How to find crispy idea for your online course?
One bright Sunday morning, I was sitting on my roof going through my FB timeline, when an FB ad flashed on my screen with a tagline ‘how to find an idea for your online course & create one?’
I clicked on the link & a whole new world of digital marketing opened in front of me.
That course has different chapters well organized in different layers, presenting a complete system of marketing.
It was such an unforgettable experience, that I decided to make my own online course.
Eventually, I became successful too.
But it took a lot of hard work.
Today when you think to create an online course, you have thousands of ideas available online. You can easily go through different articles & forums to find that one big idea for your online course.
But wait, It’s not that easy!
Because all the marketers are fighting for that same piece of pie & aiming for the same broad idea. All those big guns with lots of resources & money are going to chew you up like a banana.
They won’t burp either;))
So, how to find an idea for your online course?
One day I received a text on messenger from my one of my clients, Mike.
He said that he has this problem that he isn’t much creative & couldn’t come up with fresh ideas.
His way of saying was more like a search for an answer & I knew it.
So, I suggested him to write down every new idea as soon as it hits.
Even at midnight or 4 am.
So, he started doing it & that small idea changed his business forever.
He almost doubled his growth rate in a small span of a month.
So, you need to list your random ideas to come up with something extraordinary.
Now, you might say “Mohammad, at 4 am I’m totally dead”
I know, that’s why I am posting a list of tricks on how to find a great idea for your online course.
1. What’s Trending?
See, Whenever you want to buy something or do something new, the very first thing that comes to the mind is
From clothes to smartphone, people buy everything based on the latest trend.
Well, Same rules apply to your elearning course.
And to find its latest trend, you have to ask yourself
- What’s working right now?
- What is it that people are interested in?
- What your competition is selling?
- Something fresh or unique.
- What is missing?
Your answers will help you to bridge that gap & you can use these facts to your advantage.
When I first started up with my course, I asked myself “Mohammad, the internet is huge. How & where you’ll find all these stats?”
But thanks to my habit of regular study, over the years I learned lots of new things & tools to find upcoming trends.
So, how to find new trends?
- Google Trends: Google trends is my number one go-to place to find what’s trending, whether it’s for a new blog, post, course or any new service. it shows a large number of details about any search term on the internet.
For example, if you search for ‘digital marketing course’ on google trends.
You can find various stats like the popularity of a term, people searching it around the world & related terms as well.
You can also compare different search terms on it. It’s one of the best tools to create your online course.
A few days back, I went to a hat shop & asked for the latest hat, the shopkeeper showed me the best one but I didn’t like it, then he showed another one & I rejected it too.
So he kept on showing different hats.
You know why he struggled so much?
It happened because I didn’t give him the specifications of exactly what type of hat I am looking for.
Exactly same thing is happening with Google.
See, nowadays people are looking for detailed answers to their queries & they aren’t getting desired results.
Furthermore, according to a research on 1.4 billion long tail keywords 41.5% of total searches on Google are 5+ words or more.
That says it all.
But fortunately, Google is not the only place for finding the idea for your online course.
For example, if you want to know about ‘Digital marketing’, Google will give you an explanation about digital marketing only.
But if you want to know all the what, why & where’s of digital marketing, then you can go to Answerthepublic.com
On the site’s homepage, you’ll see a bald old guy staring right into your soul.
Don’t get scared, you’re at the right site.
Here you can search different types of long tail questions about any topic.
For example, if I type ‘digital marketing’ it will give different search queries related to the topic. (These queries are the terms searched by other users over time).
Plus it will give different prepositions, combinations & comparisons related to the term.
This whole chunk of data can be really helpful to find a new idea for your next online course.
One of my friends lives near a beach, from his house you can watch the sea waves all day & the beauty of those waves is that they are new & fresh.
It’s like an addiction, you want to keep digging in.
The same thing applies to your course business.
Online business is like a sea of data & research is like surfing in that sea, the more data waves you get, the more you want”
According to the cmo.com, almost 78% marketers are already using data analytics in their marketing strategy.
And you can use Ubersuggest to find a detailed report of any search term.
You can find stats like Search volume, CPC, competition & other related keywords.
(Search volume – how many people are searching for that term; CPC – how much an advertiser is paying for a term per click; Competition – The higher the number, larger number of people are competing to rank for that term ).
if you search for ‘Digital marketing’ in uber suggest, you’ll see results something like this:
With this data, you can easily find out what people are searching for, what your competition is up to, what is the best format for your course & you can come up with your next big idea.
However, there are some alternate tools which you can use to find data for keywords like Keywordtools.io, Google keyword planner etc.
Google is the number 1 place to search for anything on the internet & fortunately, its generous enough to help out its users.
Every time you search for something, Google gives some extra suggestions about what other people are searching.
This is called ‘Google Suggest’.
For example, if I put ‘digital marketing’ on Google, it’ll immediately show up some suggestions like.
These suggestions are based on the most frequent search terms on Google, that’s where you get the best chance of finding that amazing idea for your online course
But simply finding keywords is not enough.
Its because there are various course creators who are also using similar tools & are aiming for the same idea.
So, what to do?
Simple, you have to find what other marketers are doing & plan your course accordingly
In short, you’ve to spy on them.
2. Find out what’s working for others?
I have this habit of regularly buying something on Amazon or eBay. A few weeks back, I was looking for a new headphone.
So, I checked different sets with different features.
& whenever I liked something, the very first thing I do was to check out the reviews of other people
I know you do it too. We all do it.
After all, we are human beings.
We need some kind of assistance in making our decisions, it makes our decision process easy & our brain feels happy.
We have a thinking that:
What’s working for him will also work for me.
This is the golden rule for any business, you can use it to find that big idea for your online course & even use it to structure your learning course.
You just need to do some market research about similar courses as exactly what they are selling, if its working or not.
If it’s working for them, it’ll work for you too. However, results may vary.
Or you can come up with a better version of your own.
(Hint: Do a bit of google research about the best selling ecourses, find out their recipe, try them out & eventually introduce your own Twist).
3. What’s missing?
Have you ever seen that TV show ‘Masterchef’?
It’s a cooking show where participants cook delicious food.
Then they present it to the judges, who give them scores.
These participants are not the average joes, they are expert cooks, they have years of experience.
But still, as soon as the judges taste their wonderful dishes, they immediately find out ‘what’s missing’ in the dish.
Whether its pepper, garlic or anything else.
I guess that’s why they are the judges.
So, while searching for your next big idea you have to put yourself in the shoes of a MasterChef judge & find out what’s missing in the market.
You can start up with some basic topics like:
- What is it that affects your audience the most?
- Where are they facing maximum challenges?
- Is there any particular point they need help with?
- Sometimes they just need a better solution.
- Is there a big hurdle in their way etc.
But how do you find that missing link?
In order to find what’s missing in the dish, first, you’ve to taste the dish
I mean, In order to find that missing link you need to connect with your audience & find their problems.
There are some really easy methods through which you can reach out to your community.
After Google, Quora is the most go-to place for people searching answers to your questions. People from around the globe ask questions on Quora & other people answer them.
You can easily create a free account on Quora & select your interest fields.
It will show you all the related questions from around the world or you can manually search for a particular topic as well.
For example, if you search for ‘digital marketing’, it will show all the questions & their answers like
From here you’ll get a clear idea of what people are struggling with & you can reach that next big idea for your elearning course.
Compare to Quora, Reddit is also a community where people search for their answers but its way more organized with lots of sub-categories called subreddits
Large no. of people post their content here & its totally free.
Reddit has lots of subreddits(i.e categories) where you can find answers related to your specific niche.
So you can dig deeper into the problem & find that big idea.
For example, if you search for ‘digital marketing’ on Reddit, you’ll get subreddits like:
3. FB Groups:
Talking about community, how can I forget about FB, it has 2 billion monthly active users.
People like you & me have created various facebook groups, there are different FB groups for pretty much everything, here you can find what other people are discussing.
One of the major benefits of FB groups is that you get a large niche based audience, which logs in daily.
You can find experts in your niche.
For example, you just have to search ‘digital marketing’ & it will show all the FB groups
You can filter group results as per your requirements.
If you’re still not able to find that missing link, you always have that option of asking direct questions to your preferred audience.
4. Survey your audience
A few months back, I was standing in my window enjoying a fresh morning while sipping my coffee, thinking about an idea for my next article.
Suddenly, I noticed few ladies knocking doors in the neighborhood. They were wearing white coats, carrying pen & paper pads.
They were asking some questions to people & then writing it down in their pads.
Once it’s done, they’ll write something on every door with chalk.
So I asked one of the ladies, what it’s about?
She said elections are inching closer & government wants to know about your problems to create their election agenda.
They were doing so to find out the best solution for our problems, people’s problems.
And that’s exactly what you should be doing to find an idea for your online course.
Whenever you’re in doubt what to expect, just ask your audience
You can survey your audience for your answers, they can be your email subscribers or Whatsapp friends or your workgroup.
All the giant companies like Google, FB etc survey their website audience for better customer experience.
However, my favorite method of surveying is to throw in an optional question, where users will read & select one option.
Basic questions to ask in the survey
For example, If you are surveying about SEO then you can start your survey with these basic questions like:
- What is their experience with SEO so far?
- What is their biggest problem in SEO?
- How are they dealing with it right now?
- Are they looking for a better solution?
- What kind of options are they looking for?
- Where are they searching for help?
It will help you to dig into their current situation, their pain points, existing solutions & most importantly why they should buy your course.
An audience will tell you what they need but in some cases, you might find a mix reaction from your audience, it can be confusing.
That’s where you might want to look to experts.
5. Ask an expert
I always discuss some of the latest current affairs & political topics with my family & friends.
Some of us speak about Congress while others support the ruling party.
Many a time we get stuck & can’t reach out to a solution, that’s when we look to news channel debates.
Where we see different political leaders putting forward their thoughts.
You know why we listen to them because they are the expert in their respective fields.
So, if you are still not able to find that epic idea for your online course, you can ask an expert.
There is nothing wrong with asking for help
You can reach out to an expert through email, FB, Twitter or other social channels.
All the masters of the game remain highly active on social media & they will be more than happy to help.
A few days back, Bess young reached out to me on FB asking “Mohammad, I have been following you on Twitter for a long time & now I am starting my own social media advertising agency. Can you give me some guidance?”
And I helped her.
Most of the experts will do it happily but not everyone is gonna reply. (i.e. they are busy people).
You can find a great tip or an awesome idea for your online course, their tips are like gold especially if you’re new & know nothing about how to sell your online course.
But sometimes it’s just not enough.
You’ll feel like that the expert advice is not matching my style or passion.
If that’s the case, then take a deep breath because now you have to be very specific with your approach.
6. Passion Vs Profit
Being a passionate marketing expert, I often meet new clients who have a limited budget & they need help.
In such situation, I get stuck between passion & profit.
Then I ask myself “Mohammad what to do, whether I should follow my passion & help them or should I think about profit & reject the client.”
Most of the times I take the middle route.
Somewhere down the road, you can also feel that you are creating a course about a topic that you are not passionate about.
Be very clear on how to gain profit with your passion
You have to create a course on a topic which you are passionate about & it should be profitable as well.
For example, you know FB ads & you are willing to create a course on “how to do FB ads” but the average market value of such courses is low.
On the other hand, you can create a google ads course where profit is high but you aren’t passionate about it.
Think about it, what will you do?
Here is the twist.
There is this third course on ‘how to get more FB leads for an e-commerce store’. which has high profit & matches your passion as well.
That’s your middle way out
This is the best way to find an idea for your online course.
Wherever you are, Whatever you do, everything starts with an idea, they are easy to come by.
Ideas are like air, they keep on flowing in your surroundings
But what matters most is how you implement those ideas.
When I started writing my book Twisted marketing, there were lots of ideas in my head but there were various doubts also like:
- Am I the right person to write a book?
- WIll I be able to do it?
- Is somebody actually going to read it?
- What if people find something better?
which is obvious too.
But after a lot of struggle, I finally found that secret sauce for overcoming these mental barriers & started doing it.
Check it out & leave me some feedback.