Offline to Online: Mistakes to Avoid When Creating Your First Online Course

If you're a business owner, or someone in lockdown or quarantine you're looking at online courses right now like a hungry cat eyeing up the goldfish bowl, then this is the post you're looking for.  Online courses are popular because you can deliver them remotely. But, if you're not careful, you will make horrible mistakes that will hinder your growth.

Here are three lethal mistakes that you can make when you go from offline to online with your course ideas.

  1. Creating the Course YOU Want (Not the Course Your Audience Needs)

You may have a great deal of knowledge in a particular area that you can teach others. You might think you know exactly what kind of course your audience would like. But it's a mistake to create the course you want rather than the course your audience needs.

You may be able to create an excellent course based on what you think you should teach, but it's not likely to reach a great number of people or earn you a profit. And then, what's the point? You'll have a highly informative course that no one signs up for you are no better off.

Instead, you should start by considering your target audience. What problems are they struggling with right now? What do they need to know? What are their interests? Once you have some ideas, consider how you can help them. Try to match your audience's needs to your skills and expertise.

For example, you may find out through surveys that your email subscribers want to know more about using card games to mitigate the boredom. You can take your knowledge and experience playing cards and create a course that teaches them how play basic card games.

  1. Making Your Course Too Long

My first blogging course had 100 modules. Yep, 100 hour-long videos. With workbooks. It was everything including the kitchen sink you could ever want or need to know about blogging. If you are anything like me, you have a great deal of knowledge you want to share with your course participants. It also makes perfect sense that a longer course is seen as more valuable.

The problem is that if your course is too long, it might overwhelm your students. You might lose some of them along the way. I lose and overwhelmed all of the 3 people that purchased this program. The best courses are tightly focused. They teach what they need to teach in order for students to overcome the problems they're struggling with right now. Your course should be just long enough to do that.

The ideal length for an online course is five to seven modules. Each module should have three to five steps or small sections. Each course has its own needs structurally, though, so this is just a guideline.

If you find that your course is longer than three to five modules, try breaking it down into two courses. If there is a sequential relationship, you can make parts one and two. If the course is slightly too long and you feel the information is very valuable, you can remove one module and offer it as supplemental material, a bonus add-on, or an additional resource for participants.

  1. Putting All of Your Effort on the Course but Skimping on the Marketing

It takes a great deal of work to put together and run an online course, but you can't forget to market it. Before you even get started, make sure that you have a solid marketing plan. How will you get your course in front of your target audience? How will you advertise it and put the word out? Which marketing channels will you use and how will you use them?

If you have a topic that aligns with your target audience's interests, a tightly focused course, and a marketing plan in place, you're virtually guaranteed a successful course.

Would you like some help?

My course are no longer 100 hour long videos you'll be relieved to know. I now have the techniques and strategies that create successful courses. I've distilled them together to create two very specific course-related programs.

Create Your Successful Online Course is for business owners who want to explore and create a successful online course.

Launch and Market Your Online Course is for business owners with a course that needs to sell more of them.

I don't know you well enough yet to say which one is for you, so take a look and if it sounds like you'd benefit from the training then you'll be delighted that you can afford them.

Sarah Arrow

About the author

Sarah Arrow created the popular 30-day blogging challenge back in 2007. Since then 750,000+ business owners have learned to blog and grow their business through her content, her challenge and her blogging books.

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