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How to boost the success of your online course

As an online coach you’ve probably already found out that developing an online course and publishing it isn’t enough to attract a steady group of learners.

Hosting an online course is not for the faint of heart. It takes a lot of work to create meaningful content, promote your course to the right audience, and engage with your learners for long-term success. There are however a few practices that can help you. In this post I’m outlining 10 tips you can implement to help you be a successful online course coach.

Here at Ingomu we look at online courses much like coaching. You are delivering content live or pre-recorded that will positively impact the life or career of your learners. Some coaches or course producers will offer engagement opportunities or mastermind groups, adding significant value to the person enrolled in your course. But it takes more than that! With that in mind, here are my tips to support you in being successful with your online course.

1. WHAT PROBLEMS CAN YOU SOLVE?

In working with coaches I’ve learned that most can easily describe their experience and how they have gained their expertise. What seems a little less clear is how this expertise can be used to solve specific problems outside of their own environment. How can your knowledge help improve my career or life? How can your expertise be implemented in overcoming a specific obstacle I’m currently dealing with? The more specific you can be, the easier it will be to attract learners seeking solutions to problems, which leads me to my next point.

2. QUANTIFY THE RETURN ON INVESTMENT

The more specific you can be with outcomes, the easier it will be for the prospect learner to understand the return on their investment in both enrollment fees and time. For example, as a leadership coach you could say that taking your course will make the student a better, more engaged leader. What does that even mean?

It is key that you outline the specific takeaways for your online course. For example, you could say that “By taking this course, you will learn how to delegate effectively, possibly saving up to 20% in time in a week.” Learners will understand the value of these 8 extra hours a week in productivity and efficiencies gained – and perhaps even more if they work longer hours. Maybe they can even cut a few hours from their workload.

As you promote your course, use these quantifiable statements to make your prospect learners understand the return on investment to them. Is investing in your online course worth their time and money? Prove it!

If you don’t really know what these quantifiable results could be, talk to your clients and learners and see how they have benefited from your coaching. Make sure to ask if you can publish their results either credited or anonymously.

3. THINK ABOUT THE LEARNERS YOU WANT TO SERVE

Understanding the return on investment for learners taking your course will also help you define who your prospect learners can be. Many coaches use a pretty big fishnet and love to catch about anything that brings in revenue. There is no clear strategy. The more defined your audience, the clearer your marketing message can be, and the more your message will resonate with your prospect learners. It will also help you define who you can serve with your course.

4. IT’S NOT ABOUT THE SALE, IT’S ABOUT THE SERVICE

As I’ve shared before, online courses are really coaching opportunities, so you must think of these as an opportunity to serve the needs of your learner. This isn’t about selling courses to 5,000 learners and getting on a best-seller list. This is about making a positive impact in the lives and careers of individuals.

How will you best do this, how will you serve them? How will investing in your online course help the learner. How do you do this? Aside of excellent content, are you listening to your learners, engaging with your learners, are you offering added value opportunities, such as mastermind groups? The better you can describe on how you will serve them, the more successful you will be. 

5. ASK FOR FEEDBACK

Learners generally appreciate being asked for feedback. How did the course and service help them? Is there anything that can be done better? Is there something missing from the course? Are there better ways for you to serve them in solving the problems they are experiencing? Asking these questions will elevate you as a coach - it gives the impression you are coachable, but more so it shows your genuine interest in your learners and how you can best serve them. How you can be part of their success. At times this can be accomplished with a brief survey. Better yet, a quick scheduled phone call will make this even better.

Asking for feedback also means you will need to be willing to make adjustments in your materials, approach or service level. It shows that you are listening to the needs of your learners and are willing to tweak the online course to better serve their needs. It does however not mean that every suggestion should be implemented, resulting in a convoluted mess. You can’t be everything to everyone. Remember the type of learner you want to serve.

6. LEARN FROM OTHERS

In my experience, most coaches deal with similar issues and challenges. Connecting with other coaches will help you become stronger in what you seek to accomplish. Here at Ingomu I’m thrilled we invite our coaches to participate in monthly mastermind groups. I am always amazed by the way our coaches support each other, share resources, all in the pursuit of excellence. 

7. MAKE IT AS EASY AS POSSIBLE

The barrier to entry for learners can be quite steep at times. Courses can be expensive, technology cumbersome, or not accessible on the devices your students want to access the materials on.

Work with technology partners that make the process easy and have the same service mindset of not only supporting you, but also the learner.

Pricing is key as well. You should have a good think about your overall business goal. Is it serving a few high-level learners or supporting large groups of students? Take a peek at the top tips on how to price your online course for lots of great resources on pricing.

8. LOOKS ARE IMPORTANT, AND THAT GENERATIONAL THING

There is no longer an excuse to put out bad looking content. Your online course is now competing with hundreds, if not thousands of courses worldwide addressing similar topics. You may have the best content, but if your content is not presented in a visually stimulating way, you will get lost in the fray.

As a coach or expert, your job should be to have excellent content, and let the experts make your content look brilliant. Services such as Fiverr open up a world of affordable talent to help you with the visual aspect of your course. In a previous post we discussed the top 10 tips to produce a promotional video for your course.

It is also key to understand how your learners consume content. More and more content is now consumed from mobile devices instead of desktop computers or laptops. Is the platform you use for your online course easily accessible across devices? Is your content distributed via traditional video tools or are your learners looking for VR integration? How content is consumed can also be driven by the generation consuming the content. Are you gearing your course to Generation X, millennials or Gen Z? Understanding your audience will also drive the distribution method. Again, this goes back to understanding who you serve.

9. SHARE SUCCESS STORIES

As you are connecting with your learners for feedback, collecting success stories? What has your online course done for them? Can they quantify their success? Sharing success stories aside of basic testimonials will help you establish serious credibility.

Seeing a testimonial that a coach was a great speaker, doesn’t mean a thing. A testimonial that states “this was the best course ever,” doesn’t mean a thing. Why was it great? How did it benefit? What was the ROI? The more specific the better. 

Would you be more inclined to enroll in a course where the consistent feedback was that due to the course, I’ve been able to increase efficiencies at my company by 15%, saving $10,000 month in operational expenses? I would think so.

Would you be more inclined to enroll when an attendee states that due to the meditation techniques learned in the course, they are now significantly more able to control their anxiety, and learning how to breathe has reduced discomfort to where it’s mostly disappeared? Again, I’d think so.

Share successes, they are your best advertising.

10. IT TAKES TIME

If you publish, they will come, holds no longer true. It takes a significant effort to promote your course. As I stated in the beginning, you are now competing with hundreds, if not thousands of courses. Posting an announcement to your social media once doesn’t do anything – unless you have many followers. One announcement in your newsletter is equally ineffective. It is all about repetition and partnering with your course host on best promotional practices. It can take from a few weeks to a few months to start seeing results, and much of it is driven by the constant promotion.

The article 30 ways to market your online course is a great resource to get started.