5 Common Mistakes Online Course Creators Make

Creating an online course is one of the best ways to generate passive income. However, it is not always easy. There are many mistakes one can make in the process of creating the course—from organizing your lessons to recording and editing videos. These are mistakes you don’t want to make as an online course creator, whether you are new to the scene or have acquired some experience. Making these mistakes can negatively affect the success of your course, and your online business by extension.

In this article, we’ll discuss five common mistakes online course creators make, and give you some strategies and tips to avoid them. Keep reading to find out what they are!

1. Not Knowing Your Target Audience

It’s easy to get lost in the excitement of creating an online course. With so many things to do, one may forget to consider the people at the other end of the online course – the students. This happens to be one of the most common and dangerous mistakes you can make as an online course creator. 

If you lack awareness of your target audience’s needs, you won’t be able to properly address their pain points or help them solve their issues, through your course. As such, your lessons won’t resonate with them deeply, which may lead to negative feelings like demotivation or anger regarding money spent. You may even see students quit— that is, if they even buy the course in the first place.

Not knowing your target audience also affects the overall quality of your course, as you won’t really know what to include. The effect of this may lead to the inclusion of irrelevant information, which may further dissuade students from completing your course. 

The solution? Know your audience. Know their demographic qualities — race, gender, place of residence, etc. Know their behavioral qualities, too. What is their attention span like? How much do they make? Can they focus for extended periods of time? Can they afford your course?

Knowing these would help you make certain course-related decisions. Like deciding the price, how long each lesson should be, how to present information, the types of examples and language to use, and so on. 

Learn the art of pricing. Read this guide on How to Price Your Online Course to Make More Sales

For example, an online course targeted towards students in Universities should typically be cheaper than one targeted towards the working class. Why? Because they earn significantly less. You might also want courses targeted at younger people to be shorter in terms of video length, and more colourful and interactive, as they might be more easily distracted than people from an older age group.

How do you know your target audience? Through market research. As a course creator, you can choose to use online forms, do competitor analysis, or join relevant groups. There, you can ask members about the problems they face and glean insights from their answers. These could inform the topics you discuss in your course, thereby increasing its value and giving you more return on investment.  

By immersing yourself in such communities, you would gain additional benefits like discovering beta testers who would watch the course and offer valuable feedback to improve on it before it is launched into the world.

2. Not Keeping Content Engaging

It’s common for online course creators to overlook the importance of keeping your content engaging. If you’re solely relying on lectures and reading materials, you risk losing your students’ attention. 

People have different learning styles and preferences, so it’s crucial to consider this when designing your lessons. You can incorporate various learning channels such as audio recordings, videos, or hands-on activities to teach more effectively and increase student engagement. 

Assessments are also a crucial part of your engagement strategy that you shouldn’t forget. They ensure that students comprehend your course and help you identify areas where students may need additional resources. 

Choose the most appropriate types of assessment for your course to make it effective. By doing so, you’ll help your students learn better and make them more likely to take future courses with you.

3. Not Being Specific

As an online course creator, you might be deeply passionate about the topic you’re teaching. But,, this passion can be both a blessing and a curse, as it can lead you to pack your lessons with so much information that your students might end up confused or overwhelmed. 

When people enroll in courses, they’re looking to learn specific things. Overwhelming them with information that isn’t directly relevant to the course topic can be a huge turn-off. For example, if you’re teaching a course on the most lucrative digital niches in Africa, diving into the intricacies of the stock market would not be helpful. While this might be interesting, it isn’t what the students signed up for, and it takes time away from providing relevant information.

What’s more, failing to be specific about what your course covers can affect its marketability. Without a clear target audience, it will be difficult to effectively market your course to the people who would benefit from it. 

As an educator, it is important to reflect on the content and purpose of your course. Firstly, you must consider what your students will learn from your course. If your answer is a long list of topics, your course may be too broad in scope. 

Additionally, if you cannot clearly describe the focus and objectives of your course in a single sentence, you may need to refine and clarify its specificity. Taking time to carefully consider these key elements, ensures that your course is well-defined and targeted toward the needs of your students.

4. Not Promoting Your Course

As an online course creator, promoting your course is just as important as creating it. But this is a common mistake many course creators make. You either choose to not promote it at all, or promote it too late, which could lead to a lack of interest from potential students. 

Even if you have created the most comprehensive and value-packed course on a subject matter, it won’t be of much use if nobody knows that it exists. Therefore, you need to take your promotion efforts seriously. Carry your work on your head. 

One effective way to promote your course is by adopting multiple promotion channels. A few social media posts won’t cut it. You’ll need to grow your email list and leverage it by reminding your subscribers about your upcoming course, providing them with sneak peeks, and offering them exclusive discounts.

In addition to email marketing, you could use paid ads on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. This can help you target potential students who may be interested in your course. You could also create a dedicated landing page or sales page for your course, outlining the benefits, features, and testimonials from previous students. This page can serve as a hub for all your promotion efforts, and you can direct potential students to this page from your social media posts, email marketing campaigns, and paid ads.

Read: How to Build an Effective Online Course Sales Page

Ultimately, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to promoting an online course. You need to find the strategy that works best for you and implement it consistently. By doing so, you can direct more eyes toward your course, attract more potential students, and increase your chances of converting them into paying customers.

5. Not Keeping Up With the Latest Trends

The digital landscape is constantly evolving, and as an online course creator, you’ll have to keep up with these changes to stay relevant. Ignoring this and launching your courses without observing trends could prove to be a recipe for disaster. 

The speed at which technology becomes obsolete or washed has gotten faster in the last decade. (Read this Forbes article to find out more.) With companies racing to create the next big thing, it’s important to take note at every point where people’s attention lies. In the 2000s it was in video games and mobile technology, now we’re in the era of AI and decentralization. If you ignore these changes, you risk launching a course that no one will watch. Imagine a course on how to use floppy disks, for example. No one will bat an eyelid, as newer and better storage devices have replaced them.

Technology is not the only thing susceptible to change. People also adapt and change to suit their circumstances, and this is reflected in their needs and interests. For example, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses moved towards remote operations and the adoption of tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet became the norm. 

Hence, keeping up with the latest trends ensures that you always stay relevant as an online course creator.

Bonus Tip: Not Getting Hung Up On Technology

When starting a new project, especially one that involves creating content or teaching a course, the desire for perfection can be overwhelming. One common manifestation of this is the fixation on having the “right equipment” before even beginning. This can lead to procrastination and unnecessary delays, or a total abandon of the idea.

Remember to start with what you have. Having all the fancy equipment right from the start is not necessary. It can often become a barrier to starting in the first place. Instead, focus on what you already have at your disposal. A phone or laptop and a good internet connection are often all you need to get started.

It’s understandable to want to invest in the best possible equipment to ensure the quality of your work. But the truth is, you can always upgrade your equipment later once you begin generating some profit. In the meantime, it’s best to focus on the content itself and getting started.

Read: 10 Best Software & Tools for Easy Course Creation (Beginner Toolkit)

Key Takeaways

Creating an online course can be a daunting task, especially for first-time creators. While it’s important to strive for perfection, it’s also important to remember that making mistakes is a part of the learning process. Your course may not be perfect, and that’s perfectly okay. 

To ensure the success of your online course, avoid mistakes that could hinder your success, as discussed in this article. If you have already made these mistakes in the past, don’t worry – you can always address and remedy them in future courses. Don’t let perfectionism hold you back from creating something great.