6 Ways to Validate your Online Program Idea

If so, then you are in the right place as this blog post is ALL about validating your online program idea, such as a signature program, online group coaching, or online course.    

I’ve worked with so many experts that spend a lot of time and money creating an online program only to find out afterward that no one wants to buy it! I don’t want that to happen to you. Instead, I want you to be certain, without any doubt, that you are creating a program that people will buy.

It is not a good idea to create your program in a vacuum, all by yourself. Having created online programs for years, I have learned this the hard way. Once I figured out I needed to do a lot of research, and talk to my ideal students, the income I generated from my online programs increased exponentially.

Let's get this party started, so I can help you validate your online program idea BEFORE you create it, okay?  I've got six great suggestions for you!



1) EXPERIENCE & RESULTS
I’ve listed the most important online program validation test first. I never recommend that someone create an online course on a topic where they don’t have experience AND have not already gotten results. Now, these could be results you've seen for yourself, or for others.  It is not ethical, and people will tell right away you are not a subject matter expert on the topic if you haven't already gotten results.

I am not saying someone has to have paid you for helping someone get results. There could be things you have helped family and friends get results for free.  The bottom line is that you have experience and results on the topic you want to teach online.


2) SEARCHING ONLINE
The second way to validate your program idea is to see if people are doing searches online about the topic. When you have a problem or are looking to achieve a goal, don’t you go online and search? I know that I do. I rarely do searches to just learn about a random topic. I search because I need help with something. It’s the same with online programs. People will purchase your program if they have a problem or want to achieve a goal. They don’t buy them just to learn more about the topic. Few of us have time for that nowadays!

When you have your program topic in mind, you can validate your course by seeing if people are searching online using the keywords associated with your topic.

Google Keyword Planner
As you know, Google is the largest search engine in the world. Besides doing Google searches, there is a tool you can used called the Google Keyword Planner.  I learned about this when I was running Google Adwords for an e-commerce website I was running several years ago. This tool will give you historical statistics such as search volume data for your subject matter keywords and new keywords relevant to your subject. By using this, you can see if people are searching for the keywords related to your course topic.

Social Media
You can also take the same search keywords you have discovered and search for them on various Social Media Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.


3) FREE ONLINE CONTENT
One way that marketers attract their ideal customers is by providing free content that interests them. This is called content marketing. So, the third way you can validate your online course idea is to see if there is a good amount of free online content on your  topic. There are a lot of places you can find free content. If you can find a good amount of free content online about your subject, then your program idea is likely a valid one.

Blog Posts
You can use Google Search to find blog posts written on the topic you are researching.  Type in your subject and then the word *blogs* after that and you will see if there are blogs on the topic. If you find relevant blog posts, see if there is a lot of interaction or engagement in the comments of the blogs. If you cannot find any blogs on your topic that may be a red flag for you.

Facebook Groups & Pages
You can also search using your keywords on Facebook. If you find Facebook Groups and Pages on your  topic with a lot of followers, or members with a lot of content and engagement, this will help you determine if there is a market for your course.

YouTube
You can do a search with your topic’s keywords on YouTube which is the world's second biggest search engine (after Google). There are millions of channels on all kinds of subjects. If there are channels on your topic with lots of subscribers and videos with lots of views and comments that is a good sign that that you have a valid course topic. However, if you can’t find any YouTube videos on your topic, then that is a big red flag. Also, on a side note - just because there is a lot of information online for free - even if that is the case, people will STILL buy your program to have access to you, and to have the information presented in a very concise and organized format. Not everyone has the time to search and find random content, and they rarely get results that way either.


4) PUBLISHED BOOKS
The fourth way you can validate your topic is to see if there have been books published on the topic. You can easily search for books on Amazon. When you find the books, see how many reviews there are.  Check out what people are saying about the books to see how passionate they are about that topic and what kinds of questions they are asking. Again, if you can’t find any books on your topic, that could be a red flag.


5) ONLINE PROGRAMS AVAILABLE
The fifth way to validate your topic is to see if there are already programs online that people are buying. If you can find other programs that is a good thing! If you cannot find programs on your topic, that means there may not be a market for the topic you want to teach online. 


6) YOUR IDEAL STUDENT
The sixth way to validate your program idea is to make sure you are very intimate with your ideal client. 

Identify your Ideal Client
You want to be clear about who you are creating your program for. This is called your ideal client avatar (ICA). Besides identifying them, you have to be able to find them, so you can offer them your program. If you can’t identify them or find them, then you shouldn’t move forward creating your program as you won't be able to sell it!

Talk to your Ideal Client Avatar
Once you have identified your ICA, then you will want to actually talk to them! Yes, this will take more effort, but will be SO worth it in the long run! There is nothing better than getting direct feedback from your ideal client avatar whether your idea is valid. You will want to reach out to people in your niche that already know and love you, that are in your current audience or tribe, and people that do not know you so you can get unbiased feedback.

Warning: Do not, under any circumstances ask your family or friends to validate your idea!  They will want to support you and will tell you your idea is great, but they are not your ideal client avatar, nor would they purchase it. If you move forward based on their approval, I am afraid you will have a false sense of security that your idea is valid.

What to Ask your Ideal Client Avatar
Ask your ICA what kinds of problems they have OR what kind of aspirations they are looking for related to your topic. Ask them what is holding them back. What are they struggling with? The goal here is to get “inside their head” and document everything they say! Write their pain points, their fears, and their concerns. This is all very important for you, and you will refer back to your notes over and over as you create your program, and your marketing messaging and your sales page.

There are several ways you can communicate with your ideal client. You can set up a Skype appointment, or you can have them join you via Zoom. You can also do surveys via email. You can direct message them or ask them online through various social media platforms. I always recommend recording these conversations and documenting your results if you can as you will want to go back and listen to them again.


SUMMARY
To summarize, I have provided you with six ways you can validate your online program idea.  Validating your idea will help you make sure that your program is something that your audience wants and needs. You need not create your program in a vacuum. I would hate to have you complete your program, only to launch it and have nobody buy it! By following these six steps, you will have a highly profitable online program. 

Let me help you share your life's work online to create predictable, recurring income while leveraging your time.  


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