In this episode of The Opt-in Experience, I’m talking all about my favorite free tools that you can use to create an online course, or any free/paid training for your audience, along with a few paid tools that are well worth the investment (some of which, I am an affiliate for meaning I will earn a bit if you do sign up with my links. It doesn’t cost you anything, and big hugs from me).
There’s a huge misconception that you have to invest hundreds or thousands of dollars to launch and online course, and it’s really not the case. You can put out a high quality, super valuable training for your people without spending a ton of money.
One of the best ways to make sure your course sales don’t flop is to create an opt in / content upgrade/ lead magnet or two and get an idea for what people want/need from you. Once you’re getting feedback from your audience about that opt in you’ll know it’s time to create a paid product based on that opt in. If you’re struggling to figure out what opt in to create, check out this episode where I dive into 3 tips to creating an opt in your audience will love.
Over 4 years I’ve tried so many services, platforms, tools, templates and learned which I love and which I don’t. Some are going to be free, inexpensive, or a little more of an investment. I’m giving away ALL the tools I use to create my trainings, so let’s dive in! Full Disclosure, this post does include affiliate links for brands I love and trust. This means that if you decide to purchase something using my link, I will earn a bit and it costs you nothing extra (thank you, hugs!).
So for starters, if this is the first online course you’re selling, you can use a platform like Thinkific (I am obsessed) which has free and paid options. You can accept online payments through them, upload course content and create modules with videos, text, downloads, audio (the works). I’ve tried both Teachable and Thinkific, however, I fell in love with Thinkific after taking Fiona Humberstone’s Color for Creatives course and the Copywriting for Creatives Course from Ashlyn Writes. I love the functionality, the student experience, the features they have and the cost. I also love that there are more features on the first tier of their payment plans (affiliates, coupon codes), and you get paid faster.
In order to sell a course, you’re going to need to have a sales page. If you’re not a designer or can’t hire one yet to do it for you, I 150% recommend grabbing the template from Bluchic, they have landing page templates that include sales pages that you plug your content and off you go! They’re so easy to use and its beautifully built (FAQ section, testimonials, call to actions). These templates are going to save you a ton of time and money! The only downside is that these templates from Bluchic are for WordPress only. But the huge positive is that when you purchase this template you’re actually getting 7 templates! It includes a lead magnet opt-in page, tripwire offer page, thank you page, sales page, offer expired page, webinar registration page and live webinar page. All you have to do is add in your own copy, your photos, and change the colors and fonts!
I use the Bluchic landing page templates for my opt in design workshop, design and package your digital product workshops! Even though I’m a designer, anything that you can do to save you time and money is worth it! You need a sales page because that’s what is going to sell your product!
You don’t need to go out and buy a fancy design program like Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop to have great designs. You can use Canva — or I’d recommend getting the upgrade (Canva for Work). Getting the upgrade will give you the ability to create folders, add your branding details for easy access, and allows you to create templates.
With a course you’re going to need to have some kind of design program to make your slides, workbooks, checklist, downloads, social media graphics to promote the course, mockups of your workbook or video. The bonus of Canva is that there isn’t a big learning curve to get started with it.
When investing in new products and services for your business think about 2 things: how much is this going to cost me and how is my return on investment going to be?
For your course you’re going to need some collateral designed, from course slides, workbook, spreadsheets, planners, etc. Write down everything you might need for each part of your course and feel free to take the Digital Product Masterclass to give you an idea and free guidebook that will help you plan out what you need to design, how to package your course or digital product and how to ideas for selling your digital product. For courses specifically, I do recommend getting started with Thinkific HERE for free.
I have a massive toolbox just for course creators with over 50 templates you can use in Canva or Adobe! I also have a la carte templates in my shop here. Looking for something free? I also have a free set of templates that can help you create a workbook!
Don’t let yourself feel bad because you’re using free tools to get your course up and running, you can always upgrade to paid plans in future rounds of your course. There’s nothing wrong with free!
If you’ve got a decent computer with a mic and camera built in you can use this free Google Chrome extension, Loom. Loom is a totally free video recorder that allows you to record just your screen (and voice), just your face, or a mix of both! Once you’re done recording it’ll open in a new window in Loom, it’ll process and save it in the Loom library so you don’t have to worry about losing it, and then you have the option to download it so you can hand it off to a video editor or to upload it to any other platform (like Youtube or Thinkific).
MailChimp (free up to 2000 subscribers) or Convertkit (which I currently use). Want to try Convertkit free for 30 days? Click here to try it out. Either one of these programs will give you what you need to launch your course and talk with your list. You’ll want to create a launch sequence to let people know about your new course that’s launching.
Don’t let your budget stop you from launching!