Online courses are the holy grail of leveraged income.
Once you have an audience that likes you and trusts you, it is time to share your knowledge with your audience by developing your own online courses.
When you are in the process of creating your first course, everything can seem a little overwhelming.
Sales pages, course content, course hosting, email marketing – there is a lot to do.
The thing to remember though is that if you have great course content, you will eventually figure out the funnel, the optimization, the ads. etc.
In this post, I want to give you a list of the only 5 tools you need when you first start developing online courses:
1. Course Hosting Platform
When you are creating a course, one of the first things you need is a platform to host your course.
You could create your entire course in a Facebook group using LIVE video, but in order to set up your course as a long term passive income stream, you want to make it really for your customers to go through the sales page, buy the course and then access the course, without you being manually involved in any of these steps.
A course or membership site hosting platform provides you with an easy to use interface for you to upload your course assets seamlessly into the platform.
My favorite platform for a hosting an online course is Membervault.
You can get started with Membervault for free.
It provides great course hosting features such as a drag and drop builder, membership sites, drip schedule content, multimedia course content such as quizzes, videos, surveys etc. as well as using your own domain name for your sales page and course content.
2. Sales Funnel Builder
If you are planning to create passive income through your course once you launch it or even for your first launch, you will need a sales funnel builder.
The way you can create a funnel and sell your course is by:
1. Getting people to opt-in for a lead magnet AKA freebie that is related to the course
2. Selling a tripwire AKA low-cost product on the thank you page. This product would be the next step for them after the lead magnet, but it would not be as detailed as your course.
3. Following up with this audience using an email sales sequence to nurture them and then send them to the sales page of your course.
Of course there will be some people who directly go the sales page from your website and buy the course.
You can create this sales funnel using a tool like Clickfunnels.
Clickfunnels is an end to end sales funnel builder helping you create the different pages of your sales funnel and then integrating your funnel with an email autoresponder and payment processor to complete the setup.
Clickfunnels provides you with a platform to build a sales funnel with tripwires, downsells, as well as one-click upsells.
You can integrate Clickfunnels with email automations like Convertkit, Milchimp, Activecampaign etc., as well as other tools like Stripe, WebinarJam, Zoom, etc.
If you are just starting out, you could also create a sales page on Thinkific and integrate it with Convertkit and Paypal/ Stripe to set it up.
The benefit of using Clickfunnels is the ability to guide your audience through the process by offering a lead magnet first, then a tripwire (optional) and finally offering your core product.
You could use the same process for selling group coaching or services.
3. Payment Processor
This is self-explanatory. You will need a payment processor to accept payments from those buying your digital course.
If you are using a sales page build your WordPress website, you can use a simple “ Buy Now” Paypal button.
If you are using a platform like Clickfunnels to create your sales page, you could integrate your funnel with Stripe.
You can also create a page directly into Thinkific and integrate it with Stripe or Paypal.
4. Email Autoresponder
When you are launching your course, you will need an email auto-responder to build out your email funnel as part of which you will be sharing value with your audience as well as selling your course.
My favorite email automation tool is Convertkit.
The best way to use emails during a launch is to create a sales email funnel as a separate sequence consisting of 10-12 emails that you can run during the launch.
You start by sharing your story with your audience.
You then want to keep providing value over the next 2-3 emails, share case studies, and then eventually share your course details, and the reason WHY someone should buy your course.
Sharing social proof in the form of case studies and testimonials helps build trust in your course, leads to more conversions.
4. Content creation
This is the part where you create the course.
If it is text based content, you can use Google Docs or Word to create the content of the document and then use Canva to design the document.
If you are filming video content, first you can create a script in Google Docs or word. You can then use a free tool like IMovie to film the videos.
If you are doing a screencast, you can check out Screencast-o-matic, which is a free tool that helps you share your screen on video.
I used Useloom to record my first course. Useloom is a free chrome extension that you can download and use to record the screen as well as the cam.
For graphics, you can use a free tool like Canva.
Canva is very easy to get started with, and can help you create gorgeous graphics in a matter of minutes.
The best kind of courses are a mix of videos, templates, workbooks, and checklists. You want to create something that is really helpful for your audience.
Have you launched an online course yet?
What tools did you use? Let me know in the comments below.