How to create an online course: the ultimate guide 

How to create an online course

You’re here because you want to learn how to create a course, right? You’ve chosen the right place at the right time. There are more people looking for online courses now than ever. 


No matter where you live, what you do, or how much money you have; you have something to teach someone. You can teach people anything, and you’ll always be able to find someone willing to learn the information you have to offer. 


Creating an online course is a rewarding experience. It allows you to display your expertise while making a ton of money if you play your cards right. 


I’ve seen so many people over the years completely change their lives because of their online courses. I’m talking hundreds of people. 


These people we’re not all teaching about business, entrepreneurship, and marketing. I’m talking areas like gardening, painting, cabinet making, and meditation. You can sell a course teaching anything as long as you find the right audience. 


We’re so lucky to live in the time we do because everyone has a voice and an avenue to share that voice. That’s why I’m so proud of what we’ve done with Systeme.io .


This funnel building and course creation platform has allowed so many people to get their message out to the people, and it is changing lives every day. 


We have packaged everything you’ll need into Systeme.io, so you don’t need to go anywhere else to create a course. You can do the entire thing from scratch, all in the same place. 


Make sure you check out the platform and sign up for your completely free trial if you decide that creating a course is for you. 


Without wasting any more time, let’s dive straight into the guide! 


Should you create an online course?

home page systemeio

Systeme.io home page

Right now, you might have one or more of these thoughts running through your head: 

  • I don’t have anything to teach
  • I wouldn’t consider myself an expert
  • What if no one buys my course? 

These are all perfectly normal thoughts, and I would be concerned if you didn't have them. Let’s address each of them individually and see if we can’t clear the air. 

I have nothing to teach.” 

Everyone has something to teach because everyone is living, and each person has unique experiences in their lives. You can take anything that has happened to you and find a way to create information that is beneficial to someone else. It’s not as hard as it sounds. 


For example, someone who may have had a rough childhood growing up might feel like they have nothing to offer the world. As the person grew up, they start to see other children struggling with some of the same things. 


This individual might want to create a course on parenting troubled children. The person can relate to the parent's struggle of dealing with a child who might have a rough future if they don’t straighten out their lives. 


The bottom line is, you have something to teach, and if you dig deep inside yourself, you’ll find it. Look at your hobbies or things you enjoy. If you play an instrument or like to cook, you could teach a course on that


The opportunities are endless, and I could create an entire guide on “picking a course topic.” 

I’m not an expert; who would listen to me?” 

This barrier is a huge one. We all fear “imposter syndrome” right? We never feel like we’re good enough, so why would anyone want to purchase a course from me? 


I can tell you firsthand that this mental barrier does not matter. To create a course and teach someone something, you only need to be one step ahead of them. If they’re on level four and you’re on level five, you have something to offer. 


Think about it for a second. If you want to create a course teaching people how to become a freelancer; you would only require one credential. 


That you’re a freelancer. 


It doesn’t mean you have to make 100k a year or have a Lamborghini to teach people how to accomplish something. You only need to have accomplished the goal yourself. Now you can take what you’ve learned and show people how to reach your level. 


  What if no one buys my course?” 

A huge fear is that you’ll spend an enormous amount of time creating this comprehensive course and then no one will buy it. Everyone who has created a course has experienced this at least once. There is one primary reason why this happens. 


It’s because they didn’t pre-sell the course and they didn’t have a launch. Don’t worry if you don’t know what this means because we’ll cover it in detail coming up. 


If you follow all of the steps outlined in this guide, you’ll have no problem selling your course no matter what topic it’s on. 

1. Come up with a course idea 

We’re onto the next barrier. Hopefully, by this point, you understand a few things.


You should know that you have something to teach people, you have enough knowledge to share, and that people will buy your course if you take the right approach. 


Now, let’s talk about one of the most important parts of course creation. 


Your topic. 


You can use one of a few different strategies for this and I’ll cover all of them. Let’s go! 

2. Go for the gold

The first strategy is to use what is already making money to determine a course idea.


For example, if you see someone who makes money selling courses on “starting a dog walking business” than you could piggyback off that success. Competition is necessary for digital marketing. 


Think about why you always see more than one gas station next to each other or why there are always two pharmacies right across the street. Providing alternatives or other options to a market with demand is the smart choice. 


The key here is to choose something that isn’t too saturated and full of highly influential course creators.


I’m not saying that you can’t build an audience in a saturated market, but you’d be better off finding something less competitive if you use this method. 


3. Ask the audience

There’s an incredibly popular question rolling around Facebook and Instagram daily. It’s “what’s your biggest challenge with [BLANK]?”


I see this post daily, and it’s smart because they’re asking their audience what their problems are. You want to do the same thing.

How to create an online course

Audience responds

If you have a small following on social media or email, ask them:

  • What types of problems they have
  • How they deal with them
  • What they would do differently if they could

Once you do this, you’ll find out the pain points in your chosen niche, and you’ll start to drum up content ideas to solve those problems. 


I know someone who created a course entirely around using affirmations to have a more positive mindset in life. This topic is incredibly abstract with no hard facts or numbers, so it’s difficult to find a “pain point.”


This person managed to find five significant areas where people struggle, and he made a course built around those points

Course selling online

Course selling online

He now has over a dozen books, different courses, and he’s making a ton of money as a coach. He learned how to create an online course on a subject that isn’t even an actual “subject” per se.


This accomplishment was made possible by understanding the needs of his audience.  

4. Locate a gap in the market

Google search

Google research

You can also use Reddit for an even more useful strategy. Reddit will show you what people are looking for more information on. 


If I were to create a course right now, I would combine the last two methods into one. I would literally ask my audience what they want to know more about but can’t find any good information on the subject. 


From personal experience, I have the greatest example right now. 


Fishing. 


Fishing is a really popular sport, but it has an old-school audience that is slowly turning new-school. The result is a lot of old and outdated information on websites that look like they were built for AOL. 


Much of the information available on this subject is incorrect as well. I love fishing, and it’s hard to find good websites to read and learn on. 


Do your research folks!


5. Pre-sell the course

By this point in the guide, you should understand the following points:

  • You have something to teach
  • People will buy your course
  • You should have a few ideas of course topics to create

Now let’s move onto a step that most people skip, and they lose out in the long run. You want to pre-sell your course to ensure that your audience knows what you’re doing way ahead of time. 


Most people wait until they’ve created the course from front to back before selling it. 


Pre-selling is your last chance to determine if you have a strong audience of interested people or not. Post daily on social media, start building an email list through some of the funnel options on Systeme.io, and promote your course. 


You don’t need to wait until everything is complete to start selling it. The sooner you start, the more excited your audience will be when you finally release it. 


Something else you want to make sure you do at this stage is gauging the financial aspect of your audience. Many course creators make the mistake of trying to sell to people with no money. 


While you want to help people and change lives, you also want to make money, right? 


Ensure that people interested in your subject have enough money to pay you. 


6. Outline your course content on Systeme.io

Once you’ve fully determined that you have a great audience of buyers who are ready to pull out their wallets, you can start outlining your content.


You’ll want to head into your dashboard on Systeme.io to do this. Once you’ve started your free trial, you’ll go to the menu, and under product/sales you’ll click courses. This picture below shows you what to do. 


Create a new course on systemeio

Creating a course on systeme.io

From there, you can fill out the form and click save. Once you’ve clicked save you’ll find yourself on this screen. Here you can upload new modules and start rolling with the course content. 


When outlining your content, you’ll want to start with a module name. Make sure each module name is something that is clear and concise. 


I’m going with the fishing topic, so I decided to name the first module, “Purchasing Beginner Gear.” 


Keep your audience in mind when outlining your content as well. If you’re catering to a beginner audience, make sure the content starts from the mentality that they know absolutely nothing about the subject. 


If you’re appealing to a more experienced audience, cater to that. 


Once you’ve outlined all your modules, you can go in and start outline lectures. Don’t worry about uploading content yet; just get everything in place, so you have your topics and subjects all in order. 


Your dashboard will start to look something like this. 


modules and chapters

Creating course's content on Systeme.io

Make sure as you’re outlining your content you are taking the student through a calculated journey. Every module should have a natural progression. You can even set times and dates on when new content is available. 


For example, if you want your students to focus on something for a few days, you can make it, so the next module won’t release until three days after they finish the previous one. 


7. Determine your teaching style

I want to talk briefly about something else you should think about as you’re creating your course. What type of teaching style do you want to deploy in your course? You have a few different options:


  • Text - The student reads your writing
  • Powerpoint - The student follows along while you speak off screen
  • Talking head - You talk “on camera” in the corner of the screen with content behind
  • On camera - It’s you talking to the camera with no information on the screen
  • Whiteboard - Panning in and out while writing on a whiteboard


There are other options, of course, but these are the most popular. If you’re not comfortable being on the camera, I would recommend choosing the powerpoint method.


This works well, and you can upload the screen share to the video section on Systeme.io, so the process is simple. 

lecture on systeme.io

Creating course's content on Systeme.io

Regardless of what style you choose, think about how your audience would most benefit. For topics similar to the law of attraction course I shared, I feel that students would benefit from video rather than powerpoint.


Some subjects with more hard information may require notes so powerpoint style learning would be the better alternative. 

Pre-launch time!  

Now it’s time for another critical step that many course creators skip. Deciding on a pre-launch is an important part of your marketing strategy because it will allow you to get feedback on your course before it’s done. 


If you’ve been actively pre-selling the course, you should already have an audience of people who want to buy from you.


At this point, you can sell them the course before it’s complete. 


You should have created a few modules with some lectures, but the process isn’t fully finished. 


You want to use these people as a focus group. You’ll give them a sharp discount on the course for participating and providing feedback. You can then use them for case studies as well if they experience positive results due to your course. 


This step will help with your marketing of the course when you finish it, and you’re ready for the full launch. 


Another important reason for having a pre-launch is so you can get feedback on how to improve the course. It’s easy for us to miss things when creating because we get so caught up in what we’re doing.


When someone runs through the course, they will find areas where information is lacking or audio is missing and so on. 


You can then use this feedback to add or remove things, so when you launch the course, it’s as close to perfect as possible. 

Determine your marketing methods

We’re so proud of Systeme.io because it’s one of the only products out there that allow you to create and market your course in the same place.


Through the use of this platform, you can create sales funnels that will help you build an email list and promote your course to the masses. 


When you are pre-selling the course is when you’ll want to start marketing it. You can use the funnels to collect interested student emails so you can continue to remind them about the release of the course.


You can also use this to gather people for your focus group. 


The larger your audience is when you release the course, the better chance you’ll have at having a successful launch. 


Beyond email, Facebook groups are a great place to drum up interested candidates for courses. I’ve been in so many Facebook groups that turn into courses because you have a large group of people who are passionate about the same thing.


When you have that, you’re likely to have people who would be interested in a course. 


Be careful about joining other groups and promoting your course because that is typically frowned upon. Take the time and create your own group and send invites to people who might be interested.


It doesn’t take a lot of people to create a snowball effect with course creation. 


Write a highly converting sales page

By this point, we’re on the home stretch. Now you should: 

  • Have a completed course with the best content
  • Have everything uploaded and ready to sell
  • Have a pricing structure set

You’re ready to start selling this course. Your sales page is an important step in the selling process because people will land here when they finally commit to seeing what you have to offer.


 If you put a bad taste in their mouth on the sales page, you’ll never convert them. 

How to create an online course

Creating a sale's page on Systeme.io

On Systeme.io you can go to your dashboard and click menu. Under the menu, you’ll find funnels, and from there you’ll create your first funnel. 

How to create an online course

Creating a sale's page on Systeme.io

You can add a sales page to a standard two-step funnel and start putting in some content.


From inside the page setup, you’ll see that you can edit every component of the sales page, which is incredibly powerful.


It’s easy to do with simple drag and drop features that are easy to move around and change. 

How to create an online course

Finishing the sale's page on Systeme.io

Remember, your sales page is the last thing preventing people from buying your course. Make sure this step reels them in by including plenty of: 

  • Case studies
  • Testimonials
  • Results
  • Social proof
Landing page

Landing page 

How to create an online course

Finishing the sale's page on Systeme.io

Write a highly converting sales page

If you’ve made it this far through the guide, you’re serious about creating a course so congratulations. You might still have something holding back through, and I understand.


The biggest issue I have with course creation and online business, in general, is perfectionism. 


I want everything to be perfect, but you have to drop that notion if you’re going to be successful. 


I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true. You’ll never have the perfect course, and you won’t be able to help everyone. But, if you keep sitting there worrying about whether or not you can do it, you won’t help anyone. 


I recommend taking the leap of faith and diving in with both feet. If you follow all the steps outlined in this guide, you’ll have no problem selling your course. There are a lot of steps involved, and it requires you to do a lot of work, but it’s worth it in the end. 


Final thoughts 

Whew, you made it! By now, you should understand how to create an online course from beginning to end. You should have all the tools you need to make an awesome course displaying your expertise in whatever it is you love. 


I have a few last words of advice: 


  • Don’t let mental barriers hold you back from achieving your dreams
  • Don’t worry about what other people think
  • Understand that you won’t be able to help everyone
  • And make sure you know your audience, and you’re catering to them at every second

If you’re serious about creating a course and using a platform that makes the whole process much easier.


Check out Systeme.io. We have everything you need to create a course, charge for it, and market the course all in the same place. Good luck! 

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