Many businesses – especially B2B platforms and services businesses – are increasingly drawn to creating an online course because they’re a GREAT way to demonstrate thought leadership in your industry, build trust with your audience, and offer great value which in turn builds goodwill and gets clients closer to a sale.
In This Video, You’re Going to Learn:
1. What can I create an online course about to grow my business?
2. How can I produce an online course: if I offer it for free is it OK if it’s half-baked?
3. How can I get people to find out and then sign up for my online course?
1st – what can your online course be about.
If what you’re offering is a tool, platform or service that helps your clients with a specific process, perhaps you can teach them that process. Take account-based marketing. If you’re a SaaS platform for ABM, you can create a course around ABM. The more people that know how to do it, the more you’re growing your market audience. And they see you as the de facto expert, so they’re unlikely to do much research to find the right platform. YOU’re the guy! (or gal).
If you’re offering a service, perhaps a small part of it can be done by DIYers who want to save some money and get a discount. That’s great because that way you can offer them a discount for a good reason, not just because they asked for it. And you’re not diminishing the value of what YOU bring to the table. For example, at Board Studios we specialize on Explainer Videos and Video Content Marketing. We’re creating mini-online courses on how to craft a compelling message and a great script to communicate it.
So when a client comes to us with their script, they’ve already engaged with a lot of our content and trust that we really know our stuff, and they’re not researching alternatives to take care of their message. Or for Video Content Marketing, we’re thinking of producing an online course on how to properly market your video. That will give you all the tools to have a master plan and a better understanding of how much video can help your business, which means you’re more likely to want us to produce regular video content for you.
If what you’re doing is very complicated, you can even walk them step by step exactly through what you can do for them. The more complicated it looks the better. The more steps involved the better. Because many people start off as aspiring DIYers but when they see how much time and effort is actually involved, they turn to the experts. That type of online course is geared towards convincing them that the right decision is to outsource. And of course you’re the de facto expert so you’re the right person to outsource to.
Let’s move on to the 2nd piece of the puzzle: how are you going to produce a course that will actually generate leads for you?
Even if you’re offering your mini-course for free as a lead magnet to gather emails, don’t think for a minute “oh it’s free so it can look like whatever”. Because this is often the first impression you’ll make to your prospects. If you give them something mediocre they won’t engage with you again. In fact, you want to give them AWESOME value as fast as possible.
That’s what all the experts agree on. You may have witnessed this actually, which is a bit sad too. You watch a webinar, where the expert gives you some amazing tips and then upsells you to a $1,000 course. You buy it because you’re expecting 1 or 2 more hours with awesome tips like this, only you get sorely disappointed. You don’t run this risk here because you’re not selling another course but a service to solve a bigger problem. So don’t worry about giving away your best stuff – that’s what you WANT to do.
Now what does offering great value look like? You need to offer tips, unique insights, expertise… AND you need to have high production quality. Your videos need to look and sound good, otherwise no one will pay attention no matter how good the content.
Here’s a process you can follow, and if you’d like more tips reach out to my team through the contact form on our website boardstudios.com so we can guide you and give you free advice. And of course we can professionally produce your mini-online course in the most affordable way.
Here’s The Process:
First, you need to come up with a great title that’s very specific:
Who’s the audience, what journey or transformation are you promising, and how long is it going to take? For example, learn how ABM can boost your close rates by 2x in the next 30 minutes. You want to solve only ONE of your audience’s problems. Don’t try to solve everything in one go!
Next, you want to sketch out your content.
It’s like your table of contents for a book, so you’re coming up with mini-titles. You don’t need lots of them. Your mini-course can be as short as 10-20 minutes, and your modules can be 2-5 minutes long, so you need 4-7 modules.
Then, talk about each topic a bit freely.
Or have someone from your team interview you and ask you follow-up questions – and record everything using a phone memo app, for example. Take the audio file and upload it on a service like Rev.com and you’ll get back a transcript.
Edit the transcript and fine-tune it so you have it exactly the way you want it.
Then use a teleprompter app and read it in front of a camera. You can use an iPad to the side of your laptop with a teleprompter app and record with a tool like Camtasia.
And now let’s move on to the final – and perhaps the most important – piece of the puzzle.
Where you get to see the results and reap the fruits of your hard labor. Let’s say you have your online course ready – now what? You have to promote it to the right audience.
First, consider where does your audience hang out?
Let’s say they’re on LinkedIn and engage with LinkedIn groups. If you’re starting from scratch without any audience of your own, dedicate maybe 1 hour every day for 1 month to become more visible on LinkedIn groups.
Commit to add free value without even thinking about selling anything.
Don’t rush it! Introduce yourself, answer questions, offer what expertise you have, offer to get on a call and answer questions or share war stories, offer to connect them with people in your network.
This way, you build organic visibility. But you can also use paid channels – on LinkedIn you can use InMail or boost posts for example. After the month is up, you should have some people who are primed to learn more from you, they’re warm leads. The goal is to then drive that traffic to your course: a high-value opt-in so you can get their email, and wow them with free but super high value content so they want to engage more.
You can also post an intro video to your mini-course or even a full module on LinkedIn and ask for comments in order to generate some kind of dialog and engagement. Ask for feedback or if they have follow-up questions to help you improve your content.
And here’s another tip:
Reach out to LinkedIn folks with expertise that’s relevant to your course. They may be consultants or even practitioners who can bring a real-world perspective to your online course. Most people love sharing their expertise and would be flattered to become part of such a project. Ask if you can interview them for your course and feature them. Then they will promote it for you too, and share your content because they were an integral part of it.
Mini-online courses are a GREAT sales tools and great lead magnets.
The beauty of them is that you’re not selling anything. You’re offering great value, building relationships, establishing yourself as the leader in your industry, and naturally guide prospects through the sales journey. The more you educate them and the more they understand the value of your offering, the more they’ll value what you do and engage with you.