Do you want to learn how to create an online course that profits for $100k monthly? In this article, I’ll teach you everything you need to know to achieve this.
Based on my experience as a digital marketer of over 10 years with thriving businesses, I know that going after this goal isn’t easy. But, let me tell you that it’s possible.
And so, buckle up and absorb all the information in this post.
Here’s a quick overview of its content:
- Step 1 Finding A Profitable Course Idea
- Step 2 Turn Your Idea Into An Online Course
- Step 3 Build An Engaged Audience
- Step 4 Upload Your Course To An Online Course Platform
- Step 5 Create an Irresistible Offer For Your Course
- Step 6 Launch & Sell Your Online Course
- Factors Affecting Income From Online Course Sales
- How To Sell An Online Course FAQs
Step 1 Finding A Profitable Course Idea
Any online course can sell. But, didn’t you know that some courses sell better than others?
Of course, people have preferences, and you need to be aware of that.
And right now, some of these preferences are getting in the top-tier lists of the most-searched and in-demand topics on the internet.
Now, you may have these questions in mind:
“How would I know if a topic is worth converting into a course?”
“How would I know if people will dig it?”
Well, before you worry about these things, you have to ensure first that you know what you are going to write.
Online Course Ideas Based On Skills & Knowledge
This strategy works well for those who have acquired skills and knowledge from their studies and professional working experience.
All they have to do is think of an aspect of their work that they can share with others.
For instance, if you are working for a web development company, you might make an online course about the fundamentals of web development.
You might also want to delve into the skills and software necessary in this industry.
If you have been doing YouTube videos, you could share your insights on how to get more views and the secret recipes for viral content.
These are some ideas that you can apply to your next online course.
The advantage of taking this approach is that it gives you many things to discuss without feeling forced or uncomfortable.
Online Course Ideas Based On Interest & Passion
I am aware that some people have no formal work experience in companies and professional organizations in the industry that they are interested in.
Does this mean that you are not fit to write an online course?
If this is your case, then you should pick a topic where you are passionate about.
In fact, hobby and passion online course niches are selling because they appeal to people.
You can see this element on online course aggregate sites like Domestika.
Many people are earning huge incomes from these platforms by teaching their hobbies like drawing, acting, and coding.
Course Ideas Based On The Needs Of The Students
You have to put yourself in the shoes of your potential students.
What’s kind of topics or ideas do they need to learn badly?
Guessing might not be the best option here.
Instead, you can look for common questions asked on sites like Quora.
Even academic groups on Facebook can give you a glimpse of the inquiries of today’s students.
Starting digging until such time, you can find the perfect course that students are willing to buy.
How To Validate A Course Topic
Many course creators think that it is alright not to validate their course ideas or topics.
Do not commit this mistake.
You don’t want to spend countless hours making online content and find out that only a few (or nobody) are looking for it.
Here are the foolproof steps on how to validate a topic for an online course:
“Having an idea is one thing. Ensuring that it is concrete, viable, and profitable is another.”— Burkhard Berger
Tip #1 Check Google Search Volume
One of the simplest ways of validating a topic is by looking at its search volume on Google based on your topic keyword.
But if you want to make things even simpler, you should use the online tool Ubersuggest, which Neil Patel created.
Tip #2 Search For Your Topic On Udemy
You can also double-check the validity of your online course topic in Udemy.
Right now, it is touted as one of the biggest marketplaces of online courses, which makes it a one-stop-shop for course buyers and sellers alike.
Enter your course keyword and see how many courses and students are into it.
If there are only a few courses, but thousands of students are enrolled in it, you hit the jackpot!
Tip #3 Search On YouTube
YouTube is already more than just a video-sharing platform.
It became so diverse that almost everything you are looking for is on the site already.
Furthermore, YouTube is the home of free online tutorials and courses, which indicates that many rely on it for how-to guides, lectures, and other academic materials.
Just like in Udemy, input your keyword in the search bar of YouTube.
Check if the search results and number of views are high; they are a sure indicator of the demand for the topic that you want to make into a course.
Tip #4 Survey Your Target Audience
This method takes a lot of time and patience, but this gives more accurate and in-depth validation than the techniques listed above.
Fortunately, conducting surveys today is pretty convenient.
If you have a mailing list already, all you need to do is create a survey using LeadQuizzes survey maker, Google Forms or PaperForm.
In your survey, ask close-ended and open-ended questions regarding their thoughts about your online course.
If possible, try to extract specific answers–what course they want to enroll in, what topics they want to be discussed, etc.
Study the patterns of their answers. From there, you will find relevant course ideas that could rack thousands of dollars!
“It is always a good thing to hear directly from your target audience. Their responses are ideas worth investing in. “— Burkhard Berger
Examples of Profitable Online Course Ideas
Here are some tested-and tried topics that work as income-generating online courses. Check them out:
- Developing a business plan
- Monetizing YouTube
- Affiliate marketing
- Successful job interview strategies
- Managing personal investments
Step 2 Turn Your Idea Into An Online Course
Of course, you should already realize that having a selling idea for your online course is not enough.
You still have to expand it to become a valuable learning tool for your audience and end-users.
The process of making the actual course is not that easy.
This is where you need to focus most of your time and effort.
You got to make sure that your online course has edible and actual meat.
Here are the fundamentals of converting your ideas into a concrete online course:
Provide Learning Outcomes
In making an online course, you have to ask yourself this question, “Why would people buy this course?“
You can’t just float various topics, subjects, and concepts if they don’t have intended outcomes.
It is like saying that you have a nail, but you don’t have the hammer to pound it to the ground.
Similarly, your audience will find your online course useless if it doesn’t bring real benefits to them.
As a result, it will harm your reputation in the market, and that’s a big no-no.
For instance, if you are going to create an online course about learning how to draw, it is not enough that you only teach the fundamentals. At the end of the course, you have to make sure that your students learn how to draw.
If your course cannot offer the assurance that they will learn or get something, it will never make a sale.
Again, your course has to have meat that can satisfy your customers.
“One should never belittle the importance of learning outcomes. It is a crucial deciding factor whether a person will enroll in your course or not.”— Burkhard Berger
The following questions could serve as a guideline for your learning outcomes:
- What skills will they acquire after the course?
- What knowledge will they get from enrolling?
- What aspects of their life will improve by applying your course contents?
With clear learning outcomes, you’ll maximize your profits and customer satisfaction. It will also mean lower complaints and refunds.
Structure Your Course Content
This is where the real work begins.
And sadly enough, many fail at this stage. Course creators tend to fall victim to procrastination, mismanagement, and simple cases of self-doubt.
You don’t want these things to happen to you.
Otherwise, that six-digit dream will vanish into thin air.
Why is there a problem when it comes to content structuring and gathering?
- Too much information
- No clear outlines
- No timetables and timelines
But based on my experience, the best way to conquer these ordeals is by simple commitment and management.
You have to be aggressive enough to accomplish your goals; motivate yourself to finish what you’ve started.
Also, you have to realize that you stop thinking about what you should include in your course.
If that’s your line of thought, you’ll end up having information overload.
Instead, you should focus on your course topic and find the things that you shouldn’t include in it.
Trust me, your job will be easier if you do it this way.
You should also abide by the following tips to ensure that your course contents are goal-oriented and fully organized.
Go back to your learning outcomes and make it the anchor point of your course. You’ll realize that there are some related subjects to your topic or idea that you don’t really fit your product’s goals.
Furthermore, don’t miss the part of answering some of the pressing inquiries of your buyers and students.
Provide some contents that your competitors don’t have.
Create Your Module & Course Plan
Once you have gathered all the essential contents for your course, you should start arranging them.
Look for similar themes, ideas, and topics, and group them into modules.
After you do this, you should arrange the modules into a cohesive lesson plan.
In arranging the modules, make sure that they are as orderly as possible. Don’t put advanced lessons on the top and the basics on the later part of the course.
“By having an organized course, you can prevent baffling your students. It will help them achieve their desired learning outcomes.”— Burkhard Berger
Strategize The Delivery Mode Of Your Course
In learning how to create an online course, you must identify the best mediums in delivering your content.
At this point, you must be aware of the different learning styles and preferences of adults.
Moreover, you have to make sure that your mode of delivery is engaging, interactive, and comprehensive.
Fortunately, there are viable tools that can help you with this part.
- Multimedia Approach: Use videos, audio files, and reading content to make your lessons as diverse as possible. You can even provide informative texts that your students will take time to read.
- Eye-Grabbing Visuals: Don’t forget to include graphics and appealing visuals. They help a lot in drawing the attention of your audience, especially those who are more comfortable in visual-guided learning.
Overall, the secret here is balancing these different elements in your course.
In this way, you will be able to cater to everyone’s needs and preferences.
It will make your course valuable, and far from being boring. It will immerse your students in the best learning outcomes.
In a nutshell, these are the following mediums that you can use in your online course:
- Graphics and static visuals
- Audio files and pre-recorded voice lessons
- Traditional black-and-white text
If you are opting to focus more on videos and graphics, video editing skills are required.
It would be great if you have cameras, lights, computers, and other filming tools so that you can start right away.
If you don’t have any of these, your best alternative is to hire talent. Considering the long-term returns, hiring a freelance videographer or graphic designer is a worthy investment.
Step 3 Build An Engaged Audience
For me, one of the biggest challenges in making an online course is getting an audience for it.
Even if your content is superior to the rest of the courses out there, it will still not get the sales that it deserves if it doesn’t have any audience at all.
Of course, this is a struggle that many online course creators have been dealing with for so long.
Right now, you can see tons of tips on how to build a target audience for online courses. Some of them are long-winding and too much of a stretch.
While I am not saying that they are wrong, you might get perplexed by them in the middle of the process.
Fortunately, there are simple ways on how to get this done:
Tip #1 Utilize Compelling Lead Magnets
Lead magnets are tools that you use to attract people. Most of the time, they are in the form of eBooks and monthly reports.
If you are a starter, you might want to consider giving these things for free. You don’t ask for money, email, or anything in return, just free.
But, why do you need to do this?
Of course, you want to build visibility and reputation first. Some of the freebies you give will yield minimal results, but some will definitely go big.
In fact, I’ve shared a free eBook in the past that got a significant number of downloads. I was so surprised back then because I didn’t think that such a simple material gave me the exposure that I needed.
Let me emphasize that your lead magnets have to be utterly useful. They should be relevant to your primary online course; they should refer and link back to your product, too.
Tip #2 Establishing Searchable Contents
This process takes time, but you should see this as a long-term investment.
If you want to create an audience, you have to make a platform first where you can gather them.
And the best way to do that is by blogging or making a YouTube channel. Keep in mind that these approaches will solidify your reputation alongside your courses.
When you create dynamic and profound pillar posts on the topics for your target audience, there’s a good chance that you’ll rank high in search engines.
People will find you.
And, they will look for you intentionally.
This method has worked for many content marketers. And there’s no reason that it won’t work for you.
Tip #3 Speaking Your Thoughts
The reason why you need to have a YouTube channel these days is for this very purpose.
Of course, I am aware that public speaking is not for everyone. But then again, if you want to hit your goal, you have to overcome this wall.
Try uploading useful content to your YouTube channel. Make sure that you are the main star so that you can establish your rapport.
You can also try speaking in public events related to your target industry.
Since we are dealing with the coronavirus pandemic as of the time of writing, you can do this via webinars.
As long as you can deliver successful webinars on the right platform, you will be able to meet the audiences that would help you expand your reach.
Webinars are also rich venues for gathering email lists, which is something that every course creator wants.
Step 4 Upload Your Course To An Online Course Platform
After you created your online course, it is time that you upload it to a learning platform.
Now, don’t ever think that this process is simple.
Even up to this point, you have to be cerebral. You have to find the right platform for your online course.
You see, not all platforms are tailored to sell courses.
Some of these sites and software functionality support academic programs and corporate training.
Here’s another thing that you need to know:
Even those sites that function as “sellers” of online courses have varying flavors and palettes. If you pick the wrong one, your course will not hit your desired goals and expectations.
For instance, would you upload your business-related course to a marketplace that focuses on hobbies and recreation?
Of course, the answer is a huge no.
Lucky for you, I’ve already narrowed all your options.
The list below will simplify your hunt for the best site where you can upload your online course:
This one is perfect for solo entrepreneurs and small businesses.
Standalone platforms can help people who want to sell their courses and establish their brand at the same time.
Examples of standalone platforms:
These particular platforms are beneficial for those who want to create a web presence.
Specifically, they just don’t help you create and sell courses; they also provide you with access to tools for web content management systems (CMS) and customer relationship management (CRM).
Examples of all-in-one platforms:
WordPress enables you to create and sell online courses.
With the assistance of various WordPress themes and plug-ins, you will be able to achieve these things.
This route is exceptionally useful for those who want to sell and promote their online courses on a self-managed website.
Examples of WordPress platforms:
Pick this option if you want to sell your course on a direct marketplace.
Most of the time, these marketplaces provide the capability for content creators to assemble and organize their corners.
Examples of marketplace platforms:
- Open Sesame
Step 5 Create an Irresistible Offer For Your Course
Don’t launch your course yet.
Before you exclaim to the world that your content is up, you have to decide first your pricing, as well as the strategies for building a sales page.
If you can do these two things right, you will be able to improve the conversion of your leads.
Setting The Correct Price For Your Online Course
If you want to learn how to sell an online course, you have to know how to price tags first.
Correct pricing makes a difference in your online course.
A good price can attract tons of customers, beat the competition, and propel a course creator into greater heights.
However, setting the price is not that easy. In fact, many people fail on this particular aspect.
Let me share some of the bad ideologies that other course creators have when it comes to their online courses:
- Base On Length: Don’t put a high price tag on a course that only lasts for a few hours.
- Start Low: You don’t need to place your course in the premium category if you are still starting.”
- Lowest Price: Make sure that the price is lower than the average price of your competitors.”
While it is true that these strategies can work on some level, there’s no guarantee that they can yield your desired revenue.
For instance, selling a course for $10 will certainly be profitable since many people will find it affordable. But at the same time, it is not proof that your revenues are being maximized.
Think about the number of hours and the amount of your effort you put into making your course.
Now, will you let these things be priced cheaply?
Furthermore, you have to realize that you need to get a cheaply-priced course for it to get significant revenue.
If you are gunning for $200 a week from your course, you will need to sell it for twenty times.
On the other hand, you will only need to sell it four times if the price starts at $50.
When it comes to efficiency, you know the option that solidifies it.
The very key here is understanding the overall value of your course.
If you are aware of the help and benefit that your course can give to its buyers, then you should never shy away from premium pricing.
People will pay the right amount for things that could help them solve their problems.
If your $100 course teaches successful web development, people will certainly buy it; they won’t have to spend thousands of dollars anymore from hiring a freelancer.
To further establish the premium rapport and saleability of your course, you have to add an irresistible offer on top of it.
Now, the bonus doesn’t have to be extensive and overwhelming.
Some value-added perks can already attract your audience to buy your course.
Here are some examples:
- Case studies
- Membership to an exclusive and well-engaged community
- Private coaching sessions
- Never-released course contents and tutorials
- Free digital products such as eBooks
Of course, you have to consider that some people have the money to pay an expensive price tag.
At this point, you have to consider offering a payment plan, once they’re signed up on your online event registration form, that allows buyers to pay for the course via installment.
Step 6 Launch & Sell Your Online Course
Now that all things are ready for your online course, it is time that you launch it.
At this point, it is not a secret anymore that you are expecting sales. After all, you followed all my recommendations already.
But don’t rush yet.
You have to ensure that you have the right launchpad in selling an online course.
Otherwise, you will never be able to maximize the possible profits that your course can earn.
You have two options for this: closed cart and evergreen.
Closed Cart Courses
Basically, the closed cart method puts your course in a limited-edition period.
Specifically, it will only be available during your course’s launching period and will close after enrollment.
If you are going to opt for this approach, you will have to open your cart every two to six months, depending on the length of your course, number of students, and price.
You have to follow the opening and closing times of the closed cart approach.
This will make people think that joining your course is an urgent matter; it will compel your audience to make the purchase.
On the flip side, it could possibly waste the opportunity of catering to other students who didn’t make it to the enrollment period.
As a result, they would jump to other courses that offer the same subjects and topics as you.
An evergreen course is the opposite of a closed cart course.
In short, it will put your course in full availability – there’s no waiting period and reservations at all.
The heart of an evergreen course is learning to automate sales funnels.
By doing this, you will be able to focus on improving the traffic to your course.
At the same time, it lets you test the funnel itself and email strategies regularly.
However, the downside of an evergreen course is that it is difficult to place a sense of exclusivity and urgency.
You still have to provide bonuses or discounts to attract buyers.
I suggest that you make things simple on your end. If your course is in the premium price range ($200 or higher), a closed cart is the best option.
If the course is not that expensive, it is better to categorize it as a non-premium and sell it as an evergreen course.
Factors Affecting Income From Online Course Sales
Just like the standard world economy, the online course market is pretty volatile.
It is always subject to changes due to the presence of several factors. Here are some of them:
When the price is set on the right figures, many will flock to your course.
Wrong pricing can cause a well-made online course to rot on the shelf.
It is essential that you employ the right marketing strategies to gather your audience and compel them to buy your course.
The correct strategy will open the gates of long-term income and sales from the course you made.
You have to accept the fact that some other topics and ideas are more profitable than others.
This will lead us back to my first point here: you have to pick the best course subject.
Now that you reached this point, you have already realized that learning how to sell an online course is not easy. I’ve listed all the essential steps that could help convert an idea to profits.
Remember the essentials, which are the following:
- Aim for a profitable course topic
- Engage your target audience
- Pick the right online course platform
- Offer discounts and bonuses
It’s the perfect time to start doing things on your own. And I do hope that you hit those six-digit sales sooner or later!
If you have some other questions that you want further clarification on, feel free to ask me in the comment section below.
How To Sell An Online Course FAQs
If you want to learn more about selling a highly profitable online course, here are four frequently asked questions on the subject.
Depending on your sales strategy, the number of subscribers you have, and the price of your courses, you can make anywhere from $1,000 to $100,000 on a monthly basis from selling an online course.
As of 2021, the trending online courses are artificial intelligence and machine learning, blockchain, big data, business intelligence, cloud computing, computer science, cybersecurity, data science, DevOps, digital marketing, full-stack development, Internet Of Things, networking, project management, and software development.
To sell an online course, you need to figure out what topic you want to teach, shoot your classes, pick a platform where to host it, decide on the pricing, and learn how to market it.
Online courses are profitable because you have a much wider reach for your potential audience. It also has a good business model. They are increasing in demand as well.