If you’re like me you might have tons of ideas for online courses that you want to create but the problem is how do you know if the idea you have is a good one. Better yet how do you know if an idea will be a profitable one.
Or maybe you’re struggling to come up with an idea. In this article, I’m going to walk you through the 3 steps you need to take to find your idea, research it, and most importantly validate it.
Now I can’t guarantee that your idea will be a success but if you follow the simple steps I’m going to share with you here you’ll stand a much better chance at finding an online course idea that people are looking for.
Quick Note: Be sure to read the entire article to the end where I will talk about how you can get free live training to help you get started.
With that said let’s get started…
Step #1 Find Your Idea
Your first step is to build a list of ideas to work from. Not every idea is going to turn into a profitable course but having a list of ideas to work from can help you when one doesn’t work out. To help you find some ideas I have 3 simple strategies you can try.
Strategy #1 Find Popular Content
The first strategy is to find popular content people like and already consume. Chances are if a bunch of people is sharing content and reading about it, it’s likely that they might be interested in taking a course on it.
To do this you’ll need a tool like Buzzsumo to help you out. This tool allows you to search a topic and see what the top content is and how much people are sharing it.
As an example, I did a search for email automation. Below is a picture of the results I got.
As you can see a lot of people want to learn about email automation. The searches range in the hundred and even thousands people liking and sharing this kind of content. This is a good sign if you are looking to create a course on this topic.
On top of that this tool can also give you some idea as to what specifically is popular. As you can see in the results above they also show that segmentation is a popular topic as well. From here you can input that keyword in Buzzsumo and see what other results you get as well.
Strategy #2 Look at Courses That Already Sell
The next step is to look for courses that already sell. To do this check out Udemy.com. Udemy has one of the biggest course directories around.
Simply go to Udemy and type in the topic you want to teach.
For example, let’s say you want to teach people how to run a successful Kickstarter Campaign. As you can see here there are several courses on the topic which is a good sign.
Side Note: If you do a search for a topic and you can’t find any courses on it this may mean that people are not interested in learning about this topic and that you should probably stay away from it.
Strategy #3 What are Things People Need to Know
The last strategy is probably the simplest. One simple way to come up with course ideas is to think about things people need to know how to do in your topic.
For example, if you’re someone interested in teaching bloggers how to use email for their business you might create a course on how to makeb a simple lead magnet, or set up a basic autoresponder series.
All of these ideas can be courses because almost everyone in online business needs to know how to do it.
Side Note: Don’t worry if a course idea sounds too small. For example, a course on setting up a basic 7 part autoresponder series sounds small but the more more specific you can get the more you’ll stand out from your competitors.
So there you have it, the 3 strategies you can use to build a list of course ideas.
Homework: Now it’s your turn, using the strategies above come up with at least 10-course ideas that interest you.
Step #2 Research & Validate Your Idea
Now that you have your 10 ideas the next step is to research and validate your idea. However doing this for all 10 ideas can take some time so I recommend that you pick the top 2 to 3 ideas and start there.
In order do this we need to go back to Udemy. Even though you may not even be using this course platform it’s a great place to look to help you do some basic research and validate your course idea.
Related Article: If you’re still trying to decide which course platform to go with check out my article on Teachable Vs Udemy here.
To do your research and validation I’ve broken things down into 4 steps to help you out.
Step #1: Type in Your Topic
In this example, I picked Crowdfunding and typed it into the Udemy search bar.
As you can see this is a popular topic. In fact, I even found a bestseller course as well. This is a pretty good sign that people are buying a course on this topic. Your course doesn’t have to have a bestseller in your category but seeing this is just a good sign.
When you click on the course you’ll get some great info.
As you can see above there are almost 12,000 people enrolled in this course! This means people want to learn this topic, that they will pay at least $200 to learn this topic. My guess is that you could actually charge a lot more since Udemy controls how much you can charge for your course.
Finally, there are over 600 ratings and reviews for this course as well which we’ll talk about more in a minute.
Step #2 Course Description
The next step is to look at the course description.
Looking at the description lets you see what’s all on the course but most importantly they’re sharing some very valuable info on the target market they going for. This info is priceless since this course is already popular with people which means they got their targeting down solid.
Quick Tip: One thing I like to do is set up simple Excel spreadsheet to record all of this info to review it later.
Step # 3 Course Curriculum
The next step is to review the course curriculum to see what others are teaching and potentially not teaching.
As you can see they cover a wide variety of topics in this course but in total the course doesn’t look very long and that their looks to be a lot of gaps in the content and flow of the course which could be something you could potentially capitalize on.
Also, I noticed they included a section on emailing your backers which could be an important section you might want to include in your course.
Step #4 Reviews
The final thing you’ll want to look at is the reviews of these courses. Doing this will let you see exactly what people are saying about the course, good or bad. These little nuggets of gold can tell you exactly what your target audience is looking for.
To find the best reviews look at the 3 and 4-star reviews. 1 and 2-star reviews tend to be on the negative side and 5-star reviews tend to give a lot of praise but no real information.
Below are a few reviews I found that could be helpful.
This first review points out that some of the technics are outdated which means you’ll have to update things in your course when new technology comes out. However, the person that took this course also mentioned that this it’s not very step-by-step which means this is something your students of your course will want.
The second review I found was hugely valuable. This person claimed the course was very generic but more than that pointed out that it would have been great to see a mock project from start to finish. This is something you could easily add in your course to give you that competitive edge.
In this review, Tiara explained that she would’ve liked to see a more detailed and longer course that showed more examples. Doing this simple research can do a lot to help you figure exactly what your audience wants out of a course like this.
Now that you’ve done the research and found people buying a course similar to the one you want to create it’s time to narrow things down and develop a course transformation.
Homework: Review 2 to 3 of your course ideas using the 4 step process I shared above.
Step #3 Determine Your Transformation & Target Audience
Now that you’ve researched 2 to 3 or your online course ideas it’s time to narrow things down a bit. At this point, it might be obvious which idea you should go with but if it’s not here’s a trick to help you out.
Go with the course idea that offers the biggest transformation. The transformation is what they will gain by taking your course. For example, if you were taking a course on running your own Kickstarter campaign your transformation might be having your own campaign up and running and bringing in contributions.
If you still can’t decide on one-course idea to go with then my recommendation is to go with your gut and just pick one. If you have 3 ideas and you can’t decide this means you have 1 or 2 more potential courses ideas you could develop after your first one.
Finally, the last thing you need to do is determine the target audience you want to sell your course too. The best way to do this is by looking at who your competition is targeting.
In the course above they were targeting investors, entrepreneurs, and nonprofits. The problem with this is that they are trying to target too many people. My suggestion is to target only one group of people when you’re first starting out.
As an example, you could focus on Startups who’ve never done crowdfunding. This narrows things down a bit more and instead of trying to focus on everyone.
Homework: Determine your courses transformation and who your target audience will be.
Do You Have Your Course Idea – Here’s What To Do Next
Now that you’ve gone through the steps find a solid online course idea you might be ready to take the next step. If that’s the case then you will want to sign up for a Free Live Training by Teachable.
In the free training, you’ll learn the 7 Steps To Launch Your Own Profitable Online Course. Here’s what you’ll learn in this free training…
- How to set up your first course
- Get an inside look at Teachable (My Preferred Online Course Platform)
- Plus a Live Q&A to help you answer all of your questions
So if you are ready to create your first online course click here to sign up for your free Live Training.