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Tips For Creating and Marketing Your First eCourse


Fact: eLearning is hot. According to Forbes, in the end of 2014, it already was a $57 billion-dollar business, but by the end of 2016, it had grown to $200 billion.

What makes e-learning so hot? Many reasons:

  • Whether a consumer is a student or a large corporation looking for training and development programs, e-learning coursework is cheaper
  • E-learning is convenient. When training can occur online, modules can be completed at the convenience of the learner, even if there are deadlines for completion.
  • E-learning is available on multiple devices, adding to both convenience and flexibility.
  • E-learning coursework is multi-medial, making use of great digital tools that engage and motivate learners.

It’s not a surprise, then, that lots of career pros, and even some who are not, have decided that their expertise can be a source of great passive income and a way to quit their jobs and still earn a steady paycheck. And many become so successful, that their e-learning programs support them entirely.

So, how do you get in on this action? Here is a quick guide for creating and marketing your first e-course.

Think What You Can Offer

This, of course, is the first decision. Instead of looking at your expertise and choosing an area that you love most, you need to work backwards.

An e-course is like any other product on the market. It has to solve a problem or fill a gap for a consumer. So, instead of thinking in terms of what you would like to teach, consider what consumers in your niche want to know.

This make take a bit of research. Read blogs in your niche. What posts seem to have the greatest readership? What questions are people asking? What other e-courses in the same areas seem to be selling?

Even if there is a successful e-course in a topic area you want to choose, that is okay. You are going to make yours better and attract an existing interested audience.

The Topic is Chosen – Now The Content

This is the organizational part of development, and it is critical. If you are not an educator by nature, you may have some difficulty with this step. But breaking it down into sub-steps is the way to go.

Start with the course “outcomes.” What is it that you want the learner to know or be able to do by the end of your course? This used to be called your “goals,” but the mindset has changed. The goals are not what you want to teach. They are what you want the learner to leave with. List each of your learner outcomes.

Each learner outcome becomes a learning module. For each of those learner outcomes, there will be content to deliver. If you were going to teach a course on content marketing, for example, what modules might you include? Some would obviously be social media marketing, blogs, paid advertising, email campaigns, etc. Each of these would comprise a lesson (module) of your course.

Delivery. Once you have those modules identified, you are ready to plan your delivery system. You have a number of options. Of course, you can plan live sessions. That provides greater interaction with learners, but it decreases flexibility for the learner.

Another option is podcasts that are pre-recorded and accessible on the learner’s own time frame. Live interaction, however, is lost. Still another option is a combination of the two. You can record a live webinar, and learners who cannot participate can view it at a later time. You can also set up Q & A session on a social media platform for more interaction with participants.

Remember, if you do not have an audience yet for your course, you cannot schedule live sessions. You will have to market first, acquire participants, and then hold your sessions.

These are all critical decisions – consider them carefully.

Supplemental Materials. You will need to have text copies of any live or recorded session. Learners will want to be able to review the content, especially if there are activities/assignments involved.

Provide extra study guides as you think will be helpful. And, how about a forum so that class participants can engage with one another?

Assessments: Only if your course results in a certification or verification of completion by an employer will need formal assessments. However, participants do like to know how they are doing – it’s a great motivator. Put together an interactive self-assessment at the end of each module, with some big congratulations if they have mastered the content.

Use Technology. This cannot be stressed enough. Today’s learner is looking to be engaged and visuals/videos/interactivity all do that. Many e-course developers incorporate gaming into their delivery. Fortunate, there are some great tools for even tech novices to do this. Check out some of these sites:

  • Teachable: tools and templates to design and market e-courses
  • Renderfx: create motion graphics, videos and webinars
  • Gumroad: a great marketing tool
  • Canva: create great graphics and visuals
  • WordPress membership plugins: If you are marketing and handling sign-ups on your own, these plugins have you covered.

There are many more tools of course. Do some research and find ones that work for you.

On To The Marketing

Nothing really happens until you have enrollments. So, you have to become a bit of a marketing expert.

Marketing strategies will depend on your target audience. If you are selling a training program to companies for their employees, for example, your marketing efforts will be very different than if you are marketing for individual sign-ups. Here are some tips for your marketing efforts:

  • If you don’t have a website with a blog, get one well in advance. Sync it to social media platforms for which you have set up accounts in your “business or “course” name.  
  • Consider paid advertising on social media platforms as well.
  • Provide course “teasers” on all of your accounts, on your website, and through your blog posts.
  • Develop an email campaign. You can use a tool such as BuzzStream to get email addresses of good targets
  • Develop relationships with influencers in your niche. Provide your course to them for a review and give them some incentive to do so. Influencers have credibility when you may not yet.
  • Access blogs in your niche, develop relationships, and ultimately ask to be a guest poster. You can promote your course within reason.
  • Create “hype” well before you launch your course. You need to start this even before your course is completed designed. Use social media to announce its coming and create some intrigue surrounding it. Drive readers to your website where you will have some teasers.
  • Set a limit to registrations and a deadline for registrations. There is the psychological impact of not wanting to miss out.
  • Advertise your course in “trade” or niche-related publications. These are usually fee-based, but you have a better chance of reaching your targets there.
  • Join LinkedIn groups so that you can speak to what your course offers.


Most important, realize that gaining a reputation takes time, and generating big sign-ups also takes time. You will not be an overnight success. But as you have happy learners, you will also have “brand ambassadors” who can be motivated to “market” your course for you, if you provide some incentives.

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