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3 Tips for Building Highly Profitable Online Courses

We run into a lot of small business owners, many of them experts in their field, that are just plain frustrated. They ask us, "I've built this great course. Why is it NOT selling?" We get these questions from all types of people, but often times its from people who are experts in their field. They've built a reputation for themselves. They are well known by peers. They have good knowledge that can be assembled into an online course. Yet they still struggle to get the sales.

Having built a good number of online courses, I want to share some tips that make big difference when selling course. I've assembled this from my years building online courses with small business owners and they are problems all experts need to address before they get too far.

Tip #1- Experts Know Too Much

Anyone teaching a course had better know the subject matter. That's just common sense. You can't have a someone teach golf or tennis who doesn't know how to play. The problem experts run into is they get these blind spots. It's been so long since they have learned the material they teach that they have a hard time seeing what they teach like someone just new to it.

Experts, and I include myself here, are contaminated. That keeps us from seeing what we do like a novice. We often think about what we teach as a learning exercise.  That's a mistake. People purchasing we package as an online course are NOT looking for that. They are looking for a solution to their problem. They rarely have an interest into becoming the future you in your field.

That being the case, you have to package what you know as a solution to a problem. Preferably, it's a problem a lot of people need solved. When someone hears about your program, it's likely that it's after they have tried fixing their problem on their own. They have it this roadblock and are now looking for a way past it.

You cannot tell them they'll learn something. They are looking for an efficient way to fix something with your know-how. Please keep in mind that this can mean they are wanting a solution that's quick and easy and possibly not the way you'd recommend they do it.

You have to think about what you do as selling an answer to a problem. You have to take into consideration that you may be selling them what they need when they are looking to buy what it is they want. You may have to sell into what they they want and then deliver later what it is they need. And it may be you have to address what they want first followed by what they need second.

Tip #2 - Your Ideal Audience May NOT Be Who You Think

A business consultant I worked with years back shared with me story about an engineering firm that built sustainable buildings. They were state-of-the-art builders are were doing well, but were wanting to grow. My business consultant audited various aspects of the firm and discovered this really interesting training program. They were really good at teaching newly hired engineers how to build structures their way. It's was part of what made the firm so good.

The consultant worked with them to investigate this further and together they saw this program, which they developed to address internal needs, as an asset they could use to teach outsiders. This led to a new offering and business unit that was not only profitable but enabled them to work with higher education to train students in engineering programs. They were sitting on this untapped asset and were able to turn it into an offering to customers they didn't even think to serve before.

Many organizations have similar hidden assets. They are often overlook or underappreciate these because they are part of normal operations and taken for granted. Don't miss out on what could be that hidden gem that launches your business somewhere good and unexpected.


Tip #3- Ask Your Customers What They Want

Many small business owners don't open up conversations with highly satisfied customers about things they need they are NOT getting. Customers are often more than eager to help you with feedback and market intelligence.

I recommend building processes into your sales or customer service operations so they include asking questions. Build a process so that information flows to the right people in charge of exploring online course opportunities. You can build them into customer update meetings or other communications mechanisms you already have with customers. You'd be surprised at what you hear from them.

Hope this helps!