Online courses are a teaching medium that is growing rapidly in popularity. As more learners demand more flexibility, online courses are quickly becoming the go-to option for launching new programs and expanding existing training initiatives. 

However, just because something is popular doesn’t mean it’s easy to launch,maintain, or even sell. Successfully creating, launching, and operating your own online course requires excellent planning and collaboration support from all stakeholders involved.

That being said, with the right preparation and planning, an online course can be an extremely effective tool for expanding your organization’s reach while reducing costs at the same time.

Why Offering Online Courses is Profitable?

Online learning is a growing trend in higher education. In addition to the convenience and flexibility of online courses, there are many other benefits.

1. Online learning can help students save money.

Many online schools offer tuition discounts or free or reduced-cost options for students who qualify for financial aid.

2. Online learning can be more convenient for students with busy schedules.

Many online courses can be taken at any time of day, from anywhere with an Internet connection.

3. Online courses are often more affordable than traditional courses.

This makes it more attractive to students on a budget.

International demand for online course creation and sales is rising. According to Global Industry Insights, the eLearning market is anticipated to surpass $325 billion by 2025, growing at a rate of 5% each year.

90% of the labor you put into creating an online course must go toward marketing and selling it. By working as an online educator, you may make anywhere from a few hundred dollars to six figures annually.

A profitable course depends on a number of variables, including your subject and the size of your audience. Some of the elements that are taken into account while determining profitability include:

  • Recognition of one’s own brand
  • Continuum of Expertise
  • Training materials readily available (books, blogs, videos, vlogs, and podcasts)
  • Size of your Following/Mailing List
  • Audience Revenue
  • Competition and Market Size
  • Your Sales & Marketing Skills

Online courses bridge knowledge gaps as a rising trend among both young and old is investing in education and lifetime learning. You are passing up a significant potential if you do not currently provide your own online course. 

How to Develop a Course Online and Share Your Knowledge

1. Choose a Course Topic

Choosing a course topic can be a bit overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. Fortunately, there are many options! You can choose a course on a specific topic (like marketing or entrepreneurship), you can choose a general course that covers a wide range of topics (like psychology), or you can even take a certificate program that will teach you everything you need to know about one particular topic.

One thing that all of these courses have in common is that they’re designed to help you learn as much as possible. Whether your goal is to become an expert in a particular field or just gain more knowledge overall, it’s important to keep learning throughout your life. This not only shows that you’re passionate about the subject matter, but it also helps you stay up-to-date with the latest developments in your field.

You can also:

  • Get feedback from your audience via email;
  • Ask your social media followers;
  • Invest on your knowledge; and
  • Consider a topic on which people have consulted you.

2. Study the Course Subject extensively

You can conduct both online and offline research on your subject. Start with your own content, academic and professional literature on the subject, an analysis of your competitors, or other internet resources, both free and paid.

It’s crucial to brainstorm every conceivable category and subtopic that your course might cover. Following that, you ought to conduct in-depth research on each sub-topic.

Take it a step further and find a range of publications on the subject, from books to rival classes and webinars. Conduct keyword research to determine the kinds of questions people are asking about the subject. This can help you have a better sense of the questions that your audience would find interesting.

But in order to add value, look for original viewpoints to broaden the course’s focus, such as the several kinds of air-purifying plants.

3. Write a course outline

The categories or sub-themes must be organized into themes before the online course is created (or sections). You must select a logical sequence that makes sense for your course. That can be based on the sequence of events that leads the student from one area of information to the next, the degree of difficulty, or the context. The order may not matter for topics for unstructured and self-directed learning; all that is required to guide students through the material is an introduction and various themes and categories.

Consider including tasks and exercises in your course material to aid in ensuring that the students retain the new information. It is advised to begin with a theoretical explanation, follow with some instances, and then conclude with an assignment.

4. Set your Goals and Objectives

Setting learning goals is the first step to ensuring that you’re in control of your online course experience. It’s essential to identify the purpose of your course, and clearly outline what participants can expect to learn and how they will be evaluated. Without a clear purpose and structure, it’s easy for participants to feel overwhelmed, and may even result in them dropping out of your course.

While there are many ways to set learning goals, it’s important to choose a method that works best for you. You can use your existing goals, an existing framework like SMART or a more individualized approach like Personal Learning Plans. The most important thing is that you find a way that will help you stay focused on what matters most.

5. Create a Course Content

It’s possible that you’ve previously created content on your course topic if you already have professional expertise with it. Have you ever prepared a webinar or a blog post about the subject? Maybe you run a YouTube channel for your company or have a podcast where you cover related topics? Return to these resources if necessary. You can get started and save a ton of time by reusing current content in your online course.

You may now start creating the actual content for your online course using the resources you’ve acquired, your outline, and the research from the previous steps. Most courses use video as their main form of communication, which is what we’ll be discussing here. However, you can also use written material, audio files, slides, or a combination of several other media kinds.

How to Price Your Online Course

Pricing your online course can be tricky, especially if you’re new to the space. If you underprice your course or don’t put enough time and care into the process, you risk losing students who are looking for a bargain. If you overprice your course, you risk turning away qualified applicants.

There are a few factors that can affect pricing and when to consider different options. Think about how much value your course will provide to each person who enrolls in it. The answers to these questions will help guide your decision making: 

  • How long will it take to complete? 
  • Is it a passive experience or one that requires active participation? 
  • What do I expect my participants to earn from the course?

You might also want to consider the following:

1. Competitor costs

To start, conduct a fast audit to ascertain the typical course cost for your subject. Even though costs may vary based on how knowledgeable the course instructor is, try to obtain a feel of what the going rate is so that you can compare.

2. Consider the length of time it took you to design the course

 Any company activity that seeks profitability should strike a healthy balance between time spent and money made.

3. Course value

The amount of value the user will receive from taking the course should be taken into account when determining how much to charge for it. Will the paying student go on to earn money using the abilities and resources you provided them with? As you might expect, it makes more sense to charge a greater fee the more the student can afford to pay for the course.

4. General best practice

Depending on the subject, course costs might range widely from $100 or less to over $10,000. But it has been discovered that the more money you charge for a course, the more people believe they will benefit greatly from it and consider it to be “excellent.”

Once you have an idea of what type of person is joining your course and how long they will stay engaged with it, you can begin putting together a pricing plan based on these factors.

Tiers of Course Pricing

1. Free

By generating leads for more expensive courses or serving as a platform to demonstrate your skills, offering a free course might be advantageous for you. You can upsell to these warm leads by offering free courses as well. Additionally, provide a complimentary mini-meal prior to the introduction of your main dish.

Other scenarios in which you ought to offer a training without charge:

  • when producing leads is your main objective;
  • whenever you want to entice new clients;
  • whenever you want to include a bonus in a different purchase; and 
  • when you are going through a testing period.

2. Basic One-Off Payments

The simplest and most direct way to offer an online course is to have a predetermined pricing scheme with full access granted upon payment.

What to expect is known to students. Additionally, it is simple for instructors to explain the value and provide discounts in the future.

3. Subscriptions

With subscriptions, you may give your students extra payment alternatives (like PayPal or a credit card) and make sure you receive a reliable recurring income every week or every month.

Membership site models, which offer gated material to which only users have access, also fall under the umbrella of subscriptions. Instead of, say, offering ad-hoc online courses, you might let your customers, clients, or followers maintain an active (paid) subscription in return for access to offers, discounts, and a networking community.

Subscriptions work well with membership sites, because they offer various degrees of access to accommodate a range of preferences.

4. Premium

You can charge your clients more and think about implementing payment plans (installments) where you can pay once, over the course of up to six months, or annually. When you provide exclusive content or longer course offerings, you can go premium.

Create A Course Sales Page

The sales page for your online course must be created before you push publish (also known as your course description, landing page, or sales letter). This is the page that not only describes your course but also encourages people to sign up for it. It is the page that visitors look at before deciding whether or not to enroll in your course.

The Anatomy of a Sales Page

A Compelling Headline

This headline is meant to catch your reader’s eye and entice them to continue reading.

The Opening Story

Next, describe the issue they are having and remind them of the price of ignoring it. Explain how you too have had the same anguish or frustration to demonstrate to your reader that you understand their current suffering. This prepares the reader for the following step, which is the solution (your course).

The Benefits

We want to express the advantages that our course offers to our students in as clear a manner as we did with the value proposition exercise. Make your benefits list readable by breaking it up into bullet points if you have a variety of them.

Bonuses

Include a list of the extras and resources that are part of your course. Some of them were discussed in the section on enhancing the value of your course. These are designed to complement your course material and improve your students’ overall learning.

Testimonials

You need to provide evidence if readers are still skeptics about your course’s ability to deliver on its promises. Include student success stories and a description of how your course benefited them.

How to Market & Sell Your Online Courses

You can launch your online academy and begin selling as soon as your course’s sales page is finished!

Your course’s profitability depends on how well you market and sell it. To market your course as much as possible, you must utilize all of the tools at your disposal.

A multi-step procedure called a sales funnel is used to convert website visitors into customers. The graph below demonstrates how the sales funnel leads potential customers (learners) down a particular path before they decide whether or not to sign up for your course.

The Sales Funnel Process (Image Source: Entrepreneur)

Step 1 – Awareness

When prospective students first learn that your course is available, that presents a solution to their issue. This is where you should concentrate if you are a new player in the market to draw attention to your course.

Step 2 – Interest

When prospective students first learn that your course is available, that presents a solution to their issue. This is where you should concentrate if you are a new player in the market to draw attention to your course.

Step 3 – Decision

When prospective students first learn that your course is available, that presents a solution to their issue. This is where you should concentrate if you are a new player in the market to draw attention to your course.

Step 4 – Action/Purchase

When prospective students first learn that your course is available, that presents a solution to their issue. This is where you should concentrate if you are a new player in the market to draw attention to your course.

There are generally five strategies to drive traffic to your sales funnel:

  1. organic traffic from search engines
  2. paid traffic from ads
  3. social media traffic
  4. email marketing, and
  5. referral traffic coming from various websites mentioning you, affiliates, students, and business partners.

Organic traffic

You must first build course content that will be meaningful and helpful to your audience in order to draw more individuals into your sales funnel. This can be accomplished through organic traffic, which can be attained by starting a blog, a YouTube channel, or a podcast.

You can spend money on purchased traffic if you have a budget you can work with (e.g., Google Ads, YouTube Ads, Facebook Ads, Banner Ads).

While you can start investing in organic traffic and SEO right once, it will take months before you start seeing results. Your main focus should be on producing excellent content, which you should employ in your sales funnel and optimize for SEO right away.

SEO

The goal of search engine optimization is to let search engines like Google and Bing know that your website exists and is the best result for a given search.

You start by deciding which keywords you want to rank for. Use a tool such as Google’s Keyword Planner or BuzzSumo to identify the most popular keywords related to your course topic.

Prepare your offers

You can implement these techniques in your sales through:

  1. coupons
  2. discounts
  3. course bundles, or
  4. by editing your sales page to work with seasonal offers or discounts you may have.

Lead Magnets

There are a lot of different lead magnets you can use:

  • Free courses
  • Ebooks
  • PDF downloads
  • Checklists (toolkits, resources, steps into a process)
  • Templates
  • White-papers

Email Marketing

Email marketing has four times the return of investment (ROI) compared to any other marketing channel. Because emails are still more direct than other communication methods, 2.6 billion people still use them globally. 

Sending out newsletters is one of the best email marketing techniques. Two things are clear when it comes to newsletters: they are the most popular and simple sort of email marketing to create, but they are also the most challenging.

Social Media Marketing

If you already have an online course or product available for sale, social media can be a great way to promote it. There are a lot of free tools out there that make it easy to create engaging content and share it with the right audience.

Social media can be used as part of a larger marketing plan. In addition to posting on social media sites individually, you can also use them as part of a wider strategy that includes email marketing and other traditional forms of advertising.

Run a Blog

Running a blog is an effective way to market courses and build a community of learners who are ready to buy.

There are a number of benefits to starting a blog:

  • You can use it to test out new ideas or concepts before launching them into the world.
  • You can share your story with the rest of the world – something that may not be possible if you’re running a traditional business.
  • You can learn how people respond to your content and adjust your strategy accordingly.

And, of course, you get to write about whatever you want!

According to a recent Hubspot marketing report, 80% of companies that include blogging in their marketing plans say the practice has increased customer acquisition.

From blogging to subscription (Image Source: HubSpot)

Pre-Launch Your Course

A pre-launch is a short time period before launch where you can test your course to see if it has the right content and structure. It will also allow you to make any last-minute adjustments. 

There are many different types of pre-launches, including soft launches, beta testing, and A/B testing. It’s best to try out each type to find what works best for you.

Discounts, Coupons & Bundles

Price is a constant powerful motivation. A premium product may be indicated by a high price, and a sale may be accelerated by a discount. You may attract more individuals to your online academy by offering discounts, promotions, and bundles.

Your best referrals are satisfied students

A satisfied client will always suggest you as the go-to specialist. You will be rewarded with engaged learners who will promote you if you keep your students pleased and go above and above where it is required!

What does that mean for you?

  • Communicating with your students
  • Student Engagement and Interactivity
  • Goals & Certificates
  • Help them Succeed

Looking ahead to the future

It’s not just anyone that can start and run an online course. There are a number of reasons you might have for wanting to create your own course. One of the most important is to provide an engaging learning experience for learners. 

Successful online courses have a number of features that can help make them engaging, engaging and effective. 

Since online courses are more focused on interactive and engaging delivery methods, you will need to think about the content you want to teach. It is very important that you are able to engage readers, teach them something they will get value from and most importantly, make them feel engaged while they are on your course.

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