ActiveCampaign Expert

How to Guarantee Your Course Idea Wins With Your Audience


Right now, you may have this amazing idea for a course that you are totally pumped about creating.

You may have been thinking about this for years. It’s come from your personal and professional experience–it’s not just some theory or an untested idea from a textbook. You can barely wait to share this wealth of knowledge and expertise with the world.

Yet you know that there’s a lot of work ahead of you to make your idea into a reality. You need to create the content, find a way to distribute it, and then market and sell it.

You know this idea is great and that people will benefit from it, but are you really sure that a course is the best way to share this information and knowledge to your audience?

In this vlog, you’ll gain confidence in knowing whether a course is the best way to distribute your idea.

Why No One Really Gets Excited About Training

Do you recall how it feels like when a supervisor has told you that you have to go to a training?

I’m pretty sure you weren’t jumping up and down for joy.

Whether it’s your new employee orientation or some other training that you need to take for compliance or certification, no one really cheers about being forced to go to a training. And there are good reasons for that.

I can remember back to the days of working in corporate America. Every year, there was that terrible, horrible, painstakingly boring compliance training that had to be completed. I get sick just thinking about it.

Of course, it was some droning talking head that sounded like “wahhh wahhh wahhh…” (yep, just like Charlie Brown’s teachers and parents)

I always dreaded training because they cut into my work time, where I focused on what I wanted to do.

So, because I wanted just to be done with it already, I usually scrubbed through the video, guessed the test questions, and fumbled my way through it.

Just another thing to check off on my to-do list, and then I was done. And now I could focus back on the work that mattered to me.

I always thought to myself that it was SUCH a waste of resources. The time and money that went into creating these programs that were complete nonsense. People were just checking this off and completely checked out while taking the course online.

People weren’t really learning, even if the information was important to their jobs.

Wasn’t there another way? Couldn’t they deliver the same information, complete the compliance requirements, and not bore people to death?

Learning is a Necessary Requirement

There are ways to make training less stuffy and more engaging.

As an entrepreneur, you’re dealing with learning some new skills that you didn’t have to worry about learning as an employee or manager–like bookkeeping.

It’s not the sexiest topic in the world, and frankly, it’s a topic that bores the heck out of me, but it’s one that you need to know, so you know what’s going on financially for your business, especially with *gulp* taxes.

So you have to read manuals, watch a lot of videos, look up FAQs, maybe even talk to customer support about the software you’re learning. The learning curve can be steep if you don’t have previous accounting or bookkeeping experience.

And so much is riding on the line. You can’t just check out and close your laptop or shut off your computer and say, I’m done with this training!

You have to know how to do this so you don’t end up in a long conversation with Uncle Sam or you find yourself over a barrel because of some accounting mistake.

As a course creator, you have to think about how you get your message across without putting your audience to sleep. But more important than the how is the why.

A Course Cannot Be a Get Rich Quick Scheme

More often than not, I see people create products solely for the purpose of creating a product. They want to jump on the popular bandwagon in hopes to become the next 7-figure earner overnight.

However, they don’t fully think through their idea, and then when it’s launched, their product massively fails in sales or worse–they disappoint their customers.

So sure–the right distribution strategy for your customer will make a difference in delivering your message!

But do you know what that strategy is?

You won’t want to make someone sit through a 2-hour compliance training when a simple pamphlet would have covered the same information and would have been just as effective.

So here’s another question I want you to ask yourself:

Is a course essential to solving this problem? 

Just because everyone else is creating one doesn’t mean that you need to for your identified problem.

In fact, you might be someone who can THRILL your audience, by not making them sit through another course but by providing them with a simpler solution to solve their problem.

Here are some more questions you should be asking yourself:

Are there any other options to help your audience solve their problem? Is a course the best option, or are there other ways you can share this information?

There are other options. E-Learning Heroes and Fredrickson Learning list other alternatives such as webinars, “best of” tip videos, infographics, and more.

Creating a course is a big commitment AND not always the best solution! So make sure that this is the best way to deliver your message.

Are there any other options to help your audience solve their problem? Is a course the best option, or are there other ways you can share this information?

Work Through Your Own Bias

Whenever I have an idea, I always like to work through my own opinion of the problem and what I think the solution is by asking WHY 5 times.

So here is a sampling of how you can ask why five times along with some sample answers. Each question builds off of the last answer.

Why do I think I need to make this a course?

  • Because I think it would make a fun course!

Why do I think it would make a fun course?

  • Because it really helped me when I was struggling with X, Y, and Z.

Why was I struggling with X, Y, and Z?

  • Because I didn’t feel confident in or trust my own decision making.

Why didn’t I trust myself and my own decision making?

  • Because I was scared.

Why was I scared?

  • Because I just went through a serious, life-changing, traumatic event.

Now that I have moved beyond just wanted to create a “fun” course and really have come to the root of the problem – that I was going through a serious, life-changing, traumatic event… I have to ask myself. Is a course going to be the best way to help people?

It’s time to go to my audience for more help!

Ask Your Audience for Input

So after you’re done grilling yourself, you should also be asking your audience what their needs are as a way to validate your concept.

Below is a starting point for a survey of your potential customers.

Make sure to keep it brief and easy. It shouldn’t take them more than a few minutes to complete, and you don’t want to make them think too hard!  Bonus: you can ask if they want to meet and chat through their answers (free help from you!) or be added to your list.

Questions you can ask:- Do you have a prior experience with ——- ?- What type of experience have you had with ——- ? Has it ever stopped you from pursuing something before?- What do you wish were easier about ——- ?- What is one question you wish someone would answer about ——- ?

And Even More Questions–Addressing Product Design Questions

Once you know gain answers to these questions from your audience, you can begin to formulate the design of your product.

Here are more questions that you’ll want to ask:

  • What does it look like?
  • Who is it for?
  • What does it include and what does it not include?
  • How will you know your audience is successful?

If you want to dig deeper on this topic, go here and here.

But remember, the most important question you should be asking:

Is creating a course the most effective way for my audience to receive this information? Or is there a better solution?

All This Work You’re Doing Matters

The reason you’re even considering using a course as a vehicle of communication for your audience is that you want to help to positively shape and change the lives of others.

We’re not in this business just to make a quick buck, to post up some half-baked content or info dump, and call it a training.

We want to provide the best solution for our audience to help them solve a problem; and sometimes, that doesn’t include a course!

We have methods in consciously creating quality courses, and in testing and piloting them.

It takes a lot of hard work to create a course that your audience will purchase and love. But do remember that you have options that don’t involve courses, but can still serve your audience.

Are you stuck with a great idea but aren’t sure if a course is the right fit? 

Let’s hear your experiences in the comments below.

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