HOW TO START AN ONLINE SCHOOL: THE COMPLETE GUIDE
HOW TO START AN ONLINE SCHOOL: THE COMPLETE GUIDE
Educators can share their knowledge with online audiences and make money by teaching online. Online learning has become a preferred mode of education for every industry. Starting an online school is one of the finest methods to accomplish this.
A long-term eLearning business built on the online academy model can make profits and create an impact.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know and do to start an online school if you think that's the business model for you.
Let's start from the beginning.
What Are the Benefits of Starting an Online School in 2022?
Selling self-contained courses and an online school are two different terms. Rather than just offering one-off online classes, it builds a comprehensive academy around a subject or industry.
EzyCourse is an excellent example of an influential online course platform, where you can create courses on numerous topics and sell them at your best price. It gives a smooth learning experience to your students.
Aside from the fact that I'm a big fan of the academy model, here are a few reasons why now is the perfect time to start your online academy.
● Market Expansion
● Sustainable Business Model
● All Markets are Considered
● Several Potential Audiences
● Making an Impact
Let’s take an elaborate look at these topics.
The COVID pandemic resulted in a significant increase in demand for online education. As a result, the eLearning market was valued at $250 billion in 2020 and is predicted to exceed $1 trillion by 2027.
However, even before the pandemic, the market was performing well. The online education business has risen by 900% since 2000.
Aside from the tremendous market expansion, more people desire to learn online than institutions can provide the materials, creating a great potential for knowledge entrepreneurs.
Sustainable Business Model
Online education is a more sustainable business model than affiliate marketing or selling someone else's eCommerce products. People will always seek education, and more education is being delivered online.
Furthermore, it is great in terms of scalability. Creating an online academy takes a lot of effort at first. You must create your classes, as well as your platform.
However, once your processes are in place, it's all about bringing fresh prospects into your funnels. As a result, you may extend your learning platform to tens of thousands or even millions of students using platforms like EzyCourse.
All Markets are Considered
Offline schools are bound to traditional categories like Maths, languages, etc. But online school categories are boundless. You can find online schools created in various fields as such - cooking, yoga, stitching and crocheting, nutrition, magic, self-care, etc. The list of categories will not end.
Moreover, you can create an online school in any field that you are interested in. This means you won't become tired of what you teach, and you can always come up with new topics that branch off the core idea.
So you don't have to be a linguistics wizard to build your academy. Anyone with knowledge of any subject can join the bandwagon. You simply must be enthusiastic about sharing your knowledge and willing to learn the setup.
Several Potential Audiences
Your courses do not have to be oriented toward students. Instead, target experts who want to master a new skill. You can also target specific learners who are looking for a new activity.
Furthermore, you are not limited to targeting B2C audiences. Alternatively, you can target corporations and sell your classes to them in quantity.
Making an Impact
Finally, don't overlook the influence your classes can have on students' lives. You can share your interest with someone or assist them in developing high-income talents.
When you look at the big picture, you can educate thousands of individuals, which is a significant privilege for many.
Because of the limitless options, the online school business concept is extremely adaptable.
Let's look at how to create a profitable online school.
Decide the Right Model for Your Online School
Before you begin work on your online school, you must first determine the best model. You must make two critical judgments.
The monetization plan is the first decision you must make concerning your online school model.
EzyCourse is offering you one of the best pricing plans to sell your course. EzyCourse pricing system is smart and flexible. You can set up a one-time subscription, or set up smart-tiered pricing plans.
The most sustainable business models are those that are rooted in the subscription business model, which provides you with steady monthly revenue.
It is also a wise plan to keep consumers rather than continuously pursuing new ones. It can help you save money on marketing.
If you’re about to launch a new online school, EzyCourse would be a great place to start. It provides more cash flow as you can sell your courses for a one-time fee.
Once your business grows and you have a large student base, you can shift your pricing plan from a one-time fee to a subscription-based fee.
As a next step, you need to decide if you will create all courses yourself or partner with other creators to sell their training programs.
If you're just starting, you should create the very first course your academy offers. It gives you a greater sense of authenticity and control. Additionally, it's much easier to work with and extend.
Other advantages of developing your content include
- You earn and keep 100% of your earnings.
- You are given credit for all content.
When there is a demand for additional content, you may implement the marketplace model and begin hosting lessons from other authors in your online school.
Once you’ve decided on the monetization and the content models for your online school, it’s time to start creating your courses.
Design an online course
If you've opted to host your courses, you'll need to know how to create them. The truth is that developing an online course isn't all that difficult, but there are a few things you should be aware of.
Decide Your Course Topic
Time and money are both needed to create an online course. In addition, depending on your niche, you may have several ideas for your online course.
So, before you begin building your course, make sure who your potential students are.
Various approaches are here to validate your course concept. The simplest method, however, is to evaluate market data to determine demand.
It would be a good idea to start by checking the search volumes for the main keywords you plan on using.
Let’s assume you wish to create a course for web development, you should examine search volumes for terms such as web development, the language you choose to demonstrate your web development course and so on.
When you examine the results, you'll find that the main keyword has large search traffic. Furthermore, some related keywords with high search volumes indicate an interest in knowing more about the subject.
Furthermore, don't rely solely on market data to validate your proposal.
To begin, examine the discussions in prominent Facebook Groups or online communities. You may also take it a step further by directly contacting potential clients and soliciting feedback.
If you want to learn more about this, read this guide on validating your course idea.
Make a course outline
After you've decided on a course topic, you'll need to write a course outline.
An overview will not only help your students navigate the course, but it will also help you stay organized during the course creation process.
In general, your course outline will include three components:
- Chapters: Your course should be divided into several portions. Each segment has a distinct learning aim and is made up of a series of courses.
- Lessons: Lessons are distinct learning units that contain the actual information.
- Format: Your lessons can be delivered in a variety of ways, including videos, text, quizzes, downloadable resources, and so on.
Consider the course's aims, the ultimate result, and the problem you're attempting to solve while creating your outline.
From there, you can determine the milestones that a student must meet. These milestones can be transformed into course sections. Then consider what a student needs to learn to meet the section learning target inside each course part.
The goal here is to make your lectures brief so that your students can follow along.
For example, you can organize your content into chapters and lessons with EzyCourse.
EzyCourse lets you set lessons as prerequisites to other lessons or add lessons to free previews for prospects to get a taste of your content before purchasing. You can create a text lesson, audio lesson, file lessons(pdf, ppt, doc, zip, etc), assignments, downloadable lessons, quizzes, etc. You can also upload custom videos or youtube/Vimeo videos as course lessons.
Lastly, you must decide how you will present your lessons. Because videos are the most common method for providing eLearning information, the majority of your content will be video lectures.
However, your course should not be limited to a single format. Instead, use a variety of formats to help shake things up and increase student participation.
To make your video courses more actionable, you may attach a checklist with each one. Similarly, you might wish to include a quiz at the end of each module to assess your students' understanding.
Keep Track of Course Content
After you've produced an outline for your online course, it's time to start recording the actual content, and we'll focus solely on videos here.
There are two types of videos you can make: screencast videos and talking-head videos. The type, of course, will determine what is ideal for you.
A cooking lesson, for example, would benefit from you speaking through instructions step by step and showing your audience what you're doing rather than a video.
Making screencast videos would make more sense if you’re teaching someone how to use the software.
A good quality microphone and video editing program are required for this project. In addition, an HD camera is required for recording talking-head videos, and screen recording software is required for screencast videos.
It is not required for an online school to offer full-length online courses. Rather, it can only accommodate shorter classes, known as masterclasses.
Create a Fantastic School Website
You are ready with your fully functional course, now the question arises what next? The next would be online recognition. Your school needs a presence on the internet, which we will address in this chapter. An important component of an academy website is:
- ● A secure members' area to save your courses
- ● A storefront where you may market your brand and sell courses.
Let's start with deciding on a platform and how to host your courses.
A Platform for Online Courses
Building your school on a platform like WordPress is time-consuming and demands a high level of technical knowledge.
As a result, it is preferable to use a hosted online course platform. These are custom-built learning management systems (LMS) designed to run an online education enterprise.
They enable you to establish a fully functional school website without having to go through a complicated setup process or write code.
While there are several course platforms in the market for building online schools, we recommend using EzyCourse - our very own online course platform.
EzyCourse lets you:
- ● Create engaging online courses
- ● Host all your content, including videos, and audio
- ● Build a community area for your students
- ● Build groups and also can privately chat with all users
- ● Use a fully customized site builder
- ● Partner revenue share
- ● Make a complete dynamic membership site
- ● Build a customizable and standalone website
- ● Include a wide range of monetization options
- ● Accept a variety of payment methods like - Stripe, PayPal, Paystack, and manual payment systems readily available, and our team’s working continuously to support more payment methods such as Paddle, RazorPay and SSLCommerz etc.
- ● Access detailed analytics
- ● Extend school functionality with EzyCourse Mobile Apps available on both Android and iOS platforms
- ● Sell Digital and physical products
- ● Smart upsell
- ● Tiered pricing
- ● Magic Checkouts
And so on.
EzyCourse is reasonably priced as well. It includes a free plan, making it excellent for those just starting. Furthermore, paid plans start at only $23/month and allow you to have an infinite number of courses and students.
Give our platform a shot by starting your free trial now - Try EzyCourse free.
Do you want to learn more about other course platforms? Our comprehensive guide to selecting the best course hosting platform includes all of the popular and cost-effective solutions available.
Upload Your Courses
After you've decided on an online course solution, you'll need to upload your course content. Nevertheless, with a platform like EzyCourse, the procedure is rather simple.
To create a course on EzyCourse, go to your admin dashboard and click on All courses.
It will open a new window with a list of all the courses available at your school. Now Click on the Add course button towards the top right corner and select the course type in the next.
EzyCourse is letting you create two types of courses. Single course and Bundled course. If you already have more than one course, you can add them into a bundle and sell them at your best price.
Once you create the course, you will see the curriculum page of your course. The curriculum page is where you add content to your course. The curriculum in EzyCourse consists of two different units – chapters and lessons.
As the smallest unit in your course, lessons contain actual content (videos, texts, audio, etc.), whereas chapters are simply groups of lectures.
To create a section, click on the Create New Chapter button at the bottom left. You’ll then be able to enter a name for your course section.
Within this chapter, you can create lessons and add content to them one by one. Once you’re done, you can publish your lessons and make sure to check the course preview.
The storefront of your school can now be the focus of your attention.
The branding of schools'
Websites should provide information about your business and its target audience. The best way to do this is through proper branding. First thing first, you should adopt a plan which will easily grab the attention of your target audience.
- Choose a brand name that makes sense and is simple to remember and pronounce for your target audience.
- The second big message customers will notice on your website is your motto. The slogan should describe your company's vision. Furthermore, it tells a lot about your brand identity, so spend some time developing a relevant one.
- Consider your brand's appearance next. Although this is mainly dependent on the type of learners you're recruiting, you have some leeway in terms of colors, typeface, graphics, and so on.
- Another effective branding strategy is logo design. Your logo will appear on all marketing materials you create.
It is advised that you employ a designer rather than doing it yourself. A designer can perfect the logo elements, and it won't be pricey.
The objective now is to keep your branding consistent throughout your company. Follow branding rules across your storefront, member's area, social media, and so on.
Create a Storefront
A well-designed website is the foundation of your internet presence and helps you make a strong first impression on potential students. It can also be used to nurture leads and increase conversions.
More significantly, paying attention to your website's design gives a pleasant user experience and makes it easier for users to access and browse your site.
The homepage is the first and most significant page on your website. The homepage serves several functions, such as informing your visitors about your company and what it has to offer. Helps them navigate your platform and the available options. And also guide them on what to do next and how to get started.
Other important pages on your school website should include "About Us," "Contact Us," "Course Details," and so on.
While most eLearning platforms allow you to create a school website, you must have adequate options to customize and personalize it. EzyCourse, by the way, provides some quite powerful site-building capabilities with custom site builder.
EzyCourse allows you to create 3 custom pages in the free plan, and with updated plans, you will be able to create unlimited custom pages and design them with EzyCourse’s site builder.
Configure the Most Critical School Settings
You can begin customizing your online school now that you've settled on a business plan, created some courses, and established your school website. Configuring your online school platform to work as smoothly as possible involves numerous moving components, so we'll go over the most crucial settings below.
Select and Integrate Your Domain Name
Your domain name plays a huge role in how users perceive your brand. It’s inviting and trustworthy to your customers and helps establish your brand identity.
Choosing the right domain name is a core thing for your business. When selecting the proper domain, keep in mind that it should be brief, unique, brandable, easy to remember, and, if feasible, integrate your keyword.
There are now various sorts of domain endings. The most common are- .com and .co, but you can also choose .edu, .net, or a country-specific domain ending (e.g., .au for Australia, .co.uk for the United Kingdom).
After purchasing your domain name, simply follow the steps provided by your course platform to link it to your website.
It's worth noting that most course platforms offer a free subdomain that you can utilize.
For example, if you use EzyCourse to build your online school, the default EzyCourse subdomain will look like exampleschool.ezycourse.com.
Link Your Payment Gateway
Connecting your payment gateway to your course platform is the most important step in accepting students.
A payment gateway is a third-party application that enables you to receive payments from customers.
There are various gateways available, however, the two most popular are Stripe and PayPal.
Most course platforms integrate with Stripe and PayPal. EzyCourse also supports Paystack, and manual payments, with Paddle, RazorNow, SSLCommerz support under processing.
The first step is to create an account with any payment gateway. You can integrate the gateways in a couple of easy steps once you get approved.
For example, with EzyCourse go to your admin dashboard setting and select payment methods. You will get your desired options, just set your necessary keys and update your method. EzyCourse also allows you to set your desired currency.
You can integrate EzyCourse with Payment gateways with easy steps.
To ensure that everything works well, you can check by making a couple of test payments after the integration is done.
Configure Automated Email Notifications
Setting up automated email notifications for your students is another critical step before going live with your school.
There are a few extremely necessary email notifications, and you cannot live without them.
For example, when a student purchases a program, you need to send them a welcome email or confirmation email.
Similarly, when someone opens an account on your school's website, you must send them an account confirmation email.
It is important to send more than just these essential email notifications. For your students to complete the course, you should consider sending additional notifications.
Knowing your numbers begins with connecting your analytics
Setting up analytics is the final step in ensuring that your institution is ready.
It is critical to understand your numbers. If you don't know what works well and what doesn't, it's like shooting in the dark.
Your online school hosting platform should now have some analytics built in. These often include analytics on student progress, course sales, and so forth.
The range of analytics and reporting options available should be taken into account while selecting a course platform.
EzyCourse magic checkout feature comes to the rescue. Our magic checkout will help you grab more leads and sell more than ever before!
EzyCourse provides creators with a magic checkout to overcome this problem and assist creators in generating new leads and staying updated in real-time on how people are responding to purchasing their content. Creators will be notified not only of unsuccessful checkouts, but also when a user reaches the checkout page, provides some information, and then exits without completing the checkout.
If you are not logged in, our system automatically detects whether your account exists or not and allows you to login or create a new account right on the page, allowing you to continue to checkout quickly in one-click, without having to navigate back and forth to different pages.
Expand your list by collecting leads' email addresses on the checkout page.
Make sure your online school is well promoted
To grab new active students to your online school and convert them into paying customers, sales and marketing are the techniques to be followed.
Despite having fantastic courses and a stunning website, without a solid marketing plan you will have to struggle to get students.
So, let’s take a look at some of the most common marketing strategies.
Participate in Pre-Launch Marketing
A good pre-launch plan should begin with a coming soon website, which not only captures your students' email addresses but also allows you to measure demand for your concept by seeing how people react to it.
You can get a sense of what your students are most interested in for your school. This is priceless input that can help you generate amazing content and identify your positioning.
In addition, a coming soon page allows you to buy yourself some time. As you build your academy, you can also build an engaged audience.
Starting a social media campaign about your academy is the next step.
Whether you like to participate on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, or LinkedIn, you should begin announcing some teaser information about your online academy as soon as possible.
Your content should not just focus on you and your school, but also on the pain points of your audience.By the time your school is ready, you'll already have an engaged user base.
Conduct a Weekly Webinar
One of the most effective ways to sell online courses is to host a webinar. It allows you to demonstrate your personality and teaching approach to your audience, allowing you to develop a genuine relationship with them.
The advantage of doing webinars is that you just need to perfect your webinar script once. You can then fine-tune it and continue to hold live webinars on a regular basis, or you can make pre-recorded webinar sessions available.
Choose a topic that will resonate with your audience when determining what to address in your webinar.The idea here is to concentrate on educating and providing value to your audience. So, if you have a 60-minute webinar, you should teach for 45 minutes.
Your audience’s pain points should be solved by your offer, and at the end of the webinar you should sell it.
A Free Facebook Group
Building an engaged community(FB Group) in your specialty is one of the most effective long-term marketing techniques.
By answering questions and guiding learners, communities enable you to build meaningful relationships with your audience.
You can also use the community to get to know your consumers better. When you see comments on your posts (perhaps complaints) and interactions amongst members of your community, social listening comes into play.
Your community should get first notification whenever you publish a new course or any sale happens.
Potential students have most likely been waiting for an excuse to enroll, and publishing updates may be the catalyst.
Launch an Affiliate Marketing program
Affiliate marketing is one of the most effective ways to promote your online school.
You may use your course platform to develop an affiliate network and invite other bloggers and influencers to join.
Your affiliates will then advertise your courses using particular trackable links, for which you will pay them a commission.
The benefit of affiliate marketing is that you only pay your affiliates after a successful sale, allowing you to start with a small budget.
Here are some pointers to help you succeed with your affiliate program:
- Provide a sizable commission to your associates.
- Hire qualified affiliates who already have a following.
- Allow your affiliates to easily promote your courses.
- Make marketing materials and creative assets available to them.
Advertise Your Online School
Paid advertising is an efficient technique to reach people outside of your existing readership. The best aspect is that you won't have to wait months for results.
You can run paid advertisements on many different platforms, including Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn, and you should choose a platform that your target audience uses.
If you're in a creative niche, for example, running Facebook ads can be a great way to get new leads and sales for your academy.
Although it is true that money is required to run advertisements, a budget of thousands of dollars is not required at the outset. A few hundred bucks is plenty to begin running and testing advertisements.
Overall, running advertisements allows you to reach a highly focused audience, fast track results, track success easily with analytics.
These are some of the most popular methods for promoting your online school. If you want to learn more about marketing your school, read our comprehensive guide.
Starting an online school requires many puzzle pieces. It can be intimidating, especially if you're new to the online business world.
Choosing the right model for your school is the first step that you could take. Later, you should develop a topic and construct engaging courses around it.
You can select the best course platform once your content is complete and create your school website before beginning to sell it.
Hope this guideline will help you to show the exact path and choose the right choices.