“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”
– Benjamin Franklin
If you’re thinking of creating a digital course for your business then it’s vital that you take a considered approach. After all, creating a digital course is not a five minute job; it takes time and effort to create a course that will sell.
Not only do you need to think about what you are going to teach on a broader level, you also need to plan out the specific content and structure the course so that it flows. You need to consider what the learning outcomes will be so that you can effectively communicate this through the marketing stage to convert sales.
With creating a digital course, much of the work is front-loaded which means that you will be doing a lot of work upfront before making any money. There are a lot of important decisions to be made before you dive into creating your content and to help you stay on track, I’ve created a checklist of the five most important aspects of course creation.
- Choosing the right topic to teach
The very first step to creating a successful digital course is to decide on your course topic. When choosing your topic, focus on a niche area (a segment of the market).
Don’t try to appeal to everyone, that approach is rarely successful. Instead focus on a core group of people that you can really help. For example, if you were going to create a digital course on social media, instead of trying to teach students all about social media (which is a huge subject), narrow the topic down to a specific area (like a specific platform, or how to get results in a certain area).
The more focused you are, the more opportunity you have to convey your expertise, and students are also more likely to get better and more effective results.
When you are thinking about your course topic, consider the following:
- Your audience
- What their specific challenges are
- How you can resolve these challenges through your teaching
- Validating market demand
Once you have come up with your perfect course topic, the next step is to test your idea and find out if there’s market demand. You don’t want to spend a great deal of time and energy creating digital courses that people are not prepared to pay for.
Validating your course is a very smart idea because:
- It will prove there is market demand for your digital course
- You can generate revenue
- It will give you the opportunity to build your email list
- It will give you the opportunity to talk about your course and build interest around it
There are many ways to go about testing your idea, such as:
- Do a Google search – are people searching for your topic?
- Interview your target audience
- Create a focus group
- Create a survey
- Create a lead magnet
- Create a poll on social media platforms
- Run a free webinar
- Run a pilot program
- Check out other course websites such as Udemy and UpSkill
- Visit Quora
- Check out Feedly
- Defining your ideal audience
Your ideal customer is someone who wants to buy what you have created because it’s something they need or want. Once you have a clear idea of who your ideal customer is then you can set about creating content to wow them.
Think carefully about your course content. Is this an area in which you have a lot of experience? If so, think about past clients that you’ve worked with: were some more invested in your topic than others? For example, before I started creating digital courses I helped people with their branding and would often look at whether or not a digital course would be appropriate for my clients as part of their brand. Some of my clients were immediately excited by the idea and so I had an inkling of the kind of client I would be dealing with when I started course creation.
Looking at attributes such as age/geography/sector etc is a really good starting point for discovering your ideal audience, but it’s not the only way: in my own research I found that my ideal client could be any age and from any sector, but they had an attitude in common – a passion and a desire to grow their business that tended to manifest in things like increased social media presence, attention to branding and big business goals.
- Being clear on the results
What results are you looking to generate from your digital course?
Whenever you feel stuck on subject matter, ask yourself this: what will my clients get from this course? Be as specific as you can. Let’s take the idea of a social media course again – the answer to that question could be “at the end of this course my clients will be able to set up a Facebook business account and be generating regular sales from it within 6 months” Try to phrase it just like that “at the end of this course my client will…” if you can be that specific with your offering, then clients will be more likely to buy.
Once you’ve considered what results you want for your client, ask yourself what results you want for yourself. Try to be just as specific with this: “I want this course to generate x amount of revenue this year” or “I want to have sold x number of courses by Christmas” Knowing exactly what you want to achieve from your efforts will help you stay on track. Whenever you start to feel that you’re losing focus, simply refer back to your ‘results statement’ and it will put you back on track.
- Choosing your preferred delivery method
When it comes to delivering your digital course, there are 3 main options to choose from:
- Self-hosting through your website using a plugin such as Kinsta
- Online Course Marketplace such as Udemy or Skillshare
- Learning Management System (LMS) like Kajabi, Podia or Thinkific
The most popular option which is a Learning Management System (LMS)… now there are quite a few different platforms to choose from and again, and the platform you select will ultimately be down to your personal preference.
This is something I look at in great detail on my own course, as there’s a lot to consider. You will be influenced in your decision by your budget, your computer skills and the amount of time you can afford to spend on course maintenance, among other things, so do your research in the first instance to avoid frustration down the line!
Creating a digital course is tremendous fun and very rewarding but, as I mentioned earlier, it’s not a five minute job. If you’re going to create a digital course then you owe it to yourself and your clients to take your time and give it your best shot. There’s a lot of work involved if you want it to be a success, but hopefully this article will help you organise your thoughts and give you a good jumping off point.
Good luck, and let me know how it goes!
If you would like to book a FREE complimentary consultation to see how I can help you grow your business then please click here.