Do you need a fast, easy way to build your online course? In 5 days or less, these steps will help you take what you know, and put it online for customers to buy. You’ll be earning by next week.
The e-learning industry is set to be worth $325 billion by 2025. That was before coronavirus forced everyone indoors, and sparked a huge upsurge in online classes. Everyone is looking to learn!
Consider this a crash course in creating your first virtual classroom. Let’s avoid the minefield of over-spending and bad decision-making, and get right to the heart of launching lessons that sell.
Here’s an effective 5 day plan for quickly creating your e-course content, setting up your virtual learning environment, promoting, then selling your online classes to customers.
The #1 Mistake to Avoid
You don’t have time. You’re low on money. You’re feeling overwhelmed with a monumental task that has a never-ending checklist. That’s understandable, and you should lean in to those instincts.
The #1 mistake teachers, presenters and other would-be course creators make – is that they go too big, right away. And this comes from inexperience and the misplacement of value.
The reality is that you’ve never done this before and you’re expecting a return on investment. Your focus should be on infrastructure and gradual rollout, as opposed to doing a once-off masterclass.
- Commit to over-simplifying this for yourself
- Appreciate you cannot achieve this for free (but you can with a little smart investment)
- The money is in the model (once-off vs. subscription)
- The audience is in the attraction (short-term vs. ongoing)
Before you begin: Realize that going too big will result in failure. The goal is to start small, and incrementally build your reputation as an amazing online course creator and instructor.
Your new mantra is ‘how can I simplify this to get the money rolling in?’
Day 1: Model Selection, Validation and Differentiation
Welcome to day 1 of creating your first online course.
Here are your goals:
- Choose your e-course model
- Pick and validate a good course / class idea
- Settle on a way to differentiate yourself
First, you’ll need to choose your e-learning business model. For now, the easiest are to create once-off courses or subscription-based online classes.
- Once-off courses should be priced higher than individual lessons
- Subscriptions can be as little as $5.00 for full access (as your library grows, so can your fee)
As a small business owner you probably have a niche speciality, and a set of teachable skills. Use them to come up with an idea for an e-course – then validate the idea using this simple method.
- Does it already exist online?
- Is it selling well?
Don’t reinvent the wheel when you’re starting out. Find a subject people really want to learn about, then add a key differentiator that sets you apart from the rest.
- What makes your lessons visibly different?
- Why would people want you as a teacher?
Engaging content is simple to create when you have a strong differentiator. There are 100,000 yoga teachers in the world, but only 1 official doga resource. Dogs were her key differentiator!
Day 2: Create Your Mind-Blowing Lesson Content
It’s day 2 of creating your online course, and today is about turning your ideas into content.
Here are your goals:
- Outline your entire e-course in 1 hour
- Pick your preferred teaching style in 20 minutes
- Film and edit your first amazing class or lesson
- Add downloadable notes
- Create quick marketing materials
Start by loosely outlining your online classes, and your complete online course. You’re not going to create a full e-course right now, because your idea is untested, and your resources are low.
You’ll post and sell your first lesson, and build as you go. Decide if you want to star in pre-made videos, create basic slideshow videos, or convert live lessons into resalable videos.
- Brush up on your camera presence here
- Film from a digital camera, or right on your smartphone
Create a distinct online classroom ambience and film your video. Aim to make your lesson about 20-25 minutes long for serious learning, or 10-15 minutes long for something like fitness instruction.
- Consider adding downloadable notes afterwards
- Quickly edit the video in Adobe Rush/Premier Pro, or use a platform like Filmora
Once you’re done with your core video and notes, some engaging content for your marketing campaign will help kick things off. Focus on different video formats, clips, social and PPC advertising.
Day 3: Setup Your Website and Choose Your LMS
You’ve reached day 3, which means it’s time to setup your main communication tool.
Here are your goals:
- Pick the right host and create a simple WordPress website
- Select and integrate your learning management system
Simplify your WordPress design and development by using Yahoo Hosting. As a WordPress host, we give you unlimited traffic, and you can create your landing page or e-learning site in just a few hours. Consolidating this is vital to quickly getting it done. Make fast decisions!
- Ensure that you have an SSL certificate (safe payments)
- Pick our premier package for as low as only $4.89 a month
When you’re happy with the look and feel of your website, select and integrate LearnDash or another comparable learning management system into your site’s backend.
- Buy the widget, install and activate it
Day 4: Upload Your Content & Prep Your Promotions
Day 4 has arrived and with it, you’ll be uploading and prepping important content.
Here are your goals:
- Prepare outstanding and enthusiastic marketing materials
- Upload your first lesson
Good news! You have a digital lesson to sell, and a website with an LMS to sell it on. Still, you’ll need quality marketing materials to make that happen. Spend most of your time today on these.
- Landing page content based on your WordPress design (benefits, cost, future lessons)
- The text, media and message for your PPC and social media advertising
- Plan to offer a free live class regularly to inspire interest
With solid WordPress hosting, your traffic will scale with you. Upload your very first video lesson and notes to your learning management system.
Don’t worry about learning the ins-and-outs of your LMS, you will in time. One of the benefits of starting with a single lesson, is that you don’t have to be an expert in your LMS software.
- Get at least 3 friends or family members to subscribe/pay to test your site
Day 5: Market Your Course Every Day
It’s day 5 – the final day – and look what you’ve accomplished! This home stretch involves setting up your marketing practices and launching your online course.
Here are your goals:
- Launch your marketing campaigns
- Host a free live online class
- Post new lessons weekly (then package and sell as a once-off e-course)
Spend some time shaping and finalizing your marketing materials and then launch your online course into the world with a free live class. Invest a small budget into PPC and social media ads.
Your ads work as your primary communication tool with niche audiences, as you promote your e-course every day. Post on your Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter accounts too.
There are dozens of ways to promote your courses as you start to sell!
Every week, create another piece of your total online course, until it’s fully formed. Creating courses this way gives you a low risk, low effort entrance into digital product sales. Every lesson acts as an attractor, and when you reach the end, you can package and sell it at a once-off cost.
In the meantime, your subscription audience gets quality weekly classes and content from their favorite new teacher. With your engaging content and a regular online classroom in full swing, your set audience will grow – along with your advertising budget.
Yahoo Small Business makes it possible to launch your incredible online learning empire in just 5 days. We simplify aspects that are usually barriers to earning money online, like affordable and reliable WordPress hosting, website creation, and adding a full LMS in a few quick clicks.
With our user-friendly tools on your side, nothing will get in your way!
Get started today, and launch your first online course next week.