Online learning and training have become not just a critical marketing channel for executives and professionals, but another avenue for generating revenue that compliments core service offerings. The e-learning market is expected to exceed $300 billion by 2025, and that includes both individuals and corporations investing more and more into online learning. There has never been a better time to join the growing industry of eLearning.

You have a great idea for a course, which leads to the question: Now what?

Most Common Types of Courses

There’s no sense in reinventing the wheel when it comes to creating your first online course. There are a number of different categories into which most online courses fall:

  • Assessment courses. These courses help students assess (test) their skills. This course type can also be used as a powerful lead magnet to gather prospective students’ emails early on in the process.
  • Pre-sell videos. Pre-sell lessons are short videos that preview the subject matter of a full course that you intend to create. These are great tools for validating a course idea and can be shared with a select group of targeted prospects.
  • Μini-courses. Mini-courses are short to consume summaries (teasers) of a full-sized course. In contrast to pre-sell courses, mini-courses provide real educational value: A full summary of what will be taught in the full-sized course.
  • Live courses. This course type includes mostly scheduled live sessions. Your live meetings can include different types of material, including quizzes, gamification, and open discussions. , You can also provide resources to support your students, including downloadable files (PDF) of your presentations, transcripts of courses, and office hours, where the instructor can be reached for questions, feedback or support.
  • Workshops. Demonstration courses consist of a series of videos where an instructor demonstrates specific skills to students online. Workshop courses usually feature arts and crafts, painting, sewing, fitness, content creation, anything that shows the instructor demonstrating something new that students try to imitate through observation.
  • Professional training courses. Professional training courses serve in building knowledge, skills, and competence. Corporate training is a main use case of professional training courses and this course outline template.

Choosing an e-Learning Platform and Uploading the Content

We recommend selecting an e-learning platform that allows you to retain control over how you promote your courses, course pricing, and data regarding students.

When selecting a platform to host your course, it’s important to also know how you will market and sell it. If you already have an active and engaged email list, you may be able to sell your course organically through your email list. If you do not, you may need to create marketing campaigns that promote the course. Depending on how much you are charging per course, you should consider pay-per-click advertising on social media and search engines.

You’ll also need an effective webpage to convert users from prospects to students and subscribers. An often overlooked component of marketing online courses is upselling. Instructors can offer products related to the subject matter of the course. For example, if you are selling a course on how to paint abstract paintings for $29.99, you would also want to offer a course for a different type of abstract painting ($29.99), a course or handout for choosing and caring for brushes ($9.99), and an in person/live Zoom training course ($199.99), or a subscription to your art podcast or monthly trainings ($29.99). Together with those you now have $300 worth of products you are showing to your buyer at one time.

As you can see, there are many strategic choices to make in deciding how to transform your expertise into a marketable and profitable course, and there’s a lot of technology to master. You can use a strategist to develop a pre-launch strategy, make critical choices for deploying and promoting your course, and get you up and running.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

If you’re making an online course for the first time, it’s easy to fall into some common mistakes. Here are a few common pitfalls that creators encounter when they start producing courses:

  • Lengthy videos. Attention spans are getting shorter. Video courses should be less than 20 minutes. Subject matter should be discrete and conveyed in a way that is easy to comprehend.
  • Worrying too much. Being a perfectionist is one thing, but if you are overly worried about your video’s quality, the content, or other factors, your course will be a constant work in progress. Don’t let the perfect be an enemy of the good: You’ll never get an audience if you never release a course.
  • Not testing first. Like all new ventures, testing your product with real users, friends, and family is a great way to avoid silly mistakes. You might have forgotten to add a video, deleted a quiz you mention on the previous assignment, or forgot to include a “buy button.” Test your course and have someone proofread your landing pages and content for mistakes.

Online courses continue to grow in popularity—and for good reason. You can spread your ideas, promote your brand and services, and impact others by leveraging this important new forum.