8 essential elements for a (money making) online course

If you’re using online courses to generate a leveraged income source, you’ll want to make sure it’s a money maker! In which case, it’s important to include certain elements in your course. What’s the most important element of a money making online course? Is it the content, or the way that content is put together? Is it the platform you host your course on, how you market it, or something else entirely?

The truth is, there’s no magical formula that can guarantee your online course will be a success. Every course is unique, and what works for one might not work for another.

You need to choose the right subject, craft the appropriate types of content into a logical structure, and present everything in just the right way for your audience. No wonder it can feel overwhelming when it’s time to sit down and decide what to include in your course!

So although there is no one-size-fits-all recipe for creating your course, there are definitely elements that should be included, to help make your course a success – both with your students, and your bank balance!

So in today’s post we’re looking at eight essential elements of a money making online course. Get your new leveraged (and sometimes passive) income generator, generating income for you!

Eight Essential Elements Of A money making Online Course

These are some of the key things to develop when planning to create an online course.

1. A Super Cosy Niche

Novice course creators could easily assume that it’s better to have a broader course topic, to appeal to a wider audience. However, the opposite is usually true. Super specific, niche topics are more likely to be successful in a course.

In fact, I recommend you niche down as much as possible – particularly within your area of expertise.

Let’s say you have a strong interest in baking. Trying to create a course on this enormous topic would be a mammoth task, and you’re not appealing to a very specific audience.

If you were to niche down to baking cakes, you’ll do better.

But that’s still pretty broad. You can easily hone in on your target audience even further. For example:

  • Baking gluten free cakes for sporty teenagers
  • Baking for school lunches with left over fruit
  • Cake baking for your special pooch
  • Cakes to bake in winter when no one likes chocolate.

The more niche you can get, the less competition you’ll have, and the easier it will be to create lesson outcomes, design your course, and market to your ideal audience. In the process, you’ll probably come up with numerous other course ideas to design in the future!

When you’re mulling over your course topics, always ask yourself – “How can I make this even more niche?”

If these niche topics fall within your areas of expertise, look out world!

2. A Validated Idea

You may think your course idea is fantastic, but do other people? BEFORE diving into course design, you must validate your idea. Is this a problem people really need to solve? Are people willing to pay to solve it? How do you know?

Here are a few ways to find out if your course topic is needed out there in the world.

  1. Talk to your existing customers or audience
  2. Look for existing courses on your topics (don’t worry, it’s ok if they already exist)
  3. Look at Amazon reviews of popular books about your content – what are the commenters saying is missing from the book? What questions are left unanswered?
  4. Search relevant online forums for questions about your topic – after people already asking for help in that area?
  5. Type into Google search ‘how to [your course topic]. If it comes up as an auto suggestion, it’s likely that others have already asked that question!

The takeaway here is that you need to know that actual humans actually have the problem you propose to solve with your course.

3. A Seamless Platform

One of the most important elements of an online course is the platform you host it on (I recommend and use Kajabi). The reason for this is that Kajabi integrates all of the tech and gets it working together for you. TRUST me when I say your time is better spent on course creation. Much more so than trying to work out how to get all your systems talking to each other.

It’s not just about making the best use of your time. It’s about making it easy for your students to enrol and complete your course too!

4. Great Structure

The way you structure your content can make or break your course. Even if you have engaging lessons and fascinating content, they won’t amount to much if your course doesn’t flow logically.

Before diving into the actual content creation, draft a framework. Outline how your information will be structured by grouping related content into modules. Then divide each module into lessons.

Make sure the learning journey has a beginning, middle, and end, and that the learning outcomes are clear for each stage.

Make it easy (and fun) for your students to get the results you promise!

5. Engaging Content

Nobody wants to sit and read through pages and pages of dull information, no matter how valuable it is. With the array of media types available to course creators, there’s no excuse for boring content!

Mix things up by offering different lesson types, where i makes sense. From video or audio lessons to quizzes, games, and written content. Try to instil your personality throughout so your students feel connected to you as they learn, and make it fun for them!

6. Bonus Material

Looking for the best elements of an online course that add value? You can’t go wrong with bonus material! Bonuses are any additional content that you can provide on top of the core course modules.

This could be one-on-one coaching, how-to guides, workbooks, eBooks, access to an exclusive Facebook group, templates, webinars, email support, or discounts on tools or other courses.

Choose the right bonuses and you can increase your sales revenue while helping your students achieve their learning goals.

7. A Great Community

One of the most overlooked elements of an online course is the community surrounding the course. Sure, learning in isolation can be effective. However, if you want to build your brand and create an engaged, active audience, then get to work on your community.

Provide your students with a space to connect, whether it’s a Facebook group or other online forum. Encourage them to share knowledge. Additionally, they can swap ideas, and support one another. This community isn’t just valuable for them. It also provides you with ideas and inspiration to improve your course or create other content.

8. A Present Teacher

People who purchase your course want to engage with you as a professional. Particularly as they’re trusting you to guide them as they learn. Therefore you need to make an effort to show up as they work through your course.

Make yourself available to answer emails, set up scheduled live chats or webinars to support your course content, and be active in any online communities you create around your course.

Want more information on how to create a great online course? Then, sign up to receive my newsletter. Every month I’ll drop into your inbox with new and practical info about what you need to do to plan, create and launch a successful course.

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