Want to create a wildly successful online course? Gone were the days when words alone could seal the deal. In today’s world, actions speak louder.
When it comes to showcasing your expertise, there are so many ways you can do this either through your content, how you show up for your audience, and the type of products and services you create.
Nowadays, learning how to create an online course is a must for any entrepreneur, expert, or thought leader because this not only allows you to position yourself as an expert but also allows you to solve problems for many people at a time anywhere around the world. (One to Many Approach).
It is the recipe for transforming your years of knowledge and expertise into a powerful tool for generating leads, making money, and making an impact on a global scale.
However, this process can be overwhelming, time-consuming, and even finance-demanding sometimes as you need to plan, invest in marketing to reach the right people, invest in tools and resources that will help you push your course to a global scale, and even help automate the entire process.
In this article, you’re about to discover a step-by-step process of creating a successful online course on a budget using free tools.
Yes, you read that right!
You don’t need deep pockets or a fancy studio to get started.
But first, let’s see the reasons why you should create an online course in the first place.
Table of Contents
Why should you create an Online Course?
Online education has become more popular in the past few years. According to a report by ReportLinker, the global market for E-Learning was estimated at US$332.6 Billion in the year 2022, and is projected to reach a revised size of US$686.9 Billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 9.5%.
One of the fantastic things about selling online courses, aside from the potential market size, is its profitability in the long run. It is like a gift that keeps on giving.
Once you’ve put in the initial effort to create a course, you can keep selling it to new students over and over again.
All you really need to do is occasionally update the content and provide some support to your students, making it a wonderfully scalable venture.
But that’s not all. Successful online courses do more than just bring in cash. They have the power to reach a larger audience and make a positive impact on your students, which, in turn, elevates your status as an authority in your field.
These online courses can be used in different ways. They can be your main business, or they can go hand in hand with your main business.
For example, if you sell wigs or provide haircare services, you could offer a course on wig care to people who want to learn how to care for their wigs DIY or those who want to learn to start their own wig care service business.
While this all happens for you as a course creator, it’s also solving your audience’s problems, helping them and their businesses achieve real results.
In a nutshell, there are no downsides to creating an online course; you just need to learn how to create and sell it.
Once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll start reaping all these benefits for your business.
All you need to create an engaging online learning experience is a dash of enthusiasm and a sprinkle of creativity, effective planning, and clarity on what to do.
The question now is – Who is qualified to create an online course?
Who can create an online course?
Anyone who has knowledge or expertise in a particular subject can create an online course.
That is; you can create an online course around your skills, experiences, interests, educational background, or work history.
The key here is that you have to ensure that you know firsthand how to do these things and see it through to the end to yield results (either for you or somebody else).
Once you’re clear on the above, the next thing is to identify your niche, target audience, and the best methods to deliver your content effectively.
So whether you’re an experienced educator or someone passionate about a topic, online course creation allows you to reach a global audience and share your knowledge.
Your course topic should address a problem, either by;
- helping people make money (marketing, skill acquisition, financial niche, crypto, etc),
- taking them away from pain (health niche, hair growth and treatment, etc), or
- taking them towards pleasure (relationship and marriage, travels, etc).
With that clarity, let’s move on to the steps involved in creating a wildly successful online course.
How to Create a Wildly Successful Online Course
This video covers how to create an online course without techy tools
1. Choose a perfect course topic
You’ve decided to create an online course yet the first question that pops into your mind is, “What am I going to teach?”
Choosing the perfect topic can be a bit of a puzzle. It is a delicate balance between something you’re knowledgeable about and a subject that draws an audience.
So, here’s the plan:
First, brainstorm several ideas. Think about things you’re passionate about, excel in, have learned through education or skills, or have experiences that could fill a need for someone —Make a list.
Now, narrow it down and pick your top 3 to 5 ideas – the ones where your strengths and superpowers truly shine.
Here are some tips to help you narrow down your course topic list.
- Choose What You Love to Teach: Your course topic should fall into one of two categories. It is either something you’re already proficient in, or a subject you’re genuinely excited about dedicating time and effort to master. In either case, passion for the subject is key.
- Draw from the Advice People Seek from You: Pay attention to the areas where people naturally turn to you for advice. These areas often turn out to be the most successful online courses because they are driven by genuine demand.
- Pick What Others Want to Learn: Opt for a course topic that is in demand, something that addresses the problems people want to solve. Courses that help people make money, alleviate pain, or enhance pleasure tend to perform exceptionally well.
Now that you’ve picked a course topic, it is important to ensure that your chosen topic has an audience who is motivated and willing to invest their money to learn
2. Validate your Idea
Validating your idea for creating an online course is a smart move, as it ensures that your hard work will pay off in the end.
In the end, you want to create a course that you can sell and make money from.
If you’re just starting, here are three straightforward questions to confirm the demand for your course:
Question 1: Are people searching for or asking questions about this topic?
To answer this, you’ll want to go where your potential audience seeks answers. Pay attention to how they frame their questions and how frequently these inquiries come up.
Useful tools for this include Google Search, YouTube Search, Google Trends, Reddit, or Quora.
Additionally, you can explore Answer the Public to see what questions people are asking and how often. Don’t forget to check out online groups and forums – they often provide valuable insights. Don’t forget to ask your existing audience online or customers to get first-hand insights.
Question 2: Is there something your competitor didn’t address or addressed well?
To address this, you need to identify your competitors and understand what their courses offer. The goal is to find ways to cover the topic differently or more effectively.
One effective method is to explore your competitors’ content and engage with their audience. Check out the questions people ask in the comments section of your competitor’s posts or courses. These questions can reveal what your competitor might not be addressing effectively, allowing you to fill those gaps.
Also, check out their course outlines and reviews from their students about their courses.
Question 3: Will someone be willing to pay for a solution to the problem your course solves?
To answer this question, you need to collect feedback from your potential audience regarding your course idea and how it addresses their needs.
Here’s how you can go about it:
- Ask your friends and your current audience for their thoughts on your course idea.
- Run polls, and surveys, or ask questions on platforms like Instagram Stories or WhatsApp status to collect opinions.
- Create a short tutorial and gauge its performance – engagement and interest levels can provide valuable insights.
- Follow up with your audience through social media, emails, one-on-one communication, or calls to ask if they are interested in more content of this kind.
- Consider offering your course on pre-order. It’s a great way to avoid creating a course that nobody buys.
Many people are willing to purchase courses before they are fully created. It’s one of the most effective approaches to launching an online course.
By answering these questions, you can be confident that your course aligns with what your audience is looking for, ensuring you create a profitable online course from the start.
Now let’s move to the next step.
3. Outline your Course Structure
Think of your course outline as a roadmap. Begin by planning out the topics you intend to cover, the order in which you’ll present them, and the resources and materials you’ll use.
Next, break your content into modules and lessons. The course length depends on whether it is a mini course or a masterclass.
Modules consist of a group of lessons. They are like the breakdown of the course, the smaller units of the big idea that the whole course is centered on.
For a mini course, aim for 3 to 5 modules. For a more in-depth course, you can have more than that. The goal is to focus only on what matters the most in helping your audience get results.
Lessons are like individual units of your course that consist of videos, text blocks, links, quizzes, assignments, and downloadable resources that make up a module.
Keep them to no more than 5 to 10 or more per module depending on the type of course you’re creating.
The titles of your modules and lessons should be clear and specific.
So that by seeing the title, people can understand what the lesson is all about.
Another great way to structure your course is by taking inspiration from your competitors’ course materials and by adding your unique touch.
Then enhance it with video examples, special research findings, real-life case studies, and discussions to inspire creativity in your students.
My rule of thumb: Use different formats for your lessons like videos, audio, templates, PDFs, etc to make it enjoyable for different learners. That is, your modules should have a combination of different formats within each lesson.
4. Create the course content
With your content plan in place, it is time to create your online course. Creating an online course can be done with simple equipment and you don’t need to be a video pro; what matters most is the education you’re providing.
You can produce top-quality content right from the comfort of your home.
You have options like recording yourself on your phone camera or a camera, capturing your screen with your voice using tools like Zoom, an inbuilt recorder, or a recording app, or combining both approaches.
If your course involves presentations, Google Slides is a great tool to create your slides.
Remember these tips for engaging and effective content:
- Carefully plan your video content and script to stay organized.
- Start each video with a brief introduction, connecting it to previous lessons.
- Maintain eye contact with the camera for a personal touch.
- Ensure your audio is crystal clear, watching out for background noise and echoes. You can Adobe Podcast to create high-quality audios that sound professional.
- Keep your videos dynamic by mixing elements like live camera shots, screen demonstrations, visuals, and video clips.
After recording, use editing tools like VN, CapCut, Inshot, Camtasia, Screencast-o-matic, VSDS, Loom, Filmora, Shotcut, and Premiere Pro to refine your content.
Editing adds a professional touch and enhances overall quality.
Once your content is ready, the next step is deciding where to host your online courses.
5. Set up your Online Course
After you’ve finished recording and editing your videos and organized your course materials into modules, it is time to publish your course.
You can use various hosting platforms like Selar, WordPress, Kajabi, Katra, KoboCourse, Teachable, Telegram, or Google Drive.
While other platforms are budget-friendly, Google Drive and Telegram offer a completely free option for hosting your course.
How to Host your Course on Google Drive for Free
- Create a folder on Google Drive with your course name.
- Inside this folder, create sub-folders for your modules and label them with numbers to keep things organized.
- Do the same for your lessons.
- Upload all your recorded and edited files into the respective folders.
- To protect your videos and prevent downloads, configure the settings on Google Drive.
By following these steps, your course is now hosted on Google Drive.
You can streamline communication by connecting Google Drive to MailChimp for automated emails and setting up automatic payments by linking it to Selar.
The only manual task left is approving access requests.
The process is quite similar to Telegram but a little more seamless.
This budget-friendly approach allows you to host and sell your course without the costs associated with other hosting platforms.
6. Set Course Price and Goals
Pricing can be a challenge for new course creators.
You want it to be attractive to learners, but not so low that it seems cheap and low-value. Instead of underpricing, focus on offering real value to your students.
So, when setting the price for your course, you have two goals:
- Make sure it’s not too high that students can’t afford it.
- Make sure it’s not too low that students question its quality.
Here are a few things to consider to help you decide on how to set a fair price for your course.
- Start by researching the standard market rate. Look at what similar courses are priced at and find a rate that makes sense.
- Consider your efforts, the additional materials you offer, your target number of students, the cost to acquire one student, and the profit you want to make for each sale when determining your course price.
- Consider your expertise and experience on this subject matter and the results you’ve driven in the past for yourself or clients.
7. Plan your Course Launch
In most ideal cases and in my opinion, planning your course launch is a process that should happen in-between creating your online course which means that, this step has to happen across the entire process of creating your online course and not happen after exactly creating your online course.
The way I go about this is to use my BPLP framework for launching online courses.
This framework covers everything you need to do to launch your online course to market from the phase of ideation to the point of marketing and sales and selling even after launching.
So what is my BPLP framework?
Glad you asked.
This framework is an acronym that stands for;
B – Before the Pre-Launch Phase.
P – Pre-Launch Phase.
L – Launch Phase.
P – Post Launch Phase.
I believe now, you see why (planning your online course launch involves a series of steps that happen the entire time not necessarily after you’ve created your online course)
Creating your online course is a step in the between the Launch and the Post Launch Launch Phases
Now you might be wondering how my BPLP Framework works.
This framework is a framework created by Digital Creator Chic (Lucky Elohor) as a way to simplify the way people launch their online courses and see their marketing plans through till the end.
Most importantly, this framework helps to reduce the overwhelm involved in launching because it prepares you and helps you plan effectively to achieve success with your launch.
I have created a detailed breakdown of this framework in THIS ARTICLE.
Go through THIS ARTICLE to fully understand the entire launch process, planning, marketing, and execution of your online course launch.
8. Market your Course
After creating your course and putting a price on it, it is time to market your course. Mind you, your marketing efforts will greatly determine the revenue you will make from your course. Even the most valuable course may go unnoticed without proper marketing.
Here are some strategies you can use to promote your online course:
- Leverage on Email marketing
You can build an email list and use it to communicate with your audience. Send out regular newsletters, updates, and promotional emails to keep your subscribers informed about your course.
- Social Media Marketing
You can use social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, to reach a wider audience. Create engaging content, run targeted ads, and engage with your followers to build a community around your course.
- Effective Sales Page
Your sales page is where potential students will learn about the course and decide to enroll in your course. Create a compelling and informative sales page that highlights the benefits of your course, includes testimonials, and provides a clear call to action that encourages them to sign up
- Run Paid Advertising Campaigns
Consider using paid advertising on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or Google Ads to reach a larger audience. Ensure that you target your ads to people who are likely interested in your course topic.
- Content Marketing
You can use content to educate by creating valuable content related to your course topic. This can be in the form of blog posts, videos, podcasts, or social media posts. It is a way to share your expertise, build authority in your niche, and indirectly promote your course…
- Affiliate Marketing
You can leverage the credibility of influencers or affiliates by partnering with them to promote your course to their followers in exchange for a commission. This can help you tap into a new audience.
Remember that marketing is continuous, and it may take time to get significant results.
However, analyze the effectiveness of your strategy continuously, gather data, and pick the approach that works best for you and your audience.
9. Measure, Evaluate, and Adjust
Once your course is live and you have students enrolled, you need to gather feedback and continuously improve it.
Consider doing the following:
- Collect feedback from your students through surveys, polls, and reviews to know what they liked and didn’t like about your course.
Ensure that you are specific with the questions such that you can use this feedback as marketing materials to convince new customers who want to take your course.
- Analyze the performance of your course, including completion rates, engagement levels, and any issues reported by students.
- Effect the necessary improvements to the course content, structure, or materials using the feedback and data analysis
- Keep your course updated to reflect changes in your field of expertise, new developments, or trends.
- Create a sense of community that engages your students within your course. This can lead to word-of-mouth referrals and returning students for future courses.
- Repeat the process regularly to ensure your course remains relevant and effective.
Creating a successful online course is a smart move in the digital age. You can show off your expertise, help people, and make money.
This article explains how you can create your online course on a budget and without requiring any advanced tech skills.
By following the steps we’ve talked about, you can turn what you know into a great online course that becomes widely successful.
Anyone with knowledge or skills in a specific area can create an online course. It’s a way to share what you know with a global audience.
To succeed, pick a good topic, make sure people want to learn it, plan your course well, create engaging content, and choose the right platform to host your course.
Price it reasonably and plan your course launch carefully.
Consider using a structured framework like the BPLP Framework for a smooth course creation and promotion process.
With the right approach and free tools, you can make your expertise work for you through an online course before you decide to invest in more advanced and paid tools and resources.
Thank you for reading and if you found this useful, kindly leave your comments and/or questions below and they will be answered.
You can find me on Instagram as digitalcreatorchic_