By Josh Ledgard
So you’ve heard that courses are a great way to increase exposure, establish your brand as an authority, and sell more products. Now, you’re ready to dive in, but the only problem is that you have no idea where to start. And you’re not interested in taking a course to create a course.
Can’t say I blame you.
The good news is that creating a course doesn’t have to take a lot of time or effort. You already know the content. Your main challenge is to organize the information and package it in a way that’s easily accessible to those who need it. I’ll help you with that, and I’m going to make a wild and crazy promise: by the end of this post, you’ll be equipped and ready to create a profitable course of your very own. Let’s get started.
There are two basic types of courses you can offer: one type is delivered through email. The other type is set up on a website. Let’s run through the benefits of each to help you decide which is best.
In an email course, lessons are automatically delivered via your email marketing service provider. The benefits of email courses are:
Lessons are delivered directly to the student’s inbox.
They don’t have to remember to come back to your website.
You get permission to market to them after the course is done.
By signing up for your email course, they’ll also join your email list, which means you can market to them in the future. (As long as you’ve included it in the fine print.)
You teach more than just the course.
Students get used to opening up your emails, so they are more likely to continue opening up your emails in the future.
There are a lot of equally good reasons to consider the web-based approach, such as:
Lessons are self-paced.
Students can come and go as they please, and take the lesson at a time that’s convenient for them.
No lost emails.
The inbox can be a jungle, and your lessons may get lost. With a web-based course, all lessons are accessible from one central location, without digging through emails.
Easier to add bells and whistles.
Want to include videos, audios, gifs, and other multimedia? Depending on the email service, you won’t be able to beautify your email course, but you can make it look exactly the way you want if you choose to use a website.
As soon as you realize you want to create a course, set up your landing page. In fact, head over here, pick out a professionally designed template, and publish your landing page for your upcoming course. Go on, I’ll wait.
You may think I’m kidding, but your landing page is seriously the most important thing you can do right now to start building a list of people who are interested in taking your course.
The name of your course – Choose a name that’s easy to remember. It should also echo the benefit that the course taker will gain (for example, the course name “Learn How to Speak Klingon in 30 days” means that if I enroll in your course, I should be ready just in time for Comic Con).
The benefits of taking your course – Don’t list features. Instead, explain how the course taker’s life will improve because of your course (for example, impress your date by speaking to her in fluent Klingon).
A simple signup form – Keep it simple. Don’t ask for too much or you’ll decrease the amount of signups. Lengthy signup forms spook a lot of people. I recommend staying with name and email address. You can find out the rest later, but the most important thing you can do on the landing page is get them to sign up.
Social media share buttons – This is a great way to get the word out about your course. Encourage them to share the news with their social circles.
I’m not going to sugar coat it– coming up with the right topic for your course isn’t easy. How do you determine what to teach?
Here are two strategies to lead you to the right place for you:
Start with your blog. Your blog, assuming you have one, is a wellspring of information. Use it to find out what content is resonating most with your audience. Popularity means that there’s an interest in the subject matter.
Survey your audience. Use our simple survey tool to find out what your audience wants to learn. You can add this short polls on specific pages on your site.
It also helps to decide on the goals you have for course. What are you trying to accomplish? What looks like success? Do you want to:
Establish yourself as an authority/ expert?
Generate interest in your products?
Create passive income for yourself?
Build brand authority?
Grow your email list?
Knowing what you want from your course will help you find the right topic. It will also help you determine which key performance indicators are the most important.
So, if you’ve decided to charge for your course, the very next question you’ve got to answer is, how much should you charge for your course?
To arrive at the answer, you’re going to have to wrestle with your instincts to undercut your own value.
On one hand, you want to charge something that’s fair. You don’t want to price yourself out of the market.
On the other hand, you want to actually make money from the course. The course represents the time and other resources that you’ve invested (for free), so you’ve got to recoup those costs.
But there’s another aspect that you may not have considered: perceived value.
And, to be honest, perceived value is the most important thing to consider.
When you price your course, don’t automatically default into what you think people can afford. People will surprise you.
It’s one of the standard rules of copywriting– don’t appeal to affordability, appeal to pain. How much is someone willing to pay to eliminate the pain? When you think of pricing in that way, it’s a lot easier to justify a higher cost.
Someone may only be able to afford $5 to entertain your ideas, but to finally get rid of a pain that has tormented them? They’ll pay $50, maybe even $500.
No matter what you price the product, if you appeal to their emotion, people will justify the cost*.
*Okay, I have to throw in the obligatory “within reason”. You don’t want to go completely crazy here. A good rule of thumb is to trust your gut and then go a little above what it suggests (25% more). If you think $50 sounds about right, bump it up to $62.50 to compensate for your irresistible tendency to undervalue yourself.
Pricing is a complicated process and I’d love to get lost in it like Narnia; however, I promised a quick and easy guide, so let’s move along. But if you’d like to learn more about pricing your course, drop us a comment @KickoffLabs.
Your course needs to justify the cost– whatever that is. It shouldn’t just be regurgitated content from your blog because why should the course taker pay for that?
That’s not to say you can’t use your blog posts as inspiration for your course material. But consider expanding your blog posts to give your students more value, more educational content, and more tools that they can use to turn theory into practice.
For example, consider adding videos to your written content. These videos, especially if you show your face, provide a more human and personal element to your courses. Videos automatically raise the value of content.
Another sure bet are printables. Everyone loves printables– especially of the worksheet or workbook variety. Use printables to encourage action. It’s action that makes the student feel like they’re actually working towards a solution.
Finally, create a social community around your course. I love this idea because it’s a special bonus that you can provide exclusively for your students. They get access to you and to other students who’ve also taken the course. This helps you build an engaged community that are more likely to stay connected to you, and buy from you in the future.
To learn more about creating a social community, check out this post: How to Create Your Own Community on Social Media.
Just because you build it, it doesn’t mean that they’re going to come. Nope. That’s why you need advertising. To get the most return out of your course, you have to advertise it just about anywhere that you can. Here’s a partial list to get your started:
Facebook is my go-to favorite for advertising any and everything. It’s so easy to reach your target audience and it’s pretty darn effective. Check out this post for a beginner-friendly guide to Facebook ads.
Don’t sleep on Pinterest. Even if Pinterest isn’t your thing (in other words, you’re a guy), you’d be surprised at how far this social bookmarking site can extend your reach. This is especially true if women are part of your target audience because 42% of all adult women in the US use Pinterest.
Push your course on your website, too. This includes your blog. You need to tell your visitors, first time and repeat alike, that you’ve got a course that they may be interested in. Do this with the help of one of our Contest Box forms.
Before you go, check out these extra resources to help you launch a profitable course:
By the way, here’s the only launch checklist you’ll ever need— and you can apply it to everything, including launching your course.