The Keys to Building and Selling a Highly Profitable Online Course

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If you are looking to maximize your income potential by building an online presence, consider using the skills that you already possess to teach others.


Digital courses are becoming more and more popular among today’s learners. Instead of relying on a class at a designated time, people today can learn anything from professional skills to hobbies online. Creating an online course is a great way to boost your income while teaching things to people who want to learn.


Why make an online course


Entrepreneurs who are serious about growing their business know that digital marketing is critical. This begins with a website. A reliable hosting company and eye-catching design are great places to start. Fortunately, companies like Bluehost offer just that. Even tech novices can take advantage of opportunities to bring their business to an online audience.


Forbes predicts that e-learning will grow to a $325 Billion by 2025. Does this sound like something that you want to be a part of? Of course! Taking your business digital through e-learning is the perfect way to bring your skills and expertise to a wider audience while you increase your own income.


How much can I make?


The bottom line is still the bottom line. If you’re thinking of starting an online course, you want to make sure that it will be profitable.


The exact amount that you can expect to make will vary based on your skills, niche, and audience. If you already have an online following, you can probably expect to start a little bit faster than someone starting from scratch. But even if you are new to e-learning and online business, you can still start making money from an online course quickly.


Learning from experts that specialize in online courses can help increase your earnings, as well. Kajabi offers a 28 day free program that walks participants through creating and marketing an online course. 


Pricing will depend on what your competitors charge as well as how long and in-depth your course is. Do your research before deciding on a price to make sure that it is low enough for students to want to pay for it but high enough to compensate you fairly for the time and work that went into creating it.


Get paid often for your work


Online courses are especially appealing to today’s entrepreneur because they are a great return on time investment. Consider the following scenario.


You are an expert baker. All of your friends applaud your cakes, cookies, and pies. They’ve even asked you to teach them your secrets.


You start to teach your friends the basics of baking. Their friends get in touch, wanting to pay you to make cakes for birthdays, cookies to bring to work, and pies at the holidays. And so your baking business takes off.


You can continue to fulfill orders, spending hours in the kitchen to make your treats. This is a great way to spend your time doing something that you love but has a limit on earnings potential: your available time.


What if you created and marketed a course online that would teach the basics of baking, just like you started out doing with friends? You can create the course once and continue to sell it for years, maximizing the earnings potential on the time spent to create the course.


You don’t need to be a professor


You may worry that you don’t have the academic background to be a credible online instructor. In the world of e-learning, experience and skill counts for a lot more than any sort of degrees.


Start by looking at what skills you have in your professional life that you may be able to teach to others online. Think about your answers to the following questions.


  • What am I good at in my job?
  • What professional experience do I have?
  • What did I have to learn (and can teach others) to get to my current position?
  • What hobbies do I enjoy?
  • What do my friends, family, and coworkers come to me to learn more about?


If you already engage with an online audience, through a blog, Youtube, or even your business website, the topics that you cover there are a great place to start with online learning courses.


One of the topics that appeals to an online audience is personal growth. If you have a compelling story of overcoming a personal struggle, you can share it with others through e-learning. Sharing your tips and strategies in an online course is a great way to help others while increasing your income.


What do others need?


One of the best aspects of teaching online courses is being able to be a part of an online learning community. Consider what others need or want to learn more about. Are there any ways that you can help address this need?


This is an important step to creating an online course that is profitable. It may be fun to create a course about a hobby that you enjoy but unless others want to learn it, you won’t see your income change. Here are some ways to you can research the potential of your course idea.


  • Look up search engine results and keyword searches. One of the first things that people do when they want to learn something new is search for it online. The more searches, the more people are looking for an answer to that question. Google Trends is a good resource to learn more about Google search volume. YouTube is another place that you and learn more about successful and popular e-course topics.
  • See what others are teaching. Why reinvent the wheel when others in the industry are doing all the same research? Look on the e-course platform you plan to use to see what is trending.
  • Ask for feedback. Once you have a course set up, don’t be afraid to ask your students what they think of the course. This will help you refine your course and improve it. Include a question about what other courses they would like to see. They may just give you an idea for your next course.


Plan, plan, plan


Ready to jump into creating your course? Before you hit the record button, you should take the time to thoughtfully develop your outline. Below is a sample outline template that can be used for many online courses.


  1. An introduction: This first section, or module, serves to introduce the course. Include what the students can expect during the course, such as how it is organized and what they will learn in the end.
  2. Specific modules or lessons: The number of modules or lessons will vary based on what you are teaching. The best way to approach creating modules and lessons is breaking down what students need to learn into steps.
  3. Checks for understanding: Including things like discussion questions and quizzes provide feedback to students within the course itself. This helps them know if there are any portions that they may need to review to make the most of the course. A good online course is interactive.
  4. The end result: This is the culmination of the course itself and the thing that your students have learned. You can review the major points of the other modules and provide key takeaways for the course.


Now it’s time to decide HOW you will teach. Video lessons are popular but you should also consider using some text and audio lessons as well. Every student learns differently, so including different types of content will help everyone learn from your course. 


Videos should be long enough to impart information but short enough to keep viewers engaged and interested. 2-10 minutes is a good length to aim for.


Creating your course


Now is the long-awaited step of actually creating your course. How exciting!


Video content is the cornerstone of most online courses, so it’s important to make sure that it is the best fit for your topic.


Screencast videos show a recording of your computer screen as you do tasks. These are great for courses that teach computer programs, such as Excel and Powerpoint. You can record audio to describe what your students are seeing.


Talking head videos show an actual recording of you, most often your head and shoulders, talking to your students via the camera. These are great when you are teaching students to do something hands-on that is not on a computer. You can also use these types of videos to speak directly to students and be more personable.


Both are beneficial is different types of courses and can even compliment each other within different modules or lessons of the same course. If you are recording a talking head video, you may want to invest in better lighting or backdrops to make your course look more professional.


Audio is also important for all types of recordings. An external microphone will deliver the best quality. Listen to your recordings early and often to make sure that they are free of background noise, echo, or other aspects that will distract your students from the actual content of your course.


Once you’re ready to take your course live you’ll need to choose an online course platform. There are a variety of reliable platforms available, including Kajabi. The nice thing about completing their 28-day free training is that you will know all of the ins and outs to create your course content on their platform. You can also run all of your marketing and tech components from their platform, as well as enjoy 24/7 support.


Marketing your course


Now that you have a fantastic online course created, it’s time to get it in the hands of your new students. 


If you already have an online audience, you have people to market your course to. If you still need to build your presence online, you can still use many of the same strategies to reach potential customers.


Providing a free resource to those who sign up for your email list is a great way to build an audience. You can provide a simple online course for free or include printables or checklists as free resources that peak interest in your paid offerings. Keep these resources targeted to a specific interest or problem. For example, if you create online courses teaching baking, provide a free video explaining the different kinds of icing tips and the kinds of designs they can be used to create is specific and interesting to home bakers who would be interested in your courses.


Email marketing is another popular way to get your content to a wider audience. By getting potential customers to provide their email address, either through a free content offer or by opting in on your website, you now have a way to show them how you will help them with your online course.


If you aren’t interested in or able to spend a lot of your time developing an email marketing campaign, services like ConvertKit can take care of it for your or even automate your email marketing process.


Social media is another popular way to market your course to a wider audience. Promote your brand via its own social media profile to your family, friends, and subscribers. YouTube can also be used in a similar way, once you establish a channel for your business.


All of these marketing strategies are great ways to boost the hype around your course’s actual launch. You should be reaching out with touch points via email, social media, YouTube, and any other platform you can reach leading up to your course launch.


The official launch of your course marks the culmination of your hard work and an exciting step towards boosting your financial future. You need to decide how you will launch and sell your course.


  • Closed Cart: This method allows students to enroll during a specified enrollment period, normally just a few days. You can open enrollment periodically, creating more buzz about the course and its successful review gets shared among your audience.
  • Evergreen: This method allows open enrollment, as students want to start your course. 


Are you ready to leverage your expertise to create an online course? The first step is to decide to start. Follow these steps to build and market your online course to increase your income. Creating an online course has never been easier or more accessible. All you have to do is start and you will be well on your way to connecting with your audience, growing your brand, and creating your own library of e-learning courses.

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