Have you always dreamt of creating and selling an online course? 

As we progress into 2019, we're seeing a growing number of professionals transform their expertise into creating an online course. Not only are online courses a great way to make money, but they're also incredibly popular amongst students and professionals today.

While online courses were once the rarity, students today favor how flexible and all-encompassing online education has become. In fact, 79 percent of students believe that online education is “better than” or “equal to” traditional education. 

With the rise of internet marketing, it's never been easier to market your course to prospective students. 

If you've been wanting to create an online course, you're going to want to read this. We've put together a step-by-step guide that will have your course up and running in no time. 

Not only is this ten step guide simple to follow, but it's also designed to work for any subject or niche! 

1. Choose a Profitable Topic 

First and foremost, you're going to want to begin by choosing a profitable topic for your course. 

The name of the game is to discover topics that are currently being researched by the public online. You're also going to want to select a topic that you have profound knowledge, skill or experience with. 

For example, if you are working as a freelance writer, you may teach a course on how to transition from a traditional job into a freelance lifestyle. If you are an accountant, you may teach a course on how to better manage your finances and understanding taxes. 

It's especially beneficial to choose a topic in which you have a solid educational background. This is what is going to allow your future students to envelop their trust in you to lead this course. 

2. Test Your Course

Before you exert all of your energy into creating your course, you're going to want to start by testing your topic. 

This is where you are going to determine if prospective students are interested in what you are teaching. After all, there's no sense in spending your time and money creating a course in which there is virtually zero interest. 

To determine this, you are going to conduct some market research tests. A simple way to do so is sending an email to your network as well as advertising your course on social media. 

Some professionals will also choose to “pre-sell” their course to get an idea of numbers. This involves summarizing your course objectives and encourage people to sign up. To create a sense of urgency, many professionals will choose to establish a “maximum” number of students that will be accepted into the course. 

3. Create a Course Outline

Now that you have established a generalized idea of interest, you can now move on to creating a course outline. 

This is a simple and general layout of what your expectations are for the course. This should clearly outline for students: 

  • Topics expected to be covered
  • How long the course will run
  • What is expected of the students
  • Whether or not the students receive anything for “passing” the course
  • Whether or not there are homework assignments or tests 
  • Lines of communication

While you have yet to establish any course content, this outline will be shared with prospective students. This will give them a clear idea as to what is being covered in the course and whether this course appeals to them. 

4. Establish the Course Content 

Now that you have your generalized outline, you can begin to focus on creating the content of your course. 

Here you are determining the content itself as well as how you plan to share that content with your students. You can determine whether your content is summarized by slides, videos, interactive calls, etc. 

Many professionals get overwhelmed in creating their content. While you may feel pressure to share as much information as possible, it's best to resist this desire.

Remember, this is the first course and you don't want to overwhelm your students. Only share content that is going to directly answer the questions that your students are likely to have. 

5. Structure Your Modules 

This is where you're going to take the entirety of your content and divide it into different themes. 

Each of these themes will become their own individual chapters that eventually make up the course. Be sure to arrange these themes into a timeline that makes sense for the topic and for your students. 

Remember, each chapter should bring your students closer to achieving their goal and answering their questions. With each chapter completed, your students should feel that they are becoming experts on this subject. 

6. Create Tests or Assignments

It's now time to determine whether your course is going to be followed by assignments or tests.

Some professionals have each chapter of their course accompanied by an assignment or a test. On the other hand, some will choose to eliminate official tests or graded assignments from this course. Instead, the course work will encourage students to “take action” after completing each chapter. 

For example, a course on freelance writing may encourage students to cold call prospective businesses for writing opportunities. While this is not a graded nor overseen assignment, it is encouraged for the benefit of the student. 

7. Determine Your Delivery Method 

Now, it's time to channel your focus on how you're going to deliver your course to your students. 

For this, it's best to select the most simple and accessible means for your students. You want to avoid all delivery mishaps from taking place and having to refund any monies.

Many professionals will choose to release the course to students through email once payment is received. This method is the most simple and least problematic. From here, the students will have to use their credentials to sign in and access the course. 

For many online classes, all of this content is released at one time and students can take their time reviewing the content. This will allow students to move through the coursework at their own pace and avoid feeling rushed.

8. Establish the Reward

Before a student signs up for your course, they're going to want to know ahead of time if they will receive anything for completing the course. 

Some courses may reward students a new title or an honorable mention for completing the course. Others may offer students specialized opportunities once that course is completed. For example, a freelance writing course may offer students access to a job board that is exclusively for course students. 

On the other hand, another course may not offer a final reward to their students. These are courses that the student is taking for their own personal benefit and the reward is simply the information being released. 

9. Launch Your Marketing 

Now for the fun part! 

Too often, online professionals believe that their work is complete once enough students sign up for the course.

If you really want to ensure that your course is profitable, this is where the work truly begins. To make the absolute most of your course, it's essential to continue marketing it to prospective students. 

Remember, you can use the same general coursework on a number of different students. This means that there's no need to invest your time into creating another course. Instead, use the course that you have spent so long creating to appeal to an entirely new group of students. 

You can also encourage your students to submit testimonials for your course. These testimonials can be incredibly effective at reaching new students and encouraging them to sign up for your course.

Let's consider that 88 percent of consumers trust online testimonials as much as recommendations from friends and family. The goal with these testimonials is to build confidence in prospective students that this course is worth the investment. 

Try advertising your course on the various social media platforms. Outlets such as Instagram and Facebook make it simple and relatively affordable to advertise your products. 

You can also do an email blast to your immediate network and offer friends and family discount codes. 

10. Establish an Online Community 

Last but certainly not least, you're going to want to create an online community for your students. 

For many, this will come in terms of a Facebook page or Slack group that is exclusive to course members. When it comes to online communities, people enjoy interacting with likeminded people and feeling as if they are part of an inner circle. 

This is a place where your students can interact and communicate with yourself and other students. In many cases, this will end up functioning as a question and answer forum as well as a base for communication. 

It's also a great way to stay connected to your network and even offer free coaching to your students. 

Internet Marketing and Your First Online Course

If you're an expert in your field, why not share that expertise online?

Today, more students than ever are choosing to enroll in online courses. In fact, 28 percent of higher education students are currently enrolled in at least one online course. 

While online courses were once limited to professors, it seems now that anyone and everyone can create an online course. Not only is creating an online course relatively simple, but it's also a great way to make money in a short period of time. 

As internet marketing continues to rapidly expand, it's never been easier to market your online products. This means that finding students to sign up for your course doesn't have to be so intimidating. 

If you've been hemming and hawing over whether to create an online course, it's officially time to bite the bullet! Allow this guide to serve as a basis for how to create and sell your first online course. 

Do you need help marketing your products or ideas? If so, be sure to check out this free course to learn more!