Three Types of Profitable Online Courses (and How to Choose the Best One!)

    Digital Course Academy - Amy Porterfield

    It’s so exciting when a long-term project happens!

    I have been working on this latest project since January…. and doing the happy-dance…

    I’m thrilled to bring you some brilliant course resources from the amazing Amy Porterfield!

    Today’s issue is from her (and be sure to read all the way to the end where she talks about how she built her launches to 7 figures!) and then take her free two-minute quiz to know which type of course you should create next.

    To your success!

    Three Types of Profitable Online Courses (and How to Choose the Best One!)

    By Amy Porterfield

    If you’ve thought about adding a digital course to your business then this, my friend, is perfect for you.

    I’m going to go through three types of courses: The Starter Course, The Spotlight Course, and The Signature Course.

    Each one can make you money. You can decide on any one of the types of courses, and I’ll share some pros and cons of each.

    The Starter Course

    A starter course is the jumping off point where you help your students get started in your area of expertise. Your training will give them just enough information and support to help them begin moving forward.

    With a starter course you will help your students produce small, but valuable, results that can lead to bigger results if they keep going.

    A starter course is a really great place to start if you just kind of want to get your feet wet with a digital course. You don’t want to deliver the whole shebang, everything from start to finish, but you know you can teach how to get started in one area of expertise you are very, very well-versed in.

    People typically charge around $97 for a starter course and it’s exactly how I got started. I started in my digital course career with a starter course. I’ve since created eight digital courses in my business but that was exactly how I got started.

    Melissa Norris is one of my star students. She created the course, Home Canning With Confidence. The price point was $97.

    Melissa was a pharmacy tech with really long hours and a long commute. She was actually raised in the homesteading lifestyle. She realized she does canning all the time in her life. She cans for her family.

    This is a technique she could actually teach to somebody else and that’s where she got her idea of doing a starter course just to help people do canning and get their feet wet with homesteading.

    Starter Course Pros and Cons

    First of all, a starter course is a great option if you’re new to digital courses. You’ll get your feet wet and you’ll experience adding a digital course to your business without too much effort. They are a lot easier to create.

    Typically you’ll offer a lower price point with your starter course, between $100 and $200. This makes it a no-brainer decision for your audience. Starter courses are some of my favorite ways to start out with digital courses.

    Here’s one of the cons. A starter course may feel like a lot of effort for a small return. This type of course may run the risk of giving too much away for a lower price point. But I always teach my students that you don’t need to worry about giving too much away if you just teach the basics in a starter course just to get their feet wet.

    The Spotlight Course

    The Spotlight Course takes a deeper dive into just one main area. This type of course offers specific and detailed information and often uses a step-by-step framework that’s valuable to your students.

    With a spotlight course you will help your students produce very specific results in one area. The laser-laser focused approach is exactly what they are looking for.

    I want you to think about this. Can you think of something that you can teach that is super laser focused? Let me give you an idea first and then I want you to tell me if you have an idea of your own.

    Kelly McHugu is one of my students and her course is Build Your Yoga Website With WordPress. Kelly is a yoga teacher. She helps other yoga instructors effectively share their message and build their communities. With a WordPress course, Kelly puts a spotlight specifically on how to set up a successful yoga website that enables her students to build a prominent online presence.

    You can buy her signature, and more robust program, The Profitable Yoga Teacher, but I love that Kelly offers yoga teachers this deeper dive option.

    What’s really cool about a spotlight course is that you can go into one area and teach everything you need about that one area but then you can create bigger courses around a bigger topic if you want.

    A spotlight course is different from a signature course because it typically goes down deep into the layers of that one very specific topic. Because it does that it’s not a beginner, let’s get started, but it’s “Let’s go deep into this topic.” With that you can charge more. That’s what’s really cool about a spotlight course. You just take one area of your expertise and go deep with it.

    Pros and Cons of a Spotlight Course

    The pros for a spotlight course are that it allows you to drill down and focus on one topic at a time when building your course. Since you won’t be including all of your expertise at once the spotlight course could lead to a series of courses.

    You can charge more for a spotlight course versus a starter course. Usually around $200, $300, or $400 for a spotlight course tends to be about the going rate.

    Spotlight courses are a fantastic way to show your expertise and be known for something.

    The Signature Course

    A Signature Course is your complete comprehensive system. It’s the most in-depth of all three types of courses. A signature course is specific and detailed and includes the entire framework from start to finish and it leads to a total transformation.

    I always say it’s the whole shebang. Lauren Messiah has the course Personal Style University. Her price point is $997.

    With her Personal Style University, Lauren walks you through her proven step-by-step system to help you find your personal style, detox your closet, and build a wardrobe that fits your goals and lifestyle.

    Lauren has put the best of what she has learned as a stylist for A-List celebrities into one place, one course. In her signature course you are getting Lauren’s years of experience in one complete system from start to finish.

    Pros and Cons of Signature Courses

    The signature course is a great way to teach a more robust system or formula or roadmap from start to finish. So many of my students have created signature courses because 1) They have a bigger price point (usually at least $1000), and 2) You get to teach exactly what you know from the beginning until the end.

    You can promise really big transformations. I love signature courses. I don’t think you need to start there but they are a great way to have a bigger price point so you can make money faster and you also get your entire expertise all in one course.

    The con is that a signature course takes the most effort of all course types. At times it feels riskier because it’s a big project to tackle.

    My Path

    I’m really big on baby steps. I started with a starter course. Then I went into a spotlight course. Then I went into something called The Profit Lab. That was how to create a marketing plan using Facebook marketing. That was my $997 program.

    I took baby steps into creating a signature course.

    The first time I launched it I made $30,000. I thought I had made it, $30,000 is a lot of money. I remember my husband looking at me like, “What the heck just happened? How the heck did you just do that?”

    It was a really exciting day for me. But after I launched it I thought I could launch it again. So I launched it again. Then I launched it again. Over about 18 months I launched it several times. I eventually put it on evergreen so that I could just launch it every single day and I didn’t have to do a live launch.

    When I launched it live, I went from $30,000 to the last time I launched it $950,000 in one launch, which is about 14 days. $950,000! I’m telling you this because when you find the course that’s really working for you and you just continue to launch it, you’re not creating something new, you’re not adding this or that, you’re just staying with what’s working, if you launch it several times you get better and better.

    Launching it to $950,000 in one launch is life changing. You don’t need a bunch of digital courses to be successful in your online business. One course could actually get you to a million dollars.

    I just want to tell you that because I believe as entrepreneurs we try to do way too much…too much, too many spinning plates in the air. We stretch ourselves so thin that we get totally burned out from the businesses we’ve created.

    I believe if you create a digital course in your business and continue to launch it, whether it’s live or evergreen, you can have consistent revenue so that you’re not feeling pulled in a million directions.

    I’m saying to create a digital course in your business to bring in consistent revenue so that you can say “no” to the stuff that doesn’t light you up.

    That’s what’s most important.

    That’s what I wanted you to hear from me. It is so, so, so, so valuable.

    Now Take Action

    Ever wondered what TYPE of course you should create? Time to find out…

    Take Amy’s Quiz Here

    Amy created an interactive assessment that will give you a customized answer to the question “What Type of Course Should I Create?” 
    You’ll get a detailed breakdown on which of the COURSE TYPES makes the most sense for your unique business. 
    Click here to take this super fun 2-minute quiz
    Whether you’re a complete beginner with a tiny audience or an experienced online business superstar — you’ll get the answer! 
    Creating a digital course has the power to completely transform your business and your life just like it has mine. 

    Take the What Type of Course Is Right for Me? Quiz and let that seed of an idea grow your business to new levels!

    About the Author

    Amy Porterfield has been creating digital courses since her days at Tony Robbins. She was the content development director at Tony Robbins for 6 years where she learned how to create courses.

    Then she went out on her own. Since then she has created eight blockbuster digital courses and has built a multi-million dollar business online. Now she  teaches people how to create courses and launch them with webinars.

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