If you’re like other course creators that I’ve worked with, you’ve likely been planning out your courses all wrong.
But it’s not your fault. It’s because you don’t know who your real competitors are. You likely think that they’re just the other course creators in your niche. But it’s just not quite that simple. That’s not the full picture.
In today’s video, I am going to reveal who your true competitors are and two additional course mistakes you might be making while you plan your course. Course mistakes that often happen as a result of not understanding who your true competition is.
Plan better courses by understanding your competition
All of us course creators aren’t just competing with each other. In fact, we’re competing with something that’s completely separate from other course creators.
We’re competing with things out there that seem easier and more fun than our courses. We’re competing with the temptation our students face to just scroll Instagram or play another round of Candy Crush.
This is why only 3% of students who enroll in an online course actually finish it.
If you can’t keep your student’s attention in your course:
- they won’t finish it
- they won’t get results
- they won’t give testimonials, at least not unsolicited testimonials, which are the best kind because they’re most effective at helping you enroll new students.
How to plan better courses and avoid these 3 common course mistakes
So, how do you fix it? How do you start competing with Instagram and Facebook and Tik TOK and Candy Crush?
You’ve got to figure out what those things do well. How do they keep bringing people back for more?
If you can figure that out and add those things to your course, you’re going to be way ahead of the game and stand out in a saturated market.
Course Mistake #1
That is the first mistake that lots of online course creators make when they’re planning out a course – they don’t plan for how they’re going to compete against social media and online games.
Let’s jump into two things that online games and social media tends to do really well and how you can add them into your course. Because if you don’t understand that first concept, you’re very likely to leave these two things out of your course, which are two additional mistakes I see lots of online course creators making.
Course Mistake #2
Lately, I’ve been kind of addicted to this game called Blockudoku. They do something really well.
They give me a goal.
Every time I start a new game, they say, “Hey, only 27% of people can get to this score. Try to beat it.” And because I have that goal, I’m suddenly more motivated.
So many course creators that I have worked with forget, or just don’t even know, to give the students in their online course a goal. Your course should have a goal.
I actually call it a course destination. Where are you trying to take people? If you turn your course into a journey, where are they trying to get to? What is their goal?
Now, if you want this goal to be really effective, I have some suggestions for you. You’ve probably heard about SMART goals or Clear goals or WIN goals. I just like to use the acronym goal.
The key to help you plan better courses
First, when your students accomplish the goal, they must feel Gratified. That means they have to want the goal and it needs to have an effect in their life that is something important to them.
Second, O stands for Observable. The result your students get from your course must be observable. They must be able to observe it with one of their senses. They either need to be able to hear it or see it or touch it.
Third A, which stands for Assessable, not accessible, but assessable. Your students need to have a way to assess whether or not they’ve actually reached the goal. It needs to be measurable.
And last L stands for Likely. It needs to be likely that your students can actually reach the goal. It can’t be too hard, but it also can’t be so easy that it isn’t really a goal at all.
So G O A L – Gratifying Observable Assessable and Likely.
Example of transformational Course Goals
I’m going to give you two different course goals. One that follows the GOAL method and one that does not. I want you to think, and even tell me down in the comments, if one sounds more attractive or more motivating than the other.
#1 – Take this course to learn how to play the guitar.
That one does not follow the goal format. But I want you to think about how motivating it is.
#2 – At the end of this course, you will be able to play three of your favorite songs on the guitar.
Which one is more motivating?
Let’s go through that second one and see if it meets those four requirements.
Is it gratifying? Well, yeah, it’s their favorite songs. It’s not just any song. It’s their favorite songs. Songs that they will really want to learn to play.
Is it observable? Can you see it or hear it or touch it? Yes, you can both touch a guitar and hear yourself playing it.
Is it assessable? Well, yes, because we told them they’d be able to play three songs. It’s not two or 17, it’s specifically three. They have a way to measure if they’ve reached the goal or not.
Is it likely? Yes. We’re not telling them that they’re going to be able to go from never having touched a guitar, to picking up a guitar and being able to play any song they want. It’s just three songs.
And in fact, it’s three of your favorite songs and we’re going to teach them probably using some sort of technique that allows them to figure out what the chords are and play them. It’s very likely that somebody with no experience could learn that skill.
Some of you are probably thinking, ‘learning to play the guitar would’ve been plenty for me, I would have been totally willing to enroll in that course,’ if the entire promise or goal of the course was you’ll learn to play the guitar.
But, here’s the thing, it’s not just about marketing.
Yes. Sometimes we can get people into our courses with these big grand promises, but I promise you, those people are going to be far less likely to finish your course.
Your course goals aren’t just about enticing people to enroll. It’s about keeping people motivated to continue to log in and try and learn from your course.
This goal system – gratifying observable, assessable and likely – is really important. It’s what’s going to help your people stay motivated.
Course Goals Bonus Tip
I don’t want you to have a goal just for your course. I want you to have a goal for every module and every lesson in your course. What is it that they are going to have accomplished that is gratifying, observable, assessable, and likely, at the end of every lesson, every module, and the end of your course.
If you plan those goals into your course, your people are going to be far more likely to finish your course and give you unsolicited testimonials, which means your course is going to get easier and easier to sell instead of harder and harder to sell.
Let’s finish off the solution for this mistake by giving you a few examples of my own clients course goals.
Example #1 – Create a customized, printable skincare routine in three days.
Example #2 – Create a fridge-worthy, three month reintegration plan that includes the entire family.
Example #3 – This is actually the course goal for my Accessally Academy, turn your course into a journey that doubles the number of students who complete your course.
I would love to know what your course goal is. Take a minute and plan that out. Think about it and drop it in the comments for me and I’ll give you some feedback.
We’ve covered two mistakes that lots of course creators make when they’re planning out their courses.
First is they don’t understand who their competition really is. Second is that they don’t have a goal for their course, an actual destination their students are trying to reach.
Third is that they’re only focused on the content.
Now don’t get me wrong here. Your course content is very important. In fact, it’s the foundation of your course. Particularly when you get into creating good curriculum, which we’re going to do in some of the videos later in this series.
I’m not saying don’t focus at all on course content. What I’m saying is it’s not all you need to plan for. A lot of course creators only plan the content and they leave everything else out.
What do I mean by content? I mean:
- What you’re going to teach.
- How your videos look.
- How they’re going to be recorded.
- The extras, the bonuses, all the extra things that you’re going to include in your course.
I see a lot of course creators make the mistake of just putting more and more and more and more and more content into their course. This ends up overwhelming their students and decreasing their completion rate.
This is another really easy mistake for course creators to make, because it’s what most marketing experts out there are teaching.
But, focusing exclusively on content creates courses, frankly, that are boring. Courses that leave our students to motivate themselves instead of taking the responsibility on ourselves to motivate our students.
You might think, “well, yeah, that’s not my job.” Well, a completion rate of only 3% says otherwise. If you want people to complete your course, then you’ve got to help them do that.
How to correct these course mistakes
Here’s the solution:
I want you to think of your course as a journey your students go on. That’s why it has a destination.
You’ve probably heard the phrase: Who, what, when, where, why and how. Well, you focused a lot on the what of your course. But what about the who, where, when, why and how?
If you created a course goal, then you now have the where, because you know where your people are supposed to be going. If you know your ideal student well enough, then you know all about them and who they are and why they want to get to the course destination.
HOW to help your students reach the course goals
But what about the how? How are they going to move from where they’re at now, all the way to the end? That course destination, your course goal.
Before I give you the answer, I want to tell you a little story so that you can better understand what my answer is.
When our kids were a little younger, we took them to Disneyland. We didn’t just think about the content of the journey. For example, we were going to get in a car and drive to California and check into a hotel and buy tickets for Disneyland. All of those things had to happen. Those were all essential. Our trip to Disneyland couldn’t have happened without those things, without the content.
But we wanted this to be a great experience for our kids and we know them. We know them very well. All of my kids struggle with mental health, anxiety and depression. It can sometimes make for very difficult situations. One might be anxious about something that another one thinks is stupid. But then later on, another kid is anxious about something that the first kid thinks is stupid.
I really wanted to think about the entire process. I wanted to think about it as a journey and an experience.
One thing we did is we welcomed them into this experience. We had a big, huge cardboard box with Disney balloons in it, and it was wrapped like a present. They opened the box and Disney balloons flew out. This welcomed them into the idea that they were going to start this journey to Disneyland.
Then we took the journey itself and we did everything we could to make it fun because driving for 10 hours, in a car, just isn’t really that fun. Every hour they got to open a new gift. All of the gifts were related to Disneyland, like a Disneyland coloring book, or Disney ears that they could then wear at Disneyland. This created the journey going there. We actually made it fun.
I also knew that my kids were little and they were going to get tired and grumpy, which would increase their anxiety and therefore their fighting. I had a whole bag of Hershey’s kisses. And every time I saw them being kind to someone while we were at Disneyland, I rewarded them with a Hershey kiss.
Now did they want to be at Disneyland? Yeah, they wanted to be there. But was it still sometimes hard? Yeah. It was sometimes hard. By giving them that little kiss, they had consistent rewards throughout the process that kept them motivated and kept them going.
We also did all sorts of celebrations, taking pictures, big thumbs up, lots of surprises. We also engaged with our kids during that process. It’s not like we just sent them into Disneyland on their own. We were there with them holding their hand when they were a little nervous for a rollercoaster and cheering them on when they went up on stage and fought Darth Vader.
We made sure we stayed in a hotel that had a great breakfast, which really prepared them to have the energy that they needed to get through Disneyland every day.
Even the trip home from Disneyland was fun. There were a couple additional gifts that they got to open to kind of wrap that whole experience up in a bow and make the completion of it fun.
6 Things To Help You Plan Better Courses
I want you to do that for your course, for your people. I want you to think about six things.
- How are you going to welcome them into your course onto this journey?
- How are you going to teach them?
- How are you going to encourage them when they get discouraged? Because do they want to be at your course? Heck yeah, they do. They paid for it. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t hard at times. Recognize that and prepare for it.
- How are you going to celebrate with them? When they win, when they do something right in your course, when they take a hard quiz, when they finish a difficult module, when they learn a new concept, How can you celebrate with them?
- How are you going to engage with them? How are you going to be part of that process with them so that they don’t feel alone?
- How are you going to tie the whole experience up in a bow? What are they going to experience when they complete your course?
We’re going to go through all of these things and more in the other videos coming in this series. If that sounds like something that could transform your course and therefore your business and allow you to make money without burnout, make sure you’re subscribed so you don’t miss the next video.