What can possibly happen that will result in the failure of your online course? - Not validating your idea and skipping the most important part - Market research.
It is often underestimated, but the reality is that it is critical to surf the internet, search for similar courses you want to create, conduct market research and check the demand on it.
So, if you are ready to know every necessary step you need to perform to validate your idea and succeed, I suggest that we start right away.
The following article covers:
Search on Internet
First things first, to validate your idea, you will need to search using search engines. Surfing the internet is one of the most powerful online market research methods. First of all, besides validating your idea, you will also grab many exciting ideas, methods, and tips on how to develop your idea further and turn it into the best possible product.
Google is a perfect search engine that will help you during the validation and general market research processes. Billions trust this browser because it gives you access to millions of trustworthy websites with high DAs (Domain Authority).
Udemy currently is the largest online course marketplace, so it is a must to check out your idea over here. If you search for your idea or potential future course topic in Udemy, you will be able to grab the necessary information to help you comprehend the potential demand on it right now.
Coursera is another famous platform you can use for research purposes. There you can find hundreds of courses on different topics, and surely you will be able to check out the demand for your idea with this tool.
Youtube is actually the largest video platform in the world, where you can find videos about any topic that comes to your mind. How to do research on YouTube? Just type your keywords in the search line, and click on search. Afterward, you will be able to see hundreds of videos that will give you a general idea about your "planned" course being in-demand or off it.
People often underestimate the importance of online forums, but the truth is those can provide you with Consumer Insights and offer the data for Completely free, in another case for which you would need to invest huge sums of money.
One of the most popular online forums is - Quora. Here, you can definitely find useful information related to your target market. Besides, this forum will help you better understand not only the demand for the course and the general needs and wants of your students in real-time.
In 2020 Reddit was estimated to have over 200mln active users. Therefore it is definitely a platform you can trust while searching forums or grabbing some customer-related data. There you can search for your idea, check out the demand on it, as well as find what your customers currently need.
Asking Questions is a crucial element in interesting of what your customers want and need. Data about their needs will provide you with further insight into the demand of the course that you want to create. And it will assist you in the movement of your idea alongside the final product.
This method will help you gain an overall understanding of the demand of your course. It will show you results and analytics of the potential audience "needing" the product you offer.
Interviews are a great way to identify your target audience, alongside comprehending what is currently on-demand. Some questions you could ask during the interview are:
- What is the target demographic?
- What language do they speak?
- What industry do they work in?
- What skills do they want to develop?
- Suggest your idea, and collect their responses on that
Otherwise called Focus Groups, will help you to identify if your audience wants your product. Target Groups are groups of people who can be your potential clients, e.g., you can find online through surveys people with similar interests and create focus groups. Afterward, conduct a separate survey with them to validate your idea.
Use lead magnets
Lead magnets are a perfect way to validate your idea and gather some evidence towards the real demand on your course. What is a lead magnet? Those are pieces of content that attract visitors like a magnet. Potential items that can be used as lead magnets for an online course creator are ebooks, audiobooks, introduction videos for the course. Make sure to use a lead magnet that contains topics as your course because that is what you need to do to check the "true demand".
There are a few ways to attract leads, and for those, you will need to use CTAs (call-to-action). Make sure the CTA is visible and not cliche.
You can create course-related content and check the reaction of your audience. For example, you want to create a "Copywriting Course", you can create a 5-page guide and try to sell it, or use it as a lead magnet. It will not only attract a new audience; it will also assist you in checking the reaction of your existing audience towards the new product.
Start an ad campaign
Here you can create free content related to your course; for example, a Copywriting tutorial Article then run ads on it to test the reaction of the potential audience. If the engagement rate is high, then most likely after your course is ready and published, the engagement rate will still be high when you turn on paid ads.
Pre-selling your course is not as hard as it may sound, and besides, it is a perfect method to validate your course idea. It is quite beneficial in terms of time. The whole point of this method is to sell your course before even starting to create it. You may have some deadlines and action plans because you are going to mention the future date when the course will be available for the students.
So, use this method only if you are sure that in case the idea is validated and you have clients, you can provide them with the course by the deadline.
Steps to Take
Step 1 - Analyze the Demand on Existing Content
Above, you saw all the platforms and methods you can use to analyze the demand for the existing content. This will further help you develop your idea or better visualize possible next steps related to the business plan.
When you do research for the validation of your idea, pay attention to what type of resources come up, what similar courses are offered, and are those paid advertisements or real results.
Step 2 - Survey your Target Audience
The whole point of business is to satisfy demand by supply and make some profit. There is a very simple formula to achieve that:
- Find out the demand levels
- Identify your target audience
- Find out weak spots of your target audience
- Find your audience's needs and wants
- Offer a product that satisfies those needs and wants
After completion of those substeps, you will be surprised how clear your "Course Future in the Market" will become.
Step 3 - Choose a Platform
Before choosing a platform, when you are sure about the demand and develop your idea marketing strategy and have the necessary equipment, it is time to shoot and edit your course materials. Successful courses should:
- Be shot on high-quality cameras
- Be interactive and engaging for the students
- Have learning objectives
- Have learning outcomes
- Have course outline/syllabus and certain grading/absence policies explained in detail
- Be short to the point
Our blog has more information about how you can achieve the things mentioned above. But now, let's concentrate on the platforms.
When you have a ready material, or even when you are in the process of creation, you still have to choose a platform that works best for you. There are tons of those available out there. However, not all of them can fit you. For example, website builders such as Wix and WordPress are not the best choice as you would need to make many additional expenses on hosting services, developers, and plugins.
Meanwhile, a good choice could be Zoom or other similar platforms, but still, those are pretty limited in functionality and probably will decrease the efficiency of the course and organization levels.
The best option, from my perspective, is to have your own website where you can decide what you are going to offer, be that a pre-recorded course, live session training program, audiobooks, e-books, etc. With your own website, you can even have a blog, which will help you promote your services as an online coach and make even more revenue.
The platform which offers you an incredible opportunity to create your coaching website in a few clicks is Uteach. With Uteach, you can:
- Create a full-featured website in a few minutes
- Choose a free plan, or try out a 14-day trial-run period for paid plans
- Customize your website and better communicate your brand's message
- Publish any materials you need, and create any amount of website pages, menus and subcategories as you want
- Promote your website by SEO optimizing the blog part
The Main Benefits of Uteach are:
- Incredibly time-saving platform
- The good user interface, short learning curve, and easy navigation through elements
- Drag & Drop website builder
Indeed, this is the platform you need to create and manage your online courses efficiently.