(Note: this article contains affiliate links – if you’re considering purchasing any of the resources I recommend, I’d be grateful if you do so through my links 😀)
Since 2015, the main revenue source for my business has been through the selling of online courses.
You’re here probably because you’ve been thinking about creating your own course. Or you’re in the initial stages of doing so. What I can say is this:
Creating and selling online courses is the number one way you can scale your teaching business. If you get this right, it can be very lucrative and can potentially change your business and your life.
However, there is work to be done.
This article will take you through my 6-step plan so that you can create, sell, and scale your own online course(s). So that you can start this journey.
There are two stages to this:
- Launching a course that is successful (people buy it and like it)
- Scaling it
Watch the video below and read the article to learn about my strategy and how you can implement this too.
Step 1: Build an Audience – You Won’t Make any Sales without a List
Do this now.
Sign up for email marketing software (this is what I highly recommend) and build an audience.
This is important for two reasons:
- You need an audience to launch your course to (step 4)
- You can get feedback from your audience as you’re building things out
Think about this as money in the bank. The more people on your list, the better. But don’t just go chasing numbers. Attract the right type of people. People who would be interested in a course created by you.
To build your audience, offer something for free. A free PDF – like this one! – is perfect. Then, promote this free PDF on social media and elsewhere using my social media + CTA strategy.
Here is a picture of one of my YouTube videos on my To Fluency YouTube Channel:
Notice the two call-to-actions (CTAs)? The video is pure content and I let the CTA’s take care of the rest.
Here is an in-depth article I wrote that goes through how to use email marketing.
Build an audience on social media too. But know that the majority of your sales are going to come through email.
Continue building this audience as you go through the other steps.
Step 2: Create Your Course
Now, it’s time to create your course. Here are the different stages of this:
- Choose a topic
- Write out the modules and lessons
- Create the slides for videos / write out your presentation
- Record the videos
- Edit the videos
- Create further resources
The first part of this isn’t as intense. You’re coming up with ideas, finalizing them, and writing your first draft.
If you’re unsure about a topic for your course, start with common problems / desires your audience have and how a video-training course could help.
Look at what others are doing for inspiration. Consider if you want to create a flagship course or mini-courses.
Then, go with what you think is best. Know that you can pivot or change things up at a later date.
Then, it comes time to record. This is where things get intense. You might want to do this slowly, slowly, but I think it’s best to blast this part out.
Timeblock your way to recording success and gain some momentum.
If you’re unsure about what you need to record videos, check out my recommendations here.
It’s out of the scope of this free guide to go into depth here, but choose your editing software of choice and maybe hire out some of the technical stuff.
Edit those videos, export them, and put them in a file.
Here’s some additional stuff you can add to your course:
- Worksheets (most courses have these)
- PDF summaries
- Audio downloads
You might want to hold some of this back for potential bonuses.
Alright, that was easy. You have a course. Time to upload it somewhere. But where?
Step 3: Host and Sell Your Course on One of these Platforms
This is all about a balance between control and ease.
There are four main options here:
- Host it on your own website – MemberMouse + WordPress
- Host it on a student marketplace such as Udemy
- Host it on neutral ground – Teachable
- Delivery your course through something like Gumroad or Selz
Putting it on your website gives you the most control over everything. You can choose your own price, colors, theme, checkout process, affiliate software… I could go on.
But it can be a pain to get this set up. For example, you need to install WordPress plugins, configure them, and install website security certificates.
If you’re looking for something pain-free, Udemy is a good option. All you have to do is fill in templates and upload your videos.
But you’re restricted on pricing (they are constantly running crazy promotions) and how you can communicate with your customers. This option gives you the least amount of control.
If in doubt, use Teachable. It’s a great middle ground and they’re constantly giving their creators more control over every aspect of creating a selling a course.
Once you’ve made that decision, it’s time to finalize a price and write your sales page.
Pricing is tough. You’re never going to just magically hit that sweet spot. But know that you can:
- Increase your prices
- Offer discounts
- Offer multiple packages
It’s much easier to increase your prices as you go. In fact, this can be a good marketing strategy.
You can give everyone on your list one last chance to get in at the current price.
Again, take a look around and see what others are charging and make a decision without dwelling on it too long.
With your sales page, make sure you focus on the benefits of taking a course and not just the features of the course.
Be sure that the visitor knows what the result will be after going through everything. For example, “After taking this course, you’ll know exactly how to make engaging videos and you’ll get the support you need to ensure you get this right.” Or something like that.
Tie features to benefits. For example, “You can download the course in audio format so that you can easily listen to it on the go.”
If this is all overwhelming, you can hire a copywriter to do this part for you.
Step 4: Launch Your Course
Things are getting tasty now. You’ve come a long way. It’s now time to launch.
Set a date for your course release, build up some anticipation – share your progress on social media and send out teaser emails – and then get ready for a crazy and draining week.
Practically, this is what I recommend:
- Launch for a period of five days
- Offer an incentive to buy during those five days (discount/bonuses/closed for a period of time)
- Send an email every day it’s open
- Answer questions as soon as possible
- Be prepared by writing the emails ahead of time
- Try not to check sales every 5 minutes
Know this: most of your sales will come late on in the week. The “Last Chance” email will be your most profitable email.
Promote things on social media too. To take things to the next level, advertise.
It’s important to be excited about your course. If you’re not excited about it, others won’t be.
Important: give people a good incentive to buy during your launch. There must be some urgency. You can close it down for a while after launch. Or offer a discount for early birds. Or offer bonuses.
After launch, take a break. You’ll need it.
Step 5: Automate the Sales Process
If things go to plan and your course sells well – and people like it! – now it’s time to scale.
Don’t play this down. You’ve got something that more people want. You’re in an amazing position if you get here.
Take advantage of it.
The first step is to create a funnel. This is where you:
- Offer something for free so that people join your email list
- Send out automated offers / emails that sell your course for you
This is key. It’s how you’re going to scale. Take care of conversions before you drive people to your site.
There are two main funnels you can create. You can:
- Offer a personalized deadline for each individual subscriber (use this)
- Use the P.S. method
The first option is similar to when a clothing retailer offers 20% off your first order. You enter your email address and have a limited amount of time to take the offer.
This works well. You can offer similar incentives to those you offered during your launch. It gives people a reason to buy within a specific amount of time.
The second option can be automated or part of your regular emails. This is also known as the one-email per day method (you don’t have to send emails every day).
The key to this is sending emails with that offer value and link to your course. For example, you could talk about three types of YouTube videos to make and then say, “By the way, to get an in-depth guide to this and more tips, join my course today.” Or something like that.
I recommend testing different funnels to see what works.
Step 6: Drive Traffic and Grow through Content Marketing and Advertising
Once you have your funnel, it’s time to get leads.
The main way to do this is to create content with a call-to-action (CTA) – as you learned in step one.
Here’s what is great about this stage: you know that the content you create is going to lead to sales. Especially, when you know your numbers.
There are two main ways to grow:
- Content marketing
When I make a video on YouTube, I know that a certain amount of people are going to download my free book. From there, I know that a certain percentage of those new leads will go on to buy my course.
Here are some of the ways you can create content:
- post on social media
- create videos on YouTube
- guest post / podcast
The more people you reach, the more course sales you will make. Create a content strategy that will help you reach as many people as possible.
Advertising can potentially allow you to scale quickly. It’s difficult to get this right first time. Know that you need to optimize everything so that you get the right type of leads going through your sales funnel at the right price.
Over to You
Let me know if you have any questions about implementing this strategy. I’d love to help.
And if you haven’t done so already, get your free guide and receive more information about how you can start selling your own courses.