How to Differentiate Your Online Course

It's officially autumn (my favorite season)! What have you been up to?

I've been busy running my new group program, Finish Your Damn Course! It’s been a lot of fun so far and I can't wait to share what I've learned with you in a couple months. (If you missed out on joining this time, keep an eye out for the next open registration in Dec/Jan.)

Okay, let's get to differentiation. In my Facebook group, Online Course Central, Pauline recently asked a great question:

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?

This question is about differentiation. But first, let me say one thing: competition is a good thing. It usually means there is a market. So don't be scared of it.

Okay, here are four ways to differentiate your course:

1. Get specific (aka niche down)

Focus on a specific market instead of trying to reach everyone, e.g. web design for herbalists. You can also focus on a specific platform, e.g. training for Articulate Storyline. Focusing on a software or platform can be risky though. If the app goes belly up or if they begin creating internal training, you could lose business. I wouldn’t worry too much about that right now, just focus on getting started.

2. Depth

You ever meet someone who tries to teach a little bit of everything on a topic or several topics at once? Usually you end up feeling like you got some information, but you still haven’t accomplished anything. That’s breadth.

The opposite--and a better way to teach and differentiate yourself--is to pick a SINGLE topic and go deep. Do this well enough and you’ll end up with a reputation for going beyond expectations, which is pretty rare.

3. Price and Perception

You’ve probably seen high-ticket courses and big launches online right? Usually there’s a lot of social proof that goes along with these high-ticket courses. (Keeping it real: sometimes that social proof is earned and sometimes it’s bartered.) Regardless, the social proof and high-price often makes your course stand out to potential customers.

4. You

It may seem unusual, but YOU are part of your differentiation. You have expertise. You have valuable experience. If you’ve been a consultant, teacher or freelancer for a while, you probably have a proven process. All of this differentiates you from others in your market. So leverage it. Share your expertise. Share your experience. Market your process.

Pro-tip: Don’t differentiate on price, i.e. try to price lower than others. It’s a race to the bottom. Know your value, research your market, and price accordingly.

Thanks for the question, Pauline!

Until next time,


P.S. If you want to join my free Facebook group to get answers to YOUR questions, click here.

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