Do you have a unique specialty, an outstanding skill set, or a fresh new perspective on an old subject? Are you ready to share your knowledge and expertise with others in an online course? Then you’ve come to the right place! In this article, you will learn all you need to know to build a premium online course for your content, one that will have customers beating down a path to your door!

So you’ve got top-notch content, but how do you share it effectively in an online course? Let’s start with the basics. Here is the ultimate checklist of what you will need to know and/or put in place as you begin to create your online course:

  1. Topic: What are you teaching?
  2. Target Market: Who are you teaching it to?
  3. Potential Reach: Is your content specialized or super broad?
  4. Competitor Check: If you Google your subject or one similar to what you want to teach, who and what do you find related to your subject?
  5. Course Name: This should semi-explain what your course is about. Have the name give a value proposition. Go with a name that is practical, rather than a randomly made-up name that doesn’t correspond to your course.
  6. Tagline: This is a phrase, 10 words or less, that describes what your course is about. To get ideas, search for marketing taglines from consumer-based products – e.g., sports-related, something similar to LuLuLemon, Under Armour, etc.
  7. Logo: This is a visual representation of who you are and/or what your course is about.
  8. Logo Mark: This is a symbol that can be used to represent your course.
  9. Curriculum: This is an outline of your course. It represents the structure of what you want to teach.
  10. (So That) List: This is a list that distinguishes between the features and the benefits of your course (e.g., yoga for horseback riders SO THAT you can win a blue ribbon, bird-watching for seniors SO THAT you can brag to your grandkids, wedding planners for busy moms SO THAT you don’t get divorced before you get married, etc.). Use this list to emphasize not only what your students will get, but also why they will get it and why it will be important to them.
  11. Price Point and Tiers: Determine what your price point is, and differentiate between low-end tiered pricing and high-end tiered pricing. These two types of tiered pricing can differ significantly. For example:
    • Low-End Price Point – Ebook with Incentives:
      • Silver – Ebook for $29.00
      • Gold – Ebook + Online Videos for $49.00
      • Platinum – Ebook + Online Videos + Q&A Call for $99.00
    • High-End Price Point – Business Course and Consulting Incentives:
      • Silver – Business Course – $1,000.00
      • Gold – Business Course + Eight Master Classes with Expert Interviews or Weekly Q&A Sessions – $2,000.00
      • Platinum – Business Course + Master Classes or Q&A sessions + One-on-One Consulting with Expert Who Will Guide You Through Growing Your Business – $5,000.00
    • When determining tiered pricing, think about how you want your content to be offered, carefully considering where you want to add in content or take it away. Make sure that, if you offer content at a high-end price point, the value of this content measures up to its price tag. Don’t just offer a large amount of low-end content and expect it to be considered valuable simply for its volume. As you determine the tiers that will work best for delivering your content, this will help you create the structure of your course.
    • Consider Your Bonuses: A great way to entice customers is to give a bonus that expires if they don’t sign up by a certain date. Avoid discounting your course…this can send the message that your course isn’t really worth the full price and result in consumers expecting discounts repeatedly.
    • Scarcity Tactic: Once you’ve added a bonus, a great tip is to use a scarcity tactic to boost sales. It’s an all-too-common occurrence that people need to be poked and prodded in order to take action. As a course creator and product seller, it’s vital for you to understand exactly what you can do to get people to take that action and actually sign up for your course.
  12. Content Presentation: You may have terrific content to share, but the content by itself is not enough… needs to be presented in an appealing, efficient and easy-to-understand format! Here are the types of elements you’ll want to consider as you create course pages for your content:
    • Chapter / Module / Page Title
    • Images: Make sure any images you use are high-quality ones that inspire and correlate to your content! Save the cheesy stock images for another time and place. Invest time in looking through photos or through different sites. Or use an application like to create your own images.
    • Three Sentences to Describe Why This is Important
    • Video: Consider also using a PowerPoint presentation with your video for added impact.
    • Audio of the Video: A nice added feature is to provide an audio version as a complement to your video. If you include such audio, make sure to add metadata tags to your audio so that it shows up properly in iTunes.
    • Transcription: If you include a transcript as part of your content, then in addition to the actual transcript consider also using a transcript template that contains your logo mark, page numbers and a website link at the bottom.
    • Homework / Action Steps for Each Chapter: If your content requires or requests action on the customer’s part, it needs to be clear what your call-to-action is for the customers, whether it’s a survey, a quiz, homework, or some other way of showing that they have learned the material.
    • Survey Questions: Some great examples of survey questions you might want to use are “What did you find most insightful?”, “What was your biggest takeaway?”, and “What will you do differently?”. Asking your students questions such as these causes them to reflect. The questions cause them to think about your course content and answer you, which then reinforces what they just learned – from both an educational standpoint and a value standpoint.
  13. Syllabus: This can be described as “the keys to your kingdom”, as it outlines for a customer exactly what content they will receive and in what order. To create your syllabus simply and quickly, develop it as you create your content pages. As you go, use the curriculum outline noted above to delineate what is in each level.
  14. Content Release Schedule:
    • All at Once: If you want all of your content to be available at all times, then your syllabus will suffice as the structure of your course, and you won’t need to use a drip schedule.
    • Time Scheduled: If you want your content to be released according to a schedule, then your syllabus will serve as the structure of your course and you’ll use a drip schedule to determine when your content gets released. When using a drip schedule, for each chapter, you might want to consider having two emails, as follows:
      • This email should say something like “Hey…this week’s content is ready for you. Login and check out Chapter 1. Learn to XYZ, so that you can ABC.” This is where the three-sentence description you created for your syllabus comes in handy. Give them a link to your course content in this email.
      • If you are on a Sunday release schedule (so that every Sunday your customers get a new module), then halfway through the week (e.g., on Wednesday), you might have an email to say, “Hey…here is this motivational story about somebody who took the content and applied it.” or “Here’s how the content can make a difference.” You want to give your customers homework, but then in the middle of the week you want to inspire them. Your email should say something like “Hey…this is amazing. Read this. Be motivated. And here’s the link to your content.”
  15. When Your Course is Coming to an End: One or two weeks before the end of your course, it can be very effective to have an email or two that will tease what is coming up after the course ends. When sending such emails, consider including the following:
    • Unannounced Bonus Items: Bonus items might include interviews, extra resources, etc. Such items can help keep customers engaged and discourage refund requests. Your email might say “Here are some extra bonus tips! Take it to the next level.”.
    • An Upsell to the Next Tier: The upsell doesn’t have to be pushy – your email might say “Hey…if you’d like to upgrade to VIP, just send us an email and we’ll be happy to help you out.”
    • Seed-Planting for Your Next Course: To plant seeds for your next course, your email might say “Hey…now that you are done with Level 1, we also have a Level 2 course if you are ready for that.”
  16. Checklist: Once you’ve set up your course, there are some administrative details you’ll want to keep in mind, as follows:
    • Logging In: Make sure that the people who buy your course get access. You need to be able to audit the customer login process. You want to know that the people buying your course are actually getting in and using it.
    • Payment Plans: If you are using a payment plan, you want to make sure that the payments go through and don’t fail for any reason. Watch for instances in which a credit card has expired or has changed numbers. You should ensure that you are continually collecting your payments.
  17. Domain Name: Carefully consider the domain name you use for your course. You want to make sure it is branded under your name, so that it is associated with your name when potential customers search based on your name. A great tip is to put this domain name into a link for some kind of offer or product from your homepage.
  18. Naming Convention: When determining course name, chapter names, domain name, etc., considerations should include the brand of your course, specific details of your content, and your name. You’ll want to make sure your naming conventions are consistent and specific enough to ensure that customers can find your course easily based your name and the course’s content.

Once your course is set to go, you’ll need to establish a marketing plan, a payment process, and an email communication process. Your Tech Stack will need to be in order.

One last note…once you have set up your course in Summit Evergreen and put in place your marketing and payment processing, etc., your final step is to test, test, test!!!

Using this article as a guideline, you should find it easy to get your online course up and running. To keep the course checklist readily available as you work, click here for a downloadable version. Now there’s nothing to stop you, so get going and start sharing your knowledge and expertise with the world!

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