One great use of our MemberPress membership software is to launch an online course. MemberPress has got to be the best WordPress membership plugin to protect your course materials and build a space for your course attendees to download important information, receive updates, and even interact with one another (especially since MemberPress can be used in conjunction plugins like BBPress and WPCourseware).
So for today’s post I’d like to share my top 5 tips for launching your own online course:
1. Build a team
Putting together an online course or workshop is a lot of work and has a lot of moving components: you need to create course materials (workbooks, videos, worksheets, forums, etc.), promote and sell into the course, answer questions and troubleshoot for attendees, implement and learn digital software to make the course available to attendees near and far, collect feedback, and so much more. If you want to create a truly top notch offering, you absolutely need to delegate out the work and build a team. Play to your strengths and hire freelancers, independent contractors, or reputable agencies to handle the rest. Love writing but Microsoft Paint is about the extent of your design capabilities? Hire a designer to create a beautiful PDF workbook for your course! Decide who you need, what you can afford, what your deadlines are/what your launch schedule looks like, and delegate, delegate, delegate!
2. Plan it out
The most important part of launching any online course is making sure that you have a realistic launch schedule. Give yourself ample time to create your course materials, promote via email and social media, and learn how to use all the software you’ll be using. This is especially important if you’re working with a large team of professionals. Be clear and upfront about your deadlines, but be sure to give yourself a few days grace period for last minute tweaks/edits and emergencies. Personally, I like to use project managers with a built in calendar to map out my project milestones, task breakdowns, deadlines, and scheduled promotions. My favorite project management tools are Asana, Teamwork, and Basecamp.
3. Use the tools
Speaking of tools, there are a number of tools that can help you get ahead of your launch schedule and minimize stress. If you can, I highly recommend that you prepare your promotions and course materials ahead of time. Pre-write your emails and social media promotions and schedule them out using AWeber, Mailchimp, Hootsuite, and Buffer! By automating your promotions for the days, weeks, and even months leading up to your course you can knock one thing off your list and focus on the other parts of organizing your course!
4. Know your limits
Set a realistic cap on the number of attendees in your course. There’s nothing worse than having too many people sign up for your course and then getting negative feedback that they invested the money but didn’t feel like they got enough value or time with you. On the flip side, there’s nothing better than selling out, getting stellar reviews, and being able to offer the course a second time round (maybe even at a higher price point) with rockstar testimonials to back you up! Know and respect your limits, and don't forget that the people who are signing up for your course are there because they want YOU. So be sure to deliver as much one-on-one time to each of your attendees as possible.
5. Create a DIY version
This is by far my greatest tip, and something I think can completely change the way you monetize your skill set. If you are running an online course with live video sessions, I highly recommend you record those sessions and reuse them in a DIY version (or use them as a script to record videos for a DIY version). Bundle these videos with your workbooks and worksheets and use an AWeber or Mailchimp autoresponder to automatically deliver the bundle or login instructions via MemberPress to access the course materials. The beauty of taking these extra steps when creating an online course is that you put in the hard work once and then sit back and let the passive income roll in. It also allows people to take your course in the interims that you’re not offering it live or to work through your program at their own pace. Win-win all around!
I hope that these tips have inspired you to launch your own online course in your area of expertise! We’d love to hear about some of the exciting programs you’re building and how you’re using MemberPress to enhance your courses.