Written by Reginald Chan on May 15, 2021

The Entrepreneur's Ultimate Guide to Making A Successful Online Course

With the prices of traditional academic learning now higher than ever before, online courses have transitioned from a supplementary source of knowledge to one of the most popular methods of learning worldwide. It’s one of the most impactful and fastest ways to spread knowledge to people around the world. 

In recent years it has also become an essential tool utilized by entrepreneurs of all kinds. By teaching your specific field or skill, you can prove to people that you are indeed highly knowledgeable and worth investing in. In which case, an online course functions as a business card of sorts, attracting many to learn from your evident experience and possibly invest in your business as well. 

Here are 8 steps for making a successful online course. 

Choose Your Topic

Your choice of topic is the foundation of your online course’s entire conception and success.

You’ll want to choose a topic that you are highly proficient at, whether your knowledge is formal or self-taught. Most importantly, you need to choose a topic that you are passionate about, and this increases the chances of successfully engaging customers through your course. 

These days any topic is fair game; to list the variety of courses on the market would be practically endless. Use this factor to your advantage and really choose the exact niche which you resonate with the most, and try to align that with what’s in high demand in your respective market. 

Dictate The Course Outcomes 

So you’ve found the right topic for you, the next step is to carefully decide on the outcomes of your course. These are the core deliverables of your course, what your customers will essentially gain from buying and taking your course, whether it’s new skills, knowledge, or an emotional impact of sorts, for example. 

Not only will this be one of the unique selling points to your customer base, but it will also help to ensure that you attract the type of customer with which you intend to interact through your course.

Gather Your Content 

One of the reasons online courses and other methods of learning have become so popular is the sheer amount of rapidly developing information we are exposed to these days. So the art of gathering content for your course lies in what things to exclude, as opposed to what thing to include. 

Your main focus is making sure every predetermined learning outcome has its own dedicated compilation of content. These will be the main influence of what content to include. Once that has been achieved, be sure to filter as much non-essential information as possible.

Outline Your Course Structure 

This is when you start organizing your gathered content into groups that share similar themes or ideas into modules. Once these modules have been grouped accordingly, they should then be ordered in a logical manner that flows naturally. 

The progression between each of your modules must be smooth so that customers can easily digest the information you are providing over the span of the course. This tends to keep them more engaged and motivated throughout.  

Choose Your Delivery Methods 

The next step is to decide on which delivery methods to use for your course. A good rule of thumb is to include a balance of visual, audio, and practical methodologies amongst your course modules. It helps to do some prior research surrounding the learning preferences of your target customer base in order to cater the delivery methods to their needs. 

There are several services that make this easy, even without prior teaching experience. Some online resources can give you insight into how an easy-to-use course creation platform allows you to focus on the content whilst tech, hosting, design, and marketing integration is taken care of. Another top tip is to try to keep things interesting, and courses don’t necessarily have to be purely informal. Some unexpected twists or tricks sporadically placed throughout the course can provide an element of surprise, keeping people interested. 

Filming and Editing 

Now that your course’s foundations are in place, it’s time to start actually filming and editing your content. There are many styles for filming and editing; most of the choices to be made relying on the preferences of your customer base. And what you feel the most comfortable doing as well. 

Try not to convey things too simple, but also be sure not to overwhelm your customers with too many different elements all at once. You can do this with basic equipment at home and basic research on filming and editing, or you could do this with the assistance of a media production agency. 

Pricing and Marketing  

At the end of the day, the process of creating and operating an online course requires time, effort, and money. An investment on which you will expect returns. You must determine where your online course will fall into your existing business model or whether it will need a business model of its own. 

Although there are no strict rules defining how to price and market a course, it should mostly abide by the general trends within your specific segment of the market, both in terms of pricing and marketing strategies. With Teachables offering bundle services, you can offer your online courses at a discounted price. It’s important to note that in some cases, courses can be provided free of charge as a means of attracting interest towards one’s primary product or service, in which case pricing is not an important element as profits are not the goal. 

Set Up Your Online School

There are 3 major ways to sell your online course:

  1. Online course marketplaces 
  2. Learning Management Systems (LMS)
  3. Plugins or software on your website

The most comprehensive method is usually a Learning Management system (LMS). It simplifies the course creation and selling process in an all-inclusive package. It functions as your very own learning platform that you can then link to your website. This keeps all the maintenance and operation functions centralized on one efficient platform instead of integrating the different aspects across several platforms. 

The steps in this article are by no means a comprehensive guide to creating your online course, but they provide you with the crucial elements you need to address throughout the process. By following these steps and putting them into action, you will find that the learning curve is exponential in this rapidly booming industry as you settle into things. 

Article written by Reginald Chan
A meticulous entrepreneur by nature and a serial entrepreneur. Founded a few awesome startups including Marketing Lancers, WP Maven and TheMarketingHuddle.com. Reginald is a sought-after success coach, digital marketing consultant and TEDx speaker from Asia. Currently, he teaches others how to make money online for free.

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