Season 3 Blog Covers 27

How To Create Meaningful Online Courses That Get Results By Georgia Kirke with special guest Rick Sheninger

Passionate entrepreneurs are excited to write a book and share their message, but in many cases their audience will also benefit from an additional course where they can dive deeper into specific concepts.

It’s a fantastic way to repurpose your valuable content but where do you start? What technology should you use? How do you market the course? Do you need a huge audience for it to be successful? How can you leverage your time? Nobody wants to create a course that flops.

When I think about how to make course creation easy, fun and profitable, I think of Rick Sheninger, Founder of One To One Marketing. He’s an expert when it comes to streamlining your business and selling courses that bring your audience fantastic results.

Rick recently shared his insights on the Write Business Results podcast Interviews With The Experts; we discussed the four main traps to avoid when you create an online course.

  1. Creating a course that’s too broad
  2. Failing to leverage technology
  3. The belief you can build a course and make sales with minimal effort
  4. Misconception that you must have a massive following to be successful

Before we dive into those I wanted to know why Rick was so enthusiastic about creating courses.

Identifying your superpower

Rick: “My Dad always used to say ‘those that can do, and those that can’t teach’, but we’ve evolved since then. One of our biggest flaws as human beings is that we lose sight of the value that we can add because we ourselves become so proficient at certain things they become second nature (and no longer seem special).

As we develop professionally and personally, whether we offer courses in business or underwater basket weaving we have a superpower that we can share. I work with people to pull that out of them and find the best way to share it.”

At Write Business Results we use a similar strategy to support aspiring authors to find and share their magic. We want to ensure that the right audience hears their message loud and clear; a generalised book or course speaks to nobody.

Rick confirmed that going “too broad” on a subject is a common pitfall.

Creating a course that’s too broad

Rick: “Any course has to be fine tuned to be able to offer real value to the student. It has to focus on the results of the individual on the other side of the camera (not just on what you want to say). Often entrepreneurs have an idea for a course but it’s so broad it doesn’t lead people to a specific result.

In simple terms, let’s say a chef wanted to create a course that taught people how to cook. If they target a vegetarian audience but focus on how to cook the best steak you’ll ever have that’s incongruent. That’s the wrong message or the wrong people. You have to match your course ideas to the right people and the right outcome. People are not interested in buying a course; they are investing in the outcome.”

Rick shared a really important point because it can be tempting to create a course to generate passive income, but the focus has to be on giving your audience value and helping them achieve the right results. The term passive income can also be a bit of a misnomer!

Failing to leverage technology

Rick: “Ideally you want the whole course process to be automated; that includes a landing page [where a customer learns about the course and makes a purchase], receipt, log-in information, any recurring payments or bonuses and so on. If there is an email sequence that must be automated too. If it’s not automated you are wasting valuable time with administration. There is a lot to consider and it needs to be tied together in a logical way so that the course is set to run on its own.”

WBR offers a mini course 3 Simple Ways To Boost Your Brand & Profits With A Bestselling Book, and I know that if you’re new to creating a course (and not tech-minded) it can feel intimidating. Rick can also help you find the right platform in line with your budget and capabilities.

However, having clarity on your course content, outcome, or technology, is not enough to make it a successful revenue stream. Rick pointed out another pitfall to avoid.

The belief you can build a course and make sales with minimal effort

Rick: Field of Dreams [film] with Kevin Costner proposed ‘build it [baseball field] and they will come’ but that is not true when it comes to marketing your course and building your business. Nobody will come and your course will not be found if you put no effort into marketing it. You’ll find it a slow and disappointing process.

I’m a fan of social media advertising. These adverts still work when you know how to use them properly. You can also market your course organically by posting on your own social media, and partnering up with online influencers who have bigger followings and can share it for you. It’s important to spread the word as much as possible.”

When we work with new authors they often fear that they don’t have a significant online following to support book sales. Similarly when you create a course you might worry that you don’t have a big enough audience to make it worthwhile. Thankfully Rick shattered that illusion!

Misconception that you must have a massive following to be successful

Rick: “You have two main components that can make a course [or a book] successful: time and money. The more time you have the less money you need to spend to build that audience. The more you spend on advertising the less time you can afford to put into it. You need to find the right balance to grow your following and sell your course.

Engaged followers are more important than numbers; if you have 10,000 people who are disengaged it’s meaningless. If you have 37 highly engaged people that could be a goldmine; they’re more likely to recognise the value of what you are offering and buy from you.”

Building enthusiasm in your audience helps keep you motivated and on track to deliver and sell your product. Similarly, when it comes to launching a book we start the pre-launch phase eight weeks before it’s due to be released; some authors accept pre-orders and are already making money before the book is in print. 

If you’re considering writing a book you can schedule a discovery session with me, and if you’re ready to share your knowledge through a course Rick offers a bootcamp to help you create and launch one.

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