Running an online course or program as an entrepreneur is an amazing way to build your influence, leverage your time and resources, and establish your expertise alongside a recurring income stream.
Whilst it might feel overwhelming at first, creating and selling your first online course or program can be broken down into simple steps to have you up and running in no time.
1) Validate your idea
Validating your idea is essential to make sure you are going to create something there is a real need for.
Create surveys, do your research, and even use Facebook Live and Periscope for live video streaming to ask for real time feedback on ideas.
Doing this work first can save you an incredible amount of time later, so it really is worth the effort.
2) Make it compelling
Make sure your course idea is compelling and irresistible, with a tangible outcome.
So, rather than “How To Lose Weight”, it could be “Drop A Dress Size In 30 days”. Or, in place of “Hand Lettering Basics”, it could be “Learn To Letter From Scratch In 10 Minutes A Day”.
See how Selz entrepreneur Amanda Bisk does it, right here:
3) Map out the modules
From your research, map out the modules you would like to include in your course.
Consider the format, length of course, and how you would like it to run.
It can be a good idea at this stage to seek extra feedback from your ideal clients before you create any modules, to test the content is something they need, want, and would pay for.
You can even consider offering early bird pre-sale access at this stage to entice your first course attendees for a discounted rate.
4) Create a sales page
Write a sales page that shows your customers how the course will help them, what’s inside, and how they can gain access.
Use visual imagery to make sure the page stands out, and work with compelling copy to enhance the need to click the buy button!
Your sales page is where you can easily add your Selz buy now button or widget for customers to read more and gain access.
5) Set up access
There are different ways to give customers access to your course after they purchase from your Selz store or sales page. This depends on how you want to deliver your course. This is a good question to ask when first validating your idea.
Here are your options.
Sell your course or program as a digital item on Selz
This is the most simple way to sell your online course on Selz.
Simply create your course as a digital workbook, PDF, or a self-directed digital course within a downloadable file. If you set your product up as a digital item on Selz, we auto-deliver any number of files to your customer via email immediately.
You can also set your up your course as a digital product with a PDF that includes any URLs, instructions, and log in information required to access your course if the course is not delivered digitally as a download or via email. This usually means your course is set up on a password protected page on your website or blog.
How to password protect a page on your website
If you want to run your course somewhere else, like on your own website or blog, creating a password protected page with access to the course modules and content, is an ideal way to go. This is easily done by setting a password within WordPress or setting a password within Squarespace. Even if you don’t use WordPress or Squarespace, most website builders provide this feature.
Sell your course as an email series
You can set up your course or program as an email sequence and drip the campaign out to your customers using Mailchimp’s automation feature. Be sure to add your Mailchimp API token to enable an autoresponder once your customers buy through your Selz store. You could also email an autoresponder with a PDF version of the course and links to modules with relevant passwords.
One caveat with Mailchimp. Our integration with Mailchimp means that your customers are auto-added to a single list within Mailchimp that you choose when you add an API. At the moment, any and all customers are added to a single list, so automating this process may not work. Instead, we recommend manually adding your customer’s email addresses into a specific list within Mailchimp if you’re dripping content out to them. The easiest way is to add people within 24 hours of purchasing so you aren’t wasting valuable time adding people on and off throughout your day. You can also create a new segment depending on the product the customer purchases within Mailchimp.
Sell your course or program as a service item on Selz
If you set your product up as a service item on Selz, no digital file will be delivered upon purchase. In this case, we recommend adding new customers to your course, email automation list, or membership community manually. You can add customers manually by opening up the Orders page, viewing your customers by item purchased, and downloading the CSV. You can also copy and paste the emails directly if your enrollments aren’t that high yet.
You also receive order confirmation emails per new order, so you can simply copy and paste the email address from the order confirmation email wherever your course is being held.
6) Build a buzz
Create a buzz around your course before you open up the option to buy.
You could create an opt-in that adds value to your potential customers, run some live webinars, and create some content that leads people back to your offer.
You might also want to create a press kit, and approach relevant media and websites to talk about your course.
7) Add modules and resources
Building modules and resources for your first course can be very easily and inexpensively done.
You can record audio or video and host on your website or embed in emails.
Your very first course or program will be a fabulous learning experience to discover what your customers want and need, how they like to learn, and how you work best too.
You can upgrade and update your first course as your skills and confidence grow, or create a new one from scratch when you are ready to add a new product to your income stream.
Creating a course or program and selling it on Selz can be so simple, and waking up to sales while you sleep is something you can definitely learn to get used to!