Have you considered creating an online course to scale your business?
You’ve probably been serving your clients in tremendous ways, providing straight up value and bringing in the profits doing the things you’re passionate about.
But there comes a time when, well, you’re running low on time. There’s just too many clients to handle and you’ve hit the maximum amount of content you can make in a week. But you know that there has to be more room to grow.
Enter the world of the online courses.
Yes, I know what you’re thinking, and no, they’re not just things offered by internet gurus to scam people out of their money. In fact, a number of reputable business provide online courses, whether it’s to gain new customers or educate existing customers to succeed with their products or services.
Hubspot Academy is the go-to for all things marketing and sales.
Google has its own course to help people learn how to use Google Analytics and leverage its features for success.
Scheduling software company Later created a course to make sure users of their software knew how to use their software and not leave out of frustration and failure.
And the list goes on.
In today’s post, I’ll be chatting with Isaac Prentice, co-founder of Grace Prentice Education. After selling his first company in 2017, he started Grace Prentice in January 2020 as an online education company that provides people with affordable access to courses focused on practical, hands-on learning. He’ll be walking you through how you can grow your business with online courses.
So without further ado, let’s get started
Why are online courses good for your business?
Isaac loves online courses. They’re versatile, they help you get seen and they help you engage. Plus, there’s a low barrier to entry, so it doesn’t take a whole lot to get started. You don’t have to be particularly skilled either in order to make a banging online course.
All you have to do is be able to record a video and have something to teach. And with that, you’ll be able to cement yourself as an authority and build your brand. From there, you can continue to keep putting courses together, then learning and improving as you go.
How can you get started with your own online course?
Often, the biggest hurdle to overcome when it comes to online course creation is all the technical things that need to be set up. When Isaac first started, he didn’t know anything about them. He spent a lot of time researching and learning about what worked best. And he points out that there isn’t a specific platform or method that works for everyone.
So, choose what works best for you. Isaac and his company went through a trial and error period with different platforms to build their courses. Things like customizability, user interface and user-friendliness had to be tested out and checked to see if the platform was a good fit.
The biggest challenge that he’s found for people is being in front of a camera. Before starting, it’s important to make sure you’re comfortable with the camera, as video-form courses perform better. There’s more engagement, the knowledge “sticks” better, and by showing up, you’re building more trust with the people taking your course. All you need is a decent camera (your phone will do just fine!) and you can start almost immediately.
Once you’re comfortable with your camera and you have a good topic to break down and teach, that people are eager to learn about, you’re pretty much set.
When it comes to topics to teach people, the sky’s the limit!
Isaac remarks that there’s nothing that’s too basic to turn into a course.
“I’ve seen videos on how to solve a Rubik’s Cube that do incredibly well, so you could pretty much create a course about anything as long as the demand is there.”
He’s done videos on introductions to excel or finances and business and much more complicated things as well. He doesn’t think there’s anything too simple, but there are definitely topics that can be too hard. It really depends on how long each course or video is, what level your audience is at and how much they expect to learn from a single course.
Of course, if your audience sees that one of the videos in your course is 6 to 10 minutes, they’re much more likely to want to learn it because it’s more digestible. They can consume and learn the information more quickly. For example, you can take an extensive topic like nuclear science, and you can break it down into a series of smaller, bite-sized videos. So if your topic is really complex, it might just need more sections.
You can break any topic down to make it easier and more understandable. You don’t even have to be an expert, either. As long as you have the information and you’re willing to share a fresh take on that information, you can create a course.
Start marketing your course even when it isn’t done yet.
When it comes to marketing, Isaac usually starts way before the course is ready for public launch. He might even start before actually creating the course. His typical approach is to start making small waves to let people know a certain course is in the works.
Post in Facebook groups, post on Instagram, on other social platforms and tell people in person. Figure out who your target is. That way you can first gauge interest, get conversations going to improve your course and to have a more successful launch because you’re starting to build a waitlist.
The early stages should be focused on gaining feedback and seeing who’s interested. It’s not majorly important to get people into the course. If it’s ready, feel free to send people to the course; but it’s not a priority.
By “pre-selling” your course, you can build up that desire and start getting people into your proper marketing funnel, where you can use your regular marketing tactics to stack on the momentum.
Creating an online course doesn’t have to feel sleazy.
There’s a difference between good online courses and ones that feel worthless. For Isaac, the problem with a lot of online courses is that they’re very text based. Having things in video (or a combination, which is usually best) can make a huge difference in how people perceive the value of your course. But in addition, what Isaac does is give a lesson or two for free so that people can see what they’re going to be getting into beforehand.
“The gurus don’t do that. The guru says $2500 for this course that’s going to change your life. If the course is good, then great! If the course is bad, then, well, too bad.”
It’s also important to set realistic expectations upfront and not being vague about the transformation your course can bring. Because at the end of the day, people don’t buy your course(s) just to learn something new. They’re buying because they’re seeking an improvement in their lives that they believe you can deliver.
Isaac points out that it’s not exactly as suspicious as someone might think, especially when you’re simply marketing your course as it is and communicating clear expectations.
If you want to find out more about creating online courses or connect with Isaac, you can reach out in the following ways: