Today we’re going to talk about how to validate your online course idea. Now why is validating your online course idea important? It is important to validate that the course you want to teach is actually in demand to ensure that you are not wasting all that time creating an online course that isn’t going to sell. Check out the podcast video or keep scrolling to read.
Why You Need To Validate Your Idea
Creating an online course is a very time consuming process. It can take weeks, or even months to create an online course. It is heartbreaking to see on an online course that you worked so hard on launch, only to find out that no one is interested in buying it.
That is why it is super important to make sure you validate your topic before you get started. This is one of the most important steps as well as one of the steps that is most often skipped by course creators. Validating your online course is not as fun and glamorous as creating your content, but it must be done.
You would not put a fresh coat of paint on a wall without at least cleaning the wall and possibly applying primer first. The results could be disastrous and short-lived at best. It is the same with an online course.
Research Your Online Course Idea
So, how do we go about validating your online course idea? There are several methods you can use to do this. Let’s start with some simple internet research.
The first place you want to start is to see if your topic is trending. Trending topics always do better. You can easily check this on a website like Google Trends. This will show you how much it is trending and where it is trending. The where is helpful so that you can see what country you are most likely to attract students from. If it is not trending, don’t give up yet. Let’s do a little more research.
Next, put your topic in Google Search. When you search for your topic on Google search you will be able to see the search volume and scroll down to see what questions people are asking. You might try several variations on your topic in Google search to see exactly how people are searching for your topic.
This will be important when it comes to naming your online course later, so write down what you find. You can also search other websites like Answer The Public, Reddit, YouTube or Quora to see what other questions people are asking about your online course idea. Make sure to check the dates as you are researching. Just like searching for something on YouTube, there can be some ancient information out there that may not be as popular now as they were a few years ago.
Look At Other Courses To Validate Your Idea
Another one of my favorite ways to validate your online course idea is to check the online course marketplaces. You can glean a lot of good information from them. Online course marketplace examples would be Udemy, Skillshare and even LinkedIn learning. Each of these platforms attracts a different audience and has different top-selling courses. Just because your course idea is not popular on one does not mean it won’t be popular on another.
You can check these websites for the number of students purchasing as well as how many online courses like the one you want to create are already out there. You want there to be some already out there. If you do not see one already, it will be harder to find the demand. Don’t be intimidated if you see a lot. Those teachers are not you. Also, don’t let the marketplace prices scare you. You are not competing with them.
The real gold on the online course marketplaces is in the comments / reviews. The students of those courses will tell you what they liked and did not like about that course they took. You will be able to find content gaps and ideas about exactly what students are looking for in an online course.
You can use this same method with books. If you hop over to Amazon and look under the books for your topic, you will see how much is out there, how well they are selling and be able to read those reviews as well. People that prefer to read books instead of taking online courses are a different audience, but there is some crossover
Reach Out To Your Audience
Now that you have done some research around the internet to see what is going on in the space, you will want to survey your audience. If you are lucky, you already have a great active email list. I would even take the time to get on a call with a few of your ideal students from your client or email list and have a chat with them to see what they would want in a course, or even if that would be something they would be interested in.
Most of you that are coming from an already established business have an email list. If you don’t, you can also ask your audience on social media. Creating polls and asking questions is a great way to get feedback from potential buyers. You can also ask some of your super fans on there to get on a call with you.
Are you ready to create your online course?
Take The 5-Day Mini Course Challenge.
I will walk you step-by-step through the process of creating a mini course that you can use to…
- Drive Leads To Your Main Course
- Build An Email List To Sell To Later
- Sell As A Low-Cost Product Right Away
Are you ready?
Create A Compelling Lead Magnet
You can also create a lead magnet that would be a companion to your course. A lead magnet will help you build a list of potential students as well as validate interest in what you are teaching. My personal favorite is to create a mini course.
I have sung the praises of mini courses all over my YouTube channel and other blog posts. I even created my own mini course to teach you how to create a mini course. It is a free 5-day mini course challenge that you can grab over on the resource page of my website.
So, why create a mini course to validate your online course idea? First off, having a lead magnet is a great way to build your email list. You are targeting people interested in the topic you are teaching no matter what kind of lead magnet you have out there. But, just because someone is interested in the topic does not mean they are interested in taking online courses. That is the beauty of using a mini course as a lead magnet. This validates their interest in the topic you are teaching as well as their interest in taking online courses. That is a double bonus.
This is also a chance for your potential students to see how you teach. There are some online course creators that are super smart and have great information, but their delivery just doesn’t work for me. They just don’t speak in a way I can easily understand. It happens.
With a mini course your students will get to see exactly what kind of teacher you are and if they feel that you are the best fit for them. You are building your authority here.
Another benefit of creating a mini course is you are more likely to have students completing the course since a mini course is much shorter than a regular online course. That means you can get feedback and even testimonials from your students. This means that once you expand this mini course into a full course that you are going to sell, you already have testimonials for your sales page.
Pre-sell Your Online Course
But getting back to the validation process, another great way to validate your online course is to pre-sell it. If you have done a good job marketing and getting your lead magnet into the hands of your potential students, a pre-sale will give you an idea of how many people are interested in buying.
There are pros and cons to doing a pre-sale, but it is a great way to see who is willing to pay up front. If you run marketing for a pre-sale and no one buys in, then you definitely need to reevaluate your online course idea and your marketing. Preselling your online course is an entire podcast in itself. I plan on covering that in more detail in another episode.
There are many other ways to validate your online course idea, but I think this is a good start. The important part is that you do take the time to validate it before you spend a ton of time creating it. If you need a little help, feel free to set up a call with me.