How to create online courses that can be sold via your platform

courses Apr 27, 2022

When you're looking to learn something new, where to you go? Books? YouTube? Blogs? Community College?

All of those are great options, but for many people, online courses are their go-to solution. I have personally benefitted from many online courses. Some were inexpensive, while others cost thousands of dollars. I have also been selling courses for the past few years and have received good feedback and a good income from doing so.

 

What content should you include in your course?

In my opinion, people purchase online courses for three reasons; they solve a problem, they teach a skill, or they help the student earn an income. And in many cases, a course can address all three needs at once.

For example, my Launch Plan course meets all three needs. I solve a problem by condensing the main content people need to know when it comes to platform development into one curated course. I teach the skill of platform development by explaining how to utilize various forms of content creation and dissemination, and I show students of the course how they can use these skills to earn a living.

If you know how to solve a specific problem, teach a skill, or generate an income in a particular way, you might be half-way to creating your first course already.

 

How should that content be delivered?

There are three primary ways you can deliver an online course; text, audio, and video. Many online courses use some element of all three to help teach students.

At present, my favorite manner to teach is to create videos that come with printable worksheets. Most often, the video content I'm using is a recording of a slide-share that I've created about the content. I think that's an easy way to share and learn information.

I have also taken courses that were audio only with no worksheets.

Rarely have I taken a course that was text only.

 

How long should your course be?

There is no set length for a course, but I generally prefer to offer something that's less than seven hours long. If you make your course too long, you run the risk of users not completing it.

Individual classes within the course should be less than an hour long. Some would argue that individual classes should be around 20 minutes long. Admittedly, this is subjective.

My Launch Plan course includes seven individual classes of 50 minutes or less, and is less than seven hours in total length. It's plenty long enough to teach the skills necessary without becoming so long that a student won't finish the individual lessons.

 

How much should you charge for your course?

You can charge anything you think is fair for your course, but in my experience, people tend to value what they pay for. Typically, I charge $49 for a mini-course that's less than two hours and $229 for a full-length course.

I also frequently offer coupons to discount the price, especially when the course is new. Since I just made my Launch Plan course available a short time ago, I'm presently offering students a coupon for $100 off the regular price. In time, that will change.

 

What is the best way to market a course?

The various elements of your platform will help you market your course. You can mention it on your podcast, in your blog, in your newsletter, and even in the books you write.

You can also market your course by doing podcast interviews or speaking at conferences and events.

One other marketing option to consider is affiliate relationships. You can offer a percentage of the sales price to affiliate partners who market your course to their audience. This is a very common approach to course marketing.

 

Course or Membership? Which is better?

I'm a big fan of memberships. That's why I started Platform Launchers. I think there's a lot you can learn from an ongoing training relationship, and a lot of inspiration you can gain through being part of a like-minded community.

That being said, I frequently interact with people who aren't interested in being part of a membership group, but they still want the content that's being taught. For that reason, I think it's wise to make the core concepts you're teaching in a membership available in course form as well. This gives people options and it allows you to serve a wider audience in multiple ways.

 

Are you thinking about creating a course?

If you're thinking about creating a course, let me encourage you to go for it. Start with a mini-course if this is a new concept. Give it away for free for a few weeks to get some feedback and then refine it as necessary before charging. If you have the heart of a teacher, I think you'll find this to be a very rewarding experience.

 

-John

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