Online courses are a great way to grow your coaching business. An online course is a digital product that you use to share your knowledge and expertise, grow your client base, and make money.
With an online course you can expand your audience on a much larger scale. Because your course students simply have to register to get access to your knowledge and expertise you can reach more people. No onboarding, coordinating meetings, or hosting one-on-one sessions for your course students. Imagine the time you’ll save and the people you’ll be able to reach through your online course offering!
As an added bonus, some of your students will love your content so much they’ll want to hire you for one-on-one or group coaching. Your course is a great way to establish yourself as an expert and attract future clients.
The best part? You get paid for the amazing content you provide your students! Your course can become a reliable source of revenue for your business.
Ready to create your first online course? Keep reading to learn how!
Step One: Choose your course topic
First things first, choose the topic of your course. Your topic should reflect your expertise and solve a problem that people in your niche struggle with. Through your course you will offer a solution to the problem your niche struggles with.
Take a moment to reflect on your area of expertise and the problem that you solve for your clients.
Once you have a topic in mind for your course, test out your idea. Before you get into content creation for your course you will want to make sure that there is a market for your course. In other words, you need to find out if anyone will pay for the information you offer in your course.
Test your course topic
Test out your course idea with the steps below.
- Search Groups on social media – Search for groups that exist on the topic of your course. Spend some time monitoring commonly asked questions in these groups. If the problem you solve through your course is a common theme in the group your course topic likely has a market.
- Compare with your competitors’ offers – Identify 2-3 fellow coaches or course creators in your niche. Research their offerings. Do they offer a course that covers a similar topic to yours? Can you offer something that their course is missing?
- Survey your email list – If you have an email list over 100 subscribers send a survey to your subscribers to gauge their interest in your course topic. The goal is to collect positive responses from at least 25% of your subscribers. From your pool of positive responders ask for interviews. Set up an individual interview with 5-10 people from your pool of positive responders and ask them the following questions:
- What is their desired outcome after completing the course?
- What excites them most about the topic?
- What struggles do they have with the topic
By now, you should have a solid course topic and evidence that people are willing to pay for the content you are offering. It’s finally time to get your creative juices flowing by naming your course!
Pro tip: First time course creators should address a specific pain point. Don’t offer a solution to everything but the kitchen sink. Solve a specific problem for your students.
Step Two: Name your course
Naming your course is an important step to get right. When a potential customer sees the title of your course it should immediately pique their interest. You want your course name to clearly communicate the problem your ideal customer has and the solution you are offering.
A powerful course name is…
- Clear and concise
- Outcome focused (not learning focused)
- Attention grabbing
Take a moment to brainstorm potential names for your course.
Pro-tip: Get potential customers engaged. Ask your email subscribers or social media followers to vote on their favorite name.
A great course name draws potential customers in. An equally great tagline spurs potential customers on to learn more. Your tagline will be a short sentence, about 10 words or less.
Craft your tagline and move on to Step Four.
Step Three: Decide how to deliver your course content
Online courses exist in many different formats. You can record a video of yourself talking, creating a visually appealing video with a slide deck and voiceover, or you can send your course students downloadable PDF workbooks. Explore the course content delivery methods below and choose one that feels more comfortable and doable for you.
- Direct to camera – The direct to camera option for delivering your content consists of you scripting and filming video lessons for your students. You will recite your video scripts directly into your camera lens as if you are talking directly to one of your students.
- Audio + video slides – An audio course with video slides is a great option for camera shy course creators. Your course students still get the benefit of being visually engaged while taking in your audio content.
- Direct to camera + video slides – Some course creators opt for a blend of showing up on camera and creating video slides. This gives your course students the best of both worlds. This option does require the most coordination on your end but it also provides the richest experience for your students.
- Audio only – An audio course is almost like an exclusive podcast that your course students get access to. With an audio only podcast you will record your voice and upload your mp3 files to the course platform of your choosing.
- PDF workbooks – Skip audio and video all together and create incredible workbooks for your students. Students who enjoy learning by the book will love this format. If you love to write this might be the content delivery route for you.
What format will you choose for your course content? Direct to camera? Audio? A blend of all the above? Choose a format that feels most comfortable and realistic for you.
Pro tip: You don’t have to be an expert on course creation to utilize one or all of the course formats above. You can hire freelance experts to assist with video editing, audio editing, workbook design and so much more! Check out Fiverr and UpWork to see what course content creation you can outsource.
Step Four: Pick a platform
Now that you know how you will deliver your course content it’s time to choose a platform for your course! There are many different platforms to choose from like Kajabi, Teachable, Thinkific and more. Kajabi is by far the best.
With Kajabi you can build a beautiful course and do all of your marketing for your course from one platform. You can create, market and sell your course all in one place with Kajabi. The platform is super user friendly and if you hit any snags the customer service team is amazing. You can start a free trial today to see what all the hype is about!
Step Five: Create your content
Now the real fun begins, creating your course content! It’s time to take the amazing knowledge you have in your head and translate it into video, audio, or workbook content.
Start by outlining your content. Script your audio, prep your video setup, create your slide decks and workbooks. The easiest way to outline your content is to break it down into individual lessons. Identify the number of lessons your course will contain and start outlining content for each lesson.
Once your content is outlined and scripted, start creating! Step up to the microphone, hit the record button on your camera, or assemble your workbooks.
Give yourself a few days to create your content. Recording your voice or talking to a camera may feel overwhelming at first. This isn’t a project that can be completed well in one-day. Plan accordingly and give yourself lots of grace!
Once all of your content is created grab your proverbial red pen. Edit your videos, clean up your audio, and scan your workbook material for typos.
Tools you might need to create & edit your content:
- Canva – Canva is a user-friendly graphic design site. Design your own eye-catching video slides and workbooks with Canva.
- Quality Microphone – Invest in a quality microphone for your voiceover work. The Rode mic is a great option.
- Quality Video Camera – Your phone might work if it has a high quality camera but a camera designed for video is recommended.
- Video Editing Software – Editing software will help you cut out mess ups and mistakes and help you add some pizzazz to your video content. Wevideo is a great editing software option for beginners. You can edit your videos, screen record and utilize other cool features like green screen.
- Teleprompter – Consider using a teleprompter app. BigVue is a teleprompter app that will help you create perfect teaching videos.
Can you believe it? Your course content is ready to be shared with the world! Before you open your doors for enrollment, spend some time getting your pricing right.
Step Six: Price your course
Your course content is ready to roll. How much will you charge for your amazing content? Pricing your course correctly is crucial. Charge too much and some of your ideal customers won’t be able to afford your course. Charge too little and people might underestimate the value of your offer.
Start playing around with pricing by coming up with a ballpark figure that you’re thinking of charging. Record your figure somewhere safe. Next, test your figure against the market.
Compare with competitor courses
Identify 2-3 fellow course creators that offer courses with a similar format and topic to yours. Figure out what they are offering through their course and what they charge.
Where do you fit in with your competitors? Are you charging too much? Too little?
Consider the value you are offering through your course content
You know what your competitors are charging but your course isn’t exactly like theirs. Further clarify your pricing by determining what the value is of your course. Ask yourself: What is the value of the outcome I promise my course students?
Additionally, consider any added bonuses or elements you offer through your course. Do you offer bonus workbooks at the end of each lesson? Will you throw in an extra lesson or a one-on-one session?
After comparing with your competitors and considering the value of your content, return to your estimated figure. Were you close to the mark or pretty far off? Given everything you know now, set a price for your course.
Step Seven: Test your content
You’re almost there coach! Before launching it’s a good idea to test your course content.
You want to make sure that all of the hard work you’ve put into creating your course will pay off. Recruit BETA testers to screen your content for typos, errors, and impact. Most importantly, the big question you want to know is: Did your course deliver the results you promised?
How to find BETA testers
You can find BETA testers for your course in a few different ways. If you have an email list, send an email to your subscribers asking for participants. You can increase your chances of getting a response by offering something in exchange for participation like a free coaching session or a discount code. If you don’t have an email list put the ask out on social media. Create a post asking for participants and share to your story. You can also put the ask out in relevant online groups.
The goal here is to get 5-10 people who fit in your target market to agree to test your course. No matter how you find your testers make sure that they align with your target market. You don’t want to ask friends and family to test out your course if they don’t fit into your target market.
Once you have 5-10 BETA testers give them access to your course and collect their feedback.
While your testers are working their way through your course, create a survey. You can easily create a survey using Google Forms or Survey Monkey. Your survey should capture responses to questions that you want to know about your course.
Here’s what you absolutely must ask your testers:
- User Experience – was it easy to enroll and navigate course material? Was your tech glitchy?
- Content – Did your tester find your content helpful/valuable?
- Outcome – Did you deliver on your promised outcome?
- Price – Would you tester pay “X” dollars for your course? You can also make it open ended and ask how much they would pay.
- Testimonial – ask your testers to share what they loved about your course and how it helped them!
Send a survey out to your testers as soon as they finish your course. The sooner you get their survey response the better their feedback will be.
Pro tip: Gather the testimonials testers left on their survey and use them for marketing purposes! Don’t forget to use the bonus resource that tells you exactly how to gather testimonials.
After your BETA testers have provided feedback on your course content make edits to your course. Be sure to implement as much of your testers feedback as possible. Pay extra attention to comments or complaints that came up more than once.
Step Eight: Launch
Congrats coach! You have done a ton of hard work to get to this point. It’s launch time. Time to share your amazing course with the world!
First things first, choose your launch style. You can choose to open your course for registration on certain dates throughout the year (annual) or keep your enrollment open all year long (evergreen).
Evergreen enrollment means that your course is always open to new students. With this launch approach you will create one, big launch for your course and allow students to enroll all year long.
This launch style is a bit limiting in the sense that you only get to create initial buzz around your course once. After launching your evergreen course you don’t have a new or urgent offer to extend to potential customers via your course content.
On the upside, an evergreen launch style is less stressful than annual launches. You don’t have to constantly plan and execute open enrollment launches. You also get the benefit of potentially receiving recurring revenue from monthly course registrations.
Unlike an evergreen approach an annual launch style means you open your course for enrollment on specific dates throughout the year. Opening enrollment on specific dates throughout the year is a great way to create momentum and buzz around your course. Not to mention, this approach can help you stay focused and organized.
Specific, or annual, launch dates give you the opportunity to plan, prepare, and strategically promote course registration. Plus, you won’t have to constantly keep up with registration or customer support.
This launch approach also creates urgency. Interested parties will know that they have a small window of time to make a decision. A small window of time to make an investment creates urgency which drives sales.
The downside of this approach is that you only make money on your course during launch periods. You also run the risk of missing out on customers that don’t register during your launch window. Once doors to your course close they may seek out a different course or coach to help them.
Choose the launch style that works best for you and move on to spreading the word!
Spread the word about your course
Schedule your launch and spread the word! Announce to email subscribers, social media followers, friends, and family that enrollment is open.
Pro tip: Personally reach out to any email subscribers, friends, or family provided you feedback on your course name or content.
After you’ve generated some buzz about your course, open enrollment! All that’s left now is to sit back and watch course registrations pour in.
Way to go coach!
You did it! You launched your first online course. Give yourself a pat on the back for all of your hard work.
It shouldn’t be long now until you have your first satisfied student! An online course is a great revenue stream for your business but don’t stop there. Convert course students into coaching clients. Learn how to uplevel your coaching business with The Coach School. The Coach School is a 12-week program designed to help you transform your coaching business. Learn more here.