In a world that never stops learning, online courses have become a golden ticket to sharing knowledge, connecting with global audiences, and even generating passive income. Whether you’re an expert in cooking, coding, or coaching, there’s an audience waiting to learn from you. But how do you make it happen? Let’s dive in!
The rise of online courses
The digital age has transformed education, bringing learning to our fingertips. From the flexibility to learn at our own pace to the ability to connect with global experts, online courses have revolutionized the way we learn.
With Disciple Media, you take take your course a step further by housing it within your own, fully-branded web and mobile app. That’s not just learning; that’s an exclusive backstage pass to your wisdom. Here’s why:
- Global reach: If you choose, anyone around the world, from Tokyo to Timbuktu, can access your course.
- Flexibility: Early bird or night owl, learners can choose when it best suits them to learn.
- Personal connection: By building a supportive community around your course, learners get accountability, camaraderie and a place where they belong.
- Passive income: Do it right, and your course can earn while you sip that Margarita on the beach.
Step 1: Finding your niche
Your online course’s success starts with choosing the right niche. It’s the intersection of your expertise, your passion, and what the market needs. Here’s a step-by-step guide to identifying that sweet spot where you can truly shine.
Identify your passion and expertise
- Assessment: List your skills and interests – it’s worth spending some time really thinking about what you love and feel motivated to do.
- Align with market demand: Check that there is demand for what you want to offer by conducting some research. Google Trends and Reddit forums can be a good place to start.
- Test the waters: Dive in and share content on social media or blogs to see what the reaction is. Social media is a great place to start building an audience who will be receptive to your offering.
Understand your audience
- Create personas: Build detailed profiles of potential learners so that you can direct your marketing efforts towards the people who will benefit most from your course.
- Engage and ask: Run surveys or engage in online forums to hear directly from your target audience.
- Analyze existing courses: Enroll in similar courses to understand what others are offering. What do you like and what would you do differently?
- Identify USPs: What can you offer that others can’t? Think about your experience and who you are as an individual.
Build a community
- Engage early: Start building a community early on, using social media before scaling on a more professional and private platform like Disciple.
- Nurture your community: Look after your members and ensure that you are providing a valuable experience, as they can become your most valuable business asset. Not only do community connections add something unique and special to your courses, but the people in your community are the people most likely to benefit from and purchase your services.
- Involve them: Your community can offer insights that will help you build the best possible course content. Share behind-the-scenes content or offer early access and ask them for feedback.
Step 2: Do your homework
Before you dive into content creation, you need to understand the lay of the land. From your audience’s needs and preferences to your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, doing your homework sets the foundation for your course’s success. Here’s how to dig deep and gather the insights that will shape your course.
Deep dive into competitors
- Sign up for courses: As we explained in the section on uncovering your niche, you need to know what your competitors are offering. In the homework phase of setting up your own course, its worth digging in a little further, you will learn a lot!
- Identify opportunities: Identify what sets your own course offering apart from others.
Know your audience inside out
- Conduct surveys: Learn directly from the people you want to reach by creating surveys. Tools like SurveyMonkey, Typeform or Google Forms can be helpful. The best surveys are short, so think carefully about what questions to ask to collect the insights you need. You will likely need to think about incentivising people to complete your survey.
- Engage in forums: Engage in Facebook groups, Reddit threads and more in order to keep your finger on the pulse of what your audience is interested in.
Set the right price
- Analyze competitors’ pricing: Dive into the existing pricing landscape. What are others charging? Why? It’s not about copying; it’s about understanding where you fit in.
- Test different models: Shake things up. Consider subscriptions for ongoing value, one-time payments for lifetime access, or free trials to lure in the curious ones. Play around; find what resonates with your audience and your brand.
Choose the perfect platform
- Consider your brand: Choose a platform that puts your brand front and centre. Platforms like Disciple aren’t just functional; they’re an extension of who you are. Make it feel like home.
- Think of community integration: Learning isn’t just about absorbing information; it’s about interacting, questioning, growing together. Integrate with forums, live chats, collaboration tools. Make your course a living community, not just a digital library.
Foster community engagement
- Plan engagement activities: Think weekly challenges that ignite curiosity, discussion prompts that spark debates, interactive sessions that build connections. Make it engaging; make it alive.
- Build a community: It’s more than just a forum; it’s a space where learners connect, share, grow. Facilitate those connections, spark those discussions, nurture those relationships.
Step 3: Crafting that perfect content
Content is the heart and soul of your course. It’s what delivers value, engages learners, and fosters a connection. With a platform like Disciple, you can take this connection to a whole new level, making your content not just informative but a transformative experience. Here’s how to do it:
- Outline your course: Break it down into modules, lessons, activities. Think of it as a journey you’re guiding your students through.
- Diverse formats: Plan videos, quizzes, assignments. Mix it up to keep things engaging and cater to different learning styles.
- Real-world connection: Include case studies, examples, live demos. Make it real and relatable.
- Community interaction: Design activities that require community interaction. Your Disciple community is where learning gets personal and collaboration turns into real growth.
- Brand consistency: Your course is an extension of you and your business, make it feel that way. Consistency is important for building brand recognition and growing your business.
- Ongoing engagement: Plan post-course engagement. Keep the learning going; keep the connection alive.
Step 4: Picking your platform
Your online course needs a home—a platform that aligns with your brand, resonates with your audience, and provides the tools you need to succeed. It’s not just about uploading videos; it’s about creating a learning hub, a community, an ecosystem. Here’s what to consider:
- Brand alignment: Choose a platform that aligns with your brand. Disciple allows you to create an online home for your community and course that feels uniquely yours.
- Membership-building features: Look for community engagement tools. Learning is social; make it so.
- Mobile accessibility: Ensure a seamless experience across devices. Learning on the go is the future, and with Disciple, it’s a breeze.
Integration with existing systems
- Seamless integration: The platform should integrate with your existing systems and tools. It’s about creating a cohesive learning experience.
- Customization options: Look for customization options to reflect your brand. Your platform should feel like an extension of your vision.
- Growth consideration: Choose a platform that can grow with you. Your course is alive; it should have room to evolve.
Step 5: Pricing – The delicate dance
Pricing your course is a delicate balance between valuing your expertise and understanding your audience’s willingness to pay. It’s not just a number; it’s a statement of value, an invitation to an exclusive club, a gate to a transformative experience. Here’s how to strike that perfect balance:
Understand your audience
- What will they pay?: Survey your audience to understand their willingness to pay. It’s a dialogue, not a dictate.
- Value perception: How do they perceive value? What makes them see your course as a good deal? It’s about the whole package, not just the content.
Competitor pricing analysis
- Benchmarking: Understand the pricing landscape by analyzing similar offerings. Know where you stand but stand where you believe.
- Pricing position: Are you positioning your course as a premium or budget-friendly option? Your price is your promise.
Flexible pricing options
- Tiered pricing: Offer different pricing tiers with varying features and benefits. Give choices, but make every choice a win.
- Discounts and trials: Consider offering discounts for early adopters or free trials to lure in hesitant buyers. Sometimes a taste is all it takes.
- Subscriptions: Recurring revenue can create a stable income source. It’s not just a purchase; it’s a partnership.
- One-time fees: Consider offering lifetime access to your course for a one-time fee.
- Bundling: Bundle courses or offer add-ons to increase the perceived value. It’s not just a course; it’s a curriculum.
Step 6: Introducing your course – make it shine
Your course introduction within the Disciple app or on a website landing page is your chance to present your course, allure potential students, and set the tone for the whole learning experience. It’s not just about listing features; it’s about sharing your vision, your passion, your promise. Here’s how to make it shine:
Create a compelling introduction
- Attention-grabbing headline/first sentence: Start with a powerful headline that resonates with your audience. Speak to their aspirations, their curiosity, their needs.
- Benefits-focused content: Share the benefits of the course, not just the features. How will it transform them? What unique experiences will they gain
- Visual elements: Include high-quality images or videos that align with your brand and the course’s theme. Make it visual; make it vibrant.
Emphasize community elements
- Highlight member engagement: Showcase how your course goes beyond mere content by fostering connections between participants. Spotlight weekly challenges, discussion prompts and community activities.
- Share testimonials: If possible, include quotes or testimonials from community members. Build credibility and trust through bringing in other voices.
Provide a clear path forward
- Include a clear call to action (CTA): Guide your future course participants to the next step, whether it’s enrolling in the course or joining a community discussion. Make it clear; make it inviting.
- Show the way to more information: Provide links or directions to where your audience can find more details about the course or community in case they want to dig deeper.
Step 7: Shout it from the rooftops
You’ve built it; now it’s time to let the world know. It’s not just marketing; it’s sharing your passion, spreading your message, inviting others to join the journey. From content marketing to influencer partnerships, shouting it from the rooftops means using all the tools at your disposal. Here’s how to make some noise:
- Blog posts: Write blog posts related to your course topic. This will help to establish you as a voice of authority on your chosen topic and is a great way of boosting your SEO (ability to be discovered in online searches). Share your wisdom; spread the word.
- Guest posting: Contribute guest posts to relevant blogs or websites to further expand your reach and share your vision.
Social media marketing
- Platform selection: Choose platforms where your target audience hangs out. Go where they are and provide content tailored to this.
- Regular updates: Share updates, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and engage with your followers.
- Paid advertising: Consider running paid ads to reach a broader audience. Invest in your dream to make it a reality.
- Lead magnets: Offer something valuable (e.g., a free guide) to collect email addresses. Give and you shall receive.
- Email sequences: Design email sequences that nurture leads towards purchasing your course. It shouldn’t be a hard sell, slowly drip feed value to build up trust and interest in your course.
- Identify influencers: Find influencers in your niche who might be interested in promoting your course.
- Collaborate: Offer something valuable in return for their promotion, such as free access to your course or a commission on sales. It’s a partnership; make it win-win.
Webinars and live sessions
- Promotional webinars: Host webinars or live sessions to promote your course. This is a great way of giving potential participants a taster of what your course includes and how it will help them transform their lives.
- Engage and educate: Use these platforms to engage with potential customers and educate them about the benefits of your course. Your course has the potential to change lives, it’s worth shouting about at every opportunity!
Step 8: Ready, set, launch!
Launch day is more than just pressing a button. It’s a celebration, a milestone, and the start of a new journey. It’s not just about sales; it’s about impact, connection, transformation. From pre-launch teasers to post-launch engagement, here’s how to make it unforgettable:
- Teasers: Share teasers and behind-the-scenes glimpses to build excitement.
- Early bird offers: Offer special discounts or bonuses for early adopters. It’s well worth rewarding those who believe in you right from the start.
- Build a waiting list: Encourage interested individuals to join a waiting list. Build anticipation; make it exclusive.
- Launch day celebration: Make launch day special with live sessions, Q&As, or special bonuses. Celebrate with your participants and make them feel part of something big.
- Leverage your community: Encourage your community to share the launch within their networks. The people in your network are your best advocates, include them in your strategy for spreading the word.
- Monitor and respond: Monitor feedback, respond to questions, and handle any issues promptly in order to show your members that you care.
- Gather feedback: Ask for feedback and make necessary improvements so that your course evolves and improves.
- Continue promotion: Continue promoting your course through various channels. Look out for external moments that you can use as hooks to remarket your couse.
- Engage with students: Engage meaningfully with your students through forums, emails, or live sessions.
Step 9: Listen, learn, improve
Success is a continuous journey that’s not just about numbers; it’s about growth, connections, transformations. Listening to your students, learning from the experiences, and continuously improving your course keeps it relevant, engaging, and successful. Here’s how to keep the momentum going, long after the launch excitement fades:
- Surveys: Craft a post-course survey to gather feedback from everyone who completes your course. Encourage everyone to complete it and demonstrate to them that you really value their feedback.
- Community engagement: Start conversations with students in community forums or on your own app to understand their experiences. With Disciple you can create private groups for course participants to chat – get in there yourself and you can gain feedback along the way, not just at the end of your course.
Analyze performance metrics
- Completion rates: Monitor how many students are completing the course. Pay attention to any patterns in drop off and work on improving those parts of the course. Think about other ways in which you can keep learners engaged all the way to the end.
- Engagement metrics: Analyze engagement within the course and community. It’s not just about watching; it’s about engaging.
Iterate and improve
- Tweak and update your course: Update content, fix issues, or add new materials based on feedback.
- Continue engagement: Continue engaging with students even after they’ve completed the course. If you ever want to create a follow on course, these people may well be interested. Plus you’ll enjoy seeing how your course has improved their lives.
Selling online courses is an exhilarating journey filled with creativity, connection, challenges, and rewards. In 2023, it’s more than just sharing knowledge; it’s about building communities, fostering connections, and making learning a joyous adventure.
With Disciple Media, you can elevate your brand, generate an income and integrate courses in a way that builds your business. Your virtual classroom awaits. Join the learning revolution!
FAQs: Using the Disciple platform to build your course
Can I really create my own online course without technical skills?
Absolutely! With platforms like Disciple, you don’t need to be a tech wizard. The user-friendly interface guides you through the process, and there’s support available if you need it. Your expertise is in your subject matter; let Disciple handle the tech part. Find out more about setting up courses on the Disciple platform.
How do I know what to price my course?
Pricing is a blend of understanding your audience, evaluating your content’s value, and aligning with your brand. Consider competitor pricing, test different models, and don’t be afraid to adjust as you learn more about your market. Your price should reflect the value and the experience you’re providing.
How can I build a community around my course?
Community building starts with engagement. Utilize Disciple’s community integration features to facilitate discussions, challenges, and collaboration. It’s about creating a space where learners feel connected, supported, and part of something bigger than just a course.
What if I need to update my course after launching?
Keeping your course fresh and relevant is crucial. With Disciple, you can make updates, add new content, or tweak existing materials as needed. Your course is a living entity; it should grow and evolve with your learners.
Can I offer my course on mobile devices?
Yes, with Disciple, your course is accessible across devices, including mobile phones. Learning on the go is the future, and your course is ready for it. It’s about providing a seamless, flexible learning experience, wherever your students are.
How do I promote my course to reach the right audience?
Promotion is a multifaceted approach. Utilize content marketing, social media, email campaigns, influencer partnerships, and more. Understand where your target audience hangs out and speak their language. It’s not just about shouting; it’s about connecting.