How to Create and Sell Online Courses – The Beginner’s Guide

May 4, 2018 | Business Development

Education and teaching have a long history of predominant elitism in the European tradition.

Moreover, just a few hundred years ago, only a handful wealthy men had access to the scientific knowledge and the opportunity for research. It was not until 1873 that the very first higher educational institution for women was established in The University of Cambridge.

Education is quite indisputably one of the most decisive and influential practices in the human life. And yet, the glaring privilege of attaining one unfolds itself in disturbing statistics provoking a debate on the true value of knowledge.

Today, the opportunity to teach and to be heard by a large number of learners is more attainable than ever before. With the rise of life coaches, authors, bloggers, and entrepreneurs, the audience is constantly witnessing an endless barrage of lessons to be learned and courses to be taken. 

As a result of the digitalization of knowledge and the thirst for virtual science, the web era handed countless opportunities to us on a plate; the most prominent one – the power of having a voice. And when one combines that voice with true expertise and proficiency, the exceptional merit of the process is guaranteed. 

If you find yourself ready to pass the torch of your knowledge to the next generation of learners, it might be the right time to start teaching a course. But how do you create and sell online courses in a market so full of know-it-alls? 

How to create an online course?

In my lifetime, I’ve met numerous talented orators, experienced tutors, and engaging educators. Only a sprinkling of those had a technical literacy,  let alone the capacity to create an online course. Experience, however, shows that this is a wonderfully minor obstacle for the passion-driven. 

START PLANNING

A careful preparation and a deliberate lesson planning are the two fundamentals of a rewarding online course.

Once you’ve chosen the broad field of your expertise, try narrowing it down to a list of topics that cater to the following qualities: 

  • Profitability 
  • Demand
  • Feasibility
  • Expertise

How to create an online course

Profitability. However idealistic our approach to teaching might be, we all expect a certain result when putting our efforts into it. While it being the main objective is rather unproductive, profitability is an important feature to consider when choosing a list of topics.

How well-paid is this information?

Will it eventually result in a significant revenue? 

Demand. In addition to the previous point, demand plays a crucial role in what is considered a useful piece of content online. Most importantly, demand is directly related to ranking on search engines and achieving conversions and affects your chances to create and sell online courses.

How many people will benefit from your lessons?

Is your target audience specific and clear enough?

Feasibility. Here come the logistics. The nature of some courses simply doesn’t suggest practicability. In other words, it sounds great on paper but isn’t actually achievable online.

Willing to go above and beyond might allow you to create unique courses by incorporating a variety of media. Video lessons are greatly profitable when done professionally. For that, we suggest learning some basic video editing techniques to apply to your work. In case you find video production too complicated, you can always prepare your resources in the form of presentations or documents.

Expertise. As we’ve already mentioned, the talent pool of web teachers is quite flooded now. In order to succeed in a challenging enterprise like online courses, proficiency is a necessity. 

What makes you stand out in your field?

Can your knowledge contribute to an exceptional development of new professionals?

CREATE A PERSONAL WEBSITE

Yes, you read that right. Using ready-made course platforms like Udemy might be tempting but a personalized professional website is irreplaceable.

Once you have a sufficient amount of prepared lessons, it’s time to organize them in a web directory which will serve your needs in an optimal way. WordPress Hosting has been proven to be a wonderful solution for beginners thanks to its comprehensibility and simplicity.

Read: How to Make a Personal Website in 20 Minutes: The Full Guide

Of course, you don’t want to have your lessons available to anyone who enters the website. Rather, people need to be required to go through a checkout process before being granted access to your prepared resources.

A straightforward technique here is using WooCommerce to create a web store with the products being your courses.

How to sell an online course?

Knowledge is no product (nevermind the contradiction with the previous point). It can’t be measured and weighed out. It can’t be portioned and compared. That’s why the process of price formation is as mysterious and obscure as it gets.

Nevertheless, as many other abstract markets, this one’s rules are also dictated by the competition. This means that the higher the number of your opponents is, the more competitive your pricing needs to be. 

Once you’ve settled up upon a certain pricing system for your work, it’s time to find prospective customers who would like to take advantage of it.

RESEARCH COMPETITION

When a newbie enters the world of digital marketing, this is what he hears all the time. Research competition.

To learn more about your competitors’ marketing practices, it’s enough to spend some time on their websites, observe and analyze their user journey and see their channels of communication.

As you’ll soon find out yourself target groups aren’t chaotically scattered on the never-ending fields of the web. They are rather gathered around certain communities which established competitors have already researched.

That’s why examining their patterns of behavior online can help you arrive right where you want to be – to your prospective customers. Once you’re there, you’ll need to grab their attention and engage them with your brand.

GO SOCIAL

Social media is a handy little tool to be present and available for people to find and interact with you. 

Most importantly, social media can have an immense contribution to your traffic and hence, affect your ranking on search engines.

Read: How to Drive Traffic to Your Website Using Social Media

There are several ways you can engage your audience on social media such as:

  • participating in Facebook groups and becoming an authority in your field
  • providing high-quality FREE pieces of content to your followers
  • provoking their thought with fun and quirky publications

START ADVERTISING

When your business model has been tested and proved working, advertisements investment might turn out to be a clever strategy.

When advertising, it’s crucial to choose channels that cater to your audience’s preferences. 

  • Google AdWords will allow you to promote on search engines occupying the undivided attention of prospective users
  • Facebook Advertising is great for remarketing and upselling your paying customers to new and upgraded courses following-up the already passed ones.

Whichever you choose, keep in mind your revenue. Don’t allow yourself to go over the board and spend hundreds of dollars on acquiring a single user. Rather, work on your organic techniques to attract people and demonstrate to them the true value of the knowledge offered by you. And eventually, by improving the quality of life of your students, you’ll know you’re on the right path. 

Create an online course website today!

Prices starting at $1.99$2.391.99€2.39€/year!

About the Author

Luiza Mirzoyan

Luiza Mirzoyan

Content Writer

Copywriter by day and philosopher by night, I'm extremely interested in the contemporary digital narratives, web decision-making, and human behavior online. See all of my articles.

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