Welcome to the Course Consultant Show, a show dedicated to help you launch your online course with a get ready to hear from successful course creators who ditch the nine to five, gain passive income on their couch, and took charge of their dreams. Here’s your host Melody Johnson, professional online course designer, and lover of all things chocolate.
How I Started Creating Online Courses
You’re listening to Episode One of the Course Consultant show. Welcome, everybody. My name is Melody. I’ll be your host. I am so excited today to talk to you about seven online course creation tips that you need to know. A little bit about me is that I started in traditional education. I was a teacher. I taught preschool kindergarten, and then I moved on to corporate training. I was able to work with leadership development programs. I worked with large scale companies, including finance companies, mortgage lenders. I eventually decided to move on to start my own business. Now, I work with small business owners to scale their companies by developing online course curriculum. The first thing that I highly recommend if you’re ever thinking about creating a course is to have a strategy behind your course launch. Before you even begin to develop your online course content, it’s so important to think about each of the steps and plan them out into your schedule. I know if you’re like me, you’re probably thinking about the million things that you need to get done on your to-do list. So I’m going to make this easy and quick for you today to give you those seven tips. So the number one thing before you sell your online course is that you need to choose a course platform. Now, many different kinds of platforms are currently available.
Choose The Right Course Platform
I’m specifically going to speak about stand-alone course platforms for the content creator, online coach, or small business owner. So the specific course platforms that I’ve worked within the past include Thinkific. Now, Thinkific is a great platform. If you’re looking for something that’s easy to set up, that has a professional look and feel and is also something that gives you advanced customization options. If you’re like me and want to have a lot of control and say over how your course looks, such as video, text, quizzes, online assessments, or even downloadable files, then Thinkific is a great option.
Why I Love Thinkific
Thinkific is a great platform. I also want to point out that there are so many different types of course platforms out there, that it just depends on what your course needs. Now for many people think epic is something that they have heard about, and there are some other competitors out there that have similar features. But in my personal opinion, as a professional course designer, I actually recommend Thinkific as my top choice. For course creators that want advanced customization options. For example, one feature I like about Thinkific is the fact that you can actually drip content out over time. In addition, you can actually have students upload their assignments and homework directly onto the platform versus having you sending an email. There is a workaround that I include in the Course Designers Toolkit that I talk more in-depth about this. I speak about how you can work around this assignment upload option with different course platforms. But today I just want to share with you that again, my personal opinion is Thinkific is pretty great.
The second course platform that is common amongst online entrepreneurs is teachable. Teachable is a fantastic program that allows you to access online course content via your phone for mobile applications. And so if your primary course avatar or your key demographic are people who are on the go or busy bloggers, Teachable is a pretty fantastic program. I like that Teachable has some great other features, including some customizations of colors on their sales pages, as well as their online course platform. But I do think that some things could be developed even further, specifically around receiving assignment uploads. Teachable is really great if you want to make short, quick, simple courses. They do have some other advanced optimization, but not as much as think of it in my personal opinion.
Another platform I get many questions about is Kajabi. And Kajabi is probably on the more expensive side. If you’re looking for an all in one platform for online course creation Kajabi does have a lot of great features. It includes the ability to integrate your website, sell your products, as well as integrate your email marketing. Now Kajabi, again, like I said, tends to be on the expensive side. And so if you’re creating an online course for the first time, I highly recommend thinking about choosing a bundle of other software that can complement your course launch. But for advanced course creators, Kajabi is a great program. If you have more revenue behind you, and you believe that you just want to simplify your overall digital business, Kajabi is a great choice.
One thing that I feel like a lot of new course creators don’t consider is a newer course platform, and that’s called podia. Podia is an online course platform that allows you to customize fonts, colors on their sales page, host images, and video files. It is also reasonably affordable as well, especially for a new course creators that don’t have a ton of cash behind them. So podia also, in my personal opinion, has a great feature for their sales page customization. So I think that’s also another great option for people who are just starting out in their course creation journey.
Why I don’t Like Self Hosted Courses
Another thing to consider is WordPress themes or specific plugins that allow you to integrate, learn dash or course creation content on the website. I have heard of a few people hosting their material on their website. Still, I believe in my opinion, it’s best just to keep all of your content on a separate website unless you’re doing an online membership where people get paid to access that information directly on your site. The reason why I say that it’s better to think about it on an external platform is that your students will have a better experience. Now, if your website is functioning primarily as a marketing platform as an information zone, that’s a great way to share the marketing content.
If you’re looking at your website in terms of hosting educational content, you’re asking a lot more out of your website. And so you have to think about what is the customers experience going through the platform? Are they able to understand the instructions clearly? Is there a way to navigate through the sections or modules simply? What’s the experience of the completion of each specific lesson or unit? So again, thinking about the overall customer experience is important. Not just for the sake of the customer, but also for you.
Create a Cart Checkout
The other thing that I wanted to point out as number two tip for online course creators is to cute choose a cart checkout. The reality is that choosing a PayPal Buy button or something similar to that, such as WooCommerce, requires the user to log in to their PayPal, enter their information, and then check out. Most people will click on the Buy Now button. Then, they’ll want to see what they get out of it. And so you want to have your cart optimized for a checkout experience that’s quick and efficient. I believe that the two recommendations I have are SamCart or a Thrivecart.
ThriveCart is great because there is a great option for you to allow something called bump offers. If you’ve ever been to an online website that you’ve seen, you choose to purchase something and offer an additional small price upgrade. Let’s say you know seven $8 to add onto the car for a limited time discount offer when you bundle a package together. That’s a bump offer. ThriveCart also allows you to discount based off of a coupon code from an affiliate or maybe something you just created specifically for a digital product launch. I love that about Thrivecart. They also have some really beautiful ways for you to integrate your images and create a unique experience for the customer from start to finish.
SamCart is another great option. For checkout optimization. SamCart allows you to host digital files. And it also allows you to redirect to a specific URL. Let’s say that you do have a website and you want to host content. You will want to redirect your students to a specific page on your website that’s not navigatable on your website, meaning it’s not really on your menu. So, kind of like a private page. So if you want an option like that, I think SamCart a great way for you to offset the additional costs that do come with having to pay for these kinds of software and a smaller monthly fee. Thrivecart and Samcart are relatively similar in price. But again, you really want to think of what is it that you want to get out of them. Do you want that simple, sleek design experience where people can easily check out once they click on the Buy Now button? If that is the case, I would select smaller payment options such as Samcart. They do offer a smaller fee for about $45 or $47. It’s going to range depending on where you when you hear this podcast, but it’s a great option if you’re looking for a way to integrate it onto your website. Thrivecart does also offer a higher payment one-time payment plan currently for a promotion that they’re running right now. It’s a great tool if you have a lot of money upfront and you want to have those long term savings. So again, either of these cart checkout optimizations are great.
Another consideration is to bundle your sales page and your checkout experience with something called lead pages. lead pages are our standalone course platform selling page, and essentially if you have a digital product or service or some sort of program, you can sell your programs or services using lead pages, and there is an option in their specific pricing point where you can select the checkout option they’ll integrate with your bank so that you can receive payments. Personally, I like to customize it on a WordPress website. The only reason why I would suggest Leadpages is if you have a Squarespace website, and you’re not interested in doing advanced customization or coding. Or you’re not willing to pay for somebody to do that kind of coding on your website.
The only reason why is because Squarespace does require a lot of high-end customization in terms of code when you’re creating sales pages. Elementor doesn’t require a lot of customization in terms of coding if you’re using a WordPress plugin, like BeaverBuilder, or many different kinds of website builders.
Create A Sales Page
Speaking of sales pages, another tip I have for online course creation is to create a sales page. The things you need to include in a sales page is to identify what that problem is, create a clear solution, and then provide social proof with testimonials. Have people experienced some sort of transformation by using your product? What problem are they solving by looking at this sales page? If it’s really clear, and you have a lot of great testimonials, that’s great. I feel like I’m more likely to purchase anytime I see clear social proof.
Call to Action Button
Number four is that you want to include within your sales page, a call to action button. This is the most important thing. So again, that call to action button is going to integrate with your button for your cart. The cart checkout integration is not that difficult to learn if you have somebody walking you through it. So what you want to do is create a call to action button that links directly to a cart checkout, such as Samcart or Thrivecart.
Create An FAQ
The other things that sometimes people also include are FAQ or frequently asked questions. These include questions such as Who is this product for? What are the primary benefits? Do I have lifetime access? Do I have the commercial use to use this product or template for selling or changing something within this template?
Another thing is that people sometimes will ask about refund policies. What are your refund policies? What’s the timeframe? Are there any conditions for a refund? How much can you receive back is it 100% those are the kinds of things that you want to think through before you make your sales page. So I’ve already talked about three different tips.
Have a Social Media Marketing Strategy
The fifth tip on online course creation is social media strategy. This is important because before you develop everything, you want to start to think about what are the key features in this product that I’m trying to share with other people? What are some things that you want to learn from, so that you can share that information with your ideal clients, customers, or people who would like to support you as affiliates? So creating that social media strategy, and one great way to do that is to create an affiliate content based off of ease of use.
Create an Affiliate Marketing Dashboard
When your affiliates need to share information, they don’t have to stop and think hard about it. Affiliates can share information like graphics or content to whatever platform like email marketing, social media, or you name it. So create some Pinterest graphics, some Instagram graphics, perhaps create some content for your email marketing strategy for your affiliates. And by creating these free resources, you’re not only going to be able to repurpose content from your course, but you can share information easily.
Share Free Resources
Another thing you can do is to share free resources that you’ve created that align with your course. So if you already have content that’s free and downloadable, such as templates, more trainings, guides, other resources, like those go really popular, share them. Also, do some SEO research on what’s the key things that people are looking for. If you need some examples, don’t hesitate to review some of my lead magnets in my portfolio. Once you do that, you’ll be able to see that people will be more likely to purchase your course if they get some samples of it before they even try it. I don’t know about you, but I like going to. I like going to Sam’s Club to try all of those free sorts of food. And so when I try them out, I want to see it is even good before I try something and I purchase it. So a great way to do that is to share those free resources. You can also connect with other podcasters bloggers or business hosts that might be able to benefit from your valuable information.
Create a Bonus Offering
And then the last thing I have to share since we jam-packed this whole episode with much great content is to create a bonus offer. So another great sales tactic is to create a bonus offer, which includes other types of resources that your ideal client would benefit from. So let’s say that you’re selling an online course, and you have the five tips that podcasters need to know in order to monetize their online business. If your ideal client struggles with creating online marketing material, perhaps you could share some resources for scripts that they can share to their ideal customers or listener base. If you’re on Instagram, or a digital media strategist, perhaps that you can create some Instagram graphic templates that you can actually share using the templates link in Canva. Bonus offers helps people see value in with each of these specific trainings. You’ll be able to create helpful resources and true value to your customers by bundling all that useful information together.
Okay. Wow, we did so much today. And I feel like I was talking a mile a minute. So make sure that you get your pen and paper out because I’m going to be sharing some great tips again on the course consultant show. And if this seems like a lot of information and you don’t know where to start on your course creation journey, don’t forget to download the course creator starter outline. It’s a free resource that I give to all of my friendly email subscribers and I love sharing free trainings with you as well. In addition to that outline, you’ll also get a free PDF printable on how to align course objectives to plan and develop your course with ease without having to worry about where to start. I hope this was helpful, and it can’t wait to see what you create on your next online course