Issue #430

Do Online Courses Need To Be Big And Fancy?

Online courses are obviously big business. A ton of people create and sell online courses. Yet more plan to and are busy creating their own with dreams of selling them for big money.

But, I think it pays (literally) to keep things in perspective.

I am currently in the middle of a complete re-do of my own Membership Site Blueprint course. I’ll be launching it soon. All past buyers of it will have automatic access. But, that’s not the point…

As I am working on it, I find myself thinking about the real value of online courses as they are today.

I remember when online courses were rather new. They were… special. They had a higher perceived value. Gurus would record these big online courses and do big huge product launches on them and sell them for $2,000+. They were good, but they were basically a collection of videos. Often those videos were screen recordings of slide decks.

While there are still cases of large-scale product launches like that, it definitely isn’t what it used to be. And it takes a hell of a lot more to get the attention and sell than it used to.

Heck, just a couple weeks ago, there was a massive product launch of some course via an all-day live stream. It was some “gurus” in the internet marketing space and… Matthew McConaughey. Some kind of “Roadtrip” product and they freakin’ partnered with a Hollywood actor to get the attention!

Other large scale launches come with equal levels of production value and glamor. While they might not have their own big-name actor to work with, you see Hollywood level production values in the videos, webinars and live streams.

All this to say… we have major content inflation in the online course space. The big launches take more and more to get the attention… and the rest are in the mix with the likes of Udemy, Skillshare, Youtube and all the other places where you can find tons and tons of online courses for very cheap amounts.

In a lot of cases, the online course has become a commodity. It doesn’t have the “wow” factor that it used to. It is like the new “ebook”.

With this in mind, where does the value come from?

The days of throwing everything but the kitchen sink into a course and trying to “wow” people with how huge it is and how much stuff they’re getting… is over.

The attention spans aren’t there anymore.

So, it would be a total waste of your time to spend a bunch of time and money to create some super-fancy course that has a ton of content in it.

In fact… it is the exact opposite.

Today, the goal is to get the person to the outcome they want as fast as you possible can. No fluff. Just the shortest possible path to the outcome they want so they can get the outcome as quick as possible.

The value of an online course is the SPEED. It is the CLARITY. It is the SHORTCUTS.

The value of the course is not the length. The videos. The amount of content. Not only are people not really impressed by that anymore, but many will view it as a distraction. It is a longer runway to what they want. It means more work. They don’t want more work. They want LESS work!

So, when it comes to making your own online courses… I think it makes sense to make them SHORT!

Outline them in advance. Give yourself, perhaps, a maximum of 1-2 days to create it. Then, launch the thing!

Not only that, it doesn’t have to be video based. An online course can be written. Again, if it gets them to the desired outcome in the shortest possible path and avoids all the speed bumps, that’s the most important thing.

It is certainly possible that a good online course isn’t too different than a well-developed blog post. It is about the order, the progression, the simplicity. If they can easily follow along and get the promised outcome, that’s all that’s important. Then, you just price it accordingly to the value of the outcome.

Think about this…

If you don’t overblow what is required to make a good course, then you can potentially create more of them and use them in a number of ways.

Lead magnets. Content upgrades from blog posts. More deliverables for a recurring membership site. Bonuses for clients or even to make better clients. The possibilities are rather endless, actually.

But, the whole thing gets easier and more useful… if you don’t overblow what it takes to create an online course.

Perhaps you’ll pack more punch into a “flagship” online course that you plan to turn into one of your major core offers. But… if you are planning to create an ever-growing library of online courses for clients and members, why make them bigger than they need to be?

People want outcomes. They want them fast. Build your course around getting them that outcome as quickly and easily as you can possibly pull off.

That’s WAY more valuable than packing a bunch of fluff into it.

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