How to create an online school from scratch? People ask this question every day …
What is an online school?
An online school is an institution where knowledge is passed from teacher to student through various online services. The main advantages of such a company are:
Minimum investment at the beginning: you do not have to pay rent and other operating costs. In addition, you can prepare a course at once and it can be watched by thousands of people, with or without a teacher;
High profitability: in 90% of cases, these companies fully cover the related costs. The failure of the remaining 10% is often associated with poor selection of specialized segments and uninteresting content presentation;
Extensive customer base: the online school is accessible to people all over the world;
More options: You can either sell webinars or master classes consisting of several lessons, or communicate with students individually and solve a specific problem (for example, learning English or computer skills).
Preparing to start an online school
Creating an online school requires careful preparation. You have to decide not only what exactly you want to do, but also create the product itself and come up with a name (school, studio, masterclass, lessons, etc.).
Then you need to analyze future financial costs. To do this, decide who will be involved in the learning process: you (if you are an expert) or invited experts. The first option will save you the cost of teachers’ salaries; the second will give you more free time that you can devote to developing a new niche.
Different job formats require different investments. It is therefore most profitable to send articles by e-mail after registration. First, it doesn’t require a lot of hardware costs (all you need is internet access, an inbox, and a selection of useful content). Second, this product format has a high return on investment, because if you create content only once, you will be able to sell it as long as people are interested.
Unfortunately, this format is not intended for all areas. Experts recommend insisting on videos whose production costs depend only on the type of course. For example, while software lessons can only be done with screen sharing, shooting a master cooking course requires a design kitchen, expensive products, kitchen appliances and accessories, and a chef dressed in company colors. The costs associated with these two types of filming are not comparable.
Thus, it is possible to analyze all stages of creating an online cooking school, but experience shows that there is no single answer to the initial budget, as some just need to show their face and instagram account to get started, while others need a team of professionals and a multi-page website.
How to open an online school: the main steps
If you don’t know how to start your own online school …
Step 1. Choose a niche
To begin with, decide what these lessons will focus on: parenting, foreign languages, cooking, design, dance, psychology, etc. You don’t have to cover everything when choosing a niche. It should be as small and deep as possible (ie cover a small target group and solve its problems).
Example ! Online photography courses are a broad category. Landscape photography is a reduced category. Landscape photography courses for beginners are a precisely defined category.
Of course, you can offer a wider range of services, but each category will need a separate marketing company.
Step 2. Target audience analysis
A target group is a group of people who are interested in the product you offer. To select this group, it is necessary to draw an exact “portrait” of a potential customer. This includes the following data:
family and financial situation
The main values
Tasks that can be simplified with this course
Customer behavior: how he chooses, how easily he spends money, what qualities are taken into account when buying.
An interview is often considered the best way to paint such a portrait. If this is not possible, you may want to consider a short call or voicemail survey.
Step 3. Select the learning format
The form of teaching an online school can vary greatly. Let’s look at the most popular options:
Selection of items that can be offered in exchange for registration. In this case, in addition to the theoretical basis, you will also need to prepare a practical basis. It is offered at the end of the training, allows students to consolidate their knowledge and allows you to get feedback. This format requires minimal effort and financial investment. All you need is a website that contains orders, bank details and email addresses. The most common version of email is sending one email a week;
Video lessons are a universal option that can be adapted to any course. The key is to really consider the format of these lessons. It can be either a standard video guide with a professional speaker or a screencast (video screen capture accompanied by voice). You can use Skype, social networking, YouTube video lectures, and other communication channels to get feedback after viewing these lessons. The average duration is 2 to 3 weeks;
Electronic courses combine different types of content (lectures, videos, photos, infographics, music). In this case, the course can be uploaded to the site or sent to customers by e-mail. The optimal duration of a training course containing online courses is 45 days;
Webinars (online workshops) will save you the time and money you need to travel and rent suitable space. In addition, the lesson can always be recorded as a video and sent to students along with an article, presentation and other training content. The recommended duration is one and a half hours.
Step 4. Choose your training tools
If the use of e-mails is always allowed in the test phase, it makes sense to choose larger tools for serious projects. These tools are generally the most effective:
Accept payments via Yandex Cash, Paypal, Square or bank account. Payment by e-wallet or bank card reduces customer confidence;
Landing page with course description and participation form. You can create it with any online design tool;
Email services like SendPulse, Zoho Campaigns, BenchMark, MailChimp, etc. Some of them offer free offers to a certain number of subscribers; In addition to the e-mail service, SendPulse also offers an online course platform.
Webinar solutions such as MyOwnConference, AnyMeeting, ClickMeeting, WebinarJam, etc .;
Online school platforms like GoogleClassroom, Teachbase, Teachable, Emdesell, MemberLux, etc.
Step 5. Create a business model
At this stage, you need to decide how your online school will make money. Many platforms have been created for the sale of courses: paid, free and combining the two (part of the course is free, the other is paid). Udemy, Geeksmath and Coursera are the most sought after.
Step 6. Product promotion
You can promote your courses through Google and Yandex advertising campaigns or social networks where “there is a majority of your audience.” Take every opportunity and don’t be afraid to create your own unique content, as posts copied from competitors are unlikely to succeed.
Step 7. Create an online school logo
If you have decided to open an online school, don’t forget to create its logo. Branding attracts the attention of potential customers and helps them immediately understand the area covered by these courses. You don’t have to hire professional designers for that. You can easily use online generators. Logaster is considered the most popular of them. Allows you to create a logo in less than 5 minutes.
Step 8. Process control and business growth
A large enough audience allows you to grow your business. This can be done using Trello and other CRM systems. To get started, create a private bulletin board, add the names of all the employees to it, and draw columns on which the basic processes will be tracked (“Tasks”, “Accepted”, “For evaluation”, etc.). As soon as an online school employee transfers the task from one column to another, you will receive an e-mail to the specified e-mail address. Also, don’t forget to study new niches regularly, analyze applied training formats, look for new directions and professionals.
Successful online schools: 4 best examples
Are you still wondering if online schools can serve as a permanent or additional source of income? The 5 most popular courses on the Internet will remove your doubts:
1. Udemy provides practical knowledge from the best experts in the world. There are 500,000 students and several courses covering areas such as photography, design, health, art, business, sewing and more.
2. Khan Academy offers more than 3,500 video lessons in journalism, economics, medicine, law and other fields. It is suitable for people of all ages and social categories (from students to business leaders).
3. codeacademy is an online programming school that offers lessons in website creation, mobile applications and computer games. There is a lot of training and explaining complex things in a simple and easy way.
4. Skillshare is a special platform that teaches specific skills (business, art, cooking, fashion, design, etc.).
As you can see, starting an online school from scratch is not that difficult. Follow these tips and don’t be afraid to be original. You will definitely succeed!