6 Myths About Creating a Successful Online Course
Today's blog post is a fun one! We are talking about course creation myths, also known as things people say to make creating online courses seem so more intimidating than it actually is.
If you're new to course creation, here's some more articles that cover the basics:
I don't believe that there's a rigid set of requirements that you need to meet before you're ready to create an online course. I also don't believe that creating an online course needs to be hard, overwhelming, or expensive. In fact, you can create a great online course that provides real value for your audience without investing tons of money in a developer, or professional video, or ads or just about anything else.
I definitely believe there are a few things you should have in place before you create a course. You should have:
Expertise and experience with your chosen topic
An audience that knows you and values your content
A good sense of what that audience needs
Spending time growing a list and building a following are important, and creating an online course is not an easy task, but there are no specific rules out there to tell you when is the “perfect time” to launch a course.
Apart from that, creating an online course is all about listening to your audience and doing what's right for you and your business.
So let's get started with some online course myth-busting.
Myth 1: Other people are already offering similar courses so I can't possibly pursue my idea
While you do want to pay attention to what your competitors are doing, another course out there in your niche shouldn’t hold you back from putting out your content.
Even if someone else is teaching a similar topic, they can't offer the exact same skills, perspective, and experience that you can.
Instead of letting the fact that there's competition hold you back from creating your course, you should take it as a sign that there is demand for your topic and that there are people out there who are interested in learning this material.
While you don't want to let the fact that there's competition stop you from creating a course, it is important to think about what you can do to set your course apart. Ask yourself how you can create additional value or how you can serve a specific niche audience in a really direct way.
What you don't want to do? Don't just compete on price. Offering a similar course at a lower price point doesn't really help anyone. You may choose to offer your course at a more competitive price than others in your niche, but that shouldn't be the only thing that you do to set your course apart.
Another thing about competition? Don't think that all of your potential customers already know about your competitor’s product. The market for online learning is huge and there are more and more potential customers learning about the beauty of e-courses every day.
Myth 2: Technology is Hard
Another thing I hear all the time about putting together online courses is that the technology is really hard and intimidating.
The truth is that even if you're not a tech person, in 2018 there are lots of programs, platforms, and services out there that make putting together an online course super easy.
As an instructional designer, one of the main things that I do is offer “done with you services” for course creators, but even if you don't have the funds to hire someone to help you put together your outlines and develop your materials and course platform, it's still very possible to put together a high-quality online course--no developer required.
The first time I ever built an online course it was 2012, and I spent weeks clobbering together various WordPress plugins to try to make a working course platform. Fortunately, none of that is necessary anymore!
Today there are numerous all in one course creation platforms that feature drag-and-drop course building and ready to go payment and email management.
In addition, creating quality video content has never been easier or more affordable.
Myth 3: I can't make a course because I don't have a large list
Now I'm not going to lie, having a strong email list is a great tool to have at your disposal for marketing your online course successfully.
However, that doesn't mean that you shouldn't get started with course creation until you have 10,000, 5000, or even 1000 people on your list.
The truth is that if you have a small number of high-quality followers who are super invested in your content, you can have success with online courses even with a small following. What’s really key here is understanding the importance of audience building--showing up consistently for your people-- not hitting a specific list size.
Myth 4: More people will buy my course if I charge less
Your course's price should reflect the value it provides to your audience. It may sound counterintuitive because let's face it, we all like to save money, but offering a high-value product for a super low cost isn't really doing yourself any favors.
This is because low-cost signals low-value. People who are willing to invest their time into an online course are looking for something that is going to be a good use of their efforts and energy.
Think of it this way: If I told you I was going to sell you an amazing pair of high-quality Italian leather shoes and I was only going to charge you $20 for them, would you believe that my shoes were actually that great? Probably not.
Now how about if I told you that those shoes were $300? Your initial response might be, “oh gosh I can't afford that,” but you would also think that those shoes really were high-quality kicks.
For online course creators, if we can convince people that our products are truly transformative, we are better serviced by charging a somewhat premium price.
Myth 5: I have to spend $$$ on ads and do four webinars a day and have a 7 step funnel and a tripwire and….
Okay so here's the thing: There are a lot of internet marketing gurus out there who have selling things online down to a science. I am not going to tell you that what they teach is wrong. Absolutely not. In fact, creating funnels and trip wires and doing webinars and live launching courses can work really well.
A lot of people make tons of cash selling courses online this way. The “myth” is that all of this is required in order to be successful. If you are just getting started and marketing things online is totally new for you and all of this sounds really intimidating, it is a hundred percent okay to make things simple on yourself.
If you decide to use Facebook ads or any other kind of ads to sell your course, you do need to make sure that you are charging a price and that allows you to make a profit on your ad spend. You also need to test out your advertising before you make a huge investment and know how much it's going to cost you on average to get a lead that converts (AKA a customer that pays).
But while it is always important to test things out and validate your approach, don't listen to anyone who says you absolutely have to do something one way or you won't make any money. You also won't make any money if you get totally overwhelmed and just don't end up doing your course or launching your product at all.
The key here is that there are many right ways to do things, and you have to figure out what works for you at this stage of your business.
Myth 6: No one will pay for this content because so much is available for free
While it's true that information is everywhere, people don't really buy online courses just to get facts and tips. Rather they purchase courses because they are looking for a guide, someone who can help them cut through the noise and achieve their goals quickly.
Insight, inspiration, and guidance are where you provide value as a course creator.
Have you heard any of these myths before? What's your biggest course creation challenge?
I’m an instructional designer providing eCourse solutions for creative entrepreneurs. My focus is on helping you learn how to talk to your audience and validate your programs to take the uncertainty out of launching.
Have questions about creating your online course? Click below to learn how we can work together!