You've probably read that there's apparently a lot of money in creating and teaching an online course.
These courses are basically a type of “infoproduct,” and as far as those go, they're big ticket items.
The overall cost is almost always three figures, but popular and information-rich courses from known influencers and top brands can easily get into four figures.
But you might be thinking: “Would someone really pay three or four figures for a course in my niche?”
And as you can imagine, some niches lend themselves more easily to an online course than others.
Saving for retirement in your 30s? Starting a dropshipping business?
Those scream “online course.”
But what if you have an affiliate niche site that reviews small kitchen appliances?
Maybe not so much.
So it depends on your niche, but if you're already writing about something that people might want to learn about — and pay money to do so — an online course is a great way to up your profits.
In a recent article from Copyblogger, the author explains what kind of questions you need to ask yourself before you start planning a course.
This might sound a bit obvious, but it’s the downfall of many failed businesses:
Can you reach enough people who want to learn about your topic?
You need to ask yourself questions like:
- Does this topic have a solid number of people who care about learning more?
- Do I have a way to connect with them?
- What are some of their painful problems with the topic?
- Will they pay to get rid of those problems?
- Would they put the time into a course to get rid of those problems?
If you already have an audience pulled together — maybe you have a blog or a podcast, but you don’t have a business yet — turn to that audience and try to figure out what they’d love to get some help with.
Ask yourself these questions to start to tease out what makes your offering different from the others:
- What’s the specific beneficial improvement you make in your customer’s life? Is it different from that offered by other businesses?
- What unique approach or angle do you use to get results?
- What memorable difference or experience can you convey?
- Is there a remarkable element to your business — something a person might mention to a friend or colleague?
- Is there a timeless aspect to your promise? Alternately, is there something about your offer that’s uniquely valuable right now?
Know thy learner
You can’t serve customers — truly serve them — until you really know them.
Knowing what they want is just the beginning. You need to know why they want it, how they want to get it, and what they’re willing to do to have it.
It starts with empathy — putting yourself in the emotional shoes of your learner.
You want to understand what they’re thinking, feeling, perceiving, and doing as they approach your topic and move toward their goals.
Design your course for them, not you
Once you really understand your learners, you can organize your course around the experiences they need to have in order to get what they want — in the way that they want it.
Classic educational design uses learning objectives (pioneered by instructional design expert Robert Mager) to shape an effective educational experience.
Your course will have an overarching learning objective (“With 20 minutes of practice a day, you’ll be able to play 5 classical piano pieces well enough to impress your friends …”), and then each lesson has its own mini objective — a concrete, well-designed step along the way to the final goal.
You can learn more about putting together a profitable, high value online course over at Copyblogger.
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