How to Name Your Online Course – Clarity over Everything

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“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet.”

~ William Shakespeare

Naming your online course can easily be one of the most difficult things about building it. Client’s of mine have spend DAYS trying to get the perfect name, and in turn, the perfect URL to launch their online course with.

Don’t get too hung up on this!

Courses, as with websites are a growing evolving creation, and 2 years from now it’s highly likely that your online course will look much different than it does today, especially if you’re just starting out.

Clarity over Cleverness

If your customer has to sit and figure out what the name of your course means, you have lost them as a customer.

Boring course names sell much better than clever and potentially confusing names. Naming your online course is your first opportunity to clarify your offer to your customer. It must be clear, literal and concise.

If a customer is unsure of your offer, they will lose trust in you, and it becomes much more difficult to allow them to see your value.

The aim when selling online courses is to make it crystal clear who you help, and how you help them.

Online Course Name Suggestions

If you’re in the initial stages of naming your online course, use these prompts to brainstorm and get started! Take your primary online course topic and fill in the blanks, mad-lib style.

The _____ Blueprint

______ Mastery

______ Academy

______ Companion

______ Success Path

Your Guide to ______

Mastering ______

______ Masterclass

The ______ Society


This activity will get the creative juices flowing, and spark up some succinct and clear course name ideas.

Many course creators will take the examples above and keep them to themselves, but there’s no gatekeeping here!

Drop me a message anywhere @margreffell to let me know what you names your online course.

Take care and happy launching,


Online Course Objectives: Keep your focus on these 3

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When you begin the process of creating an online course, there are 3 areas you must consider and fully flesh out during the planning stage.

  1. Receive Payment/Registration
  2. Content Delivery
  3. Monitor Progress/Assistance in Completion


Everything you need to setup for your online course will fall into one of these objectives.

Receive Payment/Registration

This objective will contain all of your acquisition actions. For example, your sales pages, marketing, funnel creation, cart configuration, and payment gateway setup. The goal of all of these is ultimately to get users to register and pay. That is the final step that all of these efforts lead up to.

Content Delivery

Once a user has registered, you then begin to deliver content. This can be in the form of videos, transcripts, PDF’s, worksheets and checklists etc. You will need to make decisions on how to best organize and drip your content to best serve your audience. All of this organization and execution is focussed around the objective of content delivery.

Monitor Progress/Assistance in Completion

During or after the delivery of the content, your next objective is to encourage your members to complete the actions and teachings of the course. This is often done through community calls, assessments, periodic checkins, community forums, or certification procedures.


So, when considering adding an extra feature or new technology, always come back to which one of these objectives it will support. This will help to keep you on track and on task with your online course creation.

Until next time,


Avoid Being Labelled as a Scammer. Sell Online Courses with Integrity

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Over the last couple of years, online courses have started getting a bad wrap.

A select number of people have seen the financial result that you can achieve with creating and selling online courses, and turned that into their own personal get-rich-quick-scheme.

This had led to many people handing their money over to these charlatans, and either never receiving the product, or receiving a poor level instruction.

This forces legitimate educators to rise above the noise, and provide more value upfront to gain the trust and respect of their audience before they ask for a sale.

Another result of the rise in online course scams is that customers have become much more critical before they hand over their well-earned dollars.

This is great news!

It forces online course creators to list their credentials, continue their education, be clear and realistic about results, as well as stick by their money back guarantees.

Course creators are being held accountable, and it’s a GOOD thing.

To create a course with integrity is to always follow these guidelines:

  • Be honest about who the course is right for, but also who it is wrong for
  • Lay out exactly exactly what is included, so there’s no misinterpretation
  • Have a period of time where you allow refunds (even if it’s only 7 days), and be clear about your refund policy
  • Prepare your audience for what to expect (6 modules + 1 coaching call per week etc.)
  • Be clear with the expected results
  • Make sure the format best serves your users, and the content (not just how you ‘want’ to deliver the course)
  • Be open to feedback, and constantly iterate on your programs to best serve your audience goals

Remember, the cream always rises to the top!

Until next time,


What do you setup first when creating your Online Course?

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Start with the end in mind. Always Setup Your Finances First

At the end of the day, after you’ve sold your programs you want to be sure that the money gets deposited into the right places, and everyone has an easy way to pay through a protected source.

This is why I always set this up first. Here’s a quick overview on how you want to set up yur finances when getting ready to launch an online course.

Who is Collecting the Money?

First off, you need to establish who is collecting the money. Most likely it’s you, but we need to clarify if YOU are a singular person, or a company.

If you are a singular person, and you operate as a sole proprietor, you will be using your own bank accounts to collect money. In this case for organization reasons, I would suggest opening up a separate checking account for these funds so you can monitor this income flow for tax reasons.

If you are an LLC or Incorporated, you should visit your branch and open up a dedicated set of accounts under the name of your company. Your funds should go directly into these accounts once people pay for your products.

How is the money being collected?

People who are purchasing your online course will not be sending you money directly, as there needs to be a payment processor in between the two parties to receive online payments, and then transfer the money to your accounts.

The payment processors you’ll need to setup are Stripe and PayPal.

These are the two most highly used and trusted payment processors in North America, and are generally well accepted around the globe.

These processors are free to setup, but take a fee off approximately 3% from every transaction they process.

When you set these up, they will ask to be connected to your bank account as one of the setup steps. This must be done to achieve the transfer of funds into your accounts.

You can create links to send buyers inside these payment processors, and use these as a checkout for them.

There are other softwares that you can integrate with these payment processors to create a more robust checkout experience like ThriveCart and Sam Cart, but we will dive into these in more depth in future posts.

The Final Flow

The checkout software step is optional, so without it the funds would go directly from the purchaser, through the payment processor, and ultimately deposited into your account in a few days.

Happy course creation!

Stay posted for next week when we cover all in one solution, and I’d love to hear any questions I can answer to support you in your online course journey.


What is the difference between a Membership and an Online Course?

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What is a Membership (or Members Portal)?

In the world of online business, there seems to be an infinite amount of business models and terms for what your online offers could be.

Let’s talk about two of the most popular info-product models to emerge in the last decade from online business owners.

The Membership Model and The Online Course Model.

These are similar in that they both offer the knowledge and expertise of the creator to their audience, for a fee.


What is the difference between hosting a Membership Program and an Online Course?

The answer is simple on its surface, money.

In the realm of memberships and online courses, a membership is a content delivery method (webinars, weekly lessons, forums…) that you pay for monthly for and loose access after you cancel your payments.

An online course is a chunk of knowledge that you pay for upfront (or in a payment plan) where the payments end and you still get access to all of the material from anywhere from a full year to indefinitely. These are usually in the form of traditional video lessons, PDF downloads, and a sequential timeline of instructions that lead you to a specific result.

These models correlate to other places in our lives where we use memberships, like Netflix or a gym membership. Those are recurring fees where your contend delivery/service only lasts as long as you’re paying for it. Whereas, online courses don’t necessarily correlate payment with length of service.


What should you do?

It depends!

In simplest terms, if you have a community where you’re offering hands-on support with continuing education, and new material constantly being introduced and updated, you should package it as a monthly membership.

If you are teaching a number of lessons meant for people to achieve a specific result after your lessons are completed, you should package it as an online course.


Hybrid Models

Are you offering step-by-step guided lessons with a ton of hands on support in an ever-evolving industry? You can also consider a hybrid model which charges a flat rate for the online course portion, and an ongoing membership fee to be part of the community.

There is no right or wrong way to sell your info-products, just be sure that the model serves the content, and not the other way around.

First priority should be how to best serve your audience this information by making it as accessible and digestible as possible, not shoehorning content into a specific model.

Happy content creation!

Stay posted for next week when we cover all in one solution, and I’d love to hear any questions I can answer to support you in your online course journey.


4 REQUIRED Components of Launching and Online Course

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The 4 REQUIRED Components of Launching and Online Course

When you start the process of launching your online course, things can get complicated very quickly.

Instead of being overcome by analysis paralysis of all of the possible technologies and automations, we want to make our first launch easy peasy, and build up from there.

As I go through the 4 steps, I’ll include a few examples of each that offer a cheap/free option, as well as a more advanced option to keep in mind for future growth..

Here’s the 4 critical foundational elements you need to launch your online course:


1. Landing Page/Website

First things first, we need a place to send people to tell them more about the online course that you’ll be selling. In that, we will need a unique URL (website address) that brings us to a page with information about the program, and a course description on it.

This can be fast and easy, but can also become complex quite quickly, so don’t get caught up in details. Name your course, get a URL, and create an outline that you can share with people.

Often the software you use will come with the option of obtaining a URL through that software. Do this to start, don’t waste time going down a rabbit hole of DNS, keep it simple!

**Cheap/Free Softwares:** (not .org)







2. Checkout/Payment Processor

After people have been to your website and read about your online program, they need a way to purchase it from you. I highly recommend setting up the following accounts and hooking them up with your bank accounts to be able to receive payments.

Setup a Stripe and PayPal account. These are both free to use, but will take a percentage of your sale as their fee (usually around 2.9%). They allow you to set up purchase buttons that you can embed directly on your website for easy checkout.

**Good for All Stages:**



Sometimes the checkout experience needs more features or an elevated level of marketing and customer experience, so **here are some advanced options**:


Thrive Cart


3. Content Delivery Method

After the customer has paid, they need to get access to the course materials. These materials can be in any format that best serves the content, but the most popular are PDF’s, videos, worksheets, spreadsheets, and audio recordings. The cheap/free options will allow you to upload all of those materials into a folder you give the customer access after purchase, and the advanced versions will allow you to put more complex restrictions on accessing that content (ie: time released, gated…).

**Cheap/Free Softwares:**

Google Drive








4. Email Service Provider (ESP)

Once people are welcomed into your course, you will also need a way to keep in touch with them, and have them receive updates and support. Some people will just use a Facebook group, but I prefer to use software that gives me direct access to their inbox for important updates and future announcements. The complexity of the system you choose will be determined by the amount of contacts you have, and your future ongoing marketing efforts. However, the cheap/free solutions will bring you quite far.

**Cheap/Free Softwares:**





Keap (formerly Infusionsoft)

The recommended softwares above have all been used personally by me at various points in my career, so I’ve tested their capabilities as well as limitations. You’ll be in good hands whichever you go with, and sticking with the cheap/free options until you grow out of them is 100% what I’d recommend.

Stay posted for next week when we cover all in one solution, and I’d love to hear any questions I can answer to support you in your online course journey.