This is a common question, especially for self-paced courses. If you’re dealing with low completion rates, the first thing I recommend is to find out why your learners aren’t completing your course. In my experience, it usually comes down to a handful of reasons…
One of the questions I get all the time is “Janelle, how do I outline my online course?” Honestly, outlining your course is the 3rd or 4th step to take (stay tuned for more on that), but let’s focus on answering your question. In the video below, I walk you through my process for creating a course outline. Enjoy!
In my last post, you read about how people try to skip validating their course topic, specifically Customer Development Interviews.
CDIs (a method of pre-validation) help you create a more meaningful, focused course.
Still people try to skip 'em.
For example, about 8 months ago Ken (not his real name) reached out to me because he had a proven process he wanted to turn into an online course. (He’d been putting it off for 3 years and was sick of having it on his 'one day' list.)
“How can I get more people to buy my online course?”
This is a question that pops into my inbox often. My first response is always to probe for more information, “What’s your current marketing strategy?”
More often than not, I get one of the following replies:
“Well, mostly by word of mouth.”
“I have an email list, but I don’t want to bother my subscribers.”
“I’ve been sharing it on social media.”
If you’re marketing via social media posts or word of mouth, that’s a start—but it’s not enough.
You need a funnel.
If you’ve ever worked a 9 - 5, you’re probably familiar with the term onboarding. Here's how Wikipedia defines it:
Onboarding, also known as organizational socialization, refers to the mechanism through which new employees acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors to become effective organizational members and insiders.
In simpler terms, onboarding means providing the necessary information for your new employees to navigate your organization.
Without onboarding, your employees are stuck trying to figure out where to go for information, how to do their job, who to contact for questions, etc. Trust me, it sucks.
Onboarding applies to online courses too. It’s how your learners know how to navigate your course.
A while back I listened to Pat Flynn’s podcast episode with Derek Halpern about selling. In the episode, Derek explains his POD technique for writing sales copy. But before he described his framework, he said something that I had never heard anyone else say out loud: you don’t just have one target customer, you have multiple.
Derek was right. (You have customer segments.) And yet, countless Internet gurus spread the myth that you have a single ‘customer avatar.’
(Sidebar: there is a good reason why people tell you this but it sends us down a rabbit hole, so let’s ignore it, k?)
The same is true with learning styles. They’re a myth. At best, they're an outdated theory on how we learn.
I’ll get right to it: this year was great professionally, but extremely difficult personally. I’m not good at telling half-truths, so I’ve chosen to share both sides, instead of curating only the work stuff. Here’s what went down:
Every successful course creator I've ever worked with or interviewed has told me the same thing: "I asked people what they were struggling with and created a solution."
There's a reason none of them said, "I asked people what they wanted."
There’s a lot of competition out there for online courses. What makes a course so attractive that people will pay more for it than other alternatives?
All my life I’ve been called a truth-teller. At times, I’ve tried to shy away from telling the truth when asked, because I learned pretty quickly that it can make people uncomfortable.
But shying away from who you are never works.
This post is something that I’ve been mulling over for a while. And it’s gonna make a few people uncomfortable.