The Steps to Create an Online Course
There are some fabulous online courses out there and you want to create one too but when it comes to actually thinking about doing it – where to start, how to do it and what order everything should happen in you hit overwhelm city! I hate seeing people get stuck like this so I’m going to take you through my 5 critical steps to create an online course.
1. Come up with a winning idea
The keys to coming up with a good idea are to ensure that:
- There is an existing market – this is preferable as the market is tested and energised to purchase an eCourse
- It is something your tribe want – you can test this through sending a survey about your eCourse ideas and seeing which one resonates the most
- It is something your tribe know you for – you have built a reputation as an expert or leader in this area and your tribe want to learn from you
- You are passionate about the topic – you will be living and breathing this topic so make sure you LOVE it!
One of the biggest mistakes I see entrepreneurs making is not testing and seeking feedback on their idea before creating it. In the eCourse Launch Formula I take you through a process to ensure that you have access to people who want to buy your eCourse.
Once you have decided on your eCourse idea it is time to move on!
2. Come up with a plan for your content
The next step is to work out what you are going to cover in your eCourse. You should be thinking about things like:
- Who is my ideal participant – who am I writing this for?
- What does my ideal client need to learn to achieve their goals?
- What are the objectives of my eCourse?
- What sort of learning experience do I want them to have?
- What are the key topics and sub-topics I want to cover?
- How long will the course be?
- What delivery methods will I use i.e. video, worksheets, workbooks, group calls, forum?
- Will I ask any contributors to take part?
In the eCourse Launch Formula I take participants through a process to get from idea to an outline of their entire course and a detailed table of contents for each module. We use processes such as mind mapping and a number of other techniques to get the ideas out of your brain and onto paper. We also use my module planner to design each module in their eCourse which you can below.
3. Determine how you want to price & position it
I don’t advise pricing and positioning your eCourse until after you have come up with a content plan. I find that people often start out with a concept that ends up quite different once they go through the brainstorming and organisation of the content process.
Once you have done this is it time to think about how you want to position this eCourse which again means thinking even further about your ideal participant and where you want to sit in the market – at the entry level right through to premium and high end.
You also need to think about where this eCourse will sit within your wider business model and price accordingly. Pricing also often relates to how long your eCourse is, for example, a short and snappy 4 weeks eCourse is generally priced lower than a 12-week intensive eCourse.
If setting an early -bird price you want to ensure that the difference in price from the full-price is enough to motivate people to purchase early. I generally tend to price my early-bird at the price I would be happy to sell the course for and full price a little outside of my ‘comfort zone’ so it feels awesome when people purchase at full-price.
I often encourage my participants to price a bit lower for their first round to gain momentum and a tribe of enthusiastic participants singing your praises for the next round.
Pricing is a complicated and multifaceted decision that you will continue to refine during your eCourse creation process.
4. Set your initial Goals & Budget
Next I like to set my goals and budget for my eCourse. I think this is best done once you have decided your price point for your eCourse and how you are positioning it as the budget will need to be aligned with how premium your eCourse is positioned.
It is ideal to set your budget first as this will inform your goal revenue or enrollments. To do this write a list of all the expenses you can think of and how much you are willing to spend on them. Remember if you are aiming to hit premium positioning this needs to be reflected in high-quality branding touch points such as a logo, sales page, membership site and pre-launch freebies.
When setting goals I like to set a base goal and a stretch goal. The base goal is an amount of enrollments and/or revenue that will enable us to cover costs and make a little profit. The stretch goal should always feel out of your comfort zone – like you almost can’t do it – and be something you aim towards for the entire launch.
In the eCourse Launch Formula I show you a way to calculate a realistic base and stretch goal based on a number of factors such as the size of your list and your marketing strategies. I also guide you through setting a range of other goals that should be tracked to analyse your launch effectively.
5. Create amazing Branding
Finally, you need to come up with a brand for your eCourse.
Your eCourse brand is not about you. At least it is not only about you.
You eCourse brand should be developed to evoke an emotion and desire in your ideal participant. It should impart a perception based on your desired positioning and give a sense of the vibe of the eCourse. Take a look at these examples below. They all have a very different ‘feel’, ideal participant and positioning.
At the bare minimum, I recommend investing in a professional logo and brand identity which covers your logo, eCourse brand colours and fonts.
In the eCourse Launch Formula we go in-depth on creating your eCourse brand with guest expert contributor Ellissa Jayne who takes us through a process to develop an eCourse branding brief to work with a designer on.
If you can afford it I highly recommend investing in a professional sales page and/or membership site design but also know that I did not do this in the early days and still had great success.
At this stage, you are now ready to enter the Launch Process for your online course covering pre-launch activities, sales pages, payment, launch strategies and more.
If you would like to work with me to create your Online Course check out the eCourse Launch Formula – your complete step by step guide to creating a profitable and passion-driven eCourse.
You can also sign-up to my free video series here.