Should you jump headfirst into the online course economy?
Digital education, which has been on the rise for a while, completely exploded in 2019. Every topic under the sun has at least one company hawking an online course about it. Some people claim that online education is the future: people want a more personalized experience, they want to choose their educators, and they want to learn concrete skills that will help them flourish instead of an overloaded and extremely expensive college schedule.
But is a digital course right for your company? The answer may not be clear. Here are four questions to ask before launching a digital course.
Do We Have Something to Teach That Would Benefit Our Customers?
First things first—do you have expertise that would benefit your customers in a meaningful way? Don’t create a course just to create one. You don’t want to dilute your core offering or your brand recognition with a meaningless course that has no real educational component. Some industries are simply better suited to online courses than others.
Are Our Customers the Types of People Who Take Online Courses?
Although online courses have definitely grown in popularity, they’re still not really at the everyone-and-their-mom-knows-about-them stage. If you walked into the grocery store and randomly asked a few different people if they’d taken an online course, they’re likely to say no. So think about your target audience. Would an online course be a hard sell to them? Are they familiar with the digital education landscape? If not, that doesn’t mean you can’t create a course, it just means that the marketing may be more of an uphill battle.
Are We Ready for an Upfront Investment?
Many companies long for an online course because they view it as passive income. And sure, courses can certainly bring in quite a bit of money without having to increase your team or man-hours. But the truth is, courses require an enormous amount of work upfront. It’s less “passive income” and more “delayed income”. You need to create the content, sketch out a marketing plan, find a teaching platform…these things take a lot of time and money. If you don’t have the cash on hand to create a course, it isn’t the right time for you to do so.
Do We Have the Time to Promote It?
Again, courses aren’t as passive as people like to make them seem. Whether you’re embarking on a Facebook ad blitz or planning to utilize affiliates, online courses need a solid marketing plan. You need to be answering questions about the course, showing it to your audience, and actively inviting people to buy. Marketing a course is far from a passive activity.