It is 2023, and if you have decided to move your courses online, you’ve made a wise decision. The online course industry is projected to reach an astonishing $376 billion by 2026, and you wouldn't want to miss out on riding the high tides.
Before you jump into recording videos, it's important to understand that online courses require more interaction and engagement than simply filming a lecture. Relying only on a recorded session will result in fewer participation rates and lower engagement, setting your online course for failure.
In this article, we tackle the challenge head-on and share how you can effectively transition your offline courses to an online platform and create and sell online courses that engage your audience and achieve success.
How to move your courses online
1. Identify your courses
Before you make the complete shift to an online platform, you must decide which online course topics you would want to transform. The process of moving from offline to online will take some time, and prioritizing your courses will make it more manageable.
- Prioritise by time: Identify courses that are time-sensitive, such as those with an upcoming cohort of students or those with a deadline. These should be a top priority and should be moved online as soon as possible.
- Prioritise by course type: Evaluate courses that may need to be updated but are not as time-sensitive. Consider courses that are not relevant for online delivery, such as those with a strong physical component.
2. Choose the right platform
The platform you choose to host your courses can be the defining factor in determining the success of your online courses, in addition to the quality of the course content. A poor platform selection will limit your growth and affect the success of your online course business.
Choose a platform that will provide you with the tools and features you need to create, market, and sell your courses effectively. Additionally, the platform should have the ability to integrate with other services and tools to expand the features and functionality of your courses and should also provide good customer support to quickly address any student issues or questions.
Factors to consider to choose the best online course-creating platform:
- Website builder - You should look for a platform that allows you to create your own website. This provides you with flexibility in branding and content format options, such as the ability to create branded landing pages and choose from multiple content formats for creating your courses.
- Cost Considerations - Take into account the long-term cost structure, including monthly or yearly fees and any transaction fees for each sale, when choosing a platform. Compare the pricing plans of different platforms and evaluate the cost of any additional features or integrations you may require.
- Marketing and promotion tools - Search for an online course platform that offers essential marketing tools, such as email marketing, affiliate marketing, and analytics, to promote your course effectively.
- Ease of use and customer support - Opt for a platform with an easy and intuitive user interface and the availability of customer support to ensure that you can easily navigate and use the platform to create online courses.
- Integrations - Integrations simplify your workflow and improve efficiency. Look for a platform that offers integration with tools such as payment processors, email marketing software, and webinar platforms.
- Additional features - Some platforms offer additional features like membership sites, webinars, live chats, and quizzes. These are extremely helpful to drive up engagement in your courses, and you should consider if they are included in the pricing plan.
3. Create engaging online courses
The biggest mistake a person can make while creating online courses is simply talking about information that is displayed on a PowerPoint slide. This renders the course moot and unappealing.
If you have selected the correct platform, you can leverage various features to make your content more engaging. Use a combination of text, audio, video, and interactive elements such as quizzes and exercises. This will help to cater to different learning styles and keep students interested.
- Webinars: Webinars can greatly enhance the learning experience of your students, giving them a way to directly engage with you and address their questions. Webinars can also allow for more in-depth discussions, fostering a sense of community and collaboration.
- Quizzes: Quizzes, being fun and less intimidating, are an effective way to assess the progress of your learners. It also lets you gauge the success of your course, and you can tune your content to be more or less difficult accordingly
- Videos: It goes without saying that videos help retain the attention of learners longer than text. Plus, you can fuse multiple and complex concepts in videos more effectively.
- Other Materials: You can make your course richer by adding more downloadable guides and worksheets. You can also utilize the live chat functionality of your platform to talk to your students directly and guide them on a real-time basis.
4. Set Up Marketing
Creating an online course without a marketing plan is like opening a restaurant in the middle of the desert. People will fail to find you even if you serve the best burger in town.
To succeed in your course journey, you need to have an audience to drive traffic to your website. This can only be achieved if you market your online course effectively
Social media, SEO, and Google ads are common methods for targeting your audience. However, it's crucial to focus on one channel instead of trying all of them at once and hoping for the best.
Determine what works for you:
- If you enjoy audio mediums, host a podcast to attract traffic and acquire new subscribers.
- If budget is not an issue, consider utilizing paid advertising platforms such as Google or Facebook to promote your course.
- If social media is your strength, leverage it to connect with potential students.
- If writing is your preference, create SEO-optimized blog content to use as a marketing tool.
Once you have steady traffic, building a marketing funnel is crucial to nurture your customers at every step of the journey. Identify at which stages your potential students are dropping off. Send emails or updates or even offer discounts to convert them into buyers.
Moving your offline course content online can open up a world of possibilities for your courses. With the right platform and strategies in place, your online courses can reach a wider audience, generate more revenue, and create a successful business.
If you're looking to make the move to an online medium for your courses, then Anant Shrivastava, Founder of Cyfinoid Research, has some valuable secrets and insights for you. Check out his podcast with Hanuj Tilwani, CEO and founder of Miho, to uncover his journey of moving his offline courses to an online medium post-Covid. Listen here to gain insights and strategies to help you make the move successfully.