For brands that want to grow their industry authority, few things will do it faster than creating a successful course.
But creating a successful course can be really hard. According to the most recent statistics, the e-learning market is slated to eclipse $243 billion soon, which means more people than ever are entering the market.
If you want to set yourself apart, you’ll have to find a way to deliver the content people want in a way that’s even more accessible than others.
Benefits of mini courses
On average, a mini course is normally around two hours long.
This pales in comparison to other online courses which can stretch on for 40 hours (or more), covering not just one topic, but several.
Mini courses, by comparison, are laser focused and just long enough to cover one highly-targeted topic. The topic can be complementary to another course that may not have the bandwidth to go as in depth as the topic requires, or it could be a standalone subject that sells by itself.
There are lots of benefits to mini courses, such as:
- Quick to Create. Since these courses are shorter, they take fewer resources and less planning to develop.
- Instant Revenue. Mini courses are great upsells and cross-sells to your existing market. Simply bolt them on to your existing offerings and you’ll create a whole new revenue stream, which helps with your overall valuation if you want to eventually sell the business.
- Lead Generation. Every brand needs some kind of smaller buy-in from their customer before trying to pitch them the full suite of services and products they offer. But even if those initial leads never fully convert, you can still create a sizable audience using these mini courses as their own product, whether free or paid.
- Brand Authority. It’s not enough anymore for a business to simply be in the “revenue business”; they have to build themselves up as thought leaders in their industry. Free courses are a great (and easy) way to advertise your authority on a niche subject.
Top 5 tips for creating a mini course that converts
Many brands fall into the trap of simply building a course that educates their audience. There’s nothing wrong with that – all courses should be information and application-heavy, after all – but what you really want is a course that converts an audience into customers.
In order for a course to convert, it has to provide value. The content needs to be actionable, and, most importantly, something that can generate a healthy ROI for the learner. Whether that’s in the form of increased revenue or added skills is a side issue – what matters is that the learner feels like they’re getting something of value out of the course.
Pick a practical niche
Whatever topic you decide to create your course on, it needs to be high-value, targeted, and something that the learner can apply almost immediately. Resist the urge to create a nebulous course that is wrapped completely up in theory; build a course using examples, statistics, and actionable advice.
When deciding on a topic, consider your own passion areas. Think about your specific expertise. What do you have experience in that very few of your direct competitors do? Dive into the sub-niches of your industry and list several options.
If you’re really stumped, use Google trends to see what areas people are requesting more info about. Monitor online forums and social media groups to see what people are needing help with the most and go from there.
Choose a specific audience
Think of your ideal demographic. Consider where they live, their age, job title, and possible career goals. What are their hobbies? What’s their estimated experience level?
Then, get even more granular. Think about what their specific pain points could be, and what challenges they face every single day. You could also put yourself in their shoes by considering what they would hope to gain from a course like yours, then tailor the approach accordingly.
A mini course that promises a realtor can close 20% more sales in a calendar year is great, but the market is flooded with courses like these. Instead, you could create a course that teaches new Texas real estate investors how to profitably flip foreclosed properties selling for less than $50,000. The market for that course is much smaller, but just as enthusiastic about the material as anyone else.
American Trucks is another example. They have a channel called The Haul where they share all kinds of information about topics such as pickup parts, new truck features, and truck accessories. With this type of content that is valuable for many, they can create and sell mini courses specialized in the automotive industry and they are providing valuable information for any of their users that might want to do the same.
Create concise classes
There’s no reason to create hours of content on micro-subject. Instead, try to come up with the quickest and most accessible way to convey the necessary information.
Make sure your unique value proposition is front and center so that they know what to expect through the mini course. Create an outline and be deliberate with each module. Don’t try to “wing it,” or else your audience will feel cheated.
Once you’ve got the material compartmentalized far enough, give some thought to how you’ll present the information. Will you use powerpoint, video, or make it a purely text-only class? Will there be worksheets and quizzes that test the user as they progress through the material?
A big part of having a mini course that converts is the feelings it evokes. Does it look professional and enticing? Would you purchase it yourself? Visual elements and how you present it are a fundamental part of this so make sure that you use a background remover for any custom images you might want to add, this way you’ll be able to edit them and have a consistent feel all around your course.
People expect a mini course to be priced significantly less than longer courses. Unless it’s extremely high-value, a two-hour course should be comparable to other courses in your industry.
To find the right price, ask yourself how much ROI they can reasonably expect to generate from your material. Or launch a pre-sale on your material and see how the market reacts to the course at different prices. A strong split-testing campaign should help you nail down the right price.
For courses that are more expensive, use a payment plan to help them make the leap. This will allow you to sell your course to more people and still make a profit.
Market through networks
In the initial stages of marketing your course, focus on getting reviews. Don’t try to break the bank with the first launch. Over time, you can let off the gas, but you’ll need as much social proof in the beginning as humanly possible.
For starters, blast your course on your email list, through paids on social networks, and reach out to a few bloggers. Eventually, you could also try finding influencers, using a referral program, or even starting a Youtube channel or podcast to generate buzz.
Depending on the course, you may also offer a preview course – a mini, mini course, if you will.
If you’re struggling with promotional content, such as writing course descriptions and finding targeted keywords, use a content writing service to help your content rank online. This will get you the long-term organic traffic your course needs to stay relevant.
Finally, create an eye-catching tagline for your course. If you want to come up with a unique slogan but are fresh out of ideas, use a tagline generator to help you brainstorm a few options.
What course will you create?
Let your imagination run free and track as many ideas as possible for your next course. With any luck, not only will your mini course be a great lead generation magnet for your brand, but may even become a substantial income generator by itself!