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Shorter is Better…For Courses I Mean

Self-paced e-learning programs reached $51.5 billion in sales in 2017.  That's up $15 billion from $35.5 billion just 5 years back.  Any business owner big or small must consider some sort of membership offering.  It enables you to produce your content once and then sell it over and over again creating a new profitable revenue stream.

Pam Hendrickson Consulting Group covers this trend in their report 2018 Membership Site Trend Report: The Future of Business is in an Online Class of it's Own.  It covers trends in this space and gives some practical advice for business owners wanting in on this.

Let me go over one point she makes that is so important.

Define a Minimally Viable Products (MVP) First

I see this a lot.  Someone builds their online course and it's like Tolstoy's War and Peace (which runs 1,225 pages).  It includes everything the expert knows from their 20+ years in the field.  It seems they are wanting to teach their students what it took them a lifetime to learn.  It's NOT what their audience wants and most likely will overwhelm anyone signing up for their program anyway.

First of all, the person taking your course doesn't want to become the expert you are in the field. They want to accomplish something and they see you as the person that can give them a hand with it.

Second, do you really want to spend time developing a 75 lesson online course?  Do you have the time to spend on a project that involved?  If you did, wouldn't you first want to take a step-by-step approach that confirms your market will buy what you are selling?  I know I would want to test and confirm my assumptions before I invest a lot of time and money on anything.

What you need before anything else is to build one product, we call it the MVP, that:

  • is limited in scope,
  • provides high value and
  • proves you have something people will buy.

You have an audience that knows you.  You need to tap into that audience with an offer that helps them to overcome their doubts about learning what it is you teach.

Remember, your members are NOT waking up thinking, I need a course.  They are thinking, I need to accomplish this one thing.  They are thinking, I need "something" that gets me closer to that goal.   If you can give them that "something" and it gets them to that goal, you have a winner.  That is not going to be college level textbook girth.  It's going to be something they can accomplish in 4 to 8 weeks.

BTW, my Breakthrough Course Building System, is focused 100% on identifying that MVP.  It's a six week program fully aimed at defining and proving it will sell.