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From Idea to Launch: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Your Online Course

Have you been thinking that you want to make more money? YES, friend! We love a go getter. The only thing is... there's a limit to how many hours you can work in a week. It's simply not possible to take on 15 new clients if you still want to be able to have time to eat dinner with your family or watch the newest episode of Real Housewives of Salt Lake City.


But what if there was an easier way to generate income without actually having to do more work? Creating an online course is an excellent way to do just that. Imagine if you could launch your course and provide a continuous stream of passive income behind the scenes and actually work less?


If you're all, "Yes! Sign me up friend!" but have no idea how to get started, read on. In this blog post, I'll take you through a step-by-step guide on how to create a successful online course. From defining your course topic and target audience to developing your content, choosing the right platform, setting the right price, and marketing effectively, I'll cover everything you need to know to turn your expertise into a profitable online course. Let's start sharing your knowledge with the world!


Step 1: Define your ideal client and course topic


Start by defining who your ideal client is, including demographics such as age, gender, location, income, education, and job title. Understanding your buyer personas helps you to create content and messaging that will resonate with your audience.


Identify the specific problems or pain points your ideal client is experiencing. What are they struggling with? What keeps them up at night? Understanding their pain points will help you to create content or an online course that addresses their needs and solves their problems.


Once you have a clear understanding of who your ideal client is, you'll want to start defining your course topic. Brainstorm a list of topics that would be relevant to them. Consider the most common questions they ask, the challenges they face, and the skills they need to learn.


Conduct market research to see what other courses are available on your topic and what makes your course unique. Look at competitor courses and reviews to see what people like and don’t like about them. This will help you to identify gaps in the market and create a course that stands out.


When you have compiled a list of potential topics, narrow them down to one or two that are the most relevant and valuable to your audience. Consider which topics you have the most expertise in and are the most passionate about teaching.


Step 2: Create a course plan and determine your course structure


To create an effective online course, it's crucial to have a solid course plan in place before diving into course creation. This means defining your course structure, setting learning objectives, and outlining your course content. By taking a structured approach, you'll ensure that your course is well-organized, engaging, and easy to follow, which will ultimately lead to better student engagement and success.


When it comes to defining your course structure, there are a few key factors to consider. There are several options to choose from, including video lectures, webinars, written materials, and interactive quizzes. You can also choose to offer your course on a subscription basis, or as a one-time purchase. Next, you'll want to think about how you want to break down your course content into specific modules or lessons. Consider what topics you want to cover and how you can group related information together in a logical way. Next, determine how you'll deliver your content, whether it's through video lectures, written lessons, or interactive exercises.


Once you have a clear idea of your course structure, you can start to set learning objectives for each module or lesson. Learning objectives are specific outcomes that students should be able to achieve after completing a particular section of your course. These objectives will guide your course content and ensure that students are able to actively engage with the material.


Finally, it's important to outline your course content in a clear and concise way. Consider creating a course outline that includes the main topics you'll cover in each section, as well as any additional resources or materials students will need to succeed. Next up, it's time to develop your course content and bring your plan to life.


Step 3: Develop your course content


Once you have your ideal client, topic, and format in place, you'll need to begin creating the course content. This could include writing scripts for video lectures, creating a slide deck in Canva, or developing quizzes and interactive exercises. It's important to take time to make the materials engaging and informative so that the learners would have an enjoyable experience.


When creating your course content, remember to keep your ideal client in mind. What type of content will resonate with them? What topics will be most relevant to their needs and interests? It's important to ensure that your course content is clear, concise, and easy to understand. Students should be able to follow along without feeling overwhelmed or lost.


Consider using a variety of teaching methods to keep your students engaged throughout the course. Incorporate real-life examples and case studies to help illustrate difficult concepts. Offer quizzes and assessments to test student understanding and reinforce key ideas. And don't forget to include any additional resources or materials that students will need to succeed, such as handouts, cheat sheets, or links to external resources. I am an avid Canva user, and I find it easiest to create all course material there. That way, I'm able to make sure that not only are my documents beautiful and professional looking, the branding and formatting is consistent throughout.


Step 4: Choose the right platform for your course


With your course content developed, it's time to move on to the next step: choosing the right platform for your course. This step is crucial because it will determine how your students will access and interact with your content. By selecting the right platform, you'll be able to create a seamless learning experience that keeps your students engaged and motivated to succeed.


When choosing a platform, consider factors such as ease of use, customization options, and the ability to integrate with other tools and technologies. Look for platforms that offer features such as discussion forums, progress tracking, and certificates of completion to enhance the overall learning experience.


There are several platforms that you can use to host your online course. The choice of platform will depend on your specific needs, budget and the features you are looking for. Here are a few of the course hosting platforms that I have worked with, along with pros and cons of each platform:


Kajabi starts at $119/month

Pros:

  • All in one course platform that includes website hosting, email marketing, and sales funnels

  • Different theme & template options

  • Excellent tech support

Cons:

  • Relatively expensive compared to other course platforms

  • Limited customization of course & checkout pages

  • Steep learning curve for beginners

 

Kartra starts at $99/month

Pros:

  • All-in-one platform for course creation, sales funnels, email marketing, and more

  • Exceptional email marketing features, including split testing

  • Robust analytics and reporting features to track student progress and engagement

Cons:

  • Doesn't support advanced features like interactive quizzes or assignments

  • Limited customization options for course design and branding

  • Can be overwhelming for beginners due to its many features and options

 

Teachable starts at $39/month

Pros:

  • User-friendly course platform with a simple course builder

  • Affordable

  • Provides a range of marketing and sales features, including affiliate marketing and coupon codes

Cons:

  • No built-in marketing features

  • Lacks advanced automation features for course delivery and student engagement

  • Limited design options

 

Thrive Cart one time payment of $495

Pros:

  • A/B Checkouts

  • Easily add order bumps, upsells & downsells to checkout pages

  • Thrivecart is my fave checkout & funnel software because it allows for unlimited products, courses, students, and check-outs (and no monthly recurring payments!)

Cons:

  • Videos & PDFs must be hosted somewhere else (YouTube, Vimeo, etc)

  • No email marketing or automation features

  • Relatively new and less established than other course platforms


Ultimately, the best platform for you will depend on your specific needs. It might be helpful to try out some of the free trials and see which one you find the most user-friendly and suitable for your course content. You might also want to take into account the audience you want to reach, the support the platform offers and the pricing plans available. After selecting your platform, it's time to start thinking about pricing your course.


Step 5: Set the right price for your course


When deciding on a price, consider the amount of time and effort you put into creating the course, as well as the value it will bring to your audience. Research what similar courses are being priced at and adjust accordingly. Keep in mind that pricing too high may deter potential students, while pricing too low may undervalue your hard work.


You may also want to consider offering discounts or payment plans to make the course more accessible to a wider range of individuals. Additionally, explore the possibility of adding bonuses or extras for those who sign up early or complete the course before a certain deadline.


The price of an online course will depend on several factors, including the length and complexity of the course, the value it provides to students, and the market for similar courses. Here are a few things to consider when determining the price for your online course:

  1. Length and complexity of the course: Longer and more complex courses will generally command a higher price than shorter or simpler ones. This is because they require more time and effort to create and deliver, and provide more value to students.

  2. Value provided to students: The price of your course should be reflective of the value it provides to students. For example, a course that teaches a high-demand skill or leads to a specific certification will likely command a higher price than a course that covers a more general topic.

  3. Market for similar courses: It's important to research the market for similar courses to determine the going rate for courses similar to yours.

  4. Your own expenses: Consider the time, effort and costs involved to create, deliver and support your course and set the pricing accordingly. A mini course that contains one 45 minute video presentation is going to be priced differently than a 10 module course with assessments and PDF downloads.

  5. Beta Rates: You can test different price points for your course by offering discounts or coupons, or by running a sale for a limited time. This can help you see how your target audience responds to different prices and determine what price point will be most effective.

  6. Bundle Packaging: You could package your course with other related courses, materials or certifications and offer it at a slightly higher price.

It's important to keep in mind that pricing is not a one-time decision and can be adjusted over time. You can start with a lower price and gradually increase it as you gain more students, or decrease it if it's not selling well.


Step 6: Launch your course and market it


Once you have set your price for your online course, the next step in the process is to launch it and market it to your target audience. Here are some steps to help you successfully launch your course:


1. Build excitement: Create buzz around your course by posting on social media, sending emails to your mailing list, and reaching out to your network. Share some behind-the-scenes glimpses of your course content and let people know what they can expect to learn.


2. Offer a free preview: Give people a taste of what's to come by offering a free preview of your course. This could be a short video or audio clip or a downloadable worksheet. Make sure to include a call-to-action to sign up for the full course.


3. Leverage your network: Reach out to people in your network who may be interested in your course and ask them to spread the word. This could be family, friends, or colleagues who work in a similar industry.


4. Use social media ads: Social media ads can be a powerful tool in reaching your target audience. Consider running ads on Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn to get the word out about your course.


5. Collaborate with others: Reach out to other coaches or service pros in your industry and ask them to share your course with their audience. This can help you reach a wider audience and build credibility.


Remember, launching your course is just the beginning. Ongoing marketing efforts will be crucial to attract new students and continue growing your business. With a clearly defined target audience and a solid marketing plan, you can successfully launch and market your online course.,


Phew! You’ve made it to the end of this VERY LONG blog post, and hopefully now you have a solid roadmap for creating your online course from start to finish. If you're looking for a little more guidance, as well as a launch plan checklist and optimization workbook, you can grab this launch training for only $37! Remember, the key to success is to always keep your audience in mind, conduct research, and stay focused on your goals. With these tips and tricks, you can create a course that stands out in the crowded online learning space and makes a positive impact on the lives of your students. I can't wait to see the amazing courses you create! Happy teaching!

 



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