The saturation of the online course market has been growing steadily over the past few years, but many online coaches, entrepreneurs, and influencers are finding that their courses aren’t performing as well as they’d like. Additionally, you may find that you can easily sell the course to your audience, but that they aren’t completing the course in its entirety, and referrals aren’t coming through as quickly or frequently as you had hoped.
In a perfect world, an online course could really make a difference in the lives and businesses of the people who take them. If they made a difference, the student would then rave about your course to others, and the course could continue growing from there — leading to the opportunity to raise prices, expand offerings, or add high ticket 1:1 consulting as an option. If this isn’t quite happening with your online course, consider the following reasons why many of today’s online course launches are failing, and how to fix your own.
1. No Beta Testers
Even the best entrepreneurs with the most premium content need to offer a beta test to a small group of students before launching their course. Here’s why: if a student still has a number of questions or blind spots when consuming your content, their level of trust with you will start to plummet, thus lowering the chance of them finishing the course. But, if you present your content to a group of beta students, you’ll be able to hear firsthand what questions they have and fix anything that’s confusing.
First, try to market for a set of 8-12 beta students who can take your course for free or at a significant discount. Let them know that they’re in the beta group, and ask them to share questions and feedback as much as possible as they go through the course.
This feedback, along with their language, will inform your sales pages, FAQs and other customer touch points to increase the chances of selling your course.
2. They Aren’t Entertaining Enough
There’s nothing worse than taking a boring class with powerpoint presentations and a monotone instructor – even if the information is valuable to the student. Marc Angelo Coppola, the founder of Superhero Academy, calls this new wave of combining education with entertainment “edutainment.”
“Many online course instructors are so focused on making money that they disregard their customer’s hero journey,” Coppola shared with me. “They want to be led to an outcome of the education that’s as exciting as following along with their favorite influencer or watching their favorite TV show.”
Coppola reminds us that online courses are considered “hobbies” to many students, which means they’re competing with Netflix or other leisure activities for their attention. Accordingly, the course needs to be entertaining – with high quality visuals, humor, and the sense that they’re working towards something they can be excited about.
3. There Is No Real Incentive To Finish The Course
Remember, taking a course is not only an investment of funds, but an investment of time. If information is sporadically shared and doesn’t seem to lead anywhere, students might fizzle out halfway through the course without being incentivized to finish it.
Why is it important for people to finish your course? One word: TESTIMONIALS. Customer testimonials are crucial for selling your course, and it’s hard to get them when people never finish it.
Some ways around this include gamification or sending your students live weekly progress reports as gentle nudging reminders. Gamification can be as easy as giving small quizzes after each unit of the course, or awarding “stars” for progress that they can trade in for something. Perhaps every student who completes the course gets a book at the end. These smaller incentives and rewards, as well as keeping track of their progress so they feel that someone is holding them accountable, can spell the difference between a student that finishes your course and a student that doesn’t.
Ultimately, finishing the course, learning from it, and applying these learnings is the ideal outcome for expanding your course’s influence and attracting more students.