8 Expert-Approved Tips for Creating Your First Online Course

Creating your first course doesn’t have to be intimidating. We asked an expert to share her tips for planning, creating and promoting your first online course.

The idea of an online course can intimidate even the most experienced of marketers. There are a lot of moving parts that go into it: the planning, the prep, the promotion.

But it’s also really exciting (!!). This is your opportunity to share your passion and expertise with the world.

In this week’s #EmailChat, we broke down the common questions and hurdles that come with creating your first online course.

Special thanks to Madalyn Sklar, Social Media Expert/Podcaster/Blogger, for sharing her expertise with our community!

Have a passion and expertise? A course is for you!

  • Have knowledge or expertise around a topic? Get asked questions from your audience that you find yourself addressing time and time again? Consider an email course!
  • If you have lots of information to share, a course is an easily-digestible format.
  • An online course let’s you take a deeper dive into the common themes you address on your blog.

Email courses are a great way to get started.

  • Email courses are a great way to hold people accountable. Who doesn’t love a gentle nudge in their inbox to stay on track?
  • If you already have an email service provider, an email course is a great way to host your course for little to no extra cost.
  • The extra benefit of using email as your platform? You own that list, meaning you can tap into your audience for future courses and events.

Don’t be afraid to charge for your course.

  • Not sure how to price your course? Do some research to see what comparable courses are going for.
  • There are so many factors that go into pricing your online course. Ask your audience for feedback!
  • Free courses will see a lot of engagement, since there’s little to no investment. But a true premium-quality course should be priced accordingly.

The structure of your course is up to you.

  • Self-paced courses are great for a busy audience. It can also help make a really extensive concept seem a little more digestible.
  • Test, test, test. You never know what format works best for you or your audience.
  • One great tip? Take a course or two and pick up on the things you like/dislike. (Call it investigative research.)
  • Repurpose your content by putting out smaller cuts of video or text. It’s a great way to give a new audience a sneak peek into what they can expect.

Take notes from these popular courses.

  • Does your course come with a certification component? Take a look at some of Hubspot‘s popular courses for ideas on how to structure your own.
  • Hootsuite offers a variety of popular, free courses. Check out their strategy for promoting them, too!
  • Skillshare and Lynda are giant databases of free and paid courses. It’s a great way to see what others are charging for similar content.

Reach the right audience with social media.

  • Email is one of the best ways to promote your course. It’s an engaged audience that wants to hear from you!
  • Take advantage of your social networks by promoting your course to your audience (and asking them to share, too!).
  • If you’re willing to invest, Facebook ads are great for targeting the RIGHT people.

Email is a great way to stay connected.

  • Email is a great way to stay in touch post-course to keep people updated on any future course offerings or events.
  • Try adding a Facebook or Slack group to the mix. It’s perfect for enhancing the experience of your course and form lasting relationships with your audience.

What’s next

Join us on Thursday, February 2 at 12pm ET for our next #EmailChat. We’ll be joined by the folks at Buffer to talk about Using Social Media to Grow Your List.

And be sure to sign up for our blog newsletter to make sure you never miss a chat.

See you there! ??


  1. Tanja

    1/10/2017 10:23 am

    Great tips! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Av Marketi

    1/12/2017 4:06 am

    What are the best ways to promote your online course?