n experienced expert in any field often feels the urge to share their knowledge and experiences. And the question naturally arises: why not create eCourse? Moreover, the global online education market is displaying remarkable growth.
According to Statista, profits in this sector surged from $146.5 to $166.5 billion in the past year alone, marking a 13% increase. Forecasts for 2024 are equally promising, projecting another 11% growth in the online education market.
These figures underscore a pivotal trend: an escalating number of individuals and businesses are channeling investments into online education. For instructors, tutors, and professionals keen on sharing their expertise, this presents an excellent opportunity to tap into this lucrative landscape and reap the financial benefits through their eCourses.
But how does one effectively package their expertise into a profitable training course?
Let’s explore what is e course, how much revenue you can get from your eCourse and 6 main steps on how to make an eCourse that sells.
What is an eCourse?
eCourse is a structured resource focused on a specific subject, designed to meet specific learning goals. It's typically divided into slides or pages that incorporate text, diagrams, images, cooperative exercises, quizzes, and various interactive elements like pop-ups and tabs.
These electronic courses find application in corporate settings for remote training of employees, partners, and dealers. They're also used to create blended training programs and for individuals pursuing self-education.
How much profit can you actually make by selling eCourses?
Creating revenue from eCourses is feasible, but pinpointing an exact figure is challenging. The profits stemming from course sales hinge on various factors.
As an online instructor, your annual earnings could range from a few hundred dollars to a six- or seven-figure income. Remarkably, even as a part-time endeavor, your eCourse business might reach a six-figure mark.
Course creation is just the beginning. Focusing on marketing, sales strategies, and building your personal brand can give you a competitive edge.
Determining your potential revenue involves considering several factors that influence your eCourse success:
- The course price. Whether you're selling a course for $5 or $500 significantly impacts your revenue goals and the number of eCourse sales required to achieve them.
- Your audience reach. Do you possess an email list, a social media following, or a YouTube channel with subscribers? A larger, engaged network often translates to more customers, especially when employing social media marketing strategies.
- Marketing and sales experience. Prior experience in online business and product sales typically results in a higher conversion rate among your audience.
- Customer loyalty. How loyal and engaged is your customer base? Repeat customers contribute significantly to sustained revenue.
Even if you're new to this, learning these aspects is attainable, and you can still profit from online courses, albeit with a slower start compared to experienced entrepreneurs.
Calculating your potential revenue involves a straightforward formula:
Revenue = Audience size × Conversion Rate × eCourse Price
If you lack an audience, you can make estimates based on anticipated subscriber numbers say 100, 200, or 1,000 subscribers. Conversion rates vary based on subject, price, and your ability to target the right audience:
By running calculations using these rates, you can set achievable goals for your business.
Assessing potential profits requires deducting expenses from revenue:
Profit = Revenue – Fixed production costs – Marketing expenses – Other related costs
This calculation allows you to evaluate profitability, gauge required effort, and estimate earnings from selling online courses.
6 steps on how to create an eCourse that sells
Step #1: Generating E Course Concepts
Initiating this phase involves selecting a e course topic, ideally, one in which you possess confidence and expertise, steering clear of the 'infogypsy' trap.
Defining an educational objective—what the course aims to impart to students—and a business goal—your desired outcomes, whether revenue, personal brand development, or other objectives. It's crucial to recognize that you're formulating a hypothesis, an initial premise to be further examined.
For instance, if your expertise lies in e-commerce marketing, decide whether you aim to educate e-commerce rookies for independent marketing or offer specialized eCourses to enhance the skills of existing specialists.
You should also consider whether it will be a comprehensive course or a focused mini-course, such as one on crafting successful product descriptions.
Stage #2: Conducting Market and Audience Analysis
This phase focuses on gathering additional information to validate or refine the hypothesis and define the course's objectives more precisely.
Addressing questions about your prospective students, their shared characteristics, the challenges, or queries they encounter in the course's domain, and their goals is crucial.
Vital information includes:
- Identifying the customer type — those likely to purchase your product or, if the course is free, those interested in enrolling.
- Outlining general customer characteristics — understanding their thoughts, lifestyle, and interests aids in tailoring course promotion to resonate effectively, articulating the product's benefits in their language and reaching them where they spend significant time.
- Identifying their challenges — recognizing what concerns potential clients, and where they face difficulties within the course's domain.
- Understanding motivation — comprehending the client's goals and how they envision resolving their challenges.
- Establishing selection criteria — recognizing the factors influencing the client's decision-making process when opting for training or choosing an eCourse.
I’ve found a comprehensive article on tools facilitating target audience analysis: Powerful Tools to Find Your Target Audience.
You also need to find out who your competitors are. It involves identifying who they are, what they offer, their strategies, and how you can set yourself apart by providing your target audience with something unique within your eCourse.
To conduct a thorough competitor analysis, seek out educational products relevant to your prospective course and address these key questions:
- Who is the intended audience for these courses?
- What outcomes do these eCourses promise upon completion?
- What does the competition's training program entail?
- What unique selling propositions (USPs) do competitors bring to the table?
- What format do similar courses follow — cohort-based, self-paced or instructor led?
- Do these courses grant a diploma or certificate upon completion?
- Who are the instructors teaching these courses?
- What's the price range for eCourses covering similar topics?
- How do competitors promote their products? Where do they advertise?
Gathering insights into these aspects will help you discern your competitors' strengths, weaknesses, and distinctive features, enabling you to carve out your niche in the market.
Step #3: Developing a Training Program
During this phase, you need to formulate the comprehensive methodology of the course — what and how you'll teach, structure its content, and establish a course outline.
The efficacy of this stage greatly impacts student retention, their ability to achieve results, satisfaction with the training, and the likelihood of them recommending the course to others. Errors made during this design phase become glaringly apparent in subsequent stages. Hence, if you have a budget for course development, engaging a methodologist will be a big advantage for you.
However, for those working within a minimal budget, here are some tips to help construct the program independently.
For the inaugural course, it's advisable to employ linear logic in constructing the program, presenting topics in a sequential manner. In modern online education, focusing on the outcome is pivotal — structuring the learning not solely based on content deemed important to cover, but on the knowledge, skills, and abilities students should acquire upon completing the course.
Steps to follow:
- Define the purpose of the educational program — clarify why individuals should enroll in your course and what they'll gain from it. A meticulous analysis of the target audience should facilitate answering these queries. For instance, broadly, the goal could be introducing students to foundational concepts in eCommerce or providing advanced strategies for scaling an online business. Tailor the course specifics to align with these goals.
- Identify the practical skills and competencies necessary for achieving the learning goal. For example, skills like market research, product positioning, understanding analytics, customer acquisition strategies, and leveraging social media for marketing purposes.
- Develop the theoretical segment — determine what your students need to comprehend to accomplish the learning goal. This could encompass understanding customer behavior online, principles of effective branding in the digital space, leveraging SEO and SEM for eCommerce, and navigating various sales platforms.
- Articulate the anticipated outcomes of the educational program based on previous steps. Consider utilizing a structured approach such as Bloom's taxonomy — a system of learning objectives categorized from simple to complex. Outcomes could range from mastering specific marketing tools and techniques to devising comprehensive marketing strategies for diverse product lines.
- Select assessment methods — determine how you'll evaluate a student's understanding and skill acquisition. Tailor these methods to align with the material being tested. For instance, theoretical knowledge might be assessed through quizzes or case studies, while practical skills could be evaluated through assignments requiring the creation of marketing plans or analysis of real-world eCommerce scenarios.
- Divide the projected learning outcomes into logical units — topics, modules, or lessons, ensuring a coherent flow of information from foundational concepts to advanced strategies.
- Devise engaging assignments for students to complete during the course — assignments should be practical and align with real-world scenarios, allowing students to apply their newly acquired knowledge to actual eCommerce marketing situations.
- Compile requisite training materials — comprising presentations, case studies, practical tasks, assessments, and supplementary resources pertinent to eCommerce marketing strategies and tools.
Step #4: Choosing a eCourse Format
At this stage, it's crucial to focus on the intended outcomes of the program and the insights gained about the target audience in order to determine the most suitable course format. As previously mentioned, there are three primary formats to consider: synchronous, asynchronous, and hybrid.
Your decision may be influenced by several factors:
- Available resources. Generally, a recorded e-course tends to offer higher quality compared to a live course. Consequently, creating an eCourse materials demands more time and financial investment, especially if you're hiring contractors for the filming process. However, with some skill, it's possible to achieve decent quality with minimal investment by recording videos using a smartphone. Additionally, consider whether you're comfortable speaking in front of a live audience, managing attention online, or if recording allows for the flexibility of editing any shortcomings.
- Understanding the characteristics of the target audience. Insights gleaned from analyzing the audience will shed light on how potential students prefer to consume content. Are they inclined towards scheduled live classes, or do they value the flexibility of self-paced learning? Do they prefer cohort-based learning or individual study?
If you opt for an asynchronous course, it's advisable to complement it with occasional live webinars to enhance audience engagement.
Stage #5: Selecting the Necessary Tools
To create an optimal learning environment, several conditions must be provided.
Where will the educational content be hosted?
This decision hinges on the chosen training format. For synchronous classes, you'll require services for live broadcasting (which can be conducted freely, for instance, on Google Meets ot Zoom) or specialized webinar platforms (some are free, while others offer full functionality for a fee).
In the case of asynchronous learning, starting off with free options works well. For instance, uploading videos to a YouTube channel accessible via a link, or storing all educational content on a cloud service such as Google Drive.
If you're open to paying for hosting educational content, it's worthwhile considering dedicated platforms designed for course assembly. These platforms enable the creation of structured training programs, allowing you to incorporate text, images, and videos into lessons, schedule live broadcasts, and even monetize courses.
Many of these platforms also encompass an LMS, a learning management system. On such platforms, students engage directly — accessing all necessary information, taking tests, completing assignments, reviewing their grades, and receiving feedback from instructors. Simultaneously, course organizers can monitor e-course demand, student performance, and other key metrics vital for assessing project effectiveness.
How will students' practical work be assessed?
Within an online course, you can arrange assessments of practical tasks that participants complete independently. Should the outcome require substance (like in an e-Commerce content course, wherein students create product descriptions), inviting students to submit their work for evaluation by instructors is a feasible approach.
For those on a tight budget, utilizing free cloud services for file sharing suffices. Yet, if investing in an LMS is feasible, most of these platforms already facilitate students posting their work for instructors to assess, grade, and provide detailed feedback.
Where will communications regarding the training occur?
Anticipating how students receive organizational information—regarding schedule changes, homework deadlines, progress updates, etc.—is crucial. Many small online schools resort to instant messengers or email newsletters for this purpose. Additionally, LMS platforms commonly offer automated notification and reminder features.
Consideration should also be given to support—identifying who will address students' queries, how they'll provide assistance if challenges arise during the learning process. Online schools often designate a curator—a specialist organizing the educational process—for this role.
Lastly, regardless of the learning format chosen—be it synchronous, asynchronous, or blended—most students value interaction with peers. Consequently, creating an eCourse chat on a convenient messenger or a group on a social network for students in your course to connect, communicate, assist each other, and share insights and experiences is worthwhile.
Employing an LMS system streamlines the learning process, ensuring a smooth experience while mitigating technical issues.
Step #6: Thinking About What Help You Will Need
Even if you've successfully developed the e-course on your own, considering additional help is crucial to effectively manage the training process.
As previously mentioned, the role of a curator or administrator is pivotal. Typically, they guide students through the course specifics, assist with platform registration, resolve technical issues, relay updates, and more.
If your intention is to sell the e course rather than offer it for free, managing registrations and payments becomes a distinct and crucial task, which a curator can support. At the sales stage, having a manager to engage with potential course takers, guide them toward making a purchase, can be beneficial.
For courses involving self-study assignments, determining the time required for reviewing homework and your willingness to commit to this regularly is essential. Timely feedback on completed assignments matters to students. In this regard, handling feedback for more than a dozen students might warrant hiring a testing teacher—an individual well-versed in the subject matter.
You need to provide clear criteria for checking and assessing assignments, and agreeing on working conditions — such as sending students feedback within a two-day timeframe after they submit their homework — becomes important.
Crafting your custom course from scratch isn't as straightforward as it might appear initially. Throughout the development journey, encountering challenges is inevitable; the key is to pinpoint error causes and experiment with fresh approaches.
To ensure a successful and profitable e course launch, consider these three recommendations:
- Collect feedback from the audience. Address errors gradually to enhance course materials and foster customer loyalty through continuous improvement.
- Focus on practicality. Instead of focusing solely on knowledge, structure the e-course around specific skills, acknowledging that users have access to abundant information.
- Prioritize engagement. Motivating learners is crucial. Implement gamification strategies, utilize diverse formats, and maintain group communication to keep participants engaged and committed throughout the course.
If you're looking for a tool for creating and managing your course, try EducateMe as the best platform for collaborative and engaging courses. This LMS stands ready to be your partner in elevating course quality, driving user engagement, and ensuring a successful launch. Take advantage of our free 14-day trial to explore and experience all its capabilities firsthand.