February 23, 2021

How to start a successful online course in 2022

School, training or university and that's it? If you want to acquire new knowledge, the traditional education channels are quickly at the end of their tether, yet there is a huge demand for flexible learning opportunities for all kinds of areas and especially for very specific topics.

In this article, we explain how to create and sell your own online course. We will answer the most important questions about creating an online course.

  • How do I find the right topic for my online course?
  • How do I start the production of my online course?
  • What do I have to consider regarding the target group for my online course?
  • What components make my online course successful?
  • How do I film good videos for my online course?
  • What is the best platform for my online course?
  • How do I sell my online course?No time to read?

At the end of the article you will find a checklist in which we have summarised the most important points. According to an industry study by Research and Markets, the global market for online courses is expected to grow steadily in the coming years and reach a total of 275 billion dollars by 2022.

Whether digital personal training, classic coaching or employee and customer onboarding, the e-learning market is booming!

Offering online courses yourself is quite simple. But when it comes to being successful with your own course and achieving six-figure annual sales, it's a different story. It is crucial to set up your virtual training with the right strategy - and we will show you how. Are you convinced and ready to start your own online course?

We explain the most important steps on the way to becoming a successful course creator. If you already have experience with creating online courses, one or two tricks will definitely help you to take your course offering to the next level.

How do I find the right topic for my online course?

Don't worry, you don't have to be a pro!

Many people dream of their own online course for years, but let self-doubt stop them from putting their plans into action. But it's no problem at all if you're not the big expert yourself. On the contrary! The closer you are to your potential customers, the easier it is for them to learn from you.

For example, have you ever noticed how difficult it is to explain a complicated grammar rule in your mother tongue? You just use the rule intuitively. A language teacher who has learned the language himself as a foreign language finds it easier to teach such rules to someone else. The same principle applies to almost all types of coaches, trainers and consultants.

Lack of formal credentials is also not an obstacle for a virtual trainer. Instead, shine with your successes! If you want to offer a photography workshop, your clients don't care if you have a standard photography education. They are interested in your images and your successes, because that is what they want to achieve through your course itself.

Find an area you are passionate about. Do you have experience and success in it? Do you feel that you can really help beginners or advanced students with your expertise? Great! Let's go.

Intensive 1:1 coaching or online group course?

Hardly any other topic polarises coaches, trainers and consultants as much as this question. Many coaches are sceptical when it comes to scaling their traditional business and converting to an online academy.

Their reasons? Impersonal, poor results and unhappy clients. We asked experts and came to the conclusion that virtual courses offer numerous advantages for clients and trainers.

Online courses give you the opportunity to serve unlimited clients at the same time. You don't have to explain the basics to each client in person and keep repeating yourself - once the course is online, it (almost) runs itself.

This gives you time to take care of individual clients if they have special requests or to work on new content.

Your clients can conveniently access your courses anytime and anywhere. Special bonus: the community. Together it's more fun and the exchange with other course participants helps your clients to stay motivated.

How do I start the production of my online course?

#Goaldigger - What can your course do

Once you have decided on a topic, the first step is done. Now you need to think carefully about what exactly the goal of your course should be or what specific problem the course should solve for your clients.

This helps ​you to plan your course content and, above all, to make your clients happy. According to the motto "what's in it is what's on it", you and your course participants should be clear,

  • Who the course is made for
  • what exactly the goal is and
  • how you achieve it together.

In order not to lose the overview, it is helpful to define one or two main goals and then break these down into smaller goals in the next step. For a course on healthy eating, for example, this could look like this:

Healthy Nutrition

Cooking > Methodes and recipies

Nutrituin and nutrients > Vitamines, fiber, etc.

Planing your day > meal prep, shoping lists, etc.

What do I need to consider in the target group of my online course?

Know the market and position yourself deliberately. Nitch down!

Once you have defined what you want your customers to achieve with your course, it is worth taking a look at the competition. With the help of a quick Google search, you can find out whether similar courses are already being offered and which customer groups they address.

Are there already 300 courses on offer for your idea? No problem! That only means that there are many people interested in this field - and therefore many potential customers.

It is important to specialise in a particular customer group. Position yourself pointedly to stand out from the crowd as an expert. This means that instead of "Yoga for beginners", you offer "Yoga for back problems for women over 50".

Alternatively, you can adapt your course format and produce, for example, a one-week power English intensive course for business trips.

In this step, you should also consider what your ideal course participant looks like. You can only ensure high customer satisfaction if you choose your participants carefully. Don't just try to sell your course to as many people as possible, but make sure that your course brings your clients to their goal. A course with 100 motivated participants who are all successful and satisfied at the end will bring you more customers and more turnover in the long run. A course with 300 participants, 100 of whom drop out and 100 of whom don't reach their goal, brings you a quick sales boost and that's it.

So: Be creative, think about what potential customers need and how exactly your course can be the perfect solution to their problems.

Which components make my online course successful?

How? What? Where? Give structure to your course

The market analysis is complete and you have defined a relevant problem? Your online course is slowly gaining momentum!

Next, you should work on the structure of your online course. To be more precise, which learning content will be taught when and how.

Of course, this depends on whether you offer coaching, counselling or, for example, employee onboarding. Depending on the type of course, it may also be more intensive or more detailed. Here is a brief overview of the different types of online courses.


A masterclass is very extensive and is held by an absolute expert. Typical examples are masterclasses for service providers, which contain all the information needed to be successful in this field.

The masterclass is a practical step-by-step guide and covers different topics. Everything your client needs to get to the goal is covered.

A typical Masterclass is offered by Katja Graumann, for example. She helps personal trainers to become successful. In her Masterclass, she covers topics such as sales, marketing and mindset so that her clients can set appropriate prices, sell correctly and strategically gain visibility.


Coaching is characterised by the fact that the trainee is supposed to achieve a certain goal and this goal is precisely defined at the beginning. This goal is then worked towards step by step over a longer period of time.

Weight loss or fitness coaching is very popular.

One of the main differences to a normal online course is that the client is accompanied in the actual implementation. Through group calls and direct input, his mindset is influenced. All the information he needs to achieve results himself can be found in the course.

As a coach, you can always refer to specific sections or post new videos if more topics remain unclear.


A mini-course is only about 2 hours of content and is often offered as an add-on to existing online or offline courses, for example as a free teaser or a special specialisation. For example, a Christmas special of a cooking course or an introduction to image editing programmes as a bonus to a photography course.

Mini courses are also particularly suitable for adding further value to a product. Very special products that require explanation can be sold together with video content. In such a product course, topics such as installation, maintenance and correct use of the product can be explained in more detail. This increases the trust and thus the sales of e-commerce shops and at the same time reduces the support effort.

The general rule is always: keep it short. Many small learning tidbits are much easier to digest than a two-hour mega-lesson. In addition, short videos are easier to produce, structure and add to.  At the beginning of your course, you should briefly introduce yourself to your participants and summarise the content and objectives of your e-learning, which you then include in your final video at the end.

You can also use the same structure for the individual chapters. It could look something like this:

However, cool videos are not enough to ensure that your students stay engaged and motivated. To ensure that students don't fall asleep in your virtual classroom, you need to provide variety.

Add-ons are also key selling points. Your (paid) course has to compete with a huge mass of free video content. In order to prevail against YouTube and the like, you have to offer your customers real added value. Different media formats and interaction possibilities are crucial for the learning success and the satisfaction of your customers.

  • With small quizzes at the end of a learning unit, course participants can test their knowledge and see their first successes.
  • You can also offer weekly live calls in which course participants can ask you questions directly.
  • Depending on the course topic, it can be helpful to provide files. As a personal trainer, for example, you can upload an overview with nutritional information for food or a template for a weekly training plan.
  • It is also important to build up a community. This can be done, for example, with a Facebook group or a Whatsapp group chat.

If your course participants can regularly exchange tips and learning progress, they will stay motivated. You can also give your participants exercises that are then posted in the community. This creates some peer pressure, but also commitment and engagement. The realisation of your participants "I am not the only one with this challenge" can move mountains. We have seen it ourselves! You'll also find out where there are problems and which content your participants benefit from the most - so plenty of input for the next course!

P.S.: We are currently working on a new Memberspot Community function for you (2022). :-)

How do I shoot good videos for my online course?

Oscar-worthy video courses - this is how it works

Now it's getting serious ... the first day of shooting is coming up. To make sure you are confident in front of and behind the camera, here are a few tips on what to look out for.

  1. Make sure you have a consistent design. This refers to the background of your video, but also to your outfit and your look. Especially if you produce the videos over a longer period of time, they should not look like they have been puzzled together.
  2. Also, think about when you produce which video. Don't record the first video at the beginning. The problem is that the first takes are usually a bit stiff and your camera presence needs to thaw out. However, the introductory videos of your course are super important, because here too there is no second chance for the first impression. So only record these clips at the end of your production.
  3. Be careful not to link to the content of other videos. Avoid sentences like "In the next video I will explain..." or "As you already know from video 3...". This gives you the opportunity to change the order of the videos afterwards, to delete or add videos or even to reuse individual videos for another course.
  4. Before the actual filming starts, you should warm up your voice with speaking exercises and ideally have already spoken aloud for about 30 minutes. This way your voice will sound the same in every video.

As you can see, it only takes a few tips and tricks to take your video production to the next level.

Tip: Want to switch from 1:1 coaching to online courses, but are a bit camera shy or just can't find the right words? Why not film your next 1:1 coaching session? Either you use the video directly (if your clients agree, of course) or you let the recording inspire you and later use it as a guide for what you say in a typical coaching session.

But before you get confused and procrastinate forever, just start! Don't wait for "the new camera" or tell yourself "as soon as xy happens, I'll start". Get into action first. Expect that the first version of your course won't be perfect. It doesn't have to be. With the help of your customer feedback, you can always improve and perfect individual lessons later.

Your head is already spinning? Don't worry, you'll find the most important information at a glance in our checklist.

What is the best platform for my online course?

Let’s go live. With the right online course platform for YOU

Final spurt! Once your videos are in the can, there's only one thing missing for a successful online course: participants. To beat the competition, there are a few things to consider when selling and publishing your online course.

First, you need a platform to upload your course. When choosing one, make sure the provider has all the features you want to use. For example, Memberspot offers unlimited uploads, integrated quizzes and live calls via Zoom.

When choosing a platform, also look for features that have been specially developed for course providers and make your work easier. If you want to provide your customers with new videos automatically on a daily or weekly basis, a function for automatic time-delayed publication can help you.

To get a better overview of the learning progress of your participants, it is helpful if you can see which videos have already been viewed and which have not.

Does all this sound too theoretical for you? Just click through the demo videos or test Memberspot for 14 days free of charge.

How do I sell my online course?

Become a Master of Marketing and convince with your course

To attract participants for your course, you need a so-called sales funnel, i.e. a kind of funnel that potential customers slide down and turn from prospects into customers.

The first step is to make your audience aware of your course. The best way to do this is to already have a large social media following and inform them about your course through posts. Alternatively, you can also place paid ads on Facebook or Instagram.

Important: Take it slow! The principle of the sales funnel is to "warm up" your audience before you sell to them. First show your customers that you have expertise and offer them added value through your posts. The posts and ads should therefore only function as lead magnets. The goal is to collect email addresses of potential customers so that you can include them in a newsletter in the next step. In it, you share exciting articles with added value and tips on promotions and go into detail about the benefits of your online courses.

In return, of course, you have to offer something. Typical would be a trial subscription to your course, a small teaser or a free webinar. For this, participants register with their email address.

When it comes to free content, you can be generous. After all, a preview of the course content is the surest way to find participants who are looking for a course like yours and are super satisfied with the result in the end.

For the next stage in marketing, you then have a pool of "pre-warmed" prospects at your disposal whom you can contact directly. Now it's time to keep at it! Send follow-up emails thanking them for attending the webinar, offering a discount on your course or informing them about your course offer. If your pool of interested people is manageable, you can also send personal emails or contact interested people on social media.

Especially if you are giving your very first course, you should not lose sight of the clients who have already registered for your course. They provide you with a valuable source of feedback and allow you to continuously improve your course offering.

By carefully nurturing your network of leads, prospects and existing customers, you can benefit in the long run and keep your customer base growing. In theory, a single course is infinitely scalable - there is no limit to the number of participants in your virtual seminar room.

But that doesn't mean you can sit back and relax once the course is online. In order to be successful in the long term, you have to take care of your marketing strategy and also constantly create new content. So start gathering the next ideas for your online course empire! You did it!

With these tips and tricks, there's nothing standing in the way of starting your own online course.

If you'd rather get started right away, you can test Memberspot free of charge for 14 days and create your own online course today.

Good luck!

Good luck! Do you still have questions about the online course platform? Simply write to us via the chat function on our website.


Here you can download the checklist as pdf file.

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