Chances are that if you have an online business, then you've taken an online course or three.
It's likely that some of 'em were good and some of 'em were… not so good… but I would bet a fat stack of cash that you know online courses are a killer way to make a living online.
It's not just the money…
… it's the time leverage.
… the freedom you get from sharing your expertise in a one-to-many format.
But you know all this already!
You may even have your own course or have aspirations to create one some day. That’s badass, and you should totally do it!
If you are interested in creating your own course, then there are a few best practices to follow, and they’re ones I've learned over the past few years from both launching my own courses and helping my clients launch theirs.
Creating an amazing course that sells all year long
Find an in-demand topic
The first and most obvious step is figuring out what your course is going to be about. You don’t want to create a course about any old thing; you want to make sure that there is a demand for what you’re teaching. I mean sure, you can create a course about absolutely anything you want, but that doesn’t mean that anyone will actually want to buy it. Before you invest time into creating a course or product, take a few moments to see if anyone would actually be willing to buy what you’re selling.
The easiest way to come up with an in-demand topic is to think about what you are most well known for, or put another way, identify the things that people are always asking you about.
For example, people are always asking me about how to grow a team for your online business, Facebook ads, creating and launching courses, growing an email list, and so on and so forth.
I get questions about these things all of the time and see them asked in my larger business community, so it makes sense for me to create content and courses around those topics, especially since most of those topics are things that people are buying courses and training on already.
To recap, here are the things you should ask yourself to create a course about an in-demand topic:
- What are people asking me to help them with?
- What topics in my community are people asking to know more about?
- What areas do I have expertise in?
- Is there a larger demand for these things? As in, are there currently other courses or training for these areas?
Creating a killer course
Now that you have a topic and realize there is a need for your expertise and instruction, it’s time to get to work. I definitely recommend video courses because most people learn better visually, and video courses are also perceived as higher quality than text-based courses.
You can honestly create a killer video course in just a week, and here’s a simple outline of how:
- Make a list of 5-8 things that people need to know about your topic. These could be steps or information that you’ll use to build each course module.
- Create an outline with more in-depth information on each module. This is breaking each area down into easy to digest content.
- Use your outline and modules to create 5-10 minute long videos explaining each step or piece of information. Loom is great for recording high-quality screen share videos.
- Find a platform for your course – we use Teachable for Laptop Empires courses.
- Price your course.
- Start selling it over and over again.
Read on for information on steps 5-6.
If you want more information the first few steps, watch Create An Online Course In 7 Days
Pricing a course that sells
When you're first starting out, I highly recommend that you do two things when designing the cost structure of your course: (1) charge an upfront payment for the course itself and (2) offer an extra coaching component.
Charging an upfront payment for the course
Pure membership models are hard to sell when you’re starting out. Sure, they can be really nice once you have a ton of members, but they’re a rough way to sell your first course. Charging an upfront payment means you’ll be getting paid a good amount up front for access to your expertise. You likely spent a lot of money and time gaining that expertise and it's valuable.
Plus, it's easier to get an ROI this way if you had to turn to paid traffic.
Add a coaching component into your course
This will add a significant amount of value to your course. Here are the two methods I’ve found to work really well:
- Sell the course with an attached membership. For example, my first course (FB Side Hustle Course) is $397 for lifetime access to the course, and as a bonus, everyone gets one FREE month inside the coaching group. After 30 days they are billed $47, and that rebills every month until they cancel. This membership doubles what we earn per buyer on average. It's also super simple to set up using tools like ThriveCart.
- DIY and VIP option. This is a tried and true method and you can even add three tiers to this coaching model. This is what we do for our other course (FB Ads for Bloggers). We have the basic DIY course which is lifetime access for $397, but they can get one year of coaching and support, in addition to the course, for $797. More than 50% of our customers take the VIP option.
I'm suggesting you add a coaching/support component because it increases your earnings per customer, but there is another, even more important, an aspect of this…
By offering coaching and support, your students are going to be a lot more successful as they implement what you teach.
That's important for a lot of reasons – the big one being that you want to impact lives with your work and that comes from the success of your customers. Student success also means more social proof, testimonials, and word of mouth about how great your course is.
Selling your course
I highly recommend that you focus on using Facebook ads to start growing your email list right now if you haven’t already. Email your list 3x per week. Build that relationship. Then promote the course organically a few times per year. It's a simple strategy, but it flat out works.
Once you have that in place you start adding layers.
Create a webinar or simple video training. Offer this to people the minute they join your list for the lead magnet you created. This allows them to take the next step if they want to. It’s as easy as offering them a video, giving them a button to click on your sales page, and then sales come in while you sleep.
A great automated email sequence is also going to go a long way here.
The people who don't buy right away are now on your list and will continue to get to know you. They will eventually buy down the road from your organic promotions.
Which leads me to…
You shouldn't promote your course over and over every week or even every month.
Instead, create two low-end offers that go into your launch rotation. I recommend a free challenge and a short, low-cost program.
The goal of both of these offers is to give people another way to get started with whatever you teach.
You run the free challenge, then sell them into the course.
You run the paid program, then sell them into your course.
Once these are done, you can sell your core product every month of the year without burning out your list with offer fatigue.
Here's an example using an online fitness coach who is a client of mine…
He has the following offers:
1. Core Program with $37 per month membership
2. Free 5-day Weight Loss Challenge
3. Low-cost 6-Week Transformation Program
In January, we promoted his Core Program to his audience, and then in February, we ran the challenge and converted those members into the Core Program. We promoted the challenge to his entire audience, but no one saw the Core Program offer unless they were in the challenge.
In March, we will promote the 6-week Transformation Program (group coaching), and at the end, we will have converted those people to the Core Program. We’ll start the whole thing all over again in April with a promotion for this Core Program.
They see each offer 4x per year, but they only see each offer once every few months. Rinse and repeat.
This client is making well over $25k per month as a solopreneur fit pro, mostly from his $37 per month membership, using this exact system.
Not really sure about course demand?
Even if you have a structure and know how to sell your course, you might still have questions about demand.
Some people will have a big enough audience that will allow them to easily figure out whether demand is there. But if that's not the case for you, no worries… there's a simple solution.
This is might sound crazy, but see if people will open their wallets and pay you before you fully create your course.
Let me explain.
Basically, you're going to outline the course and actually go and sell it before you put any work into creating the entire thing. If there is interest, then you can go ahead and sell it, but you can scrap it and move on if the interest isn’t there.
If you only get a few buyers and don't want to create the entire course, then refund their money and offer a consultation or something as a thank you for supporting your business with their wallets.
But… if you do get the sales, then you just drip out the content over a couple of weeks and answer questions in a group. Once it's done, you package it up and sell it like a normal course using the steps I outlined above. You can take it a step further and run the entire course live a couple of times a year as a high-ticket offer.
If you want more information on testing your idea before you make it, watch How To Test Your Online Course Idea So You Know People Will Buy
The truth about creating courses that sell
You've gotten this far, but here's the raw, honest truth.
I just gave you an entire business plan based around a single online course. You could build a solid 6-figure business around this system if you just implement.
The problem is that 99% of the people who took the time to read this post won't take action.
Which is a shame…
… because you could be that 1%, and start living the sweet life with that online business you've always dreamed of.
And all it would take is doing the damn thing.
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