The internet has truly changed the game on what many people are doing to earn a living. The days of going to college just to come out and have a job until you retire are long gone. The younger workforce is demanding more freedom than ever before. One of the ways many people are finding this freedom is through creating their own online courses. If you’ve thought about building an online course, you’re not alone. We’re all experts in something, so why not share what we know.
Become an Expert
The main obstacle that is keeping people from pursuing their role as a teacher, is the fact that they think they’re not an expert. The truth is, you really only need to be a little better than the person that you’ve set out to teach. Think about it, if you were going to take a course wouldn’t you be more encouraged by someone that was just a few steps ahead of you versus someone that was a known master on a topic? It can often be discouraging to try to follow a true expert, knowing that you will likely never reach their level. Even if you think you’re just starting out, you probably know more than you think you do. And believe it or not, there is a group of people out there somewhere that want to learn from you.
Test the Waters
There are several schools of thought on how to test out your new course ideas. One of the best ways to start is by listening to the people in your network. If you find that you’re talking to people repeatedly about the same type of topics or processes, this might be a sign. If something comes to mind, try to google the topic and see who else is discussing it. What questions are they asking? Is it something you can answer or address with your course?
On the other hand, maybe you’re the only one you know that cares about your topic. If you’re not sure whether or not anyone else might sign up for your course, you should do a small market test. This will cost a little money, but it could save you tons and long run. Instead of investing weeks or even months building a course around something that you’re not even sure people will sign up for – test it. The idea is to “sell” the concept to a few people before you create it. There’s a bunch of different ways to do something like this, but we recommend using a site like leadpages.net. They offer an intuitive drag-and-drop page builder system that is already optimized for conversion.
Build the Landing Page
As you build your landing page, you’ll want to think about how you’re qualifying your leads. Are you asking them for an email or are you actually asking them to pre-pay for access to the course? Obviously, the more they are willing to do, the more likely it is that you’re on to something. If you’re sending warm leads from Facebook to your landing page and you can’t even get an email, you may want to go back and rethink things.
If you decide to pre-sell access to your course, you can easily integrate a payment processor (like Stripe) so you can accept payments directly from your leadpages landing page.
Below you can see an example of what your landing page might look like. Keep the page simple and easy to digest.
Now that you have your landing page setup so people can sign up for your course, we need to go find people. One of the best ways to find super targeted traffic for your course is by using Facebook advertising.
Use Ads For Targeted Traffic
Facebook does a great job of gathering tons of information about its users’ interests, locations, behaviors and much more. For instance, you can target people who have more-than-average income, live in California, with an interest in wine. Your ad should lead the user directly to the landing page you’ve set up. You should include as much information about what you are offering so that people understand without clicking your ad.
If you have an ad that says, “If you like wine – click here” you’ll probably have a ton of people clicking through. But when people realize it’s a course, they might not be so interested. Instead, you’ll want to have text that tells the user you’re selling a course. Use an ad that says something like, “Take our course to take your knowledge of wine to the next level – Signup today for only $29”. Notice the differences between the two ads below, the one on the left is going to set up a clear framework for what you’re wanting them to do next – book a course. While the ad on the right is vague and unengaging.
Create the Course
Now that you know someone is willing to listen, let’s start building. To begin the process, brainstorm some topics that you might want to cover in your online course. Don’t know where to start? Try to get on Amazon.com and search the topic. View some of the books that cover the topic, specifically the Table of Contents.
Notice in our example below, we’ve done a search for “How To Wine.” We want to find a book that cover some wine topics that we may be able to use in our “All About Wine” course we’re going to create. The very first book ( Wine Making for the Total Novice ) gives us a great set of topics that will help us start on a basic outline for our online course.
Launch Your Course
Once you’ve vetted your idea, and constructed your course, it’s time to launch it. One of the best ways to start getting some exposure is by offering your course on learning platforms like Udemy.com or skillshare.com.
Udemy, for instance, has over 12 Million students that ready to learn. Plus, Udemy actually handles every part of the teaching process, from hosting the videos and content to collecting payment and requesting reviews from happy students.
To kickstart this process, we suggest that you give the paid course away to some people to start to gather feedback (around 500 should do the trick). Udemy allows you to create free coupon codes that you can share in blogs, forums, facebook groups, etc to get people to enroll. You’ll be able to use these free users to gain reviews and slowly garner a following.
Still have questions about your own idea? Let us know in the comments below. We’re here to help you reach and grow your own crowd of passionate students.