I am going to share all my toolbox secrets and share my favorite tools along with some additional tips and tricks that I use both in my business and my clients’ business.
First things first, you need a platform to host your course!
There are some excellent low-budget ways to do this if you are bootstrapping this project. If you have a WordPress site, you can create a password protected page on your website, upload lessons to that password protected page, and then run your checkout through a free tool like WooCommerce. All you have to do is give your customers the password to access the course content! Easy peasy.
However, this budget-friendly approach will only take you so far.
To provide a seamless experience for your students and to have a smooth build process, I recommend using Thinkific. Thinkific is hands down my favorite course platform, both from a course creator standpoint AND from a student perspective. It’s incredibly easy to use, even for those who are not super tech savvy! Check out this post for my guide on how to setup your first course in Thinkific.
Email Marketing System
You need to have an email marketing system to communicate with your potential students (i.e., your list) and current students.
Frankly, you cannot be an online business owner and NOT have an email marketing system. The landscape for email marketing may be shifting, but it’s still a crucial marketing strategy.
My favorite tool to serve this purpose is ActiveCampaign. It is what I use in my own business and has automation features that are incredibly easy to use. ActiveCampaign is a lot more robust than some of the free email tools (e.g., Mailchimp, Mailerlite, etc.), and I very rarely encounter something that it can’t do.
If you are a bit further along in your business and need sophisticated email funnels, beautiful landing pages and forms, and the ability to run affiliate programs, checkouts, etc., then I recommend that you check out a workhorse program like Ontraport.
Whenever a student enrolls, that information is transferred automatically to my EMS. #MINDBLOWN
Using Zapier is a cost-effective tool that can prevent you from having to pay for the higher/premium levels of course platforms and email systems.
Zapier even has a free plan that is perfect for those who don’t require more than 5 “zaps”, and have a low volume of students.
Video Recording Tool
If you are building a course, chances are you’re going to have to record some videos!
My favorite tool for recording video is Screencast-o-Matic. It is simple to use and even includes some basic editing features. They have a free version and also a premium plan that unlocks some cool features. Screencast-o-Matic allows you to record your screen and/or video, and the quality is excellent.
Alternatively, you could use something like Zoom and simply start a meeting by yourself and just hit record!
Graphic Design Tool
Finally, when building a course, you need a design tool! It’s surprising how many graphics you have to create when developing a course (slide decks, course logo, video thumbnails, promotional graphics, etc!)
Hands down, Canva is my favorite (and FREE!) graphic design tool. I wouldn’t be able to create beautiful courses without the ever-amazing Canva. For those of us who aren’t as design-inclined, it has ready-made templates at your disposal.
There are many tools available for course creators but these tools are essential for your course success!
If you’re thinking about building a course, make sure to check out my FREE course clarity workbook!
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