How to validate your course idea?
Post synopsis: Validating your course idea involves a lot of research to ensure you are working with an idea that is not just profitable but is also truly relevant and needed by your audience. This post explores the various ways you can use for validating your course idea.
Let’s say you are a nail artist and you have a successful blog or a YouTube channel on which you teach others how to create nail art. So, you decide a build a full-fledged online course on this topic. But here’s what you forgot to do: you did not research your audience, their needs, and the current market.
It’s highly likely that your blog or YouTube channel is a success because it gets a lot of traffic and you have monetized your blog posts or videos. Now, the audience coming to learn from you could be either (for example) aspiring nail artists or teenage girls who want to pretty-up their nails at home.
Between the two, the serious nail artist is more likely to pay for your course. But you never took the time to research who you audience is and if they are looking for a course at this time.
You launch the course and it bombs. Why? Because teenage girls looking to decorate their nails at home aren’t going to pay a dime for your course.
Here’s what you should have done before building the course: validate your course idea!
Validation is a method to identify the exact NEEDS of your target audience and whether they are willing to pay for the product that you will create to meet their needs.
This is an important step of the course development process but one that is often ignored by course creators in the online world. Consequently, they create a complete course, pitch it, and then find no one is buying it. What a waste of your time and energy!
Instead, why not validate your course idea BEFORE you start building it?
How to validate your course idea?
So, how can you validate your course idea?
There are a few approaches you can take: research, ask, and/or present.
Head over to Amazon.com and look for books in your niche. Check out the reviews and pay attention to what readers are saying. Identify if there are any gaps that you can fulfill.
Find out about the products your direct competitors have released in the market. What’s the market need they are fulfilling and what is the audience feedback to their product? What can you offer that will help your product stand out from the already existing products.
Survey your target audience about their pain points and whether (and how much) they are willing to pay for a course that addresses their pain points. You survey forms, Facebook polls/posts, or emails to ask your audience.
Your survey should be comprehensive and allow the participants to express themselves freely. In other words, include a good mix of objective and subjective questions in your survey form or email.
If you know for sure what your audience because they have already made it known to you via personal chats, phone calls or emails, you can move directly to presenting your course idea to your target audience.
To do this, you may choose to post Facebook ads/posts or write broadcast emails that highlight the transformation your course promises to bring. When a potential student clicks the ads/post link/email link, they are taken to either a pre-sales page, an email-based waiting list, or a webinar/Live invitation page.
Depending on the response and demand, you then offer to pre-sell or create the complete product for beta testing.
If you are going to pre-sell route, I recommend you have a minimum viable product (MVP) ready at this time. This is nothing but a prototype or a pilot run for your course–typically one solid lesson. This assures the students that you are truly working on something good and they won’t be fleeced.
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