Many entrepreneurs want to create an online course to reach more people and as part of a semi-passive income stream. It seems easy doesn’t it, decide on what you want to teach and create some lessons, a sales page and hey presto in comes the money.
However, there are pitfalls you need to be aware of.
Here are 5 things not to do if you want to create an online training course.
1. Build a course to grow your audience (it’s the wrong way round!)
Whilst launching a course is a great idea, one of the most misunderstood thoughts is that you can launch a course and people will buy it even if they haven’t heard about you before.
In reality, you need to spend time building an audience who are keen to buy your course before you put it out for sale.
Having a lead magnet that solves one small problem that your ideal client has and which if they sign up for it automatically prepares them for the course will help build your list of people who will want to buy your course.
The more people on your email list who are interested in your course topic the better chance you have of filling your course and your coffers.
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You also need to start talking about the subject of your course on your social media and in your Facebook group. You don’t have to announce that you’re going to be selling a course yet, but you will be able to see who interacts with your posts and can start conversations to find out more about their challenges and also their dreams.
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2. Pick a topic that you love without doing your homework.
You’ve heard it said that the best way to create an online course is to build it on a subject you’re passionate about; one that comes easily to you. One about which you have a good experience and knowledge.
That’s true… but it’s only one of many important steps.
Once you’ve lined up a topic you love, it’s as important to qualify that topic as it is to identify the right customers. If you don’t, you risk either getting no takers, or else getting loads of people to your free webinar, but no one who is prepared to pay.
To prevent these two disasters, you need to ask yourself this question:
- Will people buy it?
There’s a big difference between what people will take part in for free, and what they will pay money for. Your job is to work out which is which before you waste time creating your course.
3. Push ahead without help or input
Don’t push ahead without feedback and input from others. It’s one thing to do the research. Now you’ve got to test it. In addition to gauging audience interest, get feedback on the following course elements:
- Your title
- Your course content.
- Your landing page.
- Your marketing plan.
Do some research. Create a short survey. Set it up as a Google form or on Survey Monkey and ask no more than 10 questions.
Another approach can be to ask your Facebook or LinkedIn group members if they’re interested, a simple post can help you to do that. – Run a poll on your top title contenders.
– Run a poll on potential lesson titles.
– Ask either/or questions such as, “Would you rather see a lesson on landing page design or a walk-through of how to create a sales page in Thrivecart?”
Get a business buddy or friend to check that the sign-up pages work properly and that your email sequences are working.
Consider if you need support from a coach or a VA to get all the pieces together and make sure you don’t miss anything.
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4. Skip creating lesson plans
Even if your course is about a subject you know back-to-front, the point of launching a course is to teach it to less knowledgeable people. Take the time to make sure every topic within your course is clearly explained by creating lesson plans.
Here’s how to make your lessons effective:
- Each lesson should move your student toward the course goal. Tell students precisely what they are going to learn at the beginning of a module. Stop when they have achieved that specific, single lesson goal.
- Create a checklist of what you need each lesson to cover.
- Draw up detailed lesson plans well ahead of time. Create lesson plans that explain every step of the process. Give more detail than you think is necessary! But only on the process that they need at this point in their journey.
- Take out every detail that is not relevant to what they are learning in the online course. For example, don’t start explaining a complex concept or process that your students don’t need to use right now to achieve the lesson goal or course goal.
- Give your courses and lessons clear, descriptive names. People should be able to read the lesson name and know exactly what is being promised.
- Make sure course lessons follow a logical order and build on each other.
5. Don’t copy lessons from someone else’s course
Many entrepreneurs launch online courses, and some are wildly successful. While you can certainly learn from their tactics, you should NEVER steal their formats, content, or ideas!
When you see a peer or competitor do something unique or compelling, identify exactly what it is that you love about what they did. Separate the principle from the execution.
Next, ask yourself if the reasons you liked the lesson would be the same reasons your own participants would want something similar.
So, what you are really reacting to is not just the format – the ‘execution’. You’re reacting to:
- The way the lesson was delivered
- The anecdotes and stories the course owner shared
- The way the instructor made a dull process interesting
Those are the principles behind this person’s personality, experience and approach.
So, how can you reinforce the learning within your lesson? What stories can you include?
Consider the best medium to use. Would a simple slide work well? Would a video work better? Would a checklist work best?
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To wrap up
Creating an online course can be a great way to grow your business and help more people but you need to do it properly. Not every online training course is an instant home run but following these tips will prevent you from making some rookie errors and give you a bigger chance of creating course success.
Hopefully this article has given you a good idea on how to create an online course and sell it.
About the Author
Suzanne Mountain is The Non-Millennial Business Coach helping midlife business owners to grow profitable online businesses they love.
> Suzanne’s Website https://www.suzannemountain.com
> Instagram https://www.instagram.com/suzannemountain
> LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/suzannemountain/