The pandemic changed a lot of things. But one of the amazing things to come out of the pandemic is the rise of digital education. Overnight, the world shifted online. Children started logging into school, conferences went virtual and we saw an enormous emergence of digital conferencing tools, virtual learning apps and online learning software. Location matters less than ever when it comes to learning something new or brushing up a skill. Even before the pandemic, the digital education space was on track to top 350 billion by the year 2025.
Maybe you’ve created courses in the past. Maybe you’ve only thought about dipping your toe into the digital education space. Creating a course spotlighting your experience, expertise and life changing moments will not only highlight your specialty, but could also generate passive income. But as with any huge opportunity, the space can get crowded and competition can be fierce.
Here’s my advice for getting started – and standing out – in digital education:
- Identify what you are being called to teach and how your expertise adds value. This may seem like a no-brainer, but pinpointing exactly what you want to coach or how you want to serve people is essential before you do any other work developing your course. There is so much noise out there. In order to stand out, you will want to identify your differentiation and specialty. For example, say you are a yoga teacher. You are going to have to get clear on whether you are a yoga teacher helping people with mental health, or if you are a yoga teacher helping people with diabetes. It makes a huge difference.
- Determine if there is market demand for your course. If there isn’t a need in the market, you’ll waste a lot of time and money developing a course you can’t sell. If you already run a business, it’s easy to figure out where there’s demand. Look at what is working in your business today. What types of products and services provide proven revenue streams for your business? Then take those things and transfer them into a digital course. Create a course that answers the questions you get from your clients all the time. That way, you’ll have what I call “timeless content”. Once you have this, you can layer in other services like support and other types of student engagement.
- Get clear on what your revenue model will look like. Are you going to roll out an entry point program or are you going to roll out a more specialty-based program? Whichever model you choose is fine. Just make sure you are offering a course that is on level with the type of student you want to attract. If you have stacking payments, set them up in a way to give you breathing room as an entrepreneur.
- Develop an email marketing list. A lot of entrepreneurs have a social following, and that’s important too. But you’ll want to make sure that if a social following is all you have, that you convert that to an email list somewhere along the way before you launch. Why? Well, email is a channel that you own. With social media, you have no control over the platform’s algorithm, and you don’t “own” your followers. Email contacts are yours. You can move your list from provider to provider and use it how you would like.
- Have an audience to launch to. This goes hand-in-hand with developing a marketing list. It doesn’t have to be a huge audience, but you do want for it to be an engaged one. Having a small group of even 100 devoted fans that you have been priming and launching to is essential. Without this, you haven’t been building up momentum for your launch and it’s just not going to work. You can’t just put it out there and then expect people who don’t know you or your work to be excited.
Starting from scratch? Don’t panic
Keep in mind, it’s always going to be more intuitive to create an online course or program around an already successful business. But not everyone is coming from that place. If you are starting from scratch, these tips will still help you, but you’ll have to do more deep digging and soul-searching before you get started on your course. You’ll have to ask yourself what you want to be known for, what you believe makes you unique, what life changing moments have led you to where you are today and what has led you to your body of work.
Taking the time and finding your “why” will give you the best possible foundation for a successful course launch.
Destinee Berman is a seven-figure launch strategist who specializes in working with offline business owners, entrepreneurs, experts and educators to market and monetize their courses. Destinee is also the host of her podcast, Make The Shift. Connect with her on Instagram @desberman.