If you go to Google Trends and search for keywords like Online School and Online Education, you will see an upward trend for these keywords starting from around March of 2020 – the exact time when the governments of the world started to impose restrictions and establishments. Schools were shut down and forced to turn to the internet to fulfill their duties. With a lot of people turning to online education and micro-courses, tutors worldwide have capitalized on this and started their own online schools and academies. The grim reality is that not all of them succeed. If you don’t want to be on the losing side of the online school business, you should follow certain rules to create an online school for yourself. Here are those –
Choose a platform
In the early days of online education to up until a few years ago, running an online school was largely difficult. Everything from the website to the course content had to be built from scratch – taking up a lot of time and effort. Fast forward to the present date, we have a plethora of online education platforms and Learning Management Systems (LMS) to choose from. Not only will these platforms enable you to roll out courses quickly, but they will also save you a ton of money. With these platforms (like Learnyst, for example), you don’t have to hard-code websites or spend a fortune for creating engaging course content. You can do all of these using simple drag and drop features. Managing your community, marketing, and other business activities can be all done from a single platform.
Validate the idea
Before you start putting in all the hard work to create the actual content itself, you need to make sure if the core ideas behind the courses of your online school are worth the effort. To test the potential of your course, you can condense it into a value proposition. Make a list of questions that address your target audience’s needs and expectations from online schooling. The answers to these should help you refine your idea.
You should also make sure your course’s elevator pitch stands out from that of competitors selling the same course. Find out the demand for courses surrounding your course’s ideas by analyzing keyword volumes and trends on popular search engines. The greatest way to validate your idea is to talk to people directly using polls and discussion forums.
Find worthwhile topics
You have to be doubly sure that the topics you choose for your online school are worth the effort you will be putting in. Always choose topics you are passionate about and knowledgeable enough or if you have other tutors, make sure they are passionate about the topics they will be teaching. This way, you and your tutors will be able to put in your best efforts to make courses as near perfect as possible. Wider topics will have to be divided into subtopics. Brainstorm with your colleagues and other subject matter experts to choose the best topics.
Branding and website
You won’t get far in today’s cutthroat business environments without a strong brand. Your online school’s website will be the center of your branding efforts, and you should be asking yourself how to create an online school website. All your social media posts and paid ads, and other links will eventually lead to the website. You can either hardcode the website from the ground up or use templates from a comprehensive LMS solution like Learnyst.
These templates are ready to use and customizable at your discretion, with a fraction of the time it takes to build a webpage using code. You should ideally start creating the home page first and then create the sales pages (where people make the final purchase decision). After those are done, you can start setting up other pages like Blogs and Testimonials.
Other essential tools
A lot of repetitive mundane tasks can now be automated to improve productivity. There are tools that can help you with other aspects of running an online school, like marketing and finance. As in the case of your website, you can buy individual tools to serve specific purposes or get on board an LMS like Learnyst that has almost all these features inbuilt. If you would like to integrate platforms like MailChimp, you can do that too.
Connect Analytics to make sense of numbers
Before you launch your academy and start taking in students, you should set up your analytics tools. These tools are absolutely necessary to help you measure your online school’s overall performance in terms of website traffic and performance. Google offers an absolutely free analytics tool called Google Analytics to monitor and analyze web traffic and can be integrated with your website quickly. Facebook pixel is another useful tool you can integrate with your website to create more effective Facebook advertising.
Sales and Marketing
Your online school should follow a marketing plan like any other business. Why? Because doing so will help you sell courses better and grow your student base gradually. There are tools that can help sell your online school’s courses by means of offers, promotions, and other tactics. Learnyst, for example, has an inbuilt Email Marketing feature that lets you build engaging emails in a matter of minutes (if you have the copywritten). We can also help you create segments bases on the existing user base to market courses better.
A foolproof method to get more students is to use promotional coupons for your unique offerings. These can be shared with your most valued customers or other key members as a gift. Generate leads using content marketing by writing blogs, creating videos, hosting webinars, etc.
Get inspired by others
Obviously, there are other people who have started their own online schools. Their experience-based knowledge is worth a lot more than you think—research about how they built their online schools and the path they took to success. Also, read about online schools that weren’t successful, to learn from their mistakes and avoid them. It would be great to get advice directly from others – try to see if anyone is willing to speak to you directly and answer all your questions. Doing so will make sure you avoid major mistakes and dampen your chances of early success.
Find your students
Assuming you already have a website and LMS platform setup, you should get serious about finding students for your online school. But before that, you should know exactly who you should be targeting. Conduct market research to know the needs and expectations of your prospective students. Determine the characteristics of your audience based on their behavior, age, location, etc. Search for them on social media and other platforms.
Get pricing right
Your courses’ pricing will differ depending on the geographies you will be targeting. For example, people, in general, tend to be more price-sensitive in a country like India, whereas it is not a big factor in countries like the US. The prices you choose should fit your overall business model as well. Each course should be priced according to the value it offers. There is no sure-shot way to arrive at the perfect price for a course. Instead, look at how your competitors are pricing their courses and experiment with different price points to gauge receptiveness.
Further Reading: How to price your online course: Key steps
How can Learnyst help?
Now that you know how to create an online school, it is time to learn more about Learnyst. The core idea behind Learnyst is to enable educators to start their entrepreneurial journey by starting their own online schools and academies. Our solution is all you need to create, market, sell and manage your online education business. You can also seamlessly integrate third-party applications like MailChimp to be more agile. To know more about us and how we can help you, get in touch now!