Launching an online course can be rewarding, offering your expertise to a global audience. However, the journey from concept to launch involves several crucial steps. In this post, I’ll break down the actions and activities an online course creator must undertake before launching.
One caveat is that your action list may differ because you choose to create your course content, delivery, and offer differently. Configuring content, delivery, and offer can be done in many different ways as there are many different variables.
Ideation and Planning
- Define your course topic: Choose a subject you’re passionate about and possess expertise in.
- Identify your target audience: Understand your potential students’ demographics, needs, and preferences.
- Set clear learning objectives: Define what students should achieve by the end of the course.
- Research the market: Analyze competitors, existing courses, and potential demand for your course.
- Create a course outline: Break down the content into modules, lessons, and activities.
Conceptualize a High-Level Marketing Plan
- Define a broad strokes marketing strategy: Decide on promotion mechanism and marketing channels so you can build the systems you need and create a timeline that works.
Content Creation and Delivery
- Choose your teaching style: Decide whether your course will be video-based, text-based, interactive, or a mix.
- Develop course materials: Create video lectures, written content, quizzes, assignments, resources, or any other material you need to deliver your course. Make sure it is based on instructional design principles.
- Maintain consistency: Ensure a cohesive tone, branding, and visual style throughout the course.
- Determine course delivery method: Decide how you will deliver your course. Will you do it live, pre-recorded in cohorts, or pre-recorded as an evergreen, or any other option you can think of.
- Think about all other course building blocks: Check out our eGuide on this topic.
Platform and Building Systems
- Choose a course platform: Decide between course platforms like Udemy, third-party LMS platforms like Kajabi or Teachable, or self-hosting options.
- Set up your course website: Design a user-friendly website with clear navigation and a professional look.
- Create your marketing systems: select the software you need and set up your (email) funnels in order to convert visitors into contacts and customers.
Production and Recording
- Prepare for recording: Set up a quiet, well-lit space with suitable equipment; (laptop) camera, microphone, and lighting.
- Record video content: Deliver clear, engaging, and high-quality video lectures.
- Edit and enhance: Edit videos for clarity, add graphics or animations, and ensure content flows seamlessly.
Organize Course Materials
- Organize course materials: Arrange content logically, ensuring easy progression for students.
- Develop supplementary resources: Provide downloadable resources, reading materials, and cheat sheets, to name a few examples.
Assessment and Engagement
- Create assessments: Design quizzes, assignments, and exams that align with learning objectives.
- Foster engagement: Incorporate interactive elements, discussion forums, and Q&A sessions.
Pricing and Marketing
- Determine pricing strategy: Research similar courses and set a competitive yet reasonable price.
- Craft compelling course descriptions: Write clear, persuasive descriptions highlighting the benefits of your course.
- Develop a detailed marketing plan: Determine which message you want to communicate, when, and through which channel.
- Generate buzz: Tease the course through sneak peeks, trailers, and behind-the-scenes content.
- Offer pre-launch discounts: Incentivize early enrollment with special pricing or bonuses.
- Open enrollment: Make the course available for purchase or enrollment.
- Monitor progress: Keep track of student engagement, satisfaction, and feedback.
- Continuous improvement: Gather feedback and make necessary updates to the course content.
- Nurture your community: Stay engaged with students through discussion boards, webinars, or live sessions.
- Upselling and cross-selling: Offer related courses or advanced modules to existing students.
Analytics and Evaluation
- Analyze performance: Use analytics to measure enrollment, completion rates, and student feedback.
- Assess course effectiveness: Evaluate if learning objectives were met and make improvements for future courses.
- Keep content up-to-date: Regularly refresh the course content to reflect new developments in the field.
- Maintain technical functionality: Ensure the course platform works seamlessly for all users.
Launching an online course involves a comprehensive journey from idea generation to successful execution. By following these steps and adapting them to your situation, you can create a high-quality course that showcases your expertise and benefits and engages your students. Remember, the key to a successful course launch lies in meticulous planning, diligent execution, and a commitment to continuous improvement.