How To Validate Your Course Before You Build It | Miguel Hernandez | Skillshare

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How To Validate Your Course Before You Build It

teacher avatar Miguel Hernandez, Founder of Grumo Media

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

6 Lessons (35m)
    • 1. Intro to Course Validation

    • 2. Find Market Proof Online

    • 3. Find Market Proof with Google Keyword Planner

    • 4. How to gather feedback to validate your course

    • 5. How to sell your course before you build it

    • 6. Crowdfunding To Validate Your Course

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About This Class

The last thing you want is to spend hundreds of hours creating a course that nobody wants to buy.
In this course I'll teach you 3 validation strategies to ensure you build a course that people will want to buy!

Meet Your Teacher

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Miguel Hernandez

Founder of Grumo Media


Miguel is a passionate online instructor with 30,000 students and the CEO of Grumo Media where he has produced marketing videos for some of the top Silicon Valley startups including clients like Microsoft, Walmart, Fidelity Investments, Reckitt Benckiser, Hipmunk and even Ashton Kutcher. Check his work at

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1. Intro to Course Validation: you want to make sure that all the effort that you're gonna put in creating online course it actually pays off. The last thing you want to do is create a course. Launch it and just hear crickets. Clicky, clicky. Nobody buys. So how do you lower the risk of nobody by? Well, before you build the course, you gather feedback. You gather as much in pale. It's possible that is going to prove, and Bonnie Day, that your idea has any legs and that people are willing to pay for that. And the way you do that is to a three stage process which basically goes stays on, reaching out to your audience, gathering market proof, gathering actual feedback from potential students that say yes, and this is something I would buy. And finally, the most important one is getting people to buy your course before you build it. Now the greatest validation of all is with somebody actually invests on your idea before you build it, and I'm gonna show you exactly how you can do it and how I did it myself. All right, let's do it 2. Find Market Proof Online: So the first states on course validation is finding proof or market. And for that we can do three things working search on Google on course marketplaces to look for existing courses on a similar topic. And finally, we can use a more analytical approach, which is using Google keyword planner to find out exactly how many people every month are looking for that a specific topic. And I'm gonna show you the three ways, All right, so let's start with search on Google or on course marketplaces. Now Google, the searches on Google are gonna show up. Also a lot of resources from existing market places like Uday me or skill share or coursera . So I mean, it could be but a bundled together. You can also go to the actual platform. I look inside the platform, but Google is going also show resource from the existing platform so you can do both. Where you're gonna be looking for on Google is literally typing the topic that you're looking for class for class scores or plast a tutorial because then, depending on the results that you get, you will be able to see that there's actually a market for it if you find absolutely no courses, no forums notorious on the topic you're trying to teach. That's a really bad indicator. The world is very big and people are continuously over a 1,000,000,000. People are continually searching for solutions to their problems every day. There should be at least several 1000 people looking, at least monthly for that, a specific solution to the problem that you're going to the solution that you're gonna provide through your course. Right? So you're gonna search for this things and then, depending on the results that you get your people to validated or not, so let's do it. So you have on a specific idea. How would this look like? Let's find proof of market using Google. So let's say we want to create a course of meditation and specifically meditation for BC People or entrepreneurs. So where we're going to do is go to Google type or topic or the problem that we want to solve class the word tutorial course or four room, and then we're going to get different results. You can see the top results and we can see that there's already a course on you and me. Meditation for entrepreneurs. So there you go. That's our first point of validation. And now we want to make sure that people are actually watching this course. So once we click on it and we go on, you'd Emmy, we can actually go you, Demi itself or any other marketplace and type. The same thing will find different courses, and we can see a couple of courses on your Jamie. Simple meditation for BC entrepreneurs and meditation for entrepreneurs, and we can see that it has 65 star ratings. It has 400 students. You know this own validation right here. People are taking, the scores are paying for it, and they seem to be happy. The same thing here. 1400 students. 15 5 star reviews. So this is a critic, Of course. It's Ah, it's literally just one hour on video. And then there's probably audio here. It's, well, 2.5 hours of audio, so about three hours of content. She has just one hour of video. So this is, of course, that you can literally record in a couple of days party to probably take a leave with longer, but you create a course similar to days focusing on a different niche. And you know that there is some validation of their that people are looking for this. The important thing is you want to look for proof off people paying money for a similar course. Because if people are just looking for information but not willing to pay for it and you don't have proof off people spending money, then it's gonna be harder to monetize now, entrepreneurs by definition, or people that have income they're making money most of the time and that the very BC they could use meditation. So this is a demographic that has money, and we can see here prove that they're willing to spend money on it. So this is actually good. Another People get this court's when they see similar courses. But the reality is that the reason market, do you think the market is bigger than you know, 2000 people in the world that could buy a similar course? Yes, of course, the world is humongous. So even if these people had 10,000 students, there's still room for a really good course on the same topic. In fact, when there are more courses on a topic. They actually help each other because then people see Okay, uh, there is validation that this is There's there is a There is another of a market that there's people creating several courses on. What happens is some people prefer to learning from different people. So think about why can you provide on this course that differences you from your competition, right? It could be focusing on a specific market. Are tripping nurse or not all kinds of interpreters, but entrepreneur there and running small businesses or entrepreneurs that are running multinationals or something like that or it could be almost the same course. But because just the fact that you're teaching it and you have different credentials and you have a different personalities, different people cannot return eight. With you, you can use a different pricing point. You can make it the longer shorter you can use different approaches. They friend music, whatever is your own take on a topic that now you've proven that people are wanting toe pay money for, and that's exactly what you're looking for. So in this case, this validation states would be proven the next thing is, you would have going to a more analytical approach. To find a market validation is using a tool like Google keyword platter, and I'm gonna show you how to do that next. 3. Find Market Proof with Google Keyword Planner: Let's use Google keyword planner to find market proof for our course idea. So just type Google keyword planner on Google. Then you find it, you click on it, then enter your Google pass were and then you go into this page and you have different options. They're gonna select search for new keywords using a phrase website or category, and then you're gonna enter your topic. Then you can modify this and tried to find different variations over. But let's say we just looking for meditation for entrepreneurs straight to see that there's actually people looking for these searching for this online. And then the recommendation is to enter three as a negative word we don't want to look for . People are looking for free solutions because those people are not gonna pay for stuff. We want to make sure for people that are looking for solutions that they can pay. So if they're typing free, underserved, obviously they're not looking for a paid solution. So we're gonna make sure that the negative word is that you have a bunch of other options languages, different demographics. Depending on your country, you're gonna make sure that you're looking for people are searching for that. A specific topic on your demographic or language or country. And now, which is gonna click good ideas. And we find aber average monthly searches for its key words that I related or similar to your main key word here. This gives me these different strippers, and we could see there's a lot of them. We've got half a 1,000,006 100 ah, 700,000 in January searches on that topic. That is a lot. This is a prolific market. Once you're getting close to the millions, searches a month on this country's right for that is specific keyword. Actually, the average monthly searches is very low is 30. You want to find keywords that have over 1000 searches a word? Um, I've at least, and a good number would be 60,000. If he's a very, very part popular keywords, then it would be hard to rank high for that specific keyword because it's gonna be a lot of competition. But anyways, in this gaze, you could actually rank higher beaches optimizer course for this keyword. But the problem is that there's not a lot of people searching for that, so you get about 30 people finding maybe your course, but I mean most of them would invite me get 1% conversion, raising even 10% covers. That would be a about three sales a month. Not really big market enough, but anyways, this gives me an idea that people are looking for this Diab off of off. Of course, something related to meditation for entrepreneurs. And you have here ideas over the other ideas you can have here like meditation for sex, says meditation classes. Here we have 4000 that's over 1000. So that's pretty gay success, meditation and mind mindfulness. What is mindfulness meditation? Mindfulness is becoming something very training nowadays. Maybe you wanna also include on your description something related to mindfulness or a chapter on mindfulness, because we can see that it keeps appearing. Stillness, mindfulness and meditation, and what we can also do is under keyword filters. We can go here and click in between. I make sure that the their resource that we get our between let's say 1000 searches many moon and maybe maximum 50,000 and then click safe. And now we can see here the the key words that I have a list over 1000 searches a month, and we could see here. Why is mindfulness famous entrepreneurs? A lot of them are not related. Ah, meditation on cores. We could type here, try different variation meditation classes. And it was wikis. See this? A lot off key words with the word meditation that have over 1000 searches a month. Which means people are looking for solutions on how to meditate. Meditation for beginners. That's a great title. This probably if we were to type this song. Go What? We probably find ah, lot off. Ah, resource is on this, so you may have an idea. But then, actually, you do you realize that there's a good idea? Okay, so maybe this year for beginners. If we time here, course maybe there's a course on it. And we have ah, you know me Course already. So that already validates that. The market. 2000 students. A lot of 55 star reviews. That's really good. 45. It's 4.5 hours long. So there this is a pretty good course is being validated. People are taking it. They like it. There is an opportunity to the substance similar. Better even charge more for it and on set it on your own. Anyway, this is a market that now, through these strategies, just searching on Google for proof and through the keyword planner, we can see that there's actually people looking for this. So before you create your course, make sure to go through this validation state. The next validation states is going to gather feedback from potential buyers. 4. How to gather feedback to validate your course: course, validation is states to We've been able to prove that there is a market out there that wants your solution by searching online in forums on marketplaces with Google keyword planner. That's great. The next stage is to actually go out there and ask your existing network reach out and find out exactly what they want. Would they buy a course on this? Would be be willing to spend money to open their wallet and spend money for a solution. And if you were to provide a solution in the form of a course, would they be willing to buy? How much would you be willing to pay? If the answer is no, I'm not interested that you need to pay for change your idea until you get enough people saying, Yes, I'm interested and then you build your course. Based on this feedback, this is a crucial step. It's a little bit harder because you have to do more work, but it can save you disappointment and not finding anybody willing to pay for your course. The great thing about doing this is that to all the people that you reached out and say yes , they already kind of like committed to buying it. This is, they say, they said yes, of course, there's a big gap between saying yes and I would buy and them buying it. But we'll get that next right now, which is I want to find feedback, and there is several ways you can do so. There are three main stages to gathering feedback. First, we could not reach out to your audience. So let's say you have an email list. Great. Send an email asking for feedback. Social media. Maybe you don't have an email is, but you have a lot of followers from Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest on instagram. Whatever you have on audience, reach out and tried to gather this feedback your existing, their work. Maybe, you know, use social media media. Maybe you don't have an email list, but you have people that know you, your family, your friends, friends of your friends, your professional network. Reach out to them and gather as much feedback as you can. So the next step is you're gonna collect that feedback either by email. You could ask a simple question on email. I get email responses. You could go a step further and send people to a survey with you are asked a specific question so you can learn more about the needs and wants a desire off your potential students. You can do free consultations. Where you're like on example would be. Hey, I'm interested in teaching people how to create online courses. Is this is that something that interests you? I could give you a free coaching called based where I can answer any questions related to that specific topic. Maybe I'll answer give you a free consultation on how to find more abundance in life, how to meditate, and people will ask you questions. You provide these free consultation, and what you're gonna do is extract their main problems because the consultation is just an opportunity to have somebody solve their problems. Now, those problems, you can create a course that solve those problems. So basically, this job you're doing in the consultation the course is going to do so maybe in the future you don't want to do consultations anymore, which happens a lot, and and you can send people well, you know, if you cannot afford my consultation fees or my coaching fees take My course landed fundamentals, the solutions and then from them on, maybe you can hire me to do consultations, you see. But what you happens is that through this process of asking questions, you're gathering the intell, the data, the feedback that you need to make sure you build. Of course, people actually want and final. What you're gonna do is analyze all this data through the emails, survey responses or through your free consultations, and you're going to find out exactly what are the main struggling points your audience has and address those in your course because you could create a course and just guess what people want. And you may be right. Maybe 50% of the stuff that you put there is correct. But maybe you forgot that there's some really crucial elements that most people are struggling with and you don't know until you ask. That's why it's so crucial that way, when you release the course, you know that the majority of the people that have that problem are gonna be interested in that course because you solved it right, so you can ask several questions to your audience. You can ask, what are you struggling the most with in your topic in the same meditation or raising money for your company or building a house or playing tennis for whatever it is. And maybe people say, Well, my surface really bind. Okay, I can create a course based on on serving because or in my case, a play soccer. Right? I've bean ah, play soccer for over 30 years right now. And but soccer is such a broad thing. You know, you have a strategy. You have ah, passing heading, controlling free kicks, penalty kicks. Ah, slide tackles. I mean, there's a 1,000,000 things you can learn, but maybe you can find out what people are struggling the most with maybe right food and people that want to learn how to kick with their left. And I know personally, I said, Right footed a soccer player that being able to be ableto kick and shoot on goal with precision with both legs can literally double the amount of goes on your score. And so that's something that you could create a course around that So you want to strike that by asking the right questions? That would be one potential question. A variation of that question could be. What are you remain questions regarding the specific topic. Plain tenis plane sucker, meditation, golf, whatever it is. And then extract those questions. And those questions could be actual chapters. Those questions could be Chapter senior course, where you're answering that question. Why does this see a common thread? A lot of people asking the same question. You know that the market, your audience, he's asking for a solution, right? Ah, very direct question would be Would you buy a course that solve this specific problem? So there you go. That's kind of like very, very direct. So you're creating thinking about creating a course on meditation for entrepreneurs, and you would be like, you know, a lot of people. They are finding a lot of benefits from meditating. And would you buy a course that teaches you the fundamentals off many dating and people who say yes or no? Well, what you're gonna do next is you wanna get gather enough that asking three people are getting three years. This is not enough, especially if you're your friends or family or your mom or your sister. They're more likely going to say yes because they're your your related to you. So getting strangers or people that are not really closely tied to you, Teoh give you feedback is exactly what you're looking for. So let's say you're collecting email feedback. I would say you have to collect at least 50 emails from 50 different people. There are not your direct friends that say give you. They said yes, I would buy this course. I would be interested in this or definitely this topic that you want to cover is something that I really need a solution for, right? If you're collecting surveys, uh, getting at least 100 to 500 people feeling at the survey is also ah, good number. Because the more data that you have, the more likely the more likely will be that you find people are really having specific problems that keep repeating right. If you're doing free consultations, it takes a lot longer. It's more effort. So I would say get at least 20 people on the phone where you can extract all those questions and then you'll start seeing patterns that you can apply towards creating the outline for your own line course on, always based on real world feedback, not assumptions. So there you go 5. How to sell your course before you build it: course. Validation strategy number three. All right. Pre sell your course. This is by far my favorite one. And this is exactly what I launch my first course in 2010. Exactly what I did. And I'm gonna explain you right now. Hi. Works. So you have two options. To do this, you can either do a better offer to your audience, Which made basically means selling the course at a discount toe a selected group of people . Or you can run a crowdfunding campaign on a platform like Kickstarter or Indiegogo or whatever it's available out there. Now for the better offer to your audience. This is exactly how it works. So you're gonna create a sales page, then you're going to drive traffic to the sales page, and you want to get at least 20 cells in one month. This is so what of an arbitrary number. But this is exactly what I did when I in 2010 when I released my first course how to create a new awesome demo video. What you want to have is at least some validation off people buying your course. And this cannot be your friends. Your mother your sister, your brother? 20 people that are not related to you. They're willing to open their wallets and spend their heart and dollars on a course that you haven't built it yet. So where you're going to do is create a sale space for your course that you haven't built yet. On on this page, You're gonna do exactly what? Since pages do, you're gonna explain the problem that you were solving. And then how you how your courses solving that problem, maybe a little bit of information about the modules that your course is gonna have If you have any testimonials from from previous clients working with you from people that have similar promise insulted anything that gives you some social proof, like your credentials or anything you're gonna create, Ah, sales space for that. We'll talk later about how to create up the perfect sale speech. But right now it's just think about a creative cell. Speeds make it simple. Do not get too complex not to bog down with the details. Then you put a PayPal button on it, or I mean, you can hosted on on a blood posted. You have a block on WordPress this is exactly what I did. I just create a new blood post. I explain what the course was gonna be, and then I literally put a PayPal button, which is free. And then I saw the full course was gonna be to 97. I pre sold for 97 dollars. All right, but nowadays it's just five years ago. Now, this is a lot of sure. You could use an existing platform like teachable or think if IQ, which allows you to create a sales page really easy. You just go and say new course on immediately. There's a blank template for you can add all the details about your about your course. You can also set a price so the payment system, all the technical stuff, is taking care for you right away. Very easy to use platforms. You could even use you, Jamie or course marketplace to create a blank course and then drive traffic to it. Now the problem with some of them is that you may not be able to publish the course, and there's actually content, So that is the problem. In a case of a marketplace like Uday me, you will have to create at least a minimum viable course may be just the first module of it before you can actually publish it, right? But if you want to go on my way, which is the simplest one, which is not creating the course, just the sale space I recommend. Just use your own Blawg. Ah, you can use lead pages or click finals. So something the latches click create a sales page really fast, and then don't get bogged down with the details. Put a price. The price should be somewhere like 50% or less of the full price. In my case was about 30% of the full price and then drive traffic to it. So you have an email list. Just announce the course to your email list the same I'm gonna be created. This course I'm gonna launch any two months from now and and I want to see if you guys are interested in in provided and everybody that buys it is gonna get a discount. Organic traffic. In my case, I need to have any email traffic. At that time I had a block post. I had about 100 visits a day, so what I did. I announced I opened the, uh announced this course for a month and I said for from now to the end of the month So let's say I started in October 1st. So by the end of the month, you anybody that buys the course will be able to get a discount. After that, it is going to go full price. And then I really is the course. Um, you know, two weeks after that, or a month after I close the opportunity to buy at a discount, right? You want Oh, give. People are recent to buy right now. Finally the fastest way. Probably, but the hardest one at the same time to get ready spade traffic. So basically, you're gonna buy at Google and Facebook, and you're gonna direct into your cell space, and hopefully you can get some sales. Ah, and my goal was to get 20 sales in one month. You can if you have a lot more budget, maybe you want to get more. But typically, beta offers are between 15 and 30 people. You just need enough people that you can work with them. So you they provide the course and now you actually, because they're committed and they're expected the cores. You can ask them questions and and any return off of them answering your questions, they're getting a very high discount, right? So everybody wins. You win because you can build the course with their help. And they win because they get a discount. And they also part of the creation process off the course, which a lot of people really enjoy. And that's exactly what I did. I put that Ah, blood post. And in a month, I got exactly 20 cells for that course. And I'm like, this is this is great validation. I have, you know, like, you know, almost 2000 $2000 on the first month for a course that I haven't created. This this is great. I could pay my rent just with the precepts of that, right? Obviously, if you don't have an existing audience is gonna be hard. If you don't have an email list is gonna be hard even having the social media following, it's gonna be harder to do so. But you could get on the phone to your network and say, call like, 20 people that you think would benefit from this course and see if you can get, you know, 235 people to provide the course. If you don't get anybody, then obviously there's something wrong with it. You know, you haven't been able to validate it, but this is the best way of validated off course. You want to create some scar city people need a reason to buy now. So ah, lot of times people gave a very big discount, like 80% discounts. I would say that a good discount would be Ah, you know, so that cause for like, like 25% of the food price. So if if the whole course was $1000 sitting for 250 in my case, the course was 297 and I was sitting for $97. There has to be clear that they're really getting a great deal. If they think action soon, that's why there's gonna be limited states. Not a 1,000,000 people can't taken advantage of this offer, and then you wanna have a deadline so it could be 12 weeks. In my case, it was month, one month because I was not getting enough traffic to, like know that I was going to sell this in, like, two days, right? I did have an email list, and you have an existing on is just organic traffic. So I was able to get a bunch of sales on the first month that I published this course. Oh, and die violated in my idea. So I really encourage you to do this, go through the whole process and at the end, once you once you have collected enough data using the, you know, asking for feedback, getting proof of market. Now you're gonna build a product based on that feedback, and then you're gonna have pre sell it one super cell it Now you can actually start building it on what? Something like What is it okay to sell something that you haven't built? Of course it is. It happens all the time. Many, many How many times? People pre by their next iPhone or their next toy. Because they want to be the 1st 1 to get it right. Sometimes they don't even get a discount for buying it early, and they're willing to put a deposit for it. Right? Uh, and then they, then they have to pay the full price. You're telling them that they won't have to pay anything extra. They'll have maybe lifetime access to the course for, ah, for a very big discount. So there's a big incentive for people to provide your course on. Let's say that then you change your mind. You don't wanna build your course. I mean, who knows? Anything can happen. Well, you just refund the people you know there's no risk involved on any aim, any any party. So there you go. Create yourself space, do it fast or get bogged down with technology. Make sure that people have a reason to buy. They spend a month promoting and get at least 20 people to provide leverage all the audience channels that you have. And if you get you know enough sales, you've validated your course. And now you can confidently spend the time to produce the full course, which is exactly what I'm gonna teach you in this course. All right, let's do it 6. Crowdfunding To Validate Your Course: the second pre setting this strategy, which I really like, but it's a little bit harder to implement if you don't know what you're doing. Its crowdfunding You're seeing a platform like Kickstarter or Indiegogo to raise money to build your course or to lunch whatever you want, right? And the great advantage is that a game. You get money before you build it. You know why celebrates the money that you wanted? That's the perfect validation. Second, you get more exposure because these platforms are inherently designed for people to share them. Two they have a great network effect is that if you were to post like yourself, space your block post. You don't have any traffic if you put it on you, jammy or unteachable, and you don't have an existing audience on an email list to drive traffic to it. It's harder, but this is kind of like a marketplace for crowdfunding projects. So if you project start getting traction, they start promoting the more to the first page to the to the to the fast growing and crowdfunding projects, and it's very issue to share is very easy. To get paid, you get more exposure and the good things that they have a really good commented system and people will ask you questions. And you can answer. You can build this relationship with your your supporters with people are interested in pre buying your course, and then you get to learn exactly what people want. What are the questions, whether their fears. And then, based on that, you can adjust your course and your offer and keep raising money, right? The problem is that, of course, you may not raise the money that you want, but there you go. Nobody loses. The money gets back to this reporter's. You found out that the course was not validated. So great you didn't. You just lost the time on the validation process. But you learned a lot, right? This course is about how the great courses not Kickstarter crowdfunding come base. That's a course in itself. But if you want to learn how to run a Kickstarter campaign and on in the Gore campaign, you can type online how to run the perfect Kickstarter Campaign court or something like that. And one of the first resource that I found is this course that has a lot of really good reviews over almost 10,000 students on you than me. It's only literally an hour and 1/2 long, and you'll learn all the fundamentals of how to run your own Kickstarter campaign. It's done by the This one, in particular, is owned by Ellie Regalado, and it has a little nice resource that you can find here. It has a Trillo bored with all the different stages of creating, designing and launching a Kickstarter campaign from week to week. We want with two with three drive traffic optimized finish and then launched with a bunch of the nicely the little pictures the to get to this this Ah, the Estrella bore. All you have to do is go toe Grumman dot com forward crowd fund, as you can see on the screen right now. Then, once you go to the trail aboard click show menu and then copy board s so you have your own copy that you can edit and do anything you want with it. So there you go. Now you've covered in dire validation process for your potential course and is just to recap. The first stage was finding market proof by searching online, searching existing marketplaces using Google keyword planner. Then we could step further and we ask our audience exactly what they want So we can uncover what are their struggling points and from that building outline or a course based on that real world feedback and that, then once we have enough feedback, we can go ahead and resell the course based on that feedback. And once we get enough people pre buying that course, we know that for sure. We're building the cores that people are willing to pay because they already pay for it, some of them, and because there you go, they pay for it. So now the next thing is to go and build it.