One of the most impactful ways of getting your knowledge out to the world and making money at the same time is to start an online course. However, creating one isn’t a straightforward process. You need a few strategies to make it profitable and self-sustaining in the future. As a guide, here are 10 crucial things to consider before launching an online course.
1. Set Your Goals
People have completely different reasons for launching online courses. Some people may be interested in enhancing their social media presence and connecting their brands while others may decide to offer a course to sharpen their teaching skills. Some people are also after making money. So, what are your goals? That is for you to decide.
2. Analyze the Demand of the Topic
It makes no sense to create a course that no one would benefit from. So, it is important to define your target audience to establish whether or not starting a course on the topic is worth your efforts. There are a few ways to do this. To begin with, analyze your competition by checking other online courses on Udemy or Skillshare, bestselling books on Amazon, and podcasts on Spotify and iTunes. A topic with a few competitions is great because it is an indication that the topic is on demand. Secondly, if you have a few followers on your social media or subscribers on your email lists, you can ask them what they might be interested to learn on a given topic.
3. Define Your Audience
You need to define your audience to customize your course accordingly. In a physical classroom setting, defining your audience is pretty straightforward. Either your students have to take the course or had to take some prerequisite courses before enrolling in yours. For online courses, things are a bit different—anybody can enroll at any time—and figuring out whether they are ideal students for your course can be a challenge. Nonetheless, you can define your ideal student in two ways: in terms of what they already know and what they would want to know. Your ideal students should be people who fit the set criteria.
4. Have An Instructor Participation Plan
You need to create an instructor participation plan to ensure that you are routinely interacting and communicating with your students. This can also help you estimate the workload that’s associated with your course, which can help you optimize the course further. Some of the aspects that you need to take into account when it comes to creating such a plan include posting regular course announcements, offering exam reviews, providing assignment feedback, and participating in community forums.
5. Picking a Platform
You need to choose a platform that you will use to distribute your online course. You can either go for an established platform like Teachable or Udemy or build your infrastructure from scratch. Generally, going with an established platform is easier and cheaper as all you need to do develop the course content and upload it, and wait for the platform’s administrators to approve it. The only downside is that you will have to compete with other experts, especially if you are offering similar courses. Although your platform may be pricey, it comes with a few perks such as having full control of the processes and customization benefits.
6. Marketing and SEO
What makes your online course stand out? What would a potential user be looking for in your course? Figure out what makes your course stand out and center your marketing campaign on it. Understanding the unique selling point of your course is also great for creating an effective SEO campaign. You need to figure out how you will integrate the best SEO-practices around your core keywords to optimize your online visibility. If you aren’t sure about the success of your course and you have some money to invest, the Client Engagement Academy online course is a good place to get started.
7. Have A Budget
Another important thing to keep in mind before launching an online course is the set-up costs. You should understand how the costs of developing and marketing the course will be covered while at the same time making your course affordable to your prospective clients.
8. Managing Your Workload
When starting an online course, you may underestimate the workload that may be associated with it. You need to think about how you will handle all the workload associated with various aspects of the course including constant marketing, communicating with the students, and providing feedbacks among others.
9. Set a Deadline
Now that you have most of the aspects of your course mapped out, you may think that you are good to go. However, as you start working on your course content, other things might crop up. As a result, what seemed to be a few months’ work might turn out to be 1 or 2 years of fruitless work. To ensure that everything is on track, set a deadline for every stage—creating content, promoting it, and automating a few facets of your course among other things.
10. Evaluating Your Success
In the end, you would want to know whether your course has succeeded or failed. Knowing what’s considered a success when it comes to creating an online course is important before you even launch it. Here are a few goals that most course creators set:
- Amount of money earned
- People who want to pay for a premium version of the current course
- Organic Social media followers
Which one is important for you? Strive to list down the objectives that you want to achieve when starting an online course and see whether you have achieved them over a few months or a year after launching your course.
There are a lot of things to consider before launching an online course. Hopefully, the above tips have shed some light on some of the things that you need to consider. Initial results may be short of your original goal but that’s okay—remember that you’ve taken a bold step to start and your course is helping people. That’s a great milestone on its own.