How to Create and Sell an Online Course: From Zero to First Launch
When creating an online course, many people still have doubts about where to start and how to guarantee success after launch.
One of the advantages brought by the internet was the ease of disseminating knowledge and learning a new competence or skill.
The network has reduced travel costs, democratizing access to education to all corners of the world where it reaches.
The new form of distance learning – known as distance learning – has also optimized labor costs, allowing a course recorded once to serve thousands of classes.
Because it has flexible hours as its main attraction, this modality attracts the public that wants to invest in their education, training and professional updating, but cannot give up responsibilities with work and family.
If you are interested and want to know more about setting up an online course , keep reading to get the most important information, in addition to a detailed step by step.
Why invest in online courses?
Investing in courses and training has never been more important than it is today.
The dynamism of the internet is already part of all aspects of our daily lives and, of course, it also affects the job market.
Today, the employer expects the best from his employee: the best education and training that places him above the average, thus also leveraging the competitiveness and results achieved by the company.
Even with all this demand for performance, fitting studies between the responsibilities of day to day is not always an easy task.
In this sense, online courses have the advantage, since they bring greater flexibility as a differential.
After all, students can attend classes and take tests, exercises and assessments from wherever they are and at the time that is most convenient for them.
EAD brings benefits both for those who teach the class and for those who attend it, since online courses tend to be cheaper for the student and more profitable for the institution.
And proof of the success of the sport in Brazil comes from the data.
According to the last Distance Learning Census (2017/2018), of the Brazilian Distance Learning Association ( ABED ), the number of enrollments registered – 7.7 million – is more than double that recorded in the previous period.
Step by step to create an online course
Well, I believe that, after taking a look at the segment numbers, you have realized how profitable it can be to create an online course.
So, it only remains to detail for you how to do this.
Stay tuned step by step:
1. Define your topic
For your EAD classes to be a success, it is necessary to present relevant, rich content that can add to the student’s professional practices.
Thus, the first step for those who want to create an online course is to define the topic that will be covered during classes.
If you do not yet have experience teaching, the tip is to start with broad themes so that the content meets a large number of students – thus increasing the return on your investment.
Another tip to define the topic of the classes is to evaluate your repertoire, searching among the skills that you already have something that can be useful for the audience of your course.
2. Define your target audience
The topic definition is the starting point for you to design what your target audience will be .
You must identify general aspects such as age, sex, social class and occupation during this stage.
But it is worth going a little further to understand what specific needs of these students will be met by the course.
Also focus on your interests, desires and anxieties, which goes well with the concept of personas, which you can learn about in this other article .
Remember that the public is intrinsically linked to the topic and that a large part of the success of your course will depend on the alignment between these first two steps.
3. Validate your online course
To ensure that your audience and topic chances will bring the expected results, you need to validate your course online before betting all your chips on it and making a high financial investment.
This process is essential to ensure greater safety and reliability in the project from then on.
This is where you will be able to confirm that there is, in fact, an audience interested in what you have to say and willing to pay for the offer.
The evaluation and analysis process must be thorough to ensure that the course will be profitable, that there is demand for it in the market and also make sure that no one had the same idea before you.
With the validation, it is easier to avoid the losses of producing an extensive educational material that will remain in stock.
And how to do this validation? Start with the pre-order.
Pre-sales are a great way to measure market fever.
When you start selling a course before the official launch date, you can get a better sense of the size of the audience interested in your content.
Another way to assess audience interest is to deliver a pilot class in the pre-sale.
Thus, you can understand the potential of the theme and also evaluate how the audience receives the content to, if necessary, make adjustments before the launch.
Even after the launch of the course, it is possible to make changes to the content according to the behavior and feedback received from students – and this is one of the great advantages of distance learning.
The Google Analytics is now the most popular tool when it comes to data analysis of traffic and behavior on web pages.
Read my full article on the subject for more insights.
4. Create the content
The next step in your journey to set up an online course is to create the content itself.
Learning how to take professional video lessons is no big deal, but it does require some study and dedication.
Start by defining the format of your course, if there will be support material, such as handouts and e-books or if you will be based only on recorded classes.
What is the ideal format? The one that best suits your persona, of course.
In order not to get lost, make a skeleton of your lesson plan and establish a prediction about which materials should enter each stage of the program.
5. Edit the content
Editing the material is almost as important as its production phase.
This is because a confused presentation of the content can compromise the entire performance of your course.
Always remember that there is no point in offering rich content, but it is confusing for the student.
If design , video editing and layout are not your forte, it is worth investing in hiring a specialist who can help you in this phase.
You can search for freelance professionals on online platforms such as Workana , 99Freelas and Upwork .
The important thing is to ensure that, in the end, you will have content that is not only capable of transmitting knowledge, but that does so in a dynamic and engaging way.
6. Choose the hosting platform
The choice of the platform to host the course is a step that causes doubts in many entrepreneurs who venture for the first time in the world of EAD and online courses.
Today, there are several options on the market for those who need to make classes available for sale in the digital environment.
When choosing the best path for your course, you need to make sure that the hosting system allows a certain level of customization.
Everything so that you can present the content in a didactic way to students.
Another important point is data management, as it is interesting to be able to look at the number of entries as a whole and extract contact from your students for future promotions.
Finally, security must always be a priority, since you will be dealing with sensitive information in an environment that must be prepared to carry out financial transactions.
One of the options available to host a course is to create your own system, with a domain and hosting customized by you.
This path gives more control to those who sell the course, since they can program all the details and have control over all aspects: from the purchase environment to the configuration of the student area.
On the other hand, this alternative requires greater knowledge, since whoever manages the site cannot use technical support to resolve webdesign and programming issues that may arise.
Learning Management System
Known in Portuguese as the Learning Management System, LMS are software dedicated to managing distance learning.
Widely used by human resources departments, they facilitate the training and continuing education of professionals by offering a dynamic environment, in which the student has greater autonomy in their educational process.
LMS have the convenience of ready-made platforms, but they are also malleable enough to offer some additional features, customized according to the needs of the customer.
On the internet, there are already some platforms dedicated especially for selling online courses.
With an intuitive interface, they facilitate the process and you just need to fill out your registration, describe your course and submit it for approval.
It is as simple and practical as it looks.
Know below the main names of the market at the moment:
7. Set the price
The price may seem, at first glance, a detail that will be defined later.
But understand that it is a defining aspect for the success of your course.
Especially because there is no point in offering expensive material if, in the end, your audience cannot afford to pay for it.
Likewise, those who advertise with a price well below the average may raise doubts about the quality of the content delivered.
When pricing, keep your audience in mind to establish a value that is compatible with purchasing power and also with your consumption habits.
One of the paths chosen by entrepreneurs is the sale of the closed course, with the pre-defined number of class hours.
This is a safe way to reach an audience that does not yet know you, because the student is sure of what he is acquiring before the purchase and can make a conscious choice from that.
Those who already have a greater confidence in their audience can still consider the subscription model .
Here, you are committed to the continuous release of new content, making it available to anyone who signs the course.
This path is especially useful for you to refine the content and make adaptations along the way.
8. Create your sales page
Your sales page is the front for your business and, therefore, it must represent well the product sold and convince, presenting all its advantages
The digital marketing gives us some tips on how to create a foolproof sales page – check out the checklist below.
7 Elements that cannot be missing from your page
- Call – the promise of what will be delivered
- Video or illustrative image
- Call to action, or call to action (CTA)
- Advantages and differentials
- Offer with price
- Student testimonials
- Closing – resuming the benefits and reinforcing the offer.
9. Promote your course online
Everyone has heard that advertising is the lifeblood of the business, right?
In the case of distance learning, this also applies.
And proper disclosure is essential for your material to stand out from the many others available on the internet.
Again, the public must be considered when choosing the best channels that will be used to communicate about your course.
Disclosure on blogs has gained attention in recent years with the popularization of inbound marketing .
This type of strategy can be applied both in the development of a blog specific to the course, with extra material, as well as establishing partnerships with independent content producers who are the authority in the segment.
It is important to be present on the social networks your audience accesses.
This can be done both with the disclosure in professional groups, as well as by maintaining the official pages of the course, where relevant content on the topic will be posted, in addition to the eventual sales offer.
The ads bring a higher level of sophistication to the disclosure that is made organically.
It is possible to schedule campaigns with specific targeting in search and social network services, thus ensuring that your message will reach those who really matter.
The market today has a class of professionals dedicated exclusively to the promotion and sale and distance learning courses.
The affiliate , as they are called, work promoting the sale of online courses, earning a commission for each new registration.
Better understand how affiliate marketing works in this article .
Contrary to popular belief, e-mail is not dead.
On the contrary, the media has never been stronger as a dissemination tool.
E-mail marketing campaigns can be especially effective, as they offer a level of customization and automation of marketing actions that no other channel has.
Finally, loyalty programs can be very interesting for promoting online courses.
Use the networking of your students, offering a discount code so that it does for you the work of an affiliate, guaranteeing in return some extra content or discount on tuition.
10. Help your customers succeed
If you promise in your course that the student will be able to move worlds and funds after training, you need to accompany them to ensure that they reach their full potential.
Be present in the life of those who have already gone through your course, creating support mechanisms and groups where you and other professionals can exchange experiences during the application of the learned content.
By doing this, you reinforce your authority on the topic you address and show yourself to the market as a reference – which, in the end, helps to generate more sales for the course.
Whoever dreams of creating an online course has never had so many reasons to move forward with the project as they have today.
Around the world, companies have increasingly demanded that professionals continue to train and improve their technique.
Parallel to this, technological advances have brought several specialized tools – many free of charge – for creating and selling classes in distance learning, facilitating the entire process.
So, whoever wants to launch their course today has a knife and cheese in their hands.
But this project needs to be taken seriously.
To start, just get to know your audience well and make sure that the content offered will be relevant and attractive to whom it is intended.
By following the step-by-step I taught you above, you will be ready to create and sell a successful online course.