If you’ve wanted to launch an online course then we’ve got a crash course for you. And we guarantee it’s a lot less scary than your driving test was.
There’s never been a better time to launch an online course than today. We’re all cooped up due to the pandemic and the winter blues. Now more than ever people are scouring the internet looking for ways to learn new skills and find online communities.
The good news is that it’s also much easier to launch an online course than it’s ever been, thanks to a handful of powerful online course platforms.
Below, we’re going to outline 5 important steps you should follow for launching an online course. So when you’re ready to launch your online course, you’ll knock it out of the park.
Launching an online course: Step #1 — Choose an exciting topic
The first step to launching an online course is choosing a topic your students will be excited about. A key distinction here is that while you can be an expert on whatever topic you choose, you don’t need to be. As long as you have a unique perspective and the motivation to master that topic alongside your members, you’re golden.
No matter where you’re coming from, it’s important to make sure that the online course topic you pick is specific. Don’t try to cover everything.
For example, let’s say you’re passionate about teaching others how to write a novel. Instead of trying to cover every possible genre—which all have their own unique rules and conventions—pick a genre that you’re interested in. Whether it’s historical, science fiction, mystery, or something else, having that specificity will save you a lot of headaches.
Specificity is also important because your online course can be a guiding light to those lost at sea.
Let’s take it further with our “novel writing” example. When someone searches “novel writing” on Google, they’ll get thousands of potential avenues to go down. Sometimes having an endless well of possibilities is debilitating. Too many choices can actually be a downside. Weird we know.
By being specific, you’re providing your potential students a pathway to success by making their search more manageable (and fun!). On top of that, when you have a clear purpose for launching an online course your members will have a common goal that unifies them.
Launching an online course: Step #2 — Narrow down who your “ideal” student is
Once you’ve picked a specific topic, the next step in launching an online course is having a specific kind of student in mind. If it’s not apparent, the course topic and your “ideal” student go hand in hand. They’re basically a couple.
When you have a clear idea of the needs and desires of your students (i.e. what they are looking to learn, understand, or grow their skill set in) you can launch an online course that specifically addresses their goals.
Think about how old your ideal student is. Are they college age? Young professionals? Mid-level employees looking to switch careers? What goals or aspirations do they have? Why are they looking for an online course? What can you teach them about the course topic that others can’t?
Figuring out the type of person you want as a student makes your job easier. Because you’re not just building content for your ideal members. You’re also bringing like-minded people together. In the biz we call that “community.” Well…maybe everyone calls it that, but still!
If you’re curious why community is important, think about this. When you’re a part of a community that you care about, you’ll actively try to keep it alive and healthy. Your ideal students are people who aren’t going to peel off and leave once they’ve completed your course if you’ve created a great place for them to commune.
Launching your online course with a specific demographic in mind will help you create the content they want and find motivated people who will be excited about your course.
Launching an online course: Step #3 — Choose a platform with all the features you need
The next step to launching an online course is building a website to house your course content.
In the past, this would have been an incredibly expensive endeavor, especially if you weren’t an expert at web development.
Think about it: You’d need the skill to code a website. And you would need the know-how to build features for an online course (groups, direct messaging, discussion boards, polls, etc). You’d also need a way for your students to interact with one another. And, of course, you’d need systems in place to actually charge for your online course. That’s a lot!
But today, you’re in luck. Now, there are a plethora of great “all-in-one” software solutions available. Each of these platforms allows you to build a website, host an online community, and even charge for paid memberships.
“All-in-one” means exactly what you’re probably thinking too. The software platform has done all the work of building the tools to launch the online course of your dreams.
Here are a few “all-in-one” software platforms we recommend checking out.
Kajabi is a well-known online course creation platform with a focus on marketing and business. Their goal is to “transform your expertise into polished, profitable digital products.” While they have solid customization tools for designing an online course, their community features are lacking. Ultimately that makes it hard to keep students engaged—with each other and your course content.
Mighty Networks is a website builder and white label community platform that lets you bring your community, online courses, and content together in one place, under your own brand and domain name, instantly available on web, iOS and Android.
A Mighty Network lets you create a variety of content to help launch an online course. Plus, it also has stellar community features. On a Mighty Network, you can divide students into groups and subgroups; charge for memberships and online courses, and enable connections between your students with direct messaging and more.
Teachable is an online course creation platform that sells itself as having painless customization with a focus on “easy-to use features and fewer tech headaches.” It is one of the most popular online course platforms out there today and provides a solid feature set. However, Teachable’s community features leave a lot to be desired. And their mobile app is only available on iPhone (which will ultimately limit your reach).
What we recommend: One of the biggest things you’ll want for launching an online course is the ability for students to access your content anywhere at any time. With a Mighty Network, your course is available across the web, iOS, and Android apps. That makes the Mighty platform the most available of the bunch for launching an online course.
Launching an online course: Step #4 — Know your worth (And don’t undersell your value)
So many people successfully launch online courses that deliver clear and concrete results to their students. But many of them undersell their value.
Figuring out how much to charge for your services is an age-old question. And sadly there isn’t a one size fits all solution.
Despite that, you can set yourself on the path to figuring out a number that you’re comfortable with. Start by asking yourself a few questions:
- Without your program, how else would your ideal student get results?
- If your ideal student were able to build a new practice and get the results you offer, what could it mean to them?
- What price would make it worth it to you?
Remember: you’re launching an online course that answers the questions people couldn’t figure out by themselves. That is valuable. Don’t underestimate the resources you’re giving to people.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to charge exorbitant fees for what you offer. Availability might be something you value too. Setting aside time to figure out not only what launching this online course will do for your students, but also yourself is important. For some, that might mean charging $500. For others, it could mean $50.
Launching an online course: Step #5: Tell the world you’re out there
A key component to successfully launching your online course is to, well, tell people about it!
Great news: You’ve already got a clear vision for your course topic and “ideal” student. These will be helpful in getting people excited to spread their praises about you around their own network. People talk and word of mouth is a great way to gain new students.
A key factor in building out your network of supporters early on is to tap into your real life connections first. It might be surprising to hear, but unless you’ve got a major following across your social media accounts, utilizing social media as the main way to advertise your online course is not going to prove that fruitful. You’ll end up spending time and money on little gains.
Your network is always much bigger than you think. When your friends spread the word about your online course, those are more ears that are hearing about you with a personal stamp of approval.
Now comes the fun part!
So you’ve made it to the end of this guide, and you know what that means. Now it’s time for you to actually get cracking on launching the online course you’ve been dreaming about.
Whether you’re launching an online course for fitness at home or novel writing, the easiest way to do that is by starting with an awesome platform.
Everything we’ve covered today is possible on a Mighty Network. So, what are you waiting for?