There are plenty of ways to make money online, but selling online courses and training material has to be one of the best methods. The reasons for this are many, such as low overhead costs when getting started, digital products have an extremely high-profit margin and there is a never ending need for good quality training material online — and lastly, people and brands are willing to pay good money for them as well!
Just take a look at what Udemy has created in a short period of time with their online marketplace for video courses and training material. The site now has over 17 million students and more than 27,000 instructors contributing content to their site — all while also working on a rev-share business model.
The hardest part of the course creation process is knowing what to build and how you are going to sell it. If this is something you are personally going to be creating and promoting, it should be something around your expertise and that you are known for. A perfect example of this would be if I was going to create an affiliate marketing or blogging course. Since I already have authority in these spaces and a loyal following, it would just make perfect sense for me to build something of value to sell to my audience.
With all of this in mind, today we are going to look at some different ways you can start creating successful online courses, while also doing some pre-planning and niche research in the process. The more research you do beforehand, the easier it will be for you to find success down the road.
Build a Course Around the Needs of a Business or Your Audience
When it comes time to create a course or training program, you will need to look at this from two different perspectives. Are you going to sell to businesses and brands, or individuals looking to learn something? If you are going to be selling to businesses and brands, you will likely need to have a more professional course, but will also have the ability to charge a lot more for it. Businesses always have money to spend, and if they are going to get value out of something, it’s usually a no brainer for them to invest in.
On the flip side, if you are going to create a course for individuals looking to learn something, you need to make sure you price it correctly. For example, if you were to create a course on how to make money blogging, it would be tough to sell it for a high ticket price, since your audience likely isn’t already established with a successful site or blog. The difference between these two demographics can be a huge contributing factor to the success of your business.
Sticking with a ‘business’ perspective, a great example of how you can take an existing industry report and turn it into much more (through an online course), would be this report on 50 Employee Engagement Ideas (From Glassdoor’s Top 50 SMBs). Businesses are all about productivity and they want nothing more to invest money in their company to see better ROI in the long run.
As for creating a course around this topic, all you would need to do is run through the list of 50 employee engagement ideas, then create a short video for each and a simple PDF checklist. This is more than enough for a business to invest a few hundred dollars into, then hand it off to their employees for a quick study. At the same time, you know the content and advice you are recommending is already proven and of value, as it’s based off a report from a reputable site like Glassdoor.
It might seem silly at first, but this is actually a perfect opportunity for someone to take existing data that is already out there and convert it into a video format that is easier to distribute and consume. When it comes to user engagement and learning, online video is consumed and absorbed at a much faster pace than written text. The latest video industry stats prove video is now more in demand than ever before, especially with mobile usage on the rise — which is how many students are currently taking their online video courses through. Creating just text and written content to your audience is simply leaving a huge gap in both your audience reach and potential revenue.
How and Where to Create and Sell Your Online Course
With the hardest part of figuring out what your course is going to be about, out of the way, it’s now time to consider your options for how to put your course together and where to sell it. There are many ways to accomplish this — some being more simple, cost effective and faster than others. If you are looking for a thorough guide on this process, I recommend you read this one on how to build an online course. Inside the reference guide you will find a collection of actionable tips, such as how to create quick reports to include within your course (as shown below)
The content within your course is going to be important, but how you deliver it to your audience is going to be even more crucial to it’s success. Here are a few bullet points to help with the course creation process, while also making sure your content is easy to consume by your audience.
- Video is key, but PDF attachments and action sheets are also of value
- When creating videos, be sure to use PowerPoint or Keynote
- It’s best to create shorter videos versus longer videos for attention span issues
- Break your course material into different sections and modules for easy viewing
- Host your video course through a reliable video host like YouTube, Wistia or Vimeo
- If possible, include a video of yourself speaking in the corner of each video
- Make sure you have high-quality recording equipment so your sound is professional
In addition to planning for how you are going to create your online course, you will also need to consider your options for selling it online. As mentioned at the beginning of the article, Udemy is one option for selling online courses — however, most courses on the site are heavily discounted and can sell for as low as $10 each. Udemy is a great option and instantly puts your course in front of millions of potential buyers, but at the same time, you don’t own the customer data and have no way to follow-up or sell to them again, unless you use their internal communication platform, which can be limiting and also comes with its own terms and conditions.
Another option is to use a solution like Kajabi, which was specifically created to help ‘everyday people’ get online with their courses, without the need to learn any technical skills like web site design, payment processing and creating a members area. All of this can be accomplished through their drag and drop platform. Unlike Udemy, when using a platform like Kajabi, course creators will own 100% of the content and revenue from the site — however, there is also a monthly cost associated with using the Kajabi platform, where Udemy, on the other hand, is free.
Right Now is the Best Time to Create and Sell Courses Online
If you’ve ever had a passion or expertise for something and wanted to try and make some money from it in the process, right now is the perfect time to invest your time and efforts into creating and selling an online course. With there currently being over 2 billion users on social media and demographic/interest targeting options available through Facebook Ads, it’s simply a matter of going live with your course and then marketing it as effectively as possible. If you are going to price your course in the $500+ range, it’s recommended to go with a webinar solution, as this will allow you to really engage with your audience and pre-sell them on the concept, while also giving them a call to action at the end of the webinar. It’s also a great way to build a massive mailing list in the process.
Be sure to run through all of the recommendations and tips above, then get to work on launching a course of your own today!