Every word starting with E letter is usually a hype. E-learning is not an exception.Online courses market is skyrocketing, and Research and Markets promise it will reach approximately $325 billion by 2025. Just to compare, in 2010 it was $32 billion. Wow, that's an impressive boost! Good news — it's not late to catch the e-learning train.
We know such huge numbers already got you thinking about starting your course. In your mind, you are already a guru talking about smart things in front of thousands of students from every corner of our planet. But wait! First, you need our guide on the steps required to succeed in online course business. We are here to save you from failure!
Let's start this inspiring online course building journey together!
1. Choose the topic you're an expert in
There are thousands of online courses on any topic the most twisted mind will think. It may vary greatly — from fitness master classes to software development lessons. You probably never thought of this, but there are people somewhere dying to know more about Dinosaur Paleobiology.
The topic is a variable in this equation. The only constant here is you have to love and be passionate about the subject.
Don't know how to find a sphere you are good? Try to think of 3 things: your talents, your experience, and your achievements. Draw a simple table and fill it in with the stuff you love to do, you have experience at and what you have already achieved.
Then, try to relate three of them. Let's suppose: you're passionate about reading new books, you have experience in writing articles for a marketing agency and you have already published one book. Guess what? You should start "Publishing your first book" course immediately.
Passion and experience make a super combo for a successful online course.
2. Analyse the market supply and demand
It's not only about finding the topic you love. If you want to become a blogger or a guru with 6 number income, be prepared to answer the question — what problem can your course decide?
Now, as you've found a topic that you are expert at, analyse whether it's exactly what people need. Googling is the easiest way to know whether your idea has a chance for success.
Ok, you've googled and see no results? Don't hurry up to celebrate that you've invented something new and revolutionary. No results mean either one of two things: there is no concurrence here, and you're a genius to be a pioneer or no one needs it. Sad to admit, the second option is more likely.
Believe us; almost every idea was invented and tested before. If it doesn't exist, it means either people don't want it, or it has been unsuccessfully tried out by others. There is no in-between.
For your business safety, you'd better have the idea that at least can be googled. Sure, it means more competition, but you know 100% of people will search for your course.
Buzzsumo is your another assistant. It tells you what pieces of content are extremely popular and trendy now. And if your online course topic is among them, then you have all the chances to be among the bloggers that rock!
Diving more deeply into your audience desires is possible with Google Keyword Planner. It gives you a better understanding of the most popular search requests connected to your topic. What's more, it helps to understand whether the course topic is too vast or too specific.
Let's be more precise. Say, you are a fitness instructor. There are probably millions of online videos with various fitness exercises. So, how to stand out of the crowd? Narrow your topic a bit. Create "Abs Workout Course" instead of popular general fitness videos. Moreover, you will get a lower bid while promoting it. Win-win situation!
The main idea is your course should solve a particular problem and give specific answers to the questions people have.
The main idea is your course should solve a particular problem and give specific answers to the questions people have.
3. Choose the right target audience
Great, the topic is chosen. But something is missing, don't you think so? Who will buy your course? That's the central question for the business owners.
Knowing your audience is a must. If there is no one ready to pay for your idea, then your whole project is doomed.
But let's tell you a little secret: you cannot satisfy everyone. Everyone-is-happy-strategy is not a winning one. The sense of the word "target audience" is the right people for your product: not everyone, but just the right ones.
One of the easiest ways to find a perfect target persona is Quora. There you can research your topic and see who ask these questions. For example, it can be a female audience or teenager audience. You can keep guessing for a long time, but it's better to read the questions and answers to know for sure. Being familiar with your audience makes it possible to adjust your online course even more.
If you are not a newbie and you have already presented in front of people, we have great news. You already have an audience potentially interested in the topic you've chosen. Just ask them whether they want a course or not. It's the best way to get a clear answer. Send your existing fans a Google Form — a useful tool for surveys. Their solutions will give you a better picture of your online courses potential.
Also, it's essential to test your idea before launching. It's not enough to have thousands of fans — you need paying audience. No paying customers mean no income. So, think about pre-selling your course or making a short version to see the interest in it. Try out a smoke test: sell your course before it's even completed. Probably it's not fair enough, but you'll get the real audience begging for your idea.
Remember, you should love your online course idea, but your students should love it even more and be ready to buy it!
4. Define your course outline
Great, you already have a topic and ready target audience. Now you need to define a course outline — a plan what to tell your followers. Of course, you can be a master of improvisation. But the best improvisation is prepared improvisation.
Today people can find any information on the internet by themselves. But if they pay you for a course, they are expecting you already have organized everything for them. They want to get only valuable info without watching dozens of videos.
You might already have some content and info to share. Now you need to structure it.
In the ideal world, your course should answer the following questions:
- Why people need it?
- What will it give them?
- How will they learn something?
- What if they don't learn it?
- What actions should be taken to learn it?
What's more, setting precise goals and objectives is a good idea to motivate people. Your followers should know what they will get completing your online course. But what's the main difference between goal and objective? The goal is a broad statement that can be achieved by completing more specific objectives. People should know practical results they will accomplish after finishing your online program
An online course outline is essential not to get lost in tons of information you can tell during the lesson. We guarantee you — the plan will save you when you don't know what to say.
Divide the whole course into Modules. Then you can split them into smaller Units. Units, in their turn, can be sliced into Lessons.
At the end of every Module, you can create an assessment. Various tests motivate students to study harder. Moreover, the finals show whether a student has or has not achieved the module goal.
5. Decide on the course content
When the outline is ready, it's the time to choose the right way to present your online course content.
There are many options to present your material.
Here are the most popular ones:
- Text-based documents (PDF or Google Docs)
- Blog posts
- Presentations or Slides
- Video tutorials
- Live to stream
The way to spread the information is up to your skills and competencies. Also, the topic itself might influence the direction of the presentation. For example, if you're a fitness instructor or a make-up artist, it will be difficult to talk about the subject. You will need to show it on the video. Or at least at the pictures. A podcast is not the best option here.
If you are to show something during your course, then choose visual format. Better to see something once than to hear about it a thousand times.
Of course, video content requires more time and resources to create it. How to record your online courses to make them look catchy and quiet professional? First of all, you need a bunch of equipment.
- Gimbal Stabilizer
- Lightning (to make it professional)
- Video editing software
Of course, it's not obligatory to buy the best-market camera, mic, and stabiliser. In the beginning, a webcam or a camcorder will be enough to record your first online lessons. Digital SLR is the best option, but you can start with simple decisions, not requiring significant investments.
If you don't want to spend a fortune on the camera, you can consider these options:
- Sony HDRCX405 Camcorder
- Logitech C920 HD Pro
- GoPro Hero6
Video without high-quality audio is nothing. People want to hear everything you want to tell them. Terrible sound can ruin all your business idea, and you will lose all your followers. There is a variety of mics: condenser microphone, USB microphones, shotgun microphones, or lapel one. The type you choose depends on the content you're making. For videos, it's better to have a lapel mic as it won't be so visible during your course.
If you're lost in tons of the mics on the market, look at these:
- RODELink Digital Wireless System
- Rode Microphones VideoMic Pro R
- Sony ECM-44
If you want to avoid shaky video, you might need a gimbal stabiliser. But at the beginning of your blogger career you can put your camera on the table or any other stable surface.
Super, now you've recorded a non-shaky video, made a perfect sound. But the most critical and challenging step is yet to come. You need to put everything together. Professional software will come handy. These are the most popular video programs among Youtube bloggers and online course gurus:
Adobe Premiere Pro CC
Corel VideoStudio Ultimate
Adobe Premiere Elements
Yeah, making an online course is hard work. But no one said it would be easy. Not to lose all your enthusiasm, keep in mind that professional equipment might not be needed in the first stages of your business.
If you don't have a big budget yet, you can start with recording on your smartphone and editing with iMovie software (if you're an iPhone lover). Believe us; it will be enough. But if and when you get more resources, you can re-record the old videos to present them in better quality.
6. Choose a platform for your online courses
Your great content deserves a good e-learning platform. There are plenty of online course platforms like Udemy or Coursera, but they take control of your income.
However, one of the best options today is to use one of the all-in-one platforms like Gurucan. This platform allows you to create, upload, market, and sell your online courses. The main Gurucan advantage is a customised mobile app. The mobile app is a better option as today; mobile phones became an essential part of our daily routine. It's easier to engage people via mobile sources than desktop ones. A personalised mobile app is a revolution for bloggers with online courses. Such an app can get influencers' businesses to the next level.
Moreover, all-in-one platforms are better as you don't need to be a technical geek and a professional developer. All you'll need to do is to follow step-by-step instructions. Also, every time you have a problem, you'll get covered by the support team.
Instead of summing up…
Starting your own business is always a challenging task. But taking one step at a time will lead you to success. Just to remind you, here are the main milestones of creating online course journey:
— Choose a topic where you're an expert in. And add a lot of love and passion.
— Analyse the market demand and supply to see whether your course has a chance for success.
— Set up the right target audience and make content specifically for your fan group.
Define your course outline to know exactly what you want to tell people. You need to have a plan in case you're lost during a lesson. Moreover, it gives listeners an understanding of what the course is about, whether it corresponds to their expectations and their level of knowledge.
— Decide on the course content. You need to know how you want to present information to your followers. Also, think of the equipment you might need — it's essential to provide people with a high-quality product. Excellent video and clear sound will engage people even more.
- the best e-learning platform for selling your source. Consider a platform offering not only a landing page but also a mobile app. Mobile content is a perfect idea as people can listen to you and watch you everywhere. Desktop content is not always optimised for all the smartphones so that it can be inconvenient. Today mobile apps rule!
Online course galaxy is vast. And there is a niche for your business learning idea!