7 Steps to Creating an Online Workshop

If you’re looking to build an online workshop, you need to ensure you have the right tools — and the right plan. Here’s what you need to know.

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Kelli Pease

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There’s never been a better time to launch your own — or your business’s — online workshop. More people are looking online to learn and expand their repertoire of certifications. Likewise, it’s easier than ever to build an online workshop thanks to full-featured learning management system platforms like Inspire360.

Truly — the possibilities for online learning and training are endless.

On the flip side, the amount of information and different tools and marketing aspects of creating and selling an online workshop can be overwhelming. But you don’t have to reinvent the wheel or invest huge sums of time and money to create a successful online workshop.

Here’s what you need to know to get started and to scale your online workshop and courses from the ground up.

The Benefits and ROI of Online Workshops

Even before the world was upended and many businesses and educators were forced to move their brick and mortar operations online, remote courses and workshops were already helping entrepreneurs and organizations of all sizes to increase revenue, attract new customers, and expand into different markets.

Since the start of social distancing and stay at home orders back in February, online fitness courses and workshops have seen new subscriptions and online workshop purchases surge anywhere from 80% to over 600%.

The demand for quality online fitness content and workshops is only projected to keep growing, so now is a great time to launch a new online workshop or revamp existing content to draw in new customers.

Taking the Live Workshop Experience Online

Fitness courses and workshops are just one slice of the online learning pie. Many businesses and organizations are also moving live workshops that were originally meant to be held in person to an online format, as well as creating new courses and workshops from scratch.

Our Live Workshop Management System streamlines the entire process for creating, managing, and selling live online workshops all in one place.

How to Create and Sell an Online Workshop

There’s more to creating an online workshop than shooting and posting videos on the internet. Despite the fact that there is so much free content available on channels like YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Vimeo, among others, consumers and online learners are willing to pay for premium content that delivers value and offers a structured learning environment and community online.

The easiest way to create and ensure that your online workshop will be successful and profitable is to organize and break the process down into a few main categories:

  • Concepting your workshop
  • Research your market
  • Create your content
  • Make sure you have a powerful platform in place
  • Price your workshop appropriately
  • Begin your marketing efforts
  • Ensure a clear path to certification for students

Step One: Define the Concept and Goals of Your Online Workshop

It might sound counterintuitive, but one of the secrets to selling online courses and workshops is to begin selling it before you go live. In fact, pre-selling is one of the most effective tools of the trade when it comes to generating buzz and driving interest and engagement for an online workshop.

You can start by answering a few simple questions:

  • What topics and materials will your workshop include?
  • Who is your target audience and workshop attendee?
  • What are your deliverables?
  • Will you offer certificates and certifications?
  • What’s your value proposition?
  • How much will the workshop cost?
  • When can you go live?
  • What are your tech specs and budget?
  • Who are your competitors?

Answering a few simple questions and doing some research before you dive in to creating videos and content for your workshop will help you build a blueprint for the workshop, and for marketing and selling it before you’re ready to go live.

Step Two: Research the Market and Your Target Audience

What are your customers and users looking for (and willing to pay for) in a workshop experience? What type of content do they need? What’s already available and where can your workshop content add value?

Even with an existing audience and user base, you want to ensure that there will be sustained demand for your workshop before you begin creating content and marketing the workshop to your customers.

Some of the metrics you can use to gauge market demand for your workshop include:

  • Trending topics in your niche
  • User surveys
  • Competitor analysis
  • What’s already on the market?
  • How much are your target customers already spending on similar content and resources?

Understanding your market will help you target your content and marketing message to the right audience, and save you time and money in the long run.

Step Three: Build Your Content

Your content is the heart and soul of your online workshop. At the end of the day, your content is your biggest tool: it’s what people are coming to you for, after all.

The type of workshop you’re trying to build will determine how you structure your content. If you are looking to build a blended learning experience, you’ll probably create a mix of content to keep your users engaged and invested.

That might look something like this:

  • Live videos
  • Waiver of liability
  • Written lessons and material
  • Testing and quizzes for certification
  • Supplemental and bonus content

In addition to creating the content for the workshop, you’ll also have to decide the best way to organize and present the material so that it flows at an adequate pace and is organized in a way that delivers the best impact and allows for retention of the material.

Our live workshop management system is equipped with an easy drag-and-drop interface to help you design and organize your workshop to deliver an intuitive presentation of your content, and the best user experience for your students.

The best online classes help to simulate a communal learning experience from the comfort of home, which is why people are willing to pay for quality online workshops and courses despite the fact that there are already so many videos and content available for free.

We cover everything from e-commerce to testing and course administration tools so that you can focus on designing and delivering excellent content and value to your customers.

Step Four: Workshop Production

Creating content for your online workshop is just the beginning. Like a website, there are a series of nuts and bolts on the backend that are necessary to create a dynamic online workshop. You’ll also need:

  • A responsive website
  • A landing page
  • E-commerce tools to sell and collect payment
  • Registration and sign up tools for the workshop
  • Testing and certification capabilities
  • Customer service and tech support

Our live workshop and learning management systems provide an all-in-one solution so that you can create a robust, state of the art online workshop or course without breaking the bank or hiring an entire web development and production team. You focus on creating the content, and we’ll help you with the rest.

Step Five: Pricing Your Workshop

Unlike other online products and services that typically come with a fixed price and are completed in a single transaction, educational courses and online workshops usually have tiered pricing and delivery structures and subscriptions that make pricing a little more complicated.

For starters, you have to decide what to charge for the workshop. When determining what the workshop will cost, remember to factor in the time and resources that went into creating the workshop and course materials, as well as the value the workshop will deliver.

One of the biggest misconceptions (and miscalculations) around pricing for online courses and workshops is that charging less will attract more buyers and ultimately make it easier to sell the course to more people. While you want to make sure that the people who want and need to take your workshop can afford it, undercutting the price can actually hurt your sales and diminish the workshop’s value.

Setting the right price for your online workshop is about establishing both its actual and perceived value: if you price it too low, potential buyers may take that as a sign that the workshop is lacking in quality and won’t deliver the standard of educational content they need (you get what you pay for, after all).

The subscription and tiered pricing advantage

Depending on the structure and duration of your online workshop and your other courses, you’ll have different pricing levels that require recurring payments over time or a weekly or monthly subscription fee as opposed to a large up-front payment. This makes the workshop more affordable to a broader audience.

Our flexible payment options make it possible to offer your customers multiple options including:

  • Payment plans
  • Subscriptions
  • One time payments
  • Coupons and promotions
  • Recurring payment processing
  • International payments

Pricing is one of the aspects of performing market research, so see what your competitors are charging for similar content and study popular and successful workshops and courses in your niche to determine a fair market value for your workshop. From there, factor in the individual value and return on investment that your workshop will deliver to your students in the short and long term.

Offer as many payment options as possible, but resist the urge to undercharge. If your prices are too low, your customers may think they can get the same value through one of the many free resources available online.

Step Six: Marketing Your Courses

There are a number of ways to get the word out about your online workshop depending on your audience and the nature of your workshop. As we already mentioned, you want to start marketing and spreading the word about your workshop as soon as possible to generate buzz and pre-sell enrollment and subscriptions when possible.

If you already have a built-in audience and existing customers, start with a targeted announcement to your email list. If you’re new to creating and selling online workshops, there are many ways to market and sell your workshop including:

  • Paid ads
  • Social media
  • Influencer marketing
  • Landing pages
  • Content marketing
  • Advertising in industry and trade websites and publications

The steps for creating an online workshop aren’t set in stone and chances are that you’ll probably find yourself working on several steps at a time depending on your budget, experience and timeline.

When it comes to marketing, you’ll most likely have to use a few different approaches and do some testing to see what works and where you should invest more or less of your resources.

Analytics data will help you determine key demographic information about your customers and help you identify where your audience spends most of their time, and which websites and social media platforms are delivering the most traffic to your website.

Keep in mind that social media and content marketing campaigns take time to deliver results, so you should factor that into your timeline when deciding on your workshop launch date and marketing strategy.

Step Seven: Create a Path to Certification

Another problem with free or underpriced online workshops is that despite the savings, they tend to have abysmally low completion rates. According to industry data, the completion rate (number of students that actually finish a course) has been between 5% - 15% for free online classes and workshops, even if they include an option to obtain a certificate or certification.

By contrast, paid online workshops and courses with a blended learning experience and more structured content have completion rates as high as 88%. In addition to satisfying continuing education requirements, certifications and certificates add authenticity and value to your online workshops and courses.

Whether your workshop is part of a professional development program, educational training and advancement, or designed for personal fulfillment or to teach a new skill on an individual basis, the option to earn a completion certificate or certification will distinguish your online workshop from the competition and keep your students engaged and motivated to complete the course.

Likewise, a certification can allow people to see the value for themselves: if they complete the class, they can teach the skills they learned to other people.

Our platform allows you to create, market, and sell your online courses and workshops all in one place. For more information, contact us today to learn more, or request a demo.