Which is the best online course platform?
There are many online course platforms available, such as Thinkific, Teachable, Simplero, and Udemy, but most of them are not meant for coaches. They are designed to deliver course content, and that’s it. Most online course platforms do not include the features and capabilities that support a really good coaching program.
In fact, Coaching Genie is the only online course platform that understands the specific and unique needs of a coaching business. I designed Coaching Genie with the purpose of allowing coaching to deliver content and coach their clients through the platform. That’s what sets Coaching Genie apart from competitors. It allows coaches to not only offer courses but also coaching programs and live groups. Coaches can easily convert a group into a course or an evergreen program. It also allows coaches to offer membership-based programs or rolling enrollment type coaching programs, also known as continuous intake programs.
How can I create an online course for free?
Creating an online course does not require any special tools or online course platforms. You’re simply recording your video lessons, including worksheets for each of the lessons, and then uploading your videos to a free video platform such as YouTube. You’ll want to make sure to mark your videos unlisted so that nobody can accidentally stumble upon your videos and you can easily sell them.
To actually deliver your course, you can use something like Coaching Genie because it allows you to deliver the content to your clients or students. You can also use Coaching Genie to convert your course to a coaching program where clients get access to you and you get access to their homework and their progress.
How do I create an online teaching platform?
It is unnecessary to create your own online teaching platform from scratch in order to deliver your course. For most people, that would be a misuse of time. There are many successful platforms available for online course creators to deliver content, each offering distinct features and capabilities.
For coaches, I highly recommend you consider using Coaching Genie for the reasons outlined in this article. It was specifically designed with the unique needs of coaches, coaching clients, and coaching programs in mind to offer many of the features necessary for a quality coaching program that traditional platforms lack.
What are some tips for navigating the courses marketplace when trying to decide on a platform in order to easily create online courses?
There are many course marketplaces out there. However, when you use these common platforms, your course is competing with hundreds – sometimes thousands – of other courses, depending on the uniqueness of your topic.
But generally, you can use Udemy or Coursera as course marketplaces. These are the most common and popular. It’s also better to market your course in spaces where you have little or no competition. For example, you can promote your course through your own speaking events or through other people’s events, like virtual summits or podcasts. You can do joint venture partnerships, where someone else allows you to promote your course to their audience. Of course, you’ll always want to market your courses through your own social media accounts and your mailing list if you have been building one.
What features should I look for when evaluating a platform to create and sell online courses?
There are several hallmarks you should look for when determining which platform you want to use to create and sell your online courses.
[bctt tweet=”Coaches need more than just a way to deliver content to course participants. They need an online course platform that meets their individual needs, considers the needs of coaching clients, and grows with their programs.”]
Every course platform needs to allow you to deliver content. So you will need to evaluate the format of content delivery for any platform you consider using. Typically, it’s done through releasing content into the client’s dashboard, but you could also look for a platform that notifies your client that a new piece of content has been released. This is something that was very important when Coaching Genie was developed. Clients are really busy and may not be regularly logging in to check for new content or materials. They are better served by receiving reminders and prompts. We made sure that Coaching Genie clients receive notifications when a new module is released.
You also need your course platform to allow you to upload documents. This means you can upload documents like workbooks, worksheets, and exercises, but your clients can also upload documents with their homework assignments. Clients might also need the ability to upload images or scanned materials depending on the nature of your course.
At a minimum, your course platform must be able to embed videos so you can have training videos available to clients as part of your course.
Any course platform you select should also be user friendly for clients. It should be easy for your clients to access your materials and any other features or components of your course or coaching program. Sometimes it’s a bit confusing for clients to figure out how to access everything they bought. When clients experience frustration navigating the platform, they might even ask for a refund because they are too busy to stay with it and try to figure out how to access it. Easy access for clients is important to keep them engaged.
Another key feature to look for, especially if you are a coach who creates courses, is the ability to easily customize your material. Every client is unique. If you are creating a course and everybody gets the same exact material, it may not be beneficial to your clients, who are all at different levels if you can’t customize materials. You can also charge more money for customized courses. Being able to easily customize the curriculum and materials in a course builder is beneficial for both clients and coaches.
The ability to track student progress is critical with online course platforms. In Coaching Genie, this is done by allowing students or clients to report on their progress each week inside the weekly check-in feature where coaches can ask them tailored questions. Every week, you find out how clients are doing automatically without your involvement. It is a very efficient and effective way to maintain engagement with minimal effort on your part.
All course builders allow you to see which modules clients have completed. But there is more value in observing how clients are doing with the material. Are they stuck? Do clients have questions? Are they moving forward and excited? Check-ins are a great opportunity to collect testimonials because clients can write open-ended sentences.
The ability to communicate with students or clients is an important part of any course builder. This allows you to build a community as well as provides clients or students direct access to you. Anytime the word access comes into play, you can charge more for your course. Giving access to you, the expert, is much more valuable than simply your information.
Finally, you ideally want any platform to include the ability for the course to be converted to a coaching program. Coaching Genie specializes in this feature. This goes beyond just the delivery of the content and encompasses the capacity to turn the course content into a high-ticket coaching program that can be delivered to an individual client or to a group of clients.
All of these features are important to you as a course creator and as a coach. Ideally, you want a platform that provides you with every one of these capabilities so you can provide the highest quality services to your clients while also reducing the amount of work you have to do to deliver content and manage administrative tasks.
Is it better to look for a learning management system that includes features such as landing pages, sales pages, and discussion forums or to create those externally?
I definitely believe in specialized tools and software with online course platforms. Any time a system claims to be all in one, you can expect it will have a level of complexity that will take you months or years to master. For example, usually an LMS, a learning management system, is an overkill for creating courses or even for running coaching programs. Some systems are so complex, they will slow you down rather than meet your goal of streamlining your process. They can create a lot of friction in your business.
If you’re creating simple courses or coaching programs, chances are that you won’t use more than 10% to 20% of the features in a learning management system. But you will be paying for all the features and you’ll have to learn to master the system in order to use it. If you are a coach who is creating a course, you will also find that you need other features not provided by a learning management system.
This is where Coaching Genie shines. It gives you the ability to deliver your course as a live coaching program – an important consideration when you are looking at a system to deliver your program. Any time you are looking for a tool or a feature that is not offered by any particular system, consider the fact that it’s better to use those additional tools for simplicity’s sake. Using multiple software packages does not always create complexity, it can actually simplify and increase your control over each part of your business.
What’s the difference between a coaching program builder and a course builder?
Course builders mainly provide content, video modules, video content, and homework. Many course builders also have gamification, such as badges for completion. Some course builders developed innovations such as self-destroyed content or sounds when a particular goal is achieved. These are great features for their purposes. However, when it comes to coaching programs, people buy coaching because they feel emotionally and intellectually stuck somewhere on the journey of achieving their goals. That’s why coaching programs require more than simple content completion.
Course builders really focus on completion of the content. Coaching programs require things like coaching, community, accountability, interaction, encouragement, feedback, support, communication, and the ability to customize your content for individual clients’ needs. Each of these are important considerations which are not usually integrated in course builders. Actually, I’m not familiar with a single course builder that offers all of these capabilities. That is why I created Coaching Genie. I wanted to deliver my coaching programs in a way that honors the challenges that clients experience during the coaching process.
How can I decide if I can use a free plan or need to upgrade to a paid plan, basic plan, or pro plan for my course website?
Many course builders have a free plan with limited capabilities and features. While a free plan is definitely budget friendly, it may not ultimately deliver what you need to adequately deliver a high-quality course to your target audience. And if they don’t have a good experience, they are less likely to convert into your other services, like a coaching program. Remember, there is always a cost to something that is free.
You always have to consider not only where your course and program are today, but where you anticipate their growth. Be sure you select a platform that can grow with you and support your vision.
With Coaching Genie, you can have a 14-day trial and access to all the features so that you can see how it works for you. By using the trial and full demo available, you can experience how simplicity-driven Coaching Genie is. Many customers describe it as having a “20-minute learning curve” and that within that time they understand how it works and are ready to start adding content.
What kind of transaction fees can I expect when using a membership site to teach online?
Many course builder platforms and online course platforms charge transaction fees in addition to what the merchant account is charging. Always be sure to read the fine print to discover what hidden fees you’ll be responsible for when using any platform.
In the future, Coaching Genie will allow you to take payments and make course sales through the platform, but we will not charge any additional transaction fees.
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Milana is an entrepreneur, business strategist, and marketing mentor to coaches, authors, and speakers. She is the author of two books, “Coaching Millions” and “Simplicity Entrepreneurship”, the creator of telesummit. She is also the creator of Coaching Genie, an online platform for designing and delivering coaching programs with ease. She came from Soviet Ukraine almost three decades ago as a classical musician with zero knowledge of the business world and has since built multiple six and seven-figure businesses. Today she’s passionate about showing entrepreneurs how to use simplicity as a growth strategy. Goodbye complexity and overwhelm. Hello, simplicity, profits, and ease.