13 Ways to Validate Your Online Course Idea

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I’m going to kick things off with a little tough love: There is no point in spending your time, and energy creating an online course that nobody wants!

So many people make this mistake!

If you want to sell your online course, you need an audience who is ready and waiting to buy it!

This means you must do one of two things:

  1. Create a content that your audience wants OR

  2. Get a new audience!

There is no getting around it!

Obviously, the easiest way is to create a course that your current audience wants!

So how do you KNOW (not think you know, or assume) what your audience wants from you?

You ask them!

Surveying your audience is the BEST & QUICKEST way to find out EXACTLY what they need!

It’s also really simple to do!  

Here are 13 ideas to help you create your online course:

  • Create a Poll in your Facebook Group

  • Create a Poll in other Facebook Groups where your target audience hangs out

  • Ask the question!  But really LISTEN to the answers you get!  For example, if your audience are saying they are having trouble making sales, so they really mean they are struggling with having the sales conversation, pricing their services or getting in front of the right audience?

Dig deep and answer all comments with a more in depth question!  Often, people think they have one problem, but they really have a totally different one!

  • Ask a more exciting type of question!  Eg: Fill in the blank “The ONE thing I really need to understand how to do in my business is ___________”.

See how that’s more engaging, fun and super specific? Their answers will tell you EXACTLY what their biggest pain point / struggle is and you can create your online course around that!

  • Don’t forget to make the most of your other social media platforms (such as LinkedIn, Twitter & Instagram) too!

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How to Survey Your Audience

  • Create an actual survey!  Personally, I love Google Forms for mine as they look great and are really quick and easy to create.  You can also automatically collect email address from respondents so you can grow your email list at the same time!  (And you know how important that is, right?)

If you don’t want to use Google Forms, Survey Monkey is another favourite, but they do limit your number of questions on the free plan.  It was ten questions last time I checked and if you ask for name & email address, that’s two questions gone already!

Saying that though, you don't want to ask too many questions or your audience will see it as too long & boring!  I recommend 3-6 questions MAX. So get REALLY SPECIFIC in your questions to ensure you get the results you need.

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FREE AUDIENCE SURVEY TEMPLATE:

The Audience Survey for Online Course Creators’ for fill in the blank & done for you questions to ask your audience!

Hey, I like making your life easier! :o)

How to Create an Online Course Topic

  • There are other ways that you can validate (or come up with) the topic for your online course too!

  • Amazon is a great way to research your online course idea!

  • Do a quick search for the best selling books in your niche and see how many there are!  You can also read through the comments to see what comes up - an make your online course even better by answering those questions too!

  • Head over to Google and type in your keyword (ie your topic idea) and ‘online course’.

For example, if I was thinking about creating an online course about learning French, I would type in ‘Learn French Online Course’.  

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Here’s what this does:

It creates a list of online courses about learning French so you can see if your idea has been done already or not.  NOTE: If it HAS been created before, that means there is a market for it, so it’s a GOOD thing!

If you then scroll down a little, you'll see a section that says ‘People also ask”:

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Next, scroll to the bottom of Google and you’ll find other suggestions pop up under ‘Related Searches’.  Both of these segments could give you ideas for other topics or titles for your online course!

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  • You can also check out sites like Mastermind, Teachable, Creative Live and Udemy and see if your course idea is there!

  • Test your idea first by putting out a quick checklist, eBook, template, mini video or audio training about your chosen subject.  Track the number of downloads and if the freebie does well, you’re off to a great start! You can also incorporate this freebie / training inside your actual online course!

At best, it tells you if your idea is valid and your audience wants to know more about the topic, at worst, you’ve only lost an hour or so of time (rather than the months some people take to create a course!)

  • Another idea is to check out Facebook groups.  Chances are if there is a Facebook Group on a subject with lots of active members in, there will be a need for an online course!

A huge bonus to this method is that you’ve also just found your audience to market & sell to as well - so get in there and start building relationships!

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  • Have a blog, podcast or YouTube Channel?  Check your analytics to see which are your post popular posts or episodes and see if there is a common theme among them!

  • But what if you DON’T have a blog (start one!!), podcast or YouTube channel?  Don’t worry, you can still do the same thing - but use other people's content for ideas and inspiration!

  • If you’re reading this, chances are you’re already a business owner or entrepreneur!  What do you do on a daily basis, or what tools & software do you use? Turn your daily habits, processes and systems into an online course!

  • BuzzSumo is another great free tool that you can use to see what online content is attracting the most attention and what is popular on social media.

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A Word of Warning

Not every subject works well as an online course!  

For instance, creating an online course about how to boil rice, tie a shoelace or change a lightbulb, would be useless!  If it’s something that can be quickly & easily learnt in a few minutes, it’s NOT a good online course idea!

Conclusion:

So there you have it!  13 ways to come up with an idea for your first (or next!) online course, plus how to validate your idea to ensure you can sell it!

Want to continue the conversation and get feedback on your online course idea?  Come and join the Online Course Building Rockstars on Facebook!

See you on the inside! X

AUDIENCE-SURVEY-ONLINE-COURSE-CREATORS.jpg

FREE AUDIENCE SURVEY TEMPLATE:

The Audience Survey for Online Course Creators’ for fill in the blank & done for you questions to ask your audience!