I've dabbled with digital courses for awhile now. I think they are hard to do. It is difficult to conceptualize a course that will sell and it's also hard to get traffic to it. Sounds like any online business really. But there has to be a way…
Building out a digital course and membership website
My intention is to add digital courses to this blog. A lot of what I do day to day is consulting and coaching. It's 1-on-1 and very intensive.
I want to break that down a bit and turn them into more digestible experiences and I want to do so in a video so I can deliver that to customers online rather than 1-on-1.
The requirements aren't exactly heavy, if anything, the difficult thing is creating a course that people will buy. If you are considering building a website and selling digital courses then follow along.
You would simply require: a website, a paywall (membership plugin), and high-quality content. You could simply add the Memberpress plugin to your WordPress website and host videos on Vimeo (to protect them) on a page behind your paywall. The plugin handles everything from payments (use Paypal or Stripe) to membership functions such as recurring payments, email reminders, transactions, etc.
Your content would probably be in the form of videos within a webpage. You could enhance the digital course by combining text, video, images, lists and downloadables.
Not exactly hard stuff, definitely time consuming though.
How do you create a sustainable way to promote and sell the digital courses?
The method I use are driving traffic from Youtube videos which is very powerful because A) you are giving free content and B) you are there engaging and providing credibility.
Especially if you are going to use video in your digital course you should be using video to sell your digital course. Start building an audience on Youtube now and overtime you will have your 1000 loyal fans who buy your digital courses.
One thing to consider is to be clear on your value propositions and unique selling points. You have to have something unique if people are going to spend money. I think the uniqueness needs to come from your authenticity and personality.
I recently had a conversation that led to the epiphany that most great content creators and entertainers pick a single trait of theirs and magnify it by 10 to give a great effect to persona and character. By choosing just a single trait and magnifying it you give yourself a more clear identify.
People like to identify with the content they watch so you have to give them something to latch onto. For me I position myself as a “Freedom-seeker” and that comes out in everything I do. You have to think about it quite deeply to find your magnify-able trait.
How do we get started in building our first digital course?
I like to come up with a working title for the course to give it some structure. The title should clearly identify the main benefit the person will receive by taking the course.
The next course I want to create is: How to make your photos look better than everyone else's; tips for personal and promotional photography.
Even though a lot of people use Instagram and their camera apps doesn't make them very good at actually taking photos. I see a lot of people who could do a much more if they knew the tools better.
The benefit is clear, if you take the course, you will have better photos than everyone else. Very simple right? I also extend the title to give more clarity to what the course will entail – tips for personal and business use. Great.
Building out the Digital Course
I think the simplest way to get started is to open a new page in your wordpress website and start outlining the course. You can build those web pages using the drag-and-drop custom page builders that come with many wordpress themes.
Design the course to be user friendly. Consider adding in navigational tools to help users get through the content easier.
If you prefer to draft it all in text form first that is okay too. The most important thing is that you start building this incredible resource and it takes time.
You'll have to record some videos, write solid technical information to support the videos, you'll have to add in things like downloadable checklists or visual aids.
It takes time to build a digital course but that's okay, because it takes very little money. At this point you only need to pay for your web hosting, your domain, website theme or framework (I love Jupiter 5), and your membership software and video hosting. Less than $300 for sure, you can go cheaper too.
Your goal should be to create a course that will stay relevant and useful for as long as possible. You should update your courses too and save time on rebuilding them.
How long should my digital course be?
This is a difficult question to answer. I think the shorter the better but the value has to be there. The price point has to match.
But the real truth is people want instant gratification. They would rather learn 1 thing they can do right away rather than 3 things that will take a long time to see results with. It's the truth of my experience anyways.
If you can provide one instant benefit and the costs matches the the course can be a short as one video.
If you want to be very comprehensive you could have 50 videos. The only thing that matters is that you are solving the problem for the user.
What to do when your digital course is done
I would get some people to check it out and give you feedback. Ask people who could really use your product to see if they find it helpful. Flat out ask them what they think the info is worth? But consider that you will see a wide variety of answers here.
The answer to what you do when the digital course is done really depends on your audience size. The bigger the audience the more you should initially lean on them for initial sales and interest. If you have an audience you should be creating the product they want, it should be a no-brainer.
If you don't have an audience what should you do?
It's not a big deal. We all have to start somewhere. You should start participating in the communities where you will find a great amount of your potential customers. You should be providing value in the communities that already exist rather than trying to create your own and asking people to come to you.
You build your credibility on other platforms at first and then invite them to enjoy more of your original content on your platforms.
You should be making relevant and tangential content (videos or blogs) that relate to your digital course.
That content should be promoted over social media multiple times. Use bufferapp.com to set it up long term with the advanced share tool.
You can buy some Facebook ads. That is an expensive way but might work if you have a very unique course. You might even want to try to create a very specific course and use very specific targeting. Your marketing message may be a lot tighter using this type of strategy. You will be speaking to a very targeted group so it is easier to get conversions.
I would be very focused on growing your social accounts and email list. Give away more things for free. Write blog posts and put them on your twitter. Use keywords so people will find it in search.
There is a lot you can do. Video marketing is something to be highly aware of. Youtube is becoming the biggest search engine in tandem with Google.
Long-term consistent content can lead to huge growth in audience size and traffic to your website.
Digital courses are a fun way to share, help and build passive income
I'm a big fan of digital courses and want to develop more of them myself. I think we all have unique things we can share and ways to help others.
The only way to learn more about them is to get started. I hope this post helped you get some new insights to how to build a digital course online.
If you have any questions ask them below and I will be sure to answer them!