An increasing number of businesses are including an online course as part of their product lineup. Providing an educational opportunity is often a great way to engage with clients and followers; businesses that offer an online course find that it’s a way to provide value at a nominal cost. The company shares some knowledge, the customers are empowered, and the relationship between the two is strengthened.
However, an online course isn’t exactly a Field of Dreams proposition. You might build a course, and it might be excellent, but that doesn’t mean students will automatically come to it. If your business is getting ready to go live with an online course, read on. Here are seven things you’ll want to keep in mind as you get ready to launch.
- Course content is king.
Anyone who works in education can tell you that a big part of running any course is planning. Spend some time (or a lot of time) creating helpful lessons that progress logically and teach valuable insight. You want to create a good product that will generate positive buzz and create curiosity among potential students. However, you also don’t want to overwhelm your students. If you’ve got a lot of content, you might consider breaking it into two courses to keep it all manageable for everyone.
- What’s your course enrollment structure?
There are two ways to handle the enrollment for your online course. The first is to have enrollments ongoing: students can sign up at any time and complete the class within the allotted time. The second is to have enrollment periods and have students do the course concurrently. There are pros and cons to each approach, though neither one is necessarily better than the other. The key is to find the enrollment structure that will work for you.
- Keep the look consistent.
Your online course should still look like it’s a product from your business. This means that all of the design should look consistent with the rest of your brand. Pay close attention to the look of your course, and bring in a designer if necessary to keep a uniform aesthetic.
- Price your course accordingly.
This is a tough step in preparing your online course because you have to ask yourself a hard question: what’s the value of your information? Price it too high, and you run the risk of pricing out a lot of potential students. Price it too low, and you increase the likelihood of students who don’t take it seriously or who see your company as putting out lower quality products. The goal is to find that sweet spot between affordability and perceived value.
- Promote it properly.
Here’s where that Field of Dreams analogy really comes into play. You may have a great course, but how will potential students know? Like any other product or service, you’ll want to promote your online course through the usual channels: social media, email newsletters, your website, and so on. As part of your marketing, you can even offer discounts for your course to entice potential students who may be on the fence about it.
- Offer a free preview.
What will students learn in your course? You’ll certainly want to make an outline and overview available, but you may also consider offering the first lesson (or part of the first lesson) for free. If people like it, they can confidently sign up for the course knowing that it’s for them. If people don’t like it, they won’t sign up, and you won’t be plagued with unhappy students demanding refunds.
- Most of all, be patient.
Online education is still a new field, and learning how to teach in the digital realm is a learning process in and of itself. Your first course, or the first iteration of your course, probably won’t be as good as it should be, and you probably won’t get as many students as you were hoping to get, but that’s OK. Stay patient, tweak your content as needed, keep promoting, and work toward a course that’s engaging and useful for as many students as possible.