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How to create a mini course & start making money online today


Nov 17, 2020
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They say, “Go big or go home.” But sometimes that’s not the best strategy, especially if you’re just dipping your toes in the entrepreneurial waters.

Creating a full-length online course can take weeks or even months. Not only do you need to create the course materials for your customers, but you also have to promote the course to generate sales.

If the idea of jumping into such a big project leaves you feeling nervous, switch your focus for a minute. Consider creating a mini course instead, so you can start making money online today.

Mini courses are a great place to start, especially if you’re new to online course creation. You can try new tools, experiment with social media platforms, and familiarize yourself with the world of online marketing.

What is a mini course?

A mini course is a condensed version of a long-form course. It contains less material, but it still packs plenty of value into a small package.

So, how do you keep a course small while still providing value? You narrow your topic as far as you can without making the course irrelevant.

For instance, you don’t want a topic that you could cover in a 1,000-word blog post, but you don’t want to go so broad that you won’t be able to satisfy your customers.

Choose a topic that will demonstrate your expertise and help bring fans to your brand. A positive reaction to your mini course will give you the confidence you need to expand into larger courses.

Finding the right mini course topic and content balance is the key to success. 

Why you should create a mini course

A mini course lets you figure out what works and what doesn’t without depleting your financial or mental reserves. You’ll figure out what content resonates with your audience, then apply what you’ve learned to future, full-length online courses.

Every business owner wants to build a loyal customer base, but you have to offer something in order to do that. Building out a mini course is a cost and time-effective way of creating something of value to get customer buy-in.

There are plenty of people who want to learn more about a particular subject, but don’t want to spend a ton on a full course.

By offering a mini course, you can pique customer interest and garner more sign-ups because of the lower price tag. Once someone buys your mini course, learns (and loves) the material, and comes back for more, you have what every business owner dreams of: customer loyalty.

Next thing you know, you’re creating complex, in-depth online courses and making serious money. And the best part is you’ve used the mini course to build a customer base that is ready and waiting to take your full online courses.

Mini courses are a win-win for everyone. You get instant leads and generate revenue while your customers get the content they want at an affordable price. 

How to create a mini course in 8 easy steps

Yes, a mini course is shorter and less dense than a full-length course. But it’s still a product that needs to pack value in order to sell.

That takes work, but it’s easier if you break the project down into steps. We’re going to show you step-by-step how to create a mini course for your brand so you can start bringing in money right away.

We promise it’s not as difficult as it sounds.

1. Build your brand around a theme or topic

Every entrepreneur needs a theme, topic, or niche: Something that sets them apart from everyone else who sells digital products.

Think about how your expertise applies to your target audience’s:

  • Goals
  • Pain points
  • Motivations
  • Experience level

A mini course can demonstrate to your target audience what your brand represents. It shows what approach you take to online learning, what topics you find most important, and what theme you’ll maintain through the life of your business.

There are lots of broad topics out there. Take fitness, for example.

Some people are interested in fitness because they want to feel better, lose weight, keep up with the kids, or run a marathon. Others have been lifelong athletes who continue to view fitness as a top priority in their lives.

You can see how 100 entrepreneurs could take the topic of fitness in 100 different directions. You just have to put your personal stamp on it.

An entrepreneur who creates competition-related fitness courses would not share an audience with an entrepreneur who creates fitness courses about losing weight. The audience members have different goals, pain points, experience levels, and motivations.

Creating a mini course can help you define what makes your brand unique and pave the way for a profitable future. If you find a niche that a lot of people can relate to, your prospective audience expands.

2. Create a membership site

Your mini course needs a place to live and your customers need a place to find your course.

Creating a membership site answers both of these needs.

Make sure your site design and copy resonate with the niche you identified in the previous step.

With a membership site set up, there are plenty of ways to already generate buzz and revenue around your brand:

  • Use lead magnets to grow your audience and get them excited for your mini course.
  • Poll your existing members to get an idea of what mini course topics they’re interested in 
  • Interact with members and encourage them to follow you on social, where you can quickly spread the word about your site and course
  • Build your email list by encouraging people to sign up for your newsletter or offering exclusive promotions

You could even host a giveaway. Since you’ve created a mini course instead of a full-length course, you won’t feel as anxious about giving away access for free. Host a contest and pick one or more winners to take your mini course for free. People who don’t win might decide they want to sign up anyway, which makes them paying customers.

With Kajabi, you can easily create your site and mini course within the same platform. 

3. Establish your online audience

A mini course can help establish your online audience. By creating a stable of existing customers, you can market and sell your material more effectively.

To grow an online audience around your mini course, you need to get the word out about it. Here are a few ways to do so:

  • Launch a paid social media campaign
  • Ask other experts in your field to promote your mini course to their customer base
  • Write blogs about the subjects you’ll be covering
  • Tell your friends and family about it 
  • Promote it to your email list (if applicable) 

For any audience-growing campaign, make sure to direct your prospects back to the membership site you built in Step 2.

Once you have an established audience, you’re far more likely to make sales in the future. Existing customers can even help grow your audience, as they’re likely to share what they’ve learned on social media, review your course, and tell their friends about you.

Best of all, you’ll enjoy high customer retention levels if you release high-quality courses in the future.

Research shows that returning customers prove more valuable than new ones. They’re already brand-aware, so you don’t have to spend as much time, energy, or effort to bring them onboard. They already know they can trust you.

As your audience grows, you can connect with them in more powerful ways. You might build an online community around your online courses, but don’t get ahead of yourself. It all starts with creating that first mini course to get your feet wet.

4. Pick a mini course topic

This is perhaps the most important step in the process. You need a topic that you’re comfortable with and that will generate interest among your target audience.

For instance, you might find one topic incredibly interesting and fun to discuss, but if you find that your target audience isn’t seeking out that topic online, it won’t be profitable. You need a balance between what excites you and what excites your audience.

Start by researching online courses in your topic area. What have other entrepreneurs covered? You can always create similar courses, but you don’t want to duplicate content that already exists. You’ll turn off buyers who have already taken similar online courses.

Maybe you can’t duplicate the course, but you could put your own spin on a topic that’s already been covered. What’s your competitive edge?

From there, conduct a little keyword research. Use tools like SEMrush, Buzzsumo, Google Trends, and Keyword Tool to find topics that people are searching for online.

Why does this matter? Because you want to generate sales through organic search. When someone types a query into the Google search bar, you want your online mini course to show up in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Once you find a topic and a keyword, create an enticing mini course title that will generate interest and excitement. Use powerful verbs, unique adjectives, and well-placed jargon to appeal to your audience.

A highly sought-after keyword in your course title can make it much easier for customers to find and purchase. 

5. Build a buyer persona for your mini course

You know what topic your mini course will focus on, but who will buy it? Understanding your audience is just as important as understanding your topic.

Consumers have become extremely discerning since the advent of the Internet. They have unlimited resources at their disposal, and they don’t spend their money on just anything. They’re more likely to comparison shop and investigate an entrepreneur before handing over their hard-earned cash.

Plain and simple: If you don’t know your audience, you can’t market to them effectively. Start by building a buyer persona.

It’s a brief but detailed biography of a fictional customer. It contains information like: 

  • Age
  • Income 
  • Hobbies
  • Professional and personal goals
  • Problems and pain points
  • Shopping and spending habits

Picture your ideal customer in your mind. This person can’t wait to get his or her hands on your mini course. With that in mind, write about the customer as though he or she were a real person.

Example of a buyer persona created by a shoe brand
Example of a buyer persona created by a shoe brand (Source)

You can use a template or simply write a paragraph-style biography. Get as much information as you can down on paper. Once you’re creating and marketing your mini course, you’ll know exactly who you’re talking to.

6. Identify your mini course goals

What do you want to accomplish with your mini course? More importantly, what do you want your customers to accomplish?

The answers to these questions should come from your personal core values which, by extension, become your business’s core values. Your beliefs and personal perspective will weigh heavily on the goals you set for your mini course and your customers.

These two goals will become increasingly important as you delve into the mini course’s content. You want it to serve both goals simultaneously so you can satisfy the customer while generating sales.

Your goal for your mini course

This first goal relates specifically to you and your business. What metrics do you want to hit? What outcome would you like to enjoy from releasing your mini course?

You could start with sales. Maybe you want to generate $1,000 in profit from your mini course. That’s a specific, actionable goal. You’ll have to market your mini course effectively and generate enough value to encourage word-of-mouth marketing.

Perhaps you’re less concerned with money than with brand recognition. You might want to convince 5,000 people to buy your mini course. In this case, you could price it lower than its true value to encourage more conversions.

Knowing your own goals for your mini course will help you design and implement a strategy that lends itself to those objectives. Just remember, you’re only getting started. Don’t set the bar so high that you can’t actually reach it.

Your customers’ goals for the mini course

Your second goal or set of goals should relate directly to your customers’ objectives. What can they expect to get out of your course? What problems will they solve? What goals will they achieve?

Whatever goal you decide on, make sure it’s specific and measurable.

Let’s go back to the fitness course. Maybe you’re creating a mini course about losing weight through aerobic exercise. The customer goal should not be generally to lose weight. It should be something like losing 10 pounds, or more specifically, losing 10 pounds in 30 days.

By getting specific about your goals, you can create a mini course that is focused and valuable.

7. Outline your mini course

Now that you have all the information you need for your mini course, you can sketch an outline for it. Include as much detailed information as possible about what each mini course module will cover and how you’ll deliver the content.

You don’t have to create a conventional outline. Nobody will see your course’s planning stage except for you, so feel free to get creative with how you plan your course. Find your groove and go with it.

For instance, maybe you prefer to write your ideas in longhand and explore the content through paragraphs of text. Maybe you’d rather record your ideas as you speak them aloud, or perhaps you’d rather jot down bullet points as they come to you.

Don’t feel boxed in by the concept of outlining. Just think of it as planning and getting your ideas on paper (or in an iPhone note).

After you’ve brainstormed ideas, start putting those ideas into a logical order. What steps should your customers take in the mini course to solve their problems or achieve their goals?

8. Create focused, actionable content

It’s finally time to create your mini course. You already know what content you’re going to deliver. Now you just need to put it together in an attractive, easy-to-use package.

This stage will look different depending on what mediums you use to deliver your mini course materials. For instance, if you’re primarily writing articles and other text-based content, your workflow will look much different from an entrepreneur who creates a lot of video content.

However you choose to deliver information, make sure that’s unique, actionable, focused, and reliable. Don’t deliver fluff. You want to wow your audience from the moment they open your course and begin the work.

Delivering value isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Remember, you’re the expert on the topic of your mini course. With each sentence you write or speak, ask yourself if it’s common knowledge or a truly unique take on your topic of choice.

Additionally, you don’t want to deliver information in a dry, flat tone. Put your personality to work. You want customers to relate not only to the information you impart, but also to you and your brand.

With Kajabi, building a mini course is super simple. With pre-built blueprints at your disposal, you can have a mini course up and running in just a day’s time.

Don’t be afraid to experiment

A mini course introduces you to online courses. You get a feel for what your audience expects from you and what you can deliver. Experiment with different mediums, such as video, screen-casting, written materials, and images to find the ideal way to deliver content to your customers.

A mini course gives you the freedom to experiment and create without the pressure that a full-length course creates. Instead of worrying about how much work remains in front of you, finish up the mini course faster and build your confidence.

Once you’ve released your mini course, you can get to work on a full-length course. It will already feel familiar, though you should always stretch yourself to deliver more value. Keep those existing customers on the hook so you can continue to generate revenue through the life of your business. 

How to market your mini course

Once you’ve created your online course, you must make it as visible as possible. In other words, you have to market the course if you want to generate sales.

Kajabi offers the most full-featured course platform available on the market today. It’s also the perfect platform for generating income.

Once you create your mini course, you can sell it through Kajabi. Start with a dedicated Kajabi sales page.

It should detail the benefits that your mini course offers potential customers. Don’t forget to include things like pricing, deliverables, and other pertinent information.

End the sales page with a compelling call to action. Make buying your mini course irresistible with strong and savvy copy.

Examples of sales pages built in Kajabi
Examples of sales pages built in Kajabi

Think of your sales page as the gateway between a prospect and a customer. When someone lands on your sales page, they probably haven’t made up their mind. Your job is to make them click the “buy” button.

Imagery should play a part in your sales page, as well. Use photographs, videos, or other graphics to entice the visitor.

For example, if you’re offering a mini course on fitness, use before-and-after photographs of people. This shows customers that others have lost weight using your methods.

Additionally, you should include some biographical information. What makes you an authority on the topic? What do you bring to the table that other entrepreneurs lack? Credibility is huge when you’re marketing your mini course. 

Establish a drip campaign for your email list

At Kajabi, we’re big fans of drip marketing. It’s the practice of gradually releasing information to your audience and leading them towards a purchase. Email offers the perfect medium for drip marketing.

Using Kajabi, put your email subscriber list on a drip campaign. Every few days, they will receive new content from you, all of it focused on your mini course.

Start with a welcome email that thanks the customer for subscribing to your list. Mention that you’ve built an online mini course that might benefit them.

Your next email might touch on pain points. What’s bothering your target customer? How can you help?

A drip campaign can last as long as you want, but aim for seven to 10 emails. The final email should include your hard sales pitch and direct people back to your sales page. Your customers are used to hearing from you by now, so they’ll be more receptive to your offer.

Promote your mini course on social media

The 80/20 rule should always apply to social media. Use 20% of your posts to promote your mini course, but use the remaining 80% to share useful, actionable information or to entertain your audience.

That said, it’s essential to promote your mini course on social media. Get creative. Make a YouTube video, share a meme that you’ve adopted for your course, and link to your sales page.

Blog about your mini course

Don’t neglect your blog, either. Demonstrate your ability to write long-form content about the topic you’ve chosen. You don’t want to give away your mini course’s content, but your blog posts should whet your audience’s appetite.

Share in-depth articles that show off your expertise and authority. If you’ve conducted independent research, share it. Consider writing anecdotes about your own life or your customers’ lives.

Pre-sell your mini course

If you’d like to secure more revenue before rolling out your mini course, try pre-selling it! Pre-selling means that you’re making your course available for purchase before you launch it (or even create it).

Pre-selling creates a sense of urgency for customers to buy-in early and allows you to market your mini course in a way that increases conversion rates.

For example, you could set a deadline for customers to purchase your course at a low price. All customers who buy after the deadline has passed have to buy at an increased price.

Pre-selling not only allows you to make cash up front, it also allows you to test the waters with customers, generate buzz, and collect more data. But the best part? Pre-selling will help you build up confidence before the mini course hits the main market. 

Create, market, and sell your mini course using Kajabi  

Kajabi allows you to create, market, and sell your mini course in just a few clicks. Just choose your Mini Course Product Blueprint, upload your own content, and you're set!

You can even use Kajabi to create your sales and landing pages, organize your social media content, and blog about your niche. The Kajabi Assistant can help you find the tools you need to make your mini course a success.

Sales won’t happen just because you want them to. If you put in the work, though, your mini course will fly off the virtual shelves.

With advanced analytics at your disposal, you can easily identify areas that need improvement and increase sales. 

Create your mini course and make money today

A mini course isn’t nearly as formidable a project as a full-length course. You still have to pack plenty of value into the course.

After you learn how to create a mini course, you’ll enjoy several benefits. You can get to know your audience better, develop your brand around a specific theme or topic, start generating revenue right away, and get some experience with a smaller project.

Best of all, you can do all of this with the Kajabi platform.

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How to create a mini course & start making money online today
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