Many therapists looking to get into multiple streams of income are considering putting together a course.
Once you’ve already built an audience and done the research to know your course will sell, courses can be an excellent way to both get some income and build your authority on a topic as well.
But all the moving parts of figuring out the technologies needed behind putting an ecourse out there can be confusing. There are so many options, it can be difficult to understand where to go.
What You Actually Need
Let’s quickly outline what you need in order to sell your first ecourse:
- Ways to capture leads on your website – whether it’s a traditional email list subscribe form or using landing pages to collect sign ups for a free webinar, you’ll want your website to help you gather leads for your upcoming course.
- A sales page on your website – to sell your course with a big “buy now” button and amazing copy to compel visitors to push the button.
- Payment processing – that is seamless with securely accepting payment and allowing a purchaser access to your course – in most cases, it’s recommended that this has some level of automation so you’re not tied to emailing by hand.
- Hosting – the actual, physical space that your data will live. Similar to website hosting, you’ll need space to store things like videos, pdfs, audio files.
- Client area – that enables effortless user experience for your course members to take the course.
- Further stuff? – perhaps you’ll also need additional features like automations if you will drip content over a number of weeks or quizzes if you want to add a game or test element to your course. This will depend on how you’ve designed your course.
Most People Spend Too Much On Building A Course Website Too Early
There’s a lot that goes into selling a course and with all that is needed, it’s easy to make this newbie mistake: the top mistake is investing way too much into custom course website development (example: 10k+) when they haven’t yet validated that it will sell or that they like selling courses.
So the question then becomes: how can I validate if my course will sell and if selling courses is for me? The answer is to try selling your course with as little setup and investment as possible.
The road of least investment means using platforms like teachable, simplero, or even just a paypal button and password protected page until you’re sure greater investment of both your time and money is justified.
For A Tiny Course: Use A Password Protected Page On A WordPress Site
If your course is three videos, a downloadable, and that’s it. You can use built-in password protection on a page of your WordPress site.
Here’s How To Do It
Embed the videos, links to the downloadables, and any other course materials on a page of your website and password protect it. This page is your “course”
Then, create a simple sales page with a paypal buy now button. Whenever someone buys your course, you can set up a free automation with something like IFTTT or Zapier too to thank the purchaser for their purchase and give them the link to the password protected page and the password to get in.
The Pros and Cons
- Super Easy
- Lowest possible cost
- Use your existing WP site
- Uses free automation
- There’s only one password. The password can easily be shared to other people that did not purchase the course.
- It doesn’t look as professional to just have everything on one page or the built in password (vs. a course user login and user area).
- Doesn’t really work for courses that are large – like more than a handful of content, as users will be overwhelmed by seeing everything on one large page.
- You can’t create multiple pages just with the built-in password so you are limited to putting everything on one page.
For Larger Courses: Use Hosted Platforms
If the password protected page is not a good fit for your course, there are several options for hosting your course on a platform. A couple that come to my mind include:
Yes, you do need to pay for these but they include everything you need for accepting payments to hosting content to providing your users a great user experience. Compared to that 10k custom built course website, they are an incredible value for a low monthly cost.
Here’s How To Do It
Shop around for your best fit course platform. Many have different strengths, weaknesses, and possible integrations.
You’ll want to already have your course materials ready, an idea of how it needs to be delivered, and some idea of other software that may need to integrate with your course platform (for example, if you are using ConvertKit for your email marketing and need it to connect in some way to your course platform, the time to know about that is before you commit to a course platform).
Once you have determined a good fit, you’ll want to get your website to be the best possible sales tool to funnel people towards the course.
So think of it like this:
- You need a website to gather leads and make sales
- You need your course platform to handle payments and host your course
So on the website side, you’ll want to create an excellent email capture for your course and a sales page too. Your website becomes a vital piece in the funnel towards purchasing your course while the course itself is all handled on the platform.
The Pros and Cons
- Compared to custom sites, a great value for what you get
- Excellent automations and user experience
- Great support desks
- Can scale with you if you decide to put more courses out there
- Haven’t thought of any to be honest. If you’re serious about selling courses, these are great for getting stuff out there and validating the idea.
Best Way To Research Selling Courses
The best way to research selling courses is to take some courses yourself. When you take online courses yourself, you’ll see what it’s like from the student’s side.
Paying attention to the content itself is a great way to understand how content could be organized and delivered. And on the tech level, you can also take notes on things like what the login experience is like, how the course is set up to be navigated from one module to another, or the look and feel of the course website itself.
Checking in with yourself on what the experience is like can help you evaluate the platform and make better decisions about what you want for your course experience.
There should always be some low-cost or free options for trying courses out. So look around or ask for suggestions and see what’s out there.
When Should You Invest In A Custom Course Website?
When you have a successful course to the effect that you will significantly increase your profit margins by leaving a hosted solution, then you can consider creating a custom website for your course.
If you have a custom course website, you’ll also want a developer doing ongoing maintenance. Course websites aren’t only about delivering content, they also handle stuff like credit cards, protected personal information of users, and they can break.
This means you’ll also want to factor in the cost of ongoing maintenance and repairs to your custom course website. The investment into a custom course website will be the initial build including consultancy, labor, software and also the ongoing costs too.
Selling Courses Can Be Awesome!
Courses can help transform people’s lives, especially ones within personal development and mental health.
Even though there is a definite learning curve to getting a course out there, climbing that curve could lead to the amplification of the help you’re able to give plus another income stream for you too.
Keeping things as simple and lean as possible is the best way to validate if your course will do well on the market and if selling courses is what you want to do. Just because selling courses sounds fun, doesn’t mean it is fun. The best way to test that out is to try.
I hope this helps with some perspective on how to get started!