10 Easy Ways To Validate Your Online Course Idea

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Article by Nelli Gevorgyan

Content writer

Published 26 Mar 2022
16 min read
10 Easy Ways To Validate Your Online Course Idea

If you are an aspiring online course creator, who is yet unsure of how to validate the course idea, we have got you covered. 

Throughout this article, we will explore the top 10 easy and, most importantly, efficient ways how you can validate your online course idea. 

So, if you are ready, let’s start! 

How validating your course idea would benefit your business

The course validation process is not easy. However, it will save money and time for you in the long run. So, let's dig in deeper to understand the primary benefits of validating your course ideas.

  • Helps you to understand market demand & supply.
  • It will save you time & resources. Instead of creating a course outline that might or might not be on demand, through idea validation, you will be more confident in your product.
  • It allows you to identify profitable niches in the research stage. This also gives you the opportunity to change the idea and come up with something completely new.
  • Helps you gather feedback to improve your idea & product further
  • Increases revenue potential of your course.

Now, it is time to understand how to validate an online course idea. Let's dive into the next section. 

Brainstorming course idea for validation

Research the marketplace

This section of the article will cover the ways of idea validation through market research. Are you excited? Well, let’s dive into it. 

#1 Google it beforehand

The first step is to do your research on Google

Summary: You can start your search by identifying relevant keywords for your course. Afterward, analyze the search results, create a list of existing courses, and assess the popularity of those. 

Well, let’s understand each step. 

  • Keyword research. Identify relevant keywords by which potential clients would research your course. 

E.g. before writing this piece, we researched the topic and identified keywords that matched the search intent of the user. Such keywords included “validation course online” or “how to validate an online course idea.” It was clear that this topic is of value to our focus group. So, we validated our article idea. Then, analyzing other keyword-related data, we optimized the content to rank high and provide supply for the demand. So, do your research, and analyze the popularity of keywords. 

  • Enter the keywords that serve as users’ search intent on Google. Based on search results, create a list of existing and high-ranking courses on the search page. 
  • Start taking notes on course titles, descriptions, etc. 
  • Assess the overall demand for these courses. E.g., check reviews & ratings, shares, etc.

Also, while researching, you can collect overall feedback users have for existing courses. If your idea is validated and you decide to proceed with the creation, this feedback will help you to create an outstanding product. 

#2 Dig into forums

Another useful tip and your next step will be digging into niche forums. Essentially forums are communities of people with shared interests. Your steps should be:

  • Researchfind a list of relevant forums. You can ask your colleagues or network as well what the best online education/training or coaching forums they engage in. By the way, you can find lots of high-quality communities on Reddit & Quora. 
  • Engageparticipateobserve. Engage and participate in order to provide value and showcase your expertise. E.g., when the user asks a question, do not hesitate to write a valuable and long response. Also, make sure to observe. Through forums, questions from the users, etc., you can gain consumer insights into your audience’s pain points and needs. 
  • Continuously build relationships. When you become active on forums and regularly respond/ask questions, you can contact people outside of the forum and build up your network. Thus, make sure to be friendly and open-minded. 

Engaging with potential learners in niche forums will help you not only to validate your course idea but also to gain insights into your target audience. 

Examples of Forums. 

  • r/Online Education. It is a subforum on Reddit dedicated to topics such as online education, courses, e-learning platforms, etc. 
  • r/languagelearning or r/programming. These are other dedicated forums where students engage with each other to discuss courses on specific topics. So, you can find topics about your niche and get real-time insights from learners. 

#3 Study the competition for the course

Also, you must study the overall market competition for the course. Thus, understand market demand and supply. 

You will be able to validate, dismiss or improve your idea when you are well aware of what is out there. A few must-research platforms include YouTube, Ahrefs, and Semrush. How will they help you? Let’s see. 

Youtube

YouTube is a powerful video search engine. It can provide you with immense benefits and insights into your customer’s behaviors, interests and even insights into your competition. Check out the YouTube channels of coaches, trainers, and online course creators.   

On YouTube, they provide value for the audience for free and generate even more leads. You can look through channels relevant to your niche people and find what topics for videos got the most views. Most videos are on the topics which they offer courses for. Thus, the video most viewed automatically showcases higher demand for X topic. 

Ahrefs & Semrush

Researching just one platform is not enough for in-depth customer analysis. So, make sure to check the other two - Ahrefs & Semrush. Essentially these are SEO tools. They are great for competitor analysis due to the variety of features offered. 

Features include

  • Keyword research to identify customers’ concerns and current market trends. Plus, competitor keywords analysis. (you can find the exact keywords competitors use) 
  • Content analysis. Content marketing is crucial for the success of your course. So, what are the content strategies your competitors use? Well, find out & analyze these via Semrush & Ahrefs as well. These tools will show the top-performing content of your competitors. So, you can also grab an idea of what topics for the courses are in demand. 
  • Backlink profile analysis. Your customer’s websites rank which ads up to their credibility. So, knowing their backlink profile will allow you to come up with a plan of action (collaborations) to promote your course. 
  • Tracking search rankings (organic). For instance, you can track the performance of specific keywords and change over time. 

Example 1 

To understand the value of these tools, let’s review an example with Semrush. I searched for a course idea, “Digital Marketing Basics Course”. Down below, you can see all the data that I got from this simple search. 

Ahrefs keyword overview

So we got Global & US search volumes. Also, we can review the CPC cost as well as the numbers of competitive density. But, most importantly, we can see keywords & questions users ask that allow them to find this course. 

Example 2

In this example, we will search for a specific competitor. Let's say I am an online coach that talks about productivity, getting life together, and personal development. My potential competitor is Mel Robbins. She is a famous motivational speaker and personal coach. 

Through searching the keyword Mel Robbins, we get these results. 

Ahrefs keyword research

Results allow us to understand search volumes and keywords that users enter, which allow them to find her. 

We can also look at her website in the "competitor research tab." E.g., clicking on "Traffic Analytics" showcases this picture. Take advantage of these tools and gain as much insight into your competition as possible. 

SEMrush keyword research

#4 Compare with top course ideas

Another method how to validate an online course idea is comparison. 

Comparing your idea with the top course ideas will be very useful in validating it. It will help you to understand relevancy and improve or change it further. How about saving time on research and finding course ideas for comparison? Well, here are two very useful tools for you. 

Eurekaa

Eurekaa is an AI-powered innovative tool for course creators, strainers, and coaches. It presents all-in-one insights that help you to validate your course/training ideas and get started. 

Essentially it provides you with:

  • Analysis feature. This allows you to compare your idea with top-performing courses across the internet.
  • Benchmark success feature (opportunity scoring). This feature will analyze and highlight key success metrics of your course idea. It utilizes a data-driven approach, allowing you to get real-time insights and strengthen your strategy. 
  • Another helpful feature is the relevancy assessment (course comparison engine). With this, you can get an overall overview of the current market. Thus, you will gain a better idea of gaps, USPs, and areas of improvement for your idea.  

Besides all of the features aimed at course idea validation, you also will get features for course creation. These include content planner, lesson architect, and keyword planner. 

Eurekaa landing page

How to use this tool for course idea validation? Well:

  • Register & Login 
  • Check current market trends & identify top-performing courses, content 
  • Go to “Course Comparison Engine.” Compare existing courses by topic, duration, ratings, and even student counts.
  • Check opportunity scoring. 
  • Based on the results, plan out the content & utilize the power of an AI-assisted idea processor. 

Overall the tool also comes in handy with a friendly UI and allows you to save a bunch of time on research. 

BuzzSumo

One more tool to help you out is BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo landing page

BuzzSumo is an incredible platform that will help you to stay informed and get inspired. It essentially allows you to get the market overview and assess current demand before investing resources into the creation of your course. 

Gather the data from this platform as well, and combine your findings from other research. All of it allows for course idea sustainability assessment. More data you have, the more data-driven your approach is going to be. Thus, you automatically increase the chances of success. 

Analyze your potential customers

You must know everything about your customers to offer them products that sell. Learners strive for knowledge, but not every course creator gets sales. Why is that? Well, it essentially comes down to understanding your audience. 

You will have a great advantage over your competition when starting to analyze the audience during the course idea validation process. It will save a great deal of resources and time. So,m let’s dive into the world of customer analysis. 

#5 Conduct a survey

Well, after completing the first steps, now it is time to dive into analytics. Conduct surveys to gather first-hand data from potential clients. You can promote the survey on social media and forums. 

Here are your steps.

Step 1 - Make sure Each section of your survey meets a specific goal. 

  • Create a list of questions to gather customer data. E.g., “What is your age/gender/location?” 
  • Come up with a list of questions related to your idea. E.g., “Are you interested in X course.” “What value can X course provide you with?”. “How likely are you to purchase X course?”. 
  • Create a section with questions related to the preferable course structure and pricing.

Step 2 - Decide on question types.

No one likes long/free-answer questions. So, to increase the chances of completion, use types such as rankings, multiple choice, and yes/no questions. Of course, incorporate a few text boxes to gather more insights; however, make them optional.

Step 3 - Design & Promote your Survey.

  • Make sure your survey looks neat and to the point. Avoid not readable fonts, and stick to classics. Also, you can add some colors or infographics to elevate the looks. 
  • Start promoting the survey on appropriate platforms. Such platforms include social media (among your network) and forums. 

Data gathered from these sections will allow you to assess the likelihood of conversion. So you can validate or further improve your course idea. It will also allow you to gather insights into your target audience. Thus, create marketing strategies tailored to the target. Which, in the end, leads to increased efficiency and conversion rates. 

#6 Create lead magnets

First things first, let’s understand what lead magnets are. These are special deals or free products offered to the audience in exchange for their contact information. 

Lead magnets are great for gaining insight into your audience. Why? Well, you can identify which ones get the most downloads and understand what your audience is most interested in. Besides, lead magnets serve the primary purpose of generating leads. So, you will build your contact list and can further nurture them to turn into real-time customers. 

The main question here is, what types of lead magnets to create? Well, here are a few ideas for you. 

  • Step-by-step Guides related to your industry/niche topics. 
  • PDF files or e-books that provide value and insights to X topics in your niche. 
  • Infographics. A short but to-the-point valuable piece of graphic content. These both look catchy and are informative. 
  • Email newsletter subscription. 
  • Checklists or cheat sheets (e.g., Your Course Launch Checklist)
  • Whitepapers. 

#7 Run a blog and scan

A blog is a powerful tool to showcase your expertise and provide value to your audience. It is also a great tool to get insights into your potential audience. 

How? Well, you can track what articles get the most shares, how many minutes people spend reading them, and what feedback they give in the comments section. Thus, you can identify topics and areas your audience is most interested in. 

Here are a few tips for running a blog. 

  • Know your audience and what they are looking for. 
  • Create a content plan. Make sure your content plan is relevant to your audience. It is as important as your business plan.
  • Stick to the plan & post consistently.
  • Update your content on a regular basis. 
  • Identify a list of keywords for each article. 
  • Engage with the audience in the comments section. 
  • Analyze the results and performance of various materials on a regular basis to gather data on your audience.  

Get into the launch

It is time to dive into more practical parts. Let’s revise the steps you must take to get started with actual sales. 

#8 Start an ad campaign

Organic traffic is great for long-term results and credibility. However, you must start ad campaigns to generate lots of quality leads at once. 

  • Create social media-targeted ads. Identify platforms your audience hangs out in most. For some, it might be Facebook and LinkedIn. For others Instagram & TikTok. So, based on your audience, create and tailor ads. 
  • Create ads on Google AdSense & YouTube. Set up a clear budget, but most importantly, do proper targeting. Targeting is what allows us to gain visibility among the right audiences. 

Before starting an Ad campaign, however, make sure to complete these steps:

  • Identify the goals of your campaign. Set SMART goals. (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-specific)
  • Set a budget for ads, distributing it properly among platforms. Distribution does not have to be even. If the X platform gives more results than Y, focus on X. 
  • Write a compelling ad copy. (actually few variations of ad companies for each platform) 
  • Generate a list of catchy headlines for the ad copy.
  • Create a few variations of the graphic for each platform you plan to host ad campaigns on. 
  • Conduct A/B testing to understand and analyze which ads perform better. 

Following these steps will allow you to set ad campaigns that bring results. 

#9 Pre-sell the course

Another strategy to validate your course idea is to pre-sell the course. From the number of sales, you will understand the overall demand. So, you can change up strategies, e.g., write a better headline, niche down, or change it up to make the course more appealing. 

Here are a few steps to take in order to start online course pre-sells. 

  • Identify the USP of your course to position it well. Make sure you are well aware of what sets you apart from the competition. This confidence will help you to persuade the customer why they should trust you. 
  • Define the value your course provides and learning objectives. Based on these, write a course description. Share the description on the landing page for pre-sells of the course. 
  • Create a landing page for your course pre-sells. Make sure to place CTAs, and use readable fonts and your branding colors. 
  • Set up an easy payment system so that buyers won't struggle or get disappointed. 
  • Share on social media and create ad campaigns dedicated to promoting the pre-sells of your course. 
  • Offer limited deals. E.g. the first ten buyers, get 50% off. 

Also, you can learn more about each step in the “Make Money Before The Launch: Pre-Sell Your Online Course” article. 

#10 Provide free introductory material

Free intro classes are incredibly beneficial for course creators. Many students want to understand how they resonate with the creator before they make a purchase. 

So, make a free introductory class. Ensure the class covers learning outcomes and goals and discusses the value students will gain. Simply put, this class must show the return on investment learners get. 

For instance, course creators on Udemy always have a short 1-3 minute introductory class. These classes grab attention, transmit the energy of the creator and briefly cover the value of the course. 

Besides the introductory class, you can also provide an eBook or PDF guide. But not as in lead magnets but those that introduce your course. These are easy to create and attention-grabbing. So, if you manage to communicate your value and expertise as a creator via these, chances are you will make more sales for your course. 

Creating teaching material

Get down to business

Well, this was a wholesome course validation training. So, it is time to get down to business. 

Uteach is a potent platform for course creators and coaches that comes in handy with all the necessary functionality for creating and promoting online courses. It offers a website & course builder, live functionality, and a variety of useful integrations. 

So, it is time to stop hesitation and get started. Explore the features of Uteach and make the most out of your online course business. 

Start for FREE

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