Just because you love your online course topic doesn’t mean it will sell. I know that sounds harsh but it’s true. You might love brussel sprouts, too - that doesn’t mean all of your guests want them at your dinner party! Let's make it easier for you to sell online courses.
It’s important to choose a topic based on your interest and expertise. After all, you can’t teach what you don’t know. But it’s also important to choose a subject that your audience wants to know about. Besides, we get to teach people what they need and want, unlike a traditional brick & mortar school for tourism and hospitality with a rigid system.
Do Your Homework
The best way to know if your topic is marketable is to do your homework. Market research plays a key role in validating your topic. It allows you to determine if there’s a demand in the marketplace for your information. Just as you would for any tourism marketing.
There are a few tells (if you will) to help you know if your online topic will sell. Think of them as your personal checklist for success.
Using keywords, search for your subject online. Google it, or try one of the Q&A platforms like Answer the Public or Quora. If your search yields lots of research and resources, you’re probably on to something!
Example: Latest Safety Standards for Hotels
Check Out the Competition
While Google and other searches give you a broad picture for interest in your topic, sneaking a peak at what your competitors are doing helps you laser focus.
Check out sites like Udemy or Teachable to see if similar topics are selling. For example, if you want to teach a course about travel blogging, type it in the search feature to see if similar classes pop up.
In this case, lots of classes related to travel writing or blogging appear. That’s a good thing! It means there’s interest in the subject. You can also get an idea of which specific classes related to your topic are selling best and plan your content accordingly.
On the flip side, if very little appears when you search for your topic, it probably means there’s not much demand for it. You may need to move in a different direction.
Connect With Your Audience
If you want to know if your online course will sell, you should understand the needs of your market. Find ways to connect with your audience and meet them where they are.
Social media is an excellent way to gauge interest. Join a Facebook group related to your subject and engage in community discussions. Listen in to a podcast and follow the chat feature. Pinpoint your people on YouTube and find out what’s getting views.
Post an informal survey among customers and colleagues on social media platforms. Find out what drives them to your proposed content or keeps them from signing up.
Social media is a great source of insight and appeal as you confirm you’re on track with your topic.
Consider offering a free “sample” of your content to see if anyone nibbles. Put out a lead magnet like a white paper, blog post, video, etc. and collect responses (as well as contact information). If your sample is well-received, you can feel confident in your topic AND build a base of support. Win-win!
Pre-selling is a really smart way to determine if your online course topic will sell. The concept is simple. Introduce the highlights of your course with potential students and let them register early.
If a large number of participants pay for the class in advance, it’s a pretty good indicator that your class will sell (kind of a no-brainer). It also gives you feedback on your proposed content and cash in your pocket!