create and sell an online course

Last Updated on August 8, 2022 by Team College Learners

Learn how to create and sell a course online so you can share your knowledge with the world. Your online course is a great way to bring more eyeballs to your brand and engage your audience in a fresh, new way. Through this fun, interactive, and informative 20-course product testing experience, you’ll learn: How to find an audience for your course How to develop content that engages students For example, split-screens and webcam visuals add personality to recorded lectures. How to choose the right platform for recording your lectures and hosting student discussions. How to best incorporate quizzes, videos, supporting documents, and other content into your classrooms

Online courses are the most powerful way to scale your business and make more money in less time. From selling courses, to finding new clients, to building your email list…I’ll show you how to launch your dream course or a breakthrough new offer—and start making sales now.

Step 1. Think Positive and Avoid Mental Blocks

Lot’s of negative thoughts are spinning around your head when you think about creating an online course:

“I don’t have enough money to start online courses.”

“I am not a subject matter expert.”

“What if this doesn’t work?”

“I don’t have the technical skills required.”

But your course, and ultimately the business that you want to create, is somewhere outside of this circle.

If you are waiting to get your mindset in order before you start building your course, you’ll never get started. Procrastination is a mental block holding you back.

Specify the negative thoughts you are having. Stuffing it away isn’t the best strategy.

And don’t think of yourself as a person trying to start your own business. Think of yourself as a business owner already.

Own it. Like it’s already ingrained into who you are as a person.

Step 2. Come up with a Profitable Course Subject

How to create and sell digital products online in Nigeria: A complete  roadmap plus 10 ideas to get started

If you have an idea, a skill, a passion, an audience, or some content you want other people to see, then you can generate revenue out of it.

If you love your topic, you are good at it, and have experience in it, you have a topic that will work for you.

People want to learn from someone who offers something valuable and life-changing for their own personal or, more often, professional needs.

Ιf you have an email list, come up with an email advertising your course.

You can also ask your social media followers, your subscribers and people in your facebook groups or LinkedIn about the desired course subject.

Think of a topic people ask you for help:

Have you ever had people coming to you to ask you to help them with something? If yes, there must be a reason why they keep coming to you.

So find it out!

For more ideas about online course topics, take a look at these:

Step 3. Choose the Type of Course you Want to Sell

A good starting point to creating an online course is defining what kind of course it is you want to create.

Based on our research of several online courses, we determined specific activity patterns that correspond to specific course types and we have put together a highly-valuable free guide for you.

With this guide, you will find in detail how each course type works and what the exact structure of your activities must be.

Depending on what you want to achieve with your course, here are 18-course templates you will find:

  • Assessment Courses
  • Presell Courses
  • Orientation Courses
  • Μini-courses
  • Live courses
  • Demonstrations/Workshops
  • Professional training courses
  • The X days challenge courses
  • Certification courses
  • Spotlight/Niche Topic Courses
  • Traditional Academic Courses
  • Drip feed courses
  • Conceptual Change Courses
  • Hybrid courses
  • Series of invited talks Courses
  • Selling digital goods or extra services
  • Bonus Courses
  • Complimentary to Physical Products Courses

Step 4. Presell your course to see the trends

I guess you don’t want to spend weeks creating an online course, for absolutely nobody to buy it.

Pre-selling your course proves that there is demand and helps you build up a list of potential customers who would then buy at launch.

Make sure to use a one-page description to ask people if they’d be interested in signing up for the course and their reasons why or why not.

By testing your course, you can also see people’s preferences and suggestions on the pain points of your course.

Conduct several market research tests to see if it has a market demand or not and see what people might want to learn from you.

Step 5. Understand your Audience

Learning involves a change in competence, ability, understanding, attitude, belief of people.

To achieve that, you must know your target market very well to help your potential students go from point A to point B.

That means you need to know your target audience, what people may already know about your subject, and their motivation for learning.

Are people experienced with online education?

What are people asking for?

Are they experienced in your field?

Are they beginners?

Have they taken a similar course before?

Step 6. Draw people with your Learning Goals

Learning goals are broad, general statements of what we want our students to learn.

They clearly explain, with measurable verbs, the learning outcome, that is what the learner will be able to do, know, and feel by the end of the course.

Learning objectives help your students understand what the instructor expects of them and what they must expect.

  • What new knowledge will they have obtained?
  • What new skills will they be able to demonstrate?
  • What feelings will they have moved away from or to?

So, with learning goals, you prove that even your first course is something worth investing in. Make sure to also include them on your sales page.

Remember to only include goals that you know your audience wants to meet or fills gaps not met by your competitors.

What is the Difference Between Goals and Objectives?

Learning goals are long-term, broad, and achievable, but not necessarily measurable. On the other hand, learning objectives are also referred to as learning outcomes because they are immediately linked to the expected results – what we can expect learners to be able to do by the end of the course

Step 7. Brainstorm Course Content Ideas and compile the Material

In the market testing phase and the goal-setting, you may have put together lots of teaching ideas and teaching material.

Now it’s time to decide upon the topics you will include in your course. At this point, it is all about deciding what to leave out of your content.

Breaking up your content into smaller bites makes instruction easier. It will also help you prepare your word and powerpoint documents accordingly.

As you are sorting through your piles of content, throw out anything that does not directly relate to achieving a learning goal from the ones you have set.

Once you have your content ready, you may fall into a quagmire of structural issues. You keep forgetting what is supposed to link to where, and you find yourself spending a lot of time trying to edit disorganized content.

A storyboard will help you lay out your course framework. We have a fantastic article about storyboarding.

Step 8. Make Your Lessons Entertaining and Inspirational

Now it’s time to decide on the way to deliver your content.

Your teaching style and method determine how satisfied your students will be at the end of your course and how successful your course will be.

You need to be aware of instructional design basics for distant learning, and the different ways you can deliver your training to make sure that it is as engaging as possible.

For example, you need to create many worked-out examples and case studies in your course to promote practice, worksheets and describe contradictory situations.

Step 9. Film and Record your Videos

One of the most successful ways to establish your presence in a course are videos and webinars.

But, getting started with video content can feel daunting!

How do you capture it? Make it look professional? Stage and light and shoot it? Will you just use your webcam? How much will the right equipment cost?

While getting on camera, there is a specific checklist you have to decide upon:

  1. The type of tutorial you want to shoot (a talking head video or a screencast?)
  2. A camera that can nail your video (Check out our ebook “All about Video Creation For Online Instructors” to learn more)
  3. A microphone for crystal clear audio
  4. Good lighting
  5. A video editing software

Knowing what you want to create will help you choose the right equipment and make the right decisions.
Make sure to create videos with a more personal feel and to be highly expressive. You can record with a green background behind you so you can add anything behind you during the editing process.
Here are some readings you may find interesting concerning your video creation:

Step 10. Host your online Course

Once you have your course outline and your course material ready, it’s time to upload your quality content and start selling.

In the e-learning market you have three major options:

  1. Option 1: Self-hosting (e.g., in WordPress)
  2. Option 2: Online Course Marketplaces
  3. Option 3: Learning management systems/Online course platforms like LearnWorlds, Teachable, Kajabi, Podia or Thinkific.

A lot of people go with the first option. In this case, you will have to find all the necessary plugins and pay for extra features in your existing website so that you can host an online course – and believe me – this process can become a real headache.

LearnWorlds also supports a variety of learning units you will be creating like interactive ebooks, videos, SCORM files, certificates, live video and many more!

If you go with a course marketplace to sell your online course, like Udemy, you neither can’t brand your academy as your platform nore act independently on your income.

That’s because marketplaces usually have a high fee per sale and no proper white-label options that let your courses stand out.

Our recommendation is to go with a learning management system. A learning management system is your School that you can link to your website and fully brand as your own platform.

It makes online course creation so much more straightforward than self-hosting or course marketplaces.

Step 11. Select a Business Model and a Course Price that sticks

Having a set pricing strategy with full access to the course upon payment is the simplest way to offer an online course, a digital product or a membership site.

However, you can use a course in many different ways. Offering a free course, for example, can generate leads for expensive courses or work as a way to showcase your expertise.

With subscriptions, you offer your students more payment options, and you ensure that you get a monthly or weekly recurring income that you can rely on.

You can also use payment plans (installments) to either pay once or pay for up to six months or yearly.

To price your course, you must find that sweet spot where your course price is attractive to your learners. Usually, the higher you charge, the more engaged learners will be.

When you make your entire content free or cheap, people are less likely to trust it and have low expectations for results. So, avoid being competitive in your pricing and prefer to increase the value you bring to the table.

Step 12. Create a Course Page that Drives Sales

Before you hit publish, the final piece is to create the sales page of your online course (also known as your course description, landing page, or sales letter).

The sales page is the page that describes your course with good SEO, but more importantly, it persuades someone to enroll in it.

It’s the page that people visit before deciding to sign up – or not sign up – for your course.

To create a great sales page, the first thing you have to do is answer the following three basic questions about your course:

  • Who is this course for?
  • What does it help them do?
  • Why is this course beneficial for them?

Our new Site Builder makes it much easier for you to create a stunning website that catches the visitor’s eye and allows you to be flexible every time you want to make changes to your sales page

Step 13. Understand the Course Sales Funnel

Once you have finished the course creation process, you have to win the bet of selling it successfully. This is the trickiest part.
A sales funnel is a multi-step process that turns visitors of your site, to buyers. A sales funnel in a way describes the whole process from awareness to purchase:

Step 1 – Awareness: Potential students first become aware of the existence of your course, which offers a solution to their problem. If you are new in the market, this is where you will need to focus, getting your course the attention it deserves!

Step 2 – Interest: You attract the interest of the potential customer. They get to know you, your products and look more into the offering.

Step 3 – Decision: Potential buyers are trying to decide whether to buy or not from you. A sales page is essential to all the previous steps, but most importantly the decision phase, where it helps the visitors to make a decision.

Step 4 – Action/Purchase: How smooth your sales funnel becomes after they click on the “buy” button. How compelling your checkout process and page is, as well as how trustworthy your site looks will help them complete the purchase.

Understanding the structure of the sales funnel is essential, because you will have to create yours, introducing marketing tactics that work for your business

Step 14.Engage in Ongoing Marketing

There are hundreds of pieces of advice out there about digital marketing, all of which can help you with your course launch.

We have put together a very useful and handy guide that you download, “The Ultimate Guide To Selling & Marketing Online Courses,” so you don’t get lost with selling your online course and start making money as soon as possible.Download now!

It’s all about understanding how an online learning sales funnel works.
Selling online courses includes many tricks with which you can increase your conversion rates:

  • Will you give course offers like coupons, discounts, and bundles to increase course sales?
  • Will you use lead magnets and email marketing?
  • How are you going to use social media and Facebook Ads?
  • Will you ask for reviews and testimonials and referrals?
  • Will you partner with businesses, companies, and influencers?
  • Do you have a content marketing plan in your blogging to drive traffic to your website?
  • Do you know how to use affiliate marketing?

One thing sure is that you need an ongoing marketing strategy to promote your course and enroll students. You’ll also need to take care of other important matters that will keep your business running smoothly. Consider hiring an accountant to help you keep your finances in as good shape as the rest of your business.

Step 15. Nurture Learners Into a Community

Τhe best value your students can ever get is from a community.

Although learning is somewhat of an individual activity, it is still a social process.

Learners love to communicate with people who are on the same journey with them and love to share ideas.

It’s a great idea to encourage communication within the members of that community, allowing them to have a shared journey in their learning and foster a sense of peer support. Establishing that sense of camaraderie between fellow learners will be beneficial for everyone in the long run.

Besides, it is impossible for you, as an instructor, to have all the answers. By building a community around your online course, what you’re doing is helping your students become self-sufficient and rely on the group more than on you.

Create groups in your course, your blog, or social media and initiate discussions. Community building is an extremely important marketing tool you can leverage.