By Bailey Richert | @baileyrichert | Business Coach for Beginning + Budding Infopreneurs
Some of the links contained in this article are affiliate links. This means that I may receive a commission if you click on the link and make a purchase from the affiliate. I only recommend products and services that I know or trust to be of high quality, whether an affiliate relationship is in place or not. Questions? firstname.lastname@example.org
The online course marketplace is crowded.
Maybe there used to be a time when infopreneurs could sell unlisted YouTube video playlists with nuggets of useful content for a hundred dollars a pop, but those days are certainly gone now.
Online courses are quickly becoming the most loved revenue stream of online business owners who want to educate their audiences. Why? They command higher price points than ebooks, and they're a faster way to reach a greater audience than one-on-one coaching.
But as with any industry, when the market gets flooded, participants start engaging in a race to the bottom as far as price is concerned. When your competitors are charging $10 for a course you think deserves to be $200, what do you do?
The answer: Add More Value.
High-value online courses aren't just about charging higher price points to clients and positioning yourself as 'premium'. It's not about tricking a potential buyer into choosing you because you're charging more. It's about actually offering more.
Through bonuses, group coaching calls, online support communities and exclusive content, you can up your online course game to beat out your competitors. Students are happy to pay what you're charging because they know at the end of the day, you're giving them a learning experience that is more thorough than they're going to get anywhere else.
And you know what else? Students who do pay for your high-value courses are going to be more grateful, more engaged and learn more than the students of those low price point classes. They've invested into your product, and now they want to get the most out of it.
High-value courses are the future of the online course industry, and if you want to succeed teaching your skills online, you need to embrace this movement now.
How does an infopreneur go about creating a high-value online course though? I'll be honest, it does take time. Those business coaches claiming you can slap together a program worth a $1,000 price point in a weekend don't know what they're talking about. Between recruiting affiliates, creating content, setting up sales pages and more, high-value courses can take weeks to months to launch - and that's if you do everything the right way the first time.
In this comprehensive guide, I'd like to share with you my 20-step process for creating high-value online courses in a manner that is straightforward, low stress and utilizes the best practices in the online course creation space - including pre-selling, leveraging influencers' audiences and more.
Though the amount of time you choose to dedicate to creating and selling your own online course will vary, it typically takes at least 8 weeks to complete Phases 1 through 3 (steps 1 to 14) of this process which will lead you to the point of launching your course to your audience to begin accepting pre-sales.
I look forward to seeing what you create with the help of this free guide, and if you'd like to learn more about high-value online courses, please visit HighValueCourseAcademy.com.
A truly passive online course is one in which you create all the content and leave your product available for purchase 24 / 7 / 365. Your primary efforts go into marketing after creation.
A programmatic hybrid course is one in which you incorporate additional elements of support for your audience. For example, these could include weekly group coaching calls or a student community. Programmatic hybrid courses often only last for a few weeks, and they are open for enrollment only at certain times during the year.
To prevent yourself from wasting a ton of time creating content for a course nobody wants to buy, you will put all of your effort in the first two months planning your course, setting up your online systems and recruiting affiliates. The "Launch Date" is when your course goes live for sale. You can start taking sales and promoting your course.
The "Live Date" occurs 2-4 months after the launch date. This is the date that enrolled students will have access to the course materials for the first time.
Between the Launch and Live dates, you will be supporting your affiliates, pre-selling your course and beginning to create your course content as you start to see higher enrollment numbers.
Infopreneurs have a tendency to want to cram a ton of material into an online course. It is better to create a more thorough, focused course than a broad one.
At this stage of planning, lay out approximately 5-7 modules for your course, which will each contain about 3-5 lessons.
You may begin writing out the names of the lessons as well, but don't dwell too much on making them perfect. As you progress in your course creation, these will definitely evolve.
One of the primary ways in which course creators can add value to their course for their students is to offer additional content, or bonuses, that they would have otherwise not included in the course.
Brainstorm what content you have or could make that would aid the student in their journey through your course but isn't necessarily a core module. This could include case studies, additional video training, reports, ebooks, coaching calls, or access to your other online courses. Be creative!
Course creators often find it useful to partner with companies to offer freebies to enrolled students, too. If you decide this may be a path you wish to pursue, identify which companies you want to approach, and begin emailing them with your requests.
While online courses can have a variety of media, including text and audio, the primary means of lecturing is still video. You will need to evaluate and choose an online system to host your video-based course.
High-value course creators should avoid choosing an online course marketplace, like Udemy.com, because these force a price race to the bottom for competing courses. Instead, choose a host that will allow you to have your own course domain name, like Teachable.com or Clickfunnels.com.
Once you chosen your online host platform, you will want to set up your initial sales page. It is not necessary to have your premium domain name yet (e.g. mygreatcourse.com), but you will need one soon - so start brainstorming names.
At this point, you want to set up a very initial sales page that you would feel comfortable showing to joint venture partners and affiliates, not your customers. It should have your main header image, sales page headline, your module titles, and either your lesson titles or the topics you will cover in each module.
You do not want anyone to enroll any students right now since you haven't set a price or finalized your content, so do not put a 'buy' button on your page. Instead, use an email optin form to start collecting potential leads who find your page online.
Creating course content is a lot of work. One of the ways you can make it easier while also increasing the value of your course is to invite well-known influencers in your niche to do an interview for your course. This interview will take the place of a lesson, and you can advertise the participation of these influencers as an added bonus on your sales page.
Take a look at your lessons, and reach out to experts on those topics. Send them your sales page link and ask them if they'd be willing to do an interview for your course.
While you don't have to start creating your own content for your course yet since you'll be taking advantage of pre-selling between the Launch and Live dates, you don't want to leave the influencers you already contacted hanging. These are busy people, so if they get back to you with an affirmative response, schedule a time to conduct the interview as soon as possible. You will continue to contact, work out scheduling and conduct interviews with these folks all the way until your Live date because people's schedules are always hectic.
To conduct the interview, use a high-quality webcam and record a video of the interview by using a webinar software like Google Hangouts, which is free to use. Only after an interview is done can you add their photo to your course sales page. Make sure to confirm that this is alright with them first.
Online business owners know that simply sending a potential customer to a sales page for your course isn't going to convert them into a buyer. They need to go through an indoctrination process in which they are introduced to you, your business, what you do, your course and how it can help them. You need to set up a sales funnel that starts with an optin which can walk them through this process.
Popular sales funnel choices for online course sales include the webinar funnel and the 3-video training series funnel.
This step in the entire high-value course creation process is arguably the most complex and longest - even more so than the creation of the course material itself.
Now that you've settled upon a sales funnel, you need to actually set up that funnel. If you've chosen to host your course in Clickfunnels, you can easily do this inside Clickfunnels also. However, if you've chosen a course host that doesn't have a marketing component, like Teachable.com, you will need to use another lead page software, like Clickfunnels or LeadPages.net to generate your funnel pages and host your content.
You will need to put in effort to create your sales funnel pages, video, and copy in a manner that is directed towards the ideal student for your course.
Now that you have received responses from the influencers you previously emailed, you have a better idea of the content your course has, needs and what shape it is taking. Return to your lesson plans and tidy up your initial ideas of what your course would look like. Then, go back to your sales page and improve it to include the updated lessons, bonuses, influencers and other information you now have - including your custom domain name. Choose a price also, and put a 'buy' now button on the sales page. Advertise that the course content will be available on the course's "Live" date.
Additionally, set up a page where your affiliate agreement will be hosted. In the next step, you will approach the influencers you interviewed about becoming affiliate promoters of your course, and you have to have a formal affiliate agreement in place to which they can consent before agreeing to take part in your program.
As the Launch date of your course approaches, get back in touch with the influencers you interviewed for your online course to let them know how things are going. Usually when an infopreneur interviews for an online course, especially if they are prominently displayed on the home page, they have no problem sharing it with their own audience - especially if you invite them to join your course affiliate program and earn commissions on every referral sale. Be sure to schedule promotions like webinars and guest posts for the marketing time between your course's Launch and Live dates.
This step should begin on the Launch date you set for your course in Step 2. The Launch date marks the official start of the promotional push for your online course, including promotional activities with your affiliates and your own marketing efforts as well.
The Launch date kicks off the period of pre-selling. This is the most crucial time for your online course sales. Your course is new, your affiliates are promoting it, and you may be offering reduced pricing. In addition, this is the validation period where you will determine whether or not you want to proceed with your course content. It sounds crazy that you might cancel it after all this work, but if nobody buys it, then there's no reason to continue. Once you start bringing in sales, though, you have validated your idea, and there is more work to be done.
Once you start to bring in course sales, your idea is validated, and you feel confident in your course that you wish to move it forward to the Live date, you will need to start creating the rest of the content for your course.
Take a look at how many lessons remain to be recorded, and set a schedule (1 per week? 2 per week? more?) that you can follow so that you will have all of your content done by at least the Live date of your course - when your students can receive their content and begin to actually take the class.
If your affiliates are doing a good job of promoting your course, you should see a spike in your audience and email list growth. People are opting in to your sales funnel, even if they haven't purchased your course...yet.
It was your affiliate's job to get your optin offer in front of their audiences, and now that you've converted them to your list, it is your job to continue to nurture your relationship with those leads to get them to enroll in our online course.
You can continue to do this by creating new blog posts all about your course and related topics, doing webinars, writing related email blasts, creating videos for YouTube, writing social media posts, and more! Be attentive to client questions, and respond quickly. Your goal is to sell, sell, sell!
Once the Live date rolls around, the Launch period and preselling period is officially over. On this date, you should set your student's content to 'Live' so that they can now view it. As a courtesy, make sure to email all enrolled students to inform them that the content is now live, and remind them about how they can access it. What website should they go to? How can they update their password if they forgot it? Many students never finish their online courses, but those who pay do start them - so be attentive to your students during this early stage. Your focus will pay off when they refer your course to others.
If you were advertising your launch and live dates on your course sales page, sales funnel or other promotional materials, or if you were advertising reduced pricing, you'll want to make sure to return to all these places and adjust your copy as necessary.
Are you now displaying the right price? Did you update your payment processor to charge the new price?
Are you advertising new enrollment dates, or will it be open for enrollment at all times from now on after the initial launch?
Are the videos and materials in your sales funnel promoting the initial launch, or the course in general as it now stands? Be sure especially to check things you may have said in videos.
After some time has passed and students who paid to enroll in your course have consumed some (though not necessarily all) of your content, be sure to check in with them to see what they like and do not like about the course so that you can improve it for future enrollees.
Were they satisfied with the lessons? Length of lessons? Overall quality? Did they learn what they expected to learn?
Approach satisfied students to promote the course as affiliates.
An online course is never truly finished. The content can always be updated as times change, and you can always find ways to offer more value to your students. What you need to do is find ways to help your current students be more satisfied - but also bring new students in.
Finding new influencers to join your course for an interview and as an affiliate is a good strategy for growing your audience and enrollment.
If your course is a programmatic hybrid that will have a newlaunch, start at step 2 in this manual and find new partners that can help you increase the value and hype around your new launch. If your course is truly passive, you can search for new influencers at any time of the year.
Undoubtedly, the process for planning, creating, launching, pre-selling and growing your online course is anything but simple. It is a complex endeavor which requires good communication, writing, technical knowledge of online systems, and foundational business concepts for online enterprises.
That's why, true to my belief that high-value online courses are truly one of the best revenue streams for infopreneurs and learning tools for skills in today's modern world, I have created a program which teaches ambitious infopreneurs how to create their own high-value online course.
High-Value Course Academy is an 8-week program filled with both video instruction and group coaching intended to show you exactly how to create an online course from scratch, even if you don't have a large online presence.
If you're serious about joining the thousands of infopreneurs tapping into the online learning revolution by creating your own high-value course, then High-Value Course Academy is the program you need to succeed!
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