation comes when someone pays you for it — but it is a step in the right direction.
Related: How to Research Your Business Idea
2. Niche down, because a niche will make you rich
After you have chosen your online course idea go ahead and niche down as much as possible. You can always go broader later, when you have a bigger audience and more resources. Let's say you have chosen the niche "vegan food," and you want to teach people how to become a good vegan chef.
So ask yourself, who are you targeting, and what are their values? Here is an example of how you could niche down:
Vegan meals for mothers
Vegan meals for mother's who just gave birth
The more specific you can be on who your dream students are, the cheaper your marketing will be and the clearer your marketing message will be.
Related: Understanding the Concept of 'Niching Down' for Budding Entrepreneurs
3. Craft a clear marketing message around your online course
Confused people don't buy, and you must assure that your message is on point. You only have a few seconds to convince people to scroll down your landing page, read more about your product, masterclass or challenge.
You must be able to express the purpose of your product right then and there when potential clients see the copy the first time. If you can do that in one sentence, that's awesome; if you can make it clear in three words or less, even better.
Here are two examples:
"Build your online business" — This is too broad and could mean anything. This doesn't tell me if you are helping me to build a Shopify store, a blog, an online coaching business, a membership site or anything else that falls under the category "online business."
"From Idea to Course" — This is a much better example. It's crystal clear what the outcome will be and who you are speaking to. The reader immediately knows that you will help them to get from an idea to a finished course. Someone who is looking to build a Shopify store doesn't feel spoken to, but that's what you want.
Mastering the art of crafting a clear name and market proposition is a skill that will turn many more visitors into customers.
4. Pre-sell your online course before you create it
Prepare your audience for what's coming and set up a proper launch. You can launch your course via a five-day challenge, a webinar, or even a live event.
Warm-up your audience for about two to three weeks prior to your presentation so they are excited, feel inspired and already educated about your course topic. During that time, put all your efforts into promoting your presentation, event, webinar or five-day challenge, and get as many people as possible into your funnel.
The great thing here is that if nobody buys your course after your presentation, you don't need to go ahead and create your course. You will have to go back to steps one and two, refine your niche and find a better topic that has higher market demand.