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Step by step process to launch a successful online academy

Harilekshmi S

Harilekshmi S

Associate- Brand Communication

Create and sell online courses

A single solution to all your needs for launching an online academy.

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Things are getting digitized in today’s world, so is education. Online education is indeed a blessing especially during the COVID-19 pandemic where over 1.2 billion children across 186 countries are affected by school closures. With a sudden shift from traditional schooling to homeschooling and the unlimited opportunities given by the internet, many educators are planning to start an online school to make education easily available and affordable to all along with generating additional revenue. By 2025, the e-learning industry is expected to exceed $300 billion. So this is the right time to hop on the train and launch your own online academy.

Learners, these days, are seeking easier ways of education as they want to learn from anywhere at any time and from anyone who can teach. Since learning has no age, people of different age groups including school students to business veterans are eager to acquire new skills to enhance their knowledge and boost their career growth respectively. Make use of their hunger to learn and create a business opportunity out of it. 

Now let us answer all the ‘WHATs’ and’ HOWs’ that pop up into your mind when you think of beginning an online teaching academy step by step. This comprehensive guide will clear all your doubts regarding online course selling business.

Table of Contents

Step 1: Launch your online academy

How to launch an online course
How to create your own branded web and mobile app?

An online course selling business has many different potential paths of marketing. In today’s scenario, being active on social media is mandatory. However, having your own branded web and mobile app is crucial in business. They are a gateway for the customer towards your enterprise. Therefore, it is important to have a professional-looking website and mobile application. It is also one of the most significant aspects of launching your own online academy

There are different ways to create an online education website. To build an online academy from scratch and your own customised website using a white label solution are two common methods. The former is time consuming and an old-school approach while the latter is more convenient and affordable. 

Your website should have multiple themed templates to create a brand identity. To create a logo for your website, hire a professional logo developer. This is really important because logos can make an impression about your brand and it is very much connected to professionalism. Your website should be cross-device optimised, and the login speed should be quick enough so that the users can easily login from any device and view your website without any barriers.

Start customising your website by giving it a desired title, name and description. After this step, provide a structure to your website. Once the content is ready to be published on your website, you can choose how it should be presented. For example, you may create certain pages like a ‘home page’, a ‘landing page’, an ‘about me’ page, a ‘contact us’ page, as per your choice. Make sure that your website has enough navigational and social features. For instance, once a customer buys your course, he/she should be directed to a ‘THANK YOU’ page. Also, feel free to pick a colour, font and visual layout for your website. Aesthetics plays a major role here. Therefore, make sure everything has a professional touch as it drives the customer’s attraction.

Once you have placed your content and arranged everything according to your liking, preview the page to see how it looks. If it’s good, you may proceed to publish, and then your page is live.

Never underestimate the power of a mobile application for your online course as it is the easiest way to connect with your customers worldwide. Your own branded mobile app lets you reach your target audience across the globe. It also enables your learners to access your course from anywhere at any time, even while they are travelling.

Your primary objective is to guide your learners and help them reach their goals. But don’t forget the business aspect of what you are doing. For that you may conduct digital campaigns, organise contests, be active in social media platforms and forums to spread the word about your enterprise and thereby reinforce your brand identity.

How to get a white labelled online platform?

In case you need a website for your coaching institute but aren’t familiar with the technicalities of building it, an option would be to assign a web developer to do the job. Your job would be easy by doing so. But this is not a perfect solution because it is costly and also if you face any glitch in your website in future, there would not be any help from the web developer’s end.

However, there are cost-efficient solutions to create a website without any coding skills. You can easily depend on any LMS platform vendor and build your own online coaching platform from white label solutions that are available in the market for a reasonable price. It consists of both basic and advanced features that enable you to run your online academy smoothly. 

Then comes the next query – since there are different platforms, which one is the best? To find the best in the market you should do an analysis on each one of them. Make a comparative study on best white label solutions for your online coaching business. From this, you can choose the right platform.

What is a learning management system?

Running an online academy consists of various tasks like managing multiple systems, documents, schedules, content libraries, audio and visual materials. But with a learning management system you can easily run your coaching business. Now what is a learning management system? It is nothing but a SaaS (software as a service) product developed especially for the digital era.

LMS helps to keep track of all things related to online education. If you own a website for your online course selling business, LMS enables you to integrate your website with your classroom management system. It saves time, energy and money, and can avoid the risk of human error. 

LMS has reporting functionalities and let’s you track your learners. LMS helps to identify the key performance indicators such as the number of students enrolled for a course, the average time they spent on a topic and the results of exams. Based on these factors, you can enhance your approaches as well.

How to do payment gateway integration?

Online course selling is a booming market all over the world as a lot of people prefer the comfort and flexibility of e-learning. The potential revenue that you gain depends on various factors such as the price of your course, your target audience and your marketing strategy. Conducting online coaching with multiple platforms like YouTube, WhatsApp, Zoom or Google Meet is a tiring task. So, it is best to switch to an all-in-one LMS platform as it helps to do all the academic activities as well as payment gateway integration with a single platform. If you decide to pick one, go for a cloud-based LMS platform

Now let us explain in detail about payment gateway integration. Payment gateways are e-commerce application providers that authorise customers to make online payments. These payment gateways facilitate the transfer of payment information between the host portal. That is either a website, a mobile or a voice response system and the front end processor or the bank acquiring the payment.

Your website can exist as a standalone application that comprises course details and respective call-to-action buttons like ‘Buy Now’ that enables your learners to purchase your course. These ‘Buy Now’ buttons are offered by the payment gateways. All the transactions can be automatically done if the learning management system is closely integrated with the payment gateways. Although it is not mandatory to integrate the website with payment gateway or LMS.

The step-by-step process of a learner purchasing your course includes the following:

  1. A learner visits the website and reads the information about your course.
  2. If the learner feels interested, he/she clicks the ‘Buy Now’ button to purchase the course.
  3. ‘Buy Now’ button leads the customer to the learning management system and to account registration if he/she is not a registered user. If the customer is a registered user, he/she will be directed to the payment gateway page. 
  4. Transactions can be done by using debit card, credit card, net banking or any other payment methods.
  5. The customer can access the course after the completion of the payment process. 

You will receive transaction notifications from the applications and there is no need for any manual activity from your side during the process. You can easily keep track of the learners, courses and payments online. This is how the process of payment gateway integration works. The learning management system provided by Mykademy accepts payments for online courses through all major payment gateways.

Step 2: Create an online course

Create and sell courses online
How to choose your course topic?

Deciding a topic for your course should not be a tedious task. Topic is the heart of your online course. It’s all about creating a course that you are passionate about. If you love what you do you can easily reach success over time. But if you dislike it you might quit before you get there. 

Do research on the topic that you are interested in. Brainstorm and utilise your creativity to do the work. Conduct an online search and study about it as much as possible. Learn your area and be an expert in it like no one else. 

Another important aspect of creating an online course is it’s profit potential. If you provide a solution for an issue that people are ready to pay for, then your profit potential will be high. So check whether they already spend money to solve this problem through any services like books or applications etc.

Once you are done with course creation, craft a catchy title for your online course. If you wish, you may conduct a mock test as well to see the number of people that have enrolled. Ask the audience to evaluate the demand of your course topic in the market.

How to create an outline for your course content?

By doing your own research, you might have come across many ideas that can be  included in your online course. Break them down into different subtopics and list down the subtopics in a logical order. 

Course Outline Template

Main Topic(1)

1.Subtopic

2.Subtopic

3.Subtopic

4.Subtopic

Suppose if your course subject is-

‘English grammar’ 

Main topic(1) –  Introduction to English grammar.

1.Subtopic – parts of speech

2.Subtopic – sentences

3.Subtopic – phrases

4.Subtopic – clauses

Hope you have a clear understanding now. Although we listed out an example, this one is not obligatory. What is more important is that you should know exactly what you want to teach and what impression you want to create among your audience. 

How to build your course content?

The next major step is to generate your actual course content. You will have different media productions according to the activities that you have planned for your online course.  You can repurpose your old content in order to create your online course. See if you have any digital materials like videos, PDFs, blog posts, powerpoints etc.

If you have a proper plan and follow the simplified steps to create and sell your online course, the process of course creation can be done smoothly. Break down your course creation into four parts:

  1. Pre-production
  2. Writing
  3. Recording
  4. Post-production  

You can present your materials in whichever way you want that aligns with your skills. You can share text-based contents, host live sessions, create a video lecture or even record a podcast. Two common types of online course videos are screen recordings and talking head videos. All these are beneficial in online course selling business. For instance, conducting live sessions or sharing video tutorials can help learners to understand the concept better.

How to set a price for your course?

Online course selling is a profitable business. Before you set a price for your online course, find out where your pricing is attractive to the customers. Remember, the pricing of your course is directly proportional to the engagement of the learners. The more you charge, the higher your learner engagement will be. Never make your course available for free or price it at low cost because people may be less likely to trust it.

Do not compete in pricing as it is the worst method in marketing. You can give coupons and discounts for the customers. But never compete with a person that offers a course at a cheaper price. If you wish, you can read more on how to teach online and earn money.

How to launch your online course?

First of all, set your goals. Be clear about what you want to achieve whether it is money, improving your teaching skills, your brand value or the impact that you create among your audience. Remember to keep track of time and work under deadlines. 

Identify the persona of your potential audience and give what they want. Some of them might want to learn a new skill and some might require your course to enhance their career growth. Hence provide your course accordingly and if you meet the needs of your customers, then it’s a win-win situation! 

Choose the best online course platform to sell your course. Evaluate various ways to market your online course. Use email notifications and have your own customised 

website and social media page to share and market your course. Make sure to have a handy checklist for your online course launch before you leap into business.

Step 3: Market and sell courses online

Market online course
How to identify your right audience?

Identifying your target audience is the first step of your marketing campaign. But how do you find your ideal customer? For this you need to collect as much information as possible about your target audience. This will help you to incorporate their needs with the products and services you offer which in turn will aid in developing the chances of making a sale.

An ideal customer is a person who needs and takes what you provide and takes it exactly how you give it. The target audience can vary based on your business needs and at what stage your business is at, whether it is an early stage, developing stage etc. 

In this case, your ideal customer is a learner who wants to learn something new. So find out his/her persona. It helps to anticipate their needs, perform better course delivery and marketing. It also helps to improve the quality of your course and thereby enables you to sell more courses.

When it comes to designing promotions and sales pages, it is crucial that you visualise your ideal customer because the number of responses that you get from them is correlated with how these are made. If it’s tailored according to their requirements, it is likely to get more responses.

Creating a customer persona is an easy task. You just have to gather all the information available about your target audience through surveys or research. It gives you a great insight of who they are. If you adress what they need, you can make the process of selling courses profitable.

You can also make use of different approaches like phone calls, emails or in-person approaches to find out in depth about their requirements and how your services should appeal to them.

How to find the right platform to market your online course?

When you choose an online platform to market and sell your online courses, keep certain points in your mind. Firstly, have a clear understanding of what you want. See whether the platform you chose is robust and flexible enough. It should not be one-dimensional. It should not be just a place to sell and market your course. It should contain tools and features that have multiple functions and applications. 

The right online platform should be a cloud-based LMS platform that ensures faster implementation as it is totally hosted for you. It does not require onsite installation. For instance, SaaS is a cloud-based platform model.

Choose a platform that is easy to handle so that your course selling business can be done struggle-free. It should help to simplify the procedures of course delivery, marketing and all things related to academics and learners. If it makes you spend a lot of time learning how it works, then it will fail the purpose. Hence, pick the right platform that is simple and easy to manage.

Check whether the platform allows both hosting LIVE sessions and uploading pre-recorded videos, provides certification, has end-to-end encryption, enables learner management etc. Make sure that the platform you choose offers more than the basic features. This makes Mykademy stand out from other platforms. It is an SaaS LMS platform that is tailor-made to satisfy the requirements of both business and education. It’s easy user interface, feature-rich and configurable nature makes it the perfect platform for millions of users across the globe. 

You can also market and sell your courses by building a sales funnel and driving traffic to it. Once you have created the content that your target audience is interested in, find out the problems that they face. List down those problems and convert them into a blog so that someone who faces these issues may find it useful. When somebody visits your website to read your content, offer an incentive to sign up to your email list. Everyone who reads your blog is not likely to subscribe to your email list. But those who do are giving you permission to communicate with them. 

When you communicate with them, generate a sequence that leads them to buy your course. The important aspect is to provide value up front to demonstrate your expertise and to build trust prior to unveiling your course.

Once you have a sales funnel, drive traffic to it through organic traffic from search engines, paid traffic from ads, social media platforms and referral traffic from associates, partners and students.

What are course bundles and how to create them?

Course bundles enable you to combine multiple courses into a bundle and boost your course selling business. It is cost efficient, flexible and an effective way to increase your sales. Usually, these course bundles are discounted from the combined price of the individual courses as a method to enhance the sales.

Before you make bundles, you will require a ‘primary course’ with a name as per your choice. To make course bundles through Mykademy, follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to your Mykademy account.
  2. Go to ‘Products’.
  3. Select the ‘Bundles’ tab.
  4. Click the ‘Create New Bundle’ on the top right.
  5. Give your bundle a name and hit ‘create’ which will lead you to the bundle creation screen.
  6. Select ‘Add Item’ to begin by putting courses into your bundles.
  7. Choose a course from the drop down menu.
  8. Click ‘Add Item’.

Make sure the courses are published and hidden before adding to the bundle to make the course exclusive to the bundle. In this way, your courses will not appear on your Home Page.

Under settings, you can update the name of your bundle. You can upload a bundle image and description for your bundle card. Remember, the bundle image will represent your bundle on your landing page. Also add the bundle access validity as per your choice. You can add URL, Meta page title and SEO description from the ‘SEO Settings’. Move to the ‘Pricing’ section of your bundle creator to set the pricing of your course bundle. Once you complete all these steps, you are ready to publish your bundle. Click the ‘Save’ button to publish it.

What are push notifications and flash messages? How does it help to market your course?

Push notifications and flash messages play a major role in selling and marketing your online course. Flash messages are the messages that pop up on the receiving phone’s screen without any action from the user’s side. Push notifications are actionable messages that are sent by an app or website to a user’s desktop or mobile. There are two types of push notifications – web push notifications and mobile push notifications. Emails are also a great way to market your service.

You can send push notifications, emails and flash messages to engage your customers and retain your learner base. It is a great way to attract your potential customers. It also helps to create messages to inform your learners about upcoming events, courses, offers etc. You can use both scheduled or instant notification to your learners so that they won’t miss out any important news, features or offers that you provide. 

How to use coupon codes to attract learners?

Coupon codes are computer-generated codes that can be used to promote your online classes by giving a discount to your customers when they purchase your course. You can use smart coupons to boost your sales and increase engagement of your customers. Coupon codes are important because it persuades customers to take the action to buy your courses. 

While creating a coupon code, add lead magnets as it attracts new leads. For instance, you can give access to your customers to an eBook, a webinar or a resource guide in return for sharing their email address. Remember to use limited-period offers while giving coupon codes so that you can make the customer act sooner rather than later by limiting their access. You can provide limited-period offers during a new launch of your product or on any special occasions. Use different mediums to distribute your coupon codes like emails or social media platforms. Make sure to add attractive visuals to your coupons rather than sending plain text messages.

Offering coupon codes is a good marketing strategy. But never rely on them alone without any other marketing ideas and do not overuse it because it might lead to making your customer feel as if your service is less valuable. If you wish to know more in detail, head over to our blog how to sell online courses from your website?

Step 4: Conduct LIVE classes

Create your own online academy

Interaction with learners always brings a positive impact to their learning process. The learners get more involved and interested in your course if you start hosting live classes. They will feel more personally connected with their mentor. Psychologically, it could influence a learner better than a pre-recorded online course. Although, there are few key points to be noted while conducting live sessions.

You could conduct live classes with any gadget, but the most important element would be a strong internet connection. No one prefers to attend a live session with network issues in between. You could check your internet speed with Google’s internet speed test.

Own a good quality gadget to deliver and manage your courses, be it a desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile phone. Always opt for a room with minimal or no noise from outside. This could otherwise affect the teaching negatively. Another thing to keep in mind is lighting. Make sure that there is ample lighting to your studio to ensure that the learners will not have trouble for eye-friendly viewing. You could always have a trial check before going live with your learners or before shooting courses.

The best way to overcome camera shyness is to practice recording yourself and watch back the recorded version to correct your flaws.

A solid plan to record your courses would help for smooth course delivery. Prepare notes or materials which would contribute to help students learn easily. Once you start your live classes, greet and welcome your learners warmly. Before going into detail, give them a gist of what the day’s class is all about. Have an interactive question and answer session to help the learners understand the subject better. You could give notes for the learners during the session. Add some fun activities to engage and excite the audience. Here’s our blog on: How to build engaging courses to get ideas to improve your course selling. Homework and assignments can also be shared during your classes. Remember, you structure your courses, so build them beautifully.

There are many channels to conduct live sessions. Some of them are Zoom, Skype, Google meet, Jamboard etc. It is wise to choose a Learning Management System over a free platform. The benefits of a LMS system are countless. You can effortlessly create, market and sell courses to unlimited learners around the globe through your branded white label virtual classroom. Many LMS platforms are readily available these days in the market. You should pick the right one that provides online classroom platforms to match your requirements.

Conclusion

All your efforts would pay off with the right marketing strategies. If you play this card wisely, you can knock off this whole game. Branding can be done in many ways through various mediums. Social media marketing is the hot one though. Once you have prepared your beautiful course, you are set to advertise it to the learners. There are plenty of learners out there awaiting your knowledge. Boost your online teaching business via social media channels to reach out to a wider audience in need of your course.

You could begin with your prepared courses or with interactive live classes. Online course selling is an open door to the land of endless possibilities and opportunities. If one has any skill or knowledge that can be shared, then they can sell it through cloud-based SaaS platforms to earn a sound revenue. Anyone can start your online brand to sell courses online. Build a brand and make a mark of yourself in the online teaching industry. Launch your online academy to sell your knowledge to the ones seeking them. Teach not one but unlimited learners across the world.

If in doubt of where to launch and sell online courses, consider Mykademy – the best online teaching platform in the market.

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Launch your own branded online academy