Creating an online course can be a fantastic way to boost your business.
Courses can add value for your audience, create a great passive income stream, and identify you as an authority in your industry.
Coming up with a viable idea for a course is half the battle. But even if you have that part sorted, you still need to figure out how to get everything up and running!
So, what do you do if you have the standout idea?
Well, those great ideas have a habit of staying in the idea bank for far too long if you don’t take action to release them out into the world.
A lot of the time, it’s simply a case of not knowing which step to take first.
Luckily, to help point you in the right direction, I've got the low-down on what you need to know to get started.
Validating Your Idea
The very first thing you need to do is to confirm that the marketplace has a need for your course. So, take some time to do your market research about whether the course will be useful for your ideal clients.
Don’t be put off if there are already similar courses in the marketplace. In fact, that can actually be a good thing. It means there’s a need for the information you’re looking to share. The right people will be drawn to your course over other alternatives as it comes with the essence of you.
Map out your ideas so that you know what the course will cover, what the outcomes will be for your learners and what each module will contain.
At this point, you may choose to offer a pilot version of the course or pre-sell the material to validate that it’s something people are willing to invest in. Then, once you know there’s a place in the market for your course, you can then actually create the content.
Choosing A Course Platform
There are a variety of ways to create an online course, but Thinkific is one of the simplest and most effective. In fact, it is the platform I recommend to all of my clients.
Thinkific is a Learning Management System (LMS) specifically designed to enable you to create, market, sell, and manage your online course. It’s all-inclusive and hosts everything you need to make your course a success. Right from writing your landing/sales page and building lesson outlines to integrating with email and eCommerce tools.
The Technical Low-Down
First things first: we need to make sure you have the right tools of the trade to create an online course and use Thinkific. Luckily, you don’t need much to get started! The bare minimum would be a computer with a built-in microphone and webcam (to create the videos included in your course).
You may also need screen sharing software if your course features computer-related tutorials.
Of course, you can get as fancy as you want and invest in a decent camera and tripod, external microphone, and some proper lighting to create your videos, but that's entirely up to you.
The beauty of Thinkific is that you can get started even with a tight budget. The free version can get you going, and you can just use your standard built-in computer mic and camera.
Make Your Content Easily Consumable
An online course is only as good as its content. While the technical side is important, the content needs to be equally slick, relevant, and consumable to your target audience.
Not only must it be valuable and delivered with the right tone and branding, it also needs to be strategically broken down into topics and lessons. Carefully consider what will allow for a logical flow of content that delivers the right lessons at the right time for your course participants.
Also, it can be tempting to put everything you know into a course to deliver as much value as possible. When it comes to courses, less can be more. Stick to a core topic and ensure all the information is relevant. Too much content can be overwhelming for your student.
Just remember, you can always make a second course if you have more wisdom to deliver!
Unless you are offering your course for free, you will want to set up eCommerce to allow people to pay you for it. This involves integrating with a payment processor such as PayPal or Stripe.
You will need to consider pricing options, which currency you will charge in, and what countries are supported when setting up your eCommerce integrations with Thinkific.
Set Up And Automate Emails
Linking your email marketing tools to Thinkific is essential for promoting and selling your course online and keeping your customers engaged.
Thinkific can integrate with a variety of email marketing platforms, such as ConvertKit and MailChimp. There’s an almost endless variety of options available within Thinkific, but you will need a bit of marketing and technical knowledge to set up various automated emails.
Call In The Experts
Creating an online course with Thinkific can be a lot of fun, but it’s also a lot of hard work! You will need to validate your topic with your audience before proceeding, offer pilots to test it before fully launching, create and curate your content, figure out all the technical stuff, market the course, integrate eCommerce and email tools, and connect with your consumers along the way – all while managing the other aspects of your business!
Outsourcing is a fantastic option that can help you get your course off the ground and ensure its success without working yourself silly. You can focus on the things you do well and enjoy the connection with your customers, allowing an expert to take care of the parts that you find, fiddly, technical, or downright boring.
So, if you have an idea for an online course lurking in your brain, let me help you bring it to life. As a Thinkific registered partner, I know the platform inside and out. That means I can help you create that course you have been dreaming of simply and efficiently.
Book a free 20 minute call with me and we can chat about how we can devise a plan to make that course dream a reality.
If you're keen to get started on your online course, my 90 min Zoom Online Course Planning Session might be just what you need.
And if you don't already have my FREE Online Course Planning Checklist, make sure you grab it!
Checkout my Online Course Creation Packages:
Would you like to check out my preferred online course platform, here's a one month free trial of Thinkific
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Debbie Mills Robertson
Online Course Creation & Email Marketing
027 345 7000