The rise of ecourses has been phenomenally useful for learners, whether they’re 18 or 80. All someone needs is an internet connection, and a computer (or even a smartphone) and they can start learning about any topic they can imagine. They can go at their own pace, work to their own schedule, and study solo or in a group — it’s entirely up to them.
Given this, you’d be correct in assuming that online courses are absolutely worth producing for anyone who has in-demand expertise of some kind. It’s a convenient way to increase income with a low barrier to entry and an incredible ROI in prospect.
The Ultimate Guide To Selling Online Courses (vol 1)
But it isn’t just educational organizations that should be thinking about ecourses. E-commerce sellers can also benefit hugely: in addition to the benefits we’ve already looked at, the ecourses they provide can greatly support their products or services without incurring significant costs (it’s relatively inexpensive to create online course materials).
Shopify is one of the most popular e-commerce platforms in the world today, and is particularly popular for ambitious entrepreneurs — exactly the kinds of people who should be taking advantage of any and all opportunities to market their knowledge. If you have a Shopify store, you should certainly consider selling an ecourse.
In this article, we’re going to consider the typical course structure, cover how to choose a topic, review the materials you might include, detail how (and why) you should try selling ecourses through your Shopify store, and offer some tips for marketing an ecourse. Let’s begin.
What does an eCourse involve?
An ecourse is essentially like a typical educational course, except entirely handled digitally. Instead of studying under a teacher (or range of teachers) and attending in-person classes, the learner accesses an online portal containing all the materials they need and keeping track of their progress. They proceed through the ecourse in a self-paced format from any supported device, having the option to reach out to the instructor (you) for further support at any time.
For a seller, the ideal structure for an online course is a polished front-end bolstered by some free sample resources: you can offer a trial, provide the first article for free, or even just maintain a free blog that touches upon the course materials in a very broad sense.
Everything beyond that will be gated content, only viewable to those who have signed up to the ecourse. That content can be updated and refined over time to increase value. If you make a strong enough impression through the free samples (or do a great job of communicating your authority and expertise), then you’ll convince people to sign up.
Note that you won’t need to fit your eCource content into your Shopify store — it isn’t designed for that, after all. Instead, you maintain your eCource through a professional course platform like LearnWorlds, then simply redirect the buyer following their purchase.
How should you choose an eCourse topic?
Whatever you currently do — whether you’re a general e-commerce seller or it’s merely something you do in your spare time — you have something to offer the world, and the easiest way to figure out what to run with is to think back on all the challenges you’ve overcome to get where you are today. Think about the following things:
Once you’ve answered those questions, think about the challenges people are facing today. What are they trying to achieve? What’s holding them back? You should be able to identify some pieces of knowledge or expertise you’ve acquired that would be highly valuable to some people — those are the things that should go into your ecourses.
Even if you’re only an e-commerce beginner, knowing just enough to set up a basic Shopify store, you still have relevant knowledge. You know how to choose a niche, how to select products, and how to create a Shopify store. Each one of those things is a skill. Are there free blog posts around that can help people with those things? Absolutely — but if you can make an ecourse that’s more in-depth, guiding people, or quickly getting them results, you can justify the expenditure.
What materials should you include in an eCourse?
One of the biggest strengths of ecourses is that they can seamlessly bring together various kinds of material, including (but not limited to) articles, tip lists, podcasts, videos, or tests. You don’t need to worry about printing any physical documents or setting up projectors to get your points across — knowing that the learner is using a system that fully supports any type of media, you can get as creative as you want at no additional cost or trouble beyond production.
As for deciding what specifically you’ll include, you can get as creative as you’d like. You might want to start by collating any internal training documents you’ve created for your staff to see if there’s anything there you could rework for a general audience (this can often be very illuminating), but outside of that, just think about what you’d like to see in their position.
Here are some general ideas to give you some inspiration:
Remember to make as much of your content both high-quality and evergreen. If you produce a video series about something in 2018, for instance, it will seem very outdated by 2020. Avoid making specific references to current dates or tackling fads. Produce a fantastic video series about e-commerce principles, for instance, and it will last for years.
How (and why) to sell eCourses through Shopify
You may have heard of course marketplaces that make it possible to sort and filter large numbers of courses. Marketplaces of that kind can be really useful in some cases (with a Shopify store, for instance, you could one day list your business for a direct sale through Exchange).
An ecourse platform such as LearnWorlds is a great choice if you have a Shopify store and you aspire to grow your ecourses into a thriving educational community. You have the freedom to customize the visuals you use, present your materials however you like, and take a more hands-on approach to selling — you can sell from your own domain, using the Shopify integration to handle the payment and lead the buyer right back to your custom course page.
The process for doing this is very simple: you can find the basics here. Essentially, you just need to add Shopify as a payment gateway, add your store URL, verify it, then sync the two systems. It’s that easy. After that, you’ll be able to sell your ecourses directly as products on your Shopify store, as well as use it for your LearnWorlds payment system.
How to market an eCourse
Because an ecourse is something between a product and a service, sellers can be a little uncertain about how to market it, but it isn’t actually all that different. What you really need to focus on is the convenience, expertise, and value of your ecourse:
Bear in mind that it isn’t enough to think about these things in isolation: you need to think about them relative to comparable courses in your field. Take a close look at any such courses and see what you make of them. What are their strengths and weaknesses? It’s a competitive marketplace, so set a goal of making your course clearly superior. That’s how you’ll win.
Ready to begin selling ecourses? LearnWorlds and Shopify make a great combination, so give them a try today to start boosting your income and raising your profile.