How to Create your Signature Online Course
Creating an awesome online course is one of the best ways you can use your skills and knowledge to help people around you. It is also a great way to set up an income stream for yourself while doing something you truly love! A successful online course will build your reputation as a credible instructor and allow you to explore your field on a deeper level.
Online courses have been booming in recent years with everybody eager to develop their skills or pick up something new to learn. In fact, the e-learning industry is expected to be worth about $337 billion by 2026! So it's safe to say that if you're interested in selling online courses, you'll find more than a few who are willing to learn from you.
Now if you are creating your first online course, it can be easy to find yourself overwhelmed by the sea of competition out there with a steady audience and established credibility bringing them new leads every day. So, how do you create an online course that sets you apart and helps you establish yourself in a highly competitive marketplace?
We break this down for you with a step-by-step guide that will allow you to create a course that reflects your skills, knowledge, and personality, so you can share your learnings with the world and inspire your students to learn and grow!
Creating online courses that sell
- Identify Your Niche
- Study your Target Audience
- Frame an Impactful Curriculum
- Organize Workshops
- Create Bonus Content
- Advertise your Course Value
Online course creation will call for a systematic approach that needs to be backed by research and data at every step, but once you cover each of the areas mentioned above, you will find yourself with high-quality course material and the potential to crack the market with your own business. Let us now look at each of these steps in detail!
1. Identify your niche
If you wish to create a successful online course, your offering needs to deliver unique and substantial value to learners and set itself apart from other courses on the same subject. If this is a subject you're particularly passionate about, take some time to reflect on everything you know about the subject and explore its various aspects in detail.
Study your competitors thoroughly to see what they're offering. This will mainly achieve two things:
- You will see how successful online courses are positioning themselves
- You will also be able to identify the gaps that currently exist in the market
Understanding your market and the factors that guide it will be essential to ensuring a systematic course creation process. Even as you seek to deliver a unique offering in a crowded marketplace, you need to recognize what people look for in your field of study that is in short supply at the moment. This will allow you to create a course that offers significant value to your audience and builds your credibility as a course creator.
How Wise Owl World delivered a fresh approach to early education
Keeping a keen eye on the evolving market is what helped Wise Owl World, an early education service run by two moms and two certified teachers in New Jersey. According to Punya Sandhu, one of the co-founders of Wise Owl World-
“The pandemic has changed the traditional approach to education and today, blended learning has become the new norm."
In an environment that calls for special care and attention towards each student, the team at Wise Owl World decided to adopt a fresh approach by providing a unique, self-paced platform that enables positive learning outcomes for the children. They now provide a number of group classes aimed at improving essential life skills and driving social and emotional development.
Currently, Wise Owl World offers classes that focus on mindfulness, yoga, occupational coaching, behavior/manners, confidence building, presentation skills, phonics, languages, arts, and music. They also offer a Kindergarten online membership based on an integrated learning approach. Wise Owl World organizes weekly Q&A sessions with the teachers to resolve course-related issues and maintain a healthy engagement with their students and parents.
2. Study your Target Audience
Understanding your target audience will be crucial to marketing a successful course, but more importantly, it will help you frame the ideal curriculum. Once you have your course topic in place, map out your ideal student profiles. One way to create relevant and useful student profiles is through Facebook's comprehensive Ads Manager tools. These profiles will then help you make your courses more specific to your target audience. If you are selling music lessons, you could create profiles based on age group and levels of expertise. This will allow you to create online courses that cater specifically to each group and help you attract a more meaningful audience for each category.
Since you will mostly be interacting with your audience online, you will need to study their behavior and preferences in order to target them effectively. Find out what keywords people generally use while searching for a course like yours and pick out the ones that would connect best with your audience. This will give your organic visits a healthy boost and bring you more relevant visitors over time.
If you already have a website with courses you created before, then you'll find great value in your existing visitor data. Whether its the keywords bringing them to your website or the courses that keep them there, you will find a storehouse of insights to inform the positioning of your next online course.
3. Frame an impactful curriculum
When you have expertise in a subject, it can be quite tempting to share everything you know with your class. Sharing knowledge with others can be rewarding, but as a teacher, you will need to pace yourself or risk overwhelming your students. If you want to maximize your impact, your online course outline needs to be structured keeping a healthy learning curve in mind.
You can start by narrowing down what learning outcome you would like your students to achieve with your course. For example, if you're creating a beginner's course, then your main objective would be to ensure your students gain a working knowledge on the topic, while a more advanced course may take them through more nuanced layers and real-world application of their skills.
A professional course is about more than just sharing information. If you're creating an online course focused on generating results, your curriculum needs to be easily consumable, while still testing your students enough to help them sharpen their skills and appreciation of the subject. Divide your curriculum into concise chapters and classes that cover different aspects of the subject, while maintaining a logical flow that helps your students get an increasingly broader perspective at every stage.
4. Organize workshops
Your course idea is beginning to crystalize well by now, but your package is far from ready for the market. You still need to make your course stand out in terms of value and there are a few ways to achieve this. One of the most effective ways is by conducting shorter workshops around the same topic.
Workshops are great for marketing online courses as they generate interest in your course content and give your audience a sample of what they can expect from your full course. Aside from a glimpse of the technical skills and knowledge on offer, students will get a taste of your teaching style, what you do to keep students engaged, and how you would be able to support them on their learning journey during the course.
An introductory workshop would also allow you to experiment with your course curriculum before you actually launch the entire course online. You will get a better sense of what works and what may need to be modified from the perspective of your existing audience.
5. Create bonus content
In the process of standardizing your course for a wider audience, it is only natural that you might have papered over some of the more intricate aspects of your subject. They may not have fit into your curriculum, but that's no reason to leave them out! In fact, knowing that you're offering something extra could even win you more niche students over time.
Experiment with your bonus content. You could create smart video tutorials, parts of which could be used as marketing material for your course. Preparing useful worksheets or checklists would also add a more practical perspective to your course material and give students better insights on application.
The important thing to remember with any bonus content you choose to deliver is that it must add a fresh layer to your curriculum and also be able to stand out on its own. Your bonus content will thus reflect on your credibility as a course creator and generate more leads in the long run.
6. Advertise your course value
Ultimately, if you want to run a successful online school, you need to gain momentum with a popular first course. Given the number of online course platforms to compete with, this can be a fair challenge to deal with.
You will need to convince your audience of the value your course has to offer and what sets it apart from other courses in your field. Use social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube to establish your credibility in your subject. Share brief but valuable tutorial videos, create engaging posts that ignite conversations, and build a community of learners who will benefit from your online course.
If you have your own website already, then you will need to optimize it for conversion. Improving visibility is the first step. Do your keyword research to understand how people are searching for courses like yours and how you can rank above your competition. Keep your website copy tight and simple and make sure your call-to-actions are easy to find. Using a booking system that integrates seamlessly with your website will ensure your visitors will be able to sign up almost instantly and you will find your conversion rate improves over time.
The key to maximizing registrations?
After all that you do to fine-tune your online course - from creating an effective curriculum to hitting the right marketing channels - you will still need to provide a memorable learning experience from sign-up to certification. There is room to optimize at every stage, whether you're simplifying the sign-up flow or sending out timely updates on your classes. Every step you take to make life easier for your students as they learn will make a difference.
Omnify offers you a solution that does exactly that - allowing you to streamline class bookings, automating and personalizing communication, enabling Zoom integration for your online classes, supporting safe payment gateways, and storing student information on secure servers.
"Select the right scheduling platform for your classes. We discovered Omnify after much trial and error with other leading platforms and have loved it from day 1! It is very intuitive and easy to set up with great features that support the way we wanted to design our classes."
- Punya Sandhu, Co-Founder, Wise Owl World
If you'd like to learn more about how Omnify can help your online course, check it out for yourself with a FREE TRIAL and start optimizing your business today!