Online course creation can be an overwhelming process without the right tools. In this blog post, I’m going to talk about the must-have tools every online course creator needs. What type of tools do you need? It’s critical to understand what types of tools you should be using to create a profitable online course– and why. Specifically, you need: Content creation: Creating content is a big part of the online course creation process. You'll need different types of tools to help you film, record screencasts, edit videos, record audio, compress video files, and many more. Content planning: Does your content makes sense? Is there content missing? Is there too much content? Are there any lessons that could be eliminated and turned into a downloadable worksheet instead? Having the necessary tools to help you map out your online course content and make an outline is a key step in creating an online course. Selling & Email Marketing: How are you going to attract new students to your online course? Using email marketing, webinar, and landing page creation tools will help you promote the offering much faster than if you had to do it manually. Collaboration & Communication: If you are working with other people, you need tools that help you and your team edit, comment, and share tasks efficiently. Besides file sharing, you'll also need a good collaboration tool that helps team members communicate in real-time. Now that you know what types of tools you need, here are my top recommendations:
I’ve seen hundreds if not thousands of courses over the years, and I’ve noticed many of them have a common problem: Most online courses have way too much content. I believe course creators fall into this trap because they are worried about the quality or value of the content they are providing. This insecurity leads them to overload students with tons of content. The thought is this, even if it is subconscious, “I’m not sure how much they’ll value this content… But, if I give them LOTS of it, at least they’ll feel like they got their money’s worth!”
The online education market is growing at a fast pace thanks to a confluence of factors. The growth is driven in part by student demand, fierce competition among institutions, and efforts by governments. The demand for e-learning also reflects a change in the way people want to learn. They want short, focused courses which they can take from any location and on any device. Advances in cloud-based solutions and IT security, along with the increased adoption of smartphones, mean the growth is likely to continue in the upcoming years. This presents several opportunities for course creators. If you are a coach, author, speaker or subject matter expert, you can benefit from the growth in the e-learning industry. Before you begin or continue creating more online courses, you need to understand the e-learning market and the notable trends in the industry.
I’ve seen it a thousand times… You might be a seasoned coach, a best-selling author or a well-renowned speaker but when it comes to building and managing an online course, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the complexities and nuances of directing people through your system. And on top of that, you’re probably frustrated with investing thousands of dollars in Facebook Ads and having a website that hasn’t really been doing a good job of generating leads. Unfortunately, I meet A LOT of amazing coaches who are so, SO good at what they do… but they lack a solid strategy and end up struggling to make the profits AND the impact they truly deserve! Here’s the thing… The difference between success and failure in the online course world, I.E. the difference between linear and exponential growth has nothing to do with spending huge amounts of money in marketing or the fanciest platform! It’s about making the right decisions and taking a very strategic approach. If you’re struggling to get your online course business to the next level, and you want to skyrocket your profits, then I have three strategic actions you can take that will dramatically improve the profitability and success of your online course and also keep a steady stream of new clients coming through the door. Remember, there’s no need to blaze a new trail when you’re expanding and improving your online course business. Instead, follow a proven path to success and strategies we’ve tested and proven with our own clients.
It’s easy to think that customer acquisition is the key metric for determining online course success, but without engaged students, more sales mean nothing. Online course creators are spending a HUGE amount of money getting more customers; however, this is only the first step. After acquiring students, the key to accelerating online course profits is in engaging and retaining them. Think about it: If your students are engaged, it’s likely that they’ll complete the course. And if they complete the course, they are much more likely to achieve their desired goals. This increases the probability that they will buy more of your courses in the future and recommend them to others. As a natural consequence, your profits will soar!
Is your current learning management system adequate for your course requirements? Will it be able to grow with your online course business? It’s not just a matter of whether it can take on all of your learners and courses; you also need to consider whether your LMS has the level of functionality you require to deliver the best possible learning experience. Many LMS’s make it easy for online course creators to get started, but they won't give you many opportunities to scale up. You’re especially likely to face this challenge on hosted platforms like Udemy or Coursera. These are highly recognizable, highly marketed eLearning brands which attract both educators and learners. However, if you plan to grow your audience and offer a more engaging and rich learning experience, they aren’t enough! So, whether you’re replacing your existing LMS or getting one for the first time, it’s essential to take a good look into the market and carefully pick the right platform for your business needs right now and down the road. Believe it or not, in 2019, there are now more than 600 options out there. This isn’t surprising since the LMS market is projected to grow by almost 25 percent between 2017 and 2022. But, before recommending some helpful resources, I'm going to mention the key elements that you should be looking for to enhance your customer's experience.
Before I cover some essential rules you need to follow when it comes to maximizing customer engagement in your online courses, let me ask you a few questions. How do you feel about your current “course experience”? Do you like it? Do your students like it? Are your students actually completing your online course? Are students constantly request for refunds? Are students experiencing technical issues? Are you doing something to decrease these issues and the time you spend dealing with them? Is your current client engagement strategy working for you? Do you even have one? If you answered NO to most of these questions, I recommend you keep reading because I’m about to reveal the keys to having your clients fully participate in your course, getting big results and primed to continue to purchase your products and services and tell everyone they know about it. Also read: Why Client Engagement Matters to Your Online Course Business
There’s a stat I read recently that blows my mind. According to a report published in The Manifest recently, only 6% of small businesses are focused on retaining their customers. Yes, you read that right. Even though everyone’s goal is to increase sales and boost their bottom line, only 6% focus on retaining the pool of warm and hot leads, they already have right under their nose. Instead, they are content spending precious money and time trying to send cold traffic to their courses and services, all the while letting returning clients and customers walk away unnoticed. My first thought is WHY? Why are online course creators spending so much time and effort trying to get new students without even trying to squeeze the maximum amount of revenue out of the client base they already have? It’s a fascinating question, and if you’re part of the 94% that are not focusing on this, I’m going to discuss a few things today that will hopefully change your mind and show you why joining the rest of us over here in the 6% category will massively impact and accelerate your business in a positive way. FACT: Existing clients provide the most consistent, long-term revenue stream for companies that know how to keep them engaged. With that in mind, let me start with two questions: 1. How much more profitable would your online course business be if you could significantly cut back on marketing because you’re retaining and upselling more clients? 2. Did you know that if you can convince a client to make two purchases from you, their level of dedication to you (your brand), and their personal outcome regarding your course or service grows exponentially? Don’t just keep reading. Stop and think about those questions for a minute. If the answer to question one is, “Way more profitable!”, and the answer to question two is, “No, I didn’t realize that!”, then you have an incredible opportunity sitting right in front of you ready to be tapped into. This is why I focus so much on client engagement over most other marketing, content, ads, etc. There is so much money being left on the table, and only 6% of business owners “see” it. That’s why I’ve literally made it my mission to change that with the Client Engagement Academy. Increasing engagement just makes sense.
How do you measure the success of your online courses? People use metrics such as the number of courses sold, new enrollments, and the total market share to determine how successful their program is. However, I can tell you one thing for sure: These metrics don’t even come close to the number one way to measure success. Student Outcomes! The goal of education, after all, is to help students achieve the outcomes they desire. So, it's important to identify what students do with the content they learn in your course. Did they achieve their initial objective? Are they satisfied with the learning experience? Did the experience contribute to their personal and/or professional life? Did the online course help them get a raise, a promotion, a new job? Did they start a business or project? When you know your students are not only taking your content and doing nothing with it, but actually APPLYING it to change their life or business in some way, is when you can say your course is successful. Below I’ve outlined my top, hands-on strategies to ensure that student outcomes are met:
Building trust is incredibly difficult, but also the most valuable foundation of any successful business. After working with tons of online entrepreneurs, authors, speakers and bloggers from different niches, I now realize that most people just don’t know how to inspire trust. In fact, building trust in consumers is a topic that most people don’t even bother exploring, let alone devise strategies for. Most online course creators merely create a sales page, drive traffic through Facebook ads, and call it a day. I am here to tell you that this is simply not enough! Your sales page is your best opportunity to sell the transformation your course promises and make people want to buy. If people get there and the page looks unprofessional, you’re leaving money on the table.