Chances are you’ve heard the buzz about the benefit of creating online courses and digital products to sell online.
If you want to create an online course or digital product that sells, your goal should be to create a product that is perceived as highly valuable. Something that your customers will not only love because they find it useful, but rave about to other people.
I see far too many well-intentioned, passionate coaches, speakers, and solopreneurs investing time and money to create products that seem like a good idea, but fail when it comes to delivering what their target audience needs.
In a market where there is an overwhelming abundance of information (for free and for fee), it s critical to make sure that what you create consistently satisfies your audiences needs. You need to make a product that S.T.I.C.K.S. That’s my acronym to help you remember how to create products that will keep your customers coming back for more.
“S” is your online course solution oriented?
Just because you have extensive knowledge of a topic, doesn’t mean that your target audience needs it AND will pay for it. Your course or product needs to solve a problem your customers have. Before you start creating content observe and research.
- What blog topics do you get the most traffic to or the most comments about?
- What questions do you find yourself answering over and over again?
- What missteps and pitfalls does your audience fall into consistently?
- Where are they losing money and time?
Don’t just go with your hunch or intuition, ask your audience. Start with your current client base and ask them directly or create an on-line poll for your readers and followers. Your best bet is to do both, start with an online survey and then follow up with current clients to confirm.
“T” – Does your course help your learners transform?
Your course needs to take your customers from point A to point B. If they don’t know more or can’t do more than before your online course – there is no value for them. Have you ever bought a digital product, excited by the well written sales page, the long list of benefits, and the glowing stream of testimonials, only to be completely underwhelmed by what has been delivered?
Your clients can use Google and search the web just like you can. While there are many who are willing to pay for not having to search on their own, they will not pay again if what they pay for is so basic that it doesn’t improve their understanding, ability or results. This doesn’t mean that your product has to take them from 2 to 10 on the knowledge scale, in fact, small progress is sometimes better. But it does mean they need to make progress. If your online course helps them grow, they are more likely to trust you enough to buy from you again and to recommend your product to others.
“I” – Does your course provide more than just information?
Information is not enough. There’s a popular book in the training industry called “Telling Ain’t Training,” and the premise is that most people will not learn from just being told about something. The best learning products go beyond the encyclopedia approach of delivering content. They provide how to instructions, spark ideas through real-world examples, and inspire creativity and innovation on how the information can be actively applied to different circumstances. One of my pet peeves is any product that narrowly focus on just one person’s success (usually the creator’s) without helping you think through how to apply it to or modify things for your situation.
“C” – is the content of your online course relevant?
While a 15-hours of video content may seem like just the right amount of space for you to share the knowledge and experience you’ve acquired over the last 10 years, that may not be what you want to include in your digital product. No matter how hard you try, you can’t transfer every bit of information in one shot and have your audience reach the same level of mastery as you in a fraction of the time it took you. While it might make you feel good to show your stuff – your audience will end up overwhelmed and frustrated. And you also miss your opportunity to upsell and create additional products. Don’t give them everything and the kitchen sink. Keep it to exactly what they need to take action towards a specific result.
“K” – Does it keeps their attention?
The best online courses and digital products keep customers engaged from start to finish. Use stories, examples, facts, steps, explanations, images, infographics, worksheets, questions in your content. For printed products make sure you find ways to break up the long sections of text. For audio, video, and live teleseminars, learn to break up your monologue with questions, stories, and humor.
A great way to keep their attention is with frequent calls to action. Don’t just have them read, hear, or watch your content for long stretches of time without having them do something. Brainstorm, journal, search, question, get feedback, give feedback. The goal here is to make your online course less of a one-way data dump of content and more of an interactive experience that sets them up to create small wins and success over the course of your product. This is especially key if the ultimate benefits or results will take some time to see. The sooner they can feel like they’ve accomplished something, the stronger the perception will be that your product helped them.
“S” – Is your online course structured in a way that helps your learners learn.
Make sure your content is organized in a clear and logical manner. This can be challenging for two reasons:
1) if you are an expert and have been practicing for a long period of time, it may be hard for you to break down exactly what you do in a way that is most effective for newbies or those with intermediate skills.
2) On the other hand if you are just starting with creating a product, it may be hard to figure out exactly how to organize your content so that it flows smoothly and naturally from one topic or step to the next.
Either way, without a solid framework for your ebook or product, your customers will feel frustrated and may even dismiss the value of what you have provided.
Planning makes you profitable
Does this mean that your infoproducts have to be complex and hard to develop? Not at all. But there does need to be some planning and consideration used if you are to ensure that you more than just a one-product wonder. The goal should be to deliver high-quality products that consistently provide value in helping your clients get results.