How a digital course can accelerate your growth

How a digital course can accelerate your growth

“The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new.”

– Socrates

Thanks to the advent of course platforms and user-friendly technology, creating digital courses can now be easy as ever! But still, if you have no idea where and how to start, it might be a little overwhelming and confusing — I know, been there, done that.

However, with the proper guidance and inspiration, you’ll get your digital course up and running in no time! This step-by-step guide will walk you through the process of creating one, the benefits, and helpful tools and resources to make it a success.

What is a digital online course? 

Digital online courses are a type of learning that uses digital technology. Some examples are ‘Duolingo’, ‘Coursera’, and ‘Linkedin Learning with Lynda’. It allows students to take courses online, doing internet research, watching videos, and both student and teacher using digital tools like smart boards, tablets, or even your handy mobile phones.

In fact, 99% of mobile users stated mobile learning enhances their experiences, and most especially, the digital learning market is projected to be worth $325 billion in 2025. Now, how awesome is that?

And thanks to the rise of technology, and widespread availability of the internet, the barriers to learning are now a thing of the past. But how does this benefit and grow your business?

How digital courses can help your business to grow

A digital online course can help you develop a skill to boost your career — anytime, anywhere. But as a business, these online courses can help your customers use your product effectively and get better results.

Not only that, but it provides more value, attracts leads, showcases authority, fosters discussions, and most importantly, has the potential to reach a global audience.

The key benefits of including a digital course in your business

The benefits of starting an online course is huge. As technology continues to improve day by day, so does the effectiveness of digital marketing, especially online courses. And when leveraged correctly, this could get your business on a global scale.

The biggest advantages of having one are:

 

  • Wider audience base
  • More robust business model
  • Create more impact
  • Become an authority in your space
  • Create passive revenue streams

How to get started on online courses 

When it comes to creating a digital course, you don’t need to spend huge amounts of money on fancy equipment, a smart phone will do. What’s important is your expertise and how you deliver it to your audience.

Decide on a topic 

Decide on your course topic. When choosing your topic, focus on a niche area (a segment of the market) rather than going too broad on a subject. The more focused you are on a niche area, the more opportunity you have to convey your expertise, and students are also more likely to get better and more effective results.

Validate your idea 

Now that you have your course topic, it’s now time to validate your course idea. When it comes to your course, don’t make assumptions as you may find that you miss what your audience may actually need help with.

You don’t want to end up spending a great deal of time and energy creating digital courses that people are not prepared to pay for. Consider these questions in mind:

  • Why would someone pay for this course?
  • What challenge does the course solve?
  • What transition does it facilitate?
  • What are the expected learning outcomes?
  • Why is your course different from competitors?

Not only that, but you can also utilise search and engines and in-depth research relating to your course topic. Or better yet, you can ask your target audience by creating a poll, going on focus groups, doing webinars, surveys, and adding lead magnets.

In conclusion… 

You need to create long-lasting customer relationships instead of one-time, flashy ones that your audience forgets. With a digital course, you can build your customer base and improve brand recognition!

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10 tips on how to style your digital course

10 tips on how to style your digital course

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”

– Steve Jobs

You’re an expert in your field; you’ve created an incredible digital course; you have so much to offer and yet… it simply doesn’t look that way.

They say the first bite is with the eye and that’s not just true of food: you can have the best content in the world, but if you haven’t considered your design and, more importantly, your branding, then you simple won’t be in demand.

Having a digital course as part of your offering is a great way to build your brand and expand your audience. It sets you up as an expert in your field, attracts a wider customer base and is one of the best passive income streams for any sector.

If you can hone in on an area about which you are both passionate and knowledgeable, you can create content that will appeal to your core clientele, and is guaranteed to get you repeat business.

I’ve said before that, even if your subject has already been covered in other people’s digital courses, it’s still worth doing because the way you present it will be unique to you. You see the student experience is as much a part of your course as is the takeaway, and a big part of that experience is you.

Additionally, your course needs to be engaging, fun and well structured, with clear objectives and valuable information. 

Because you are the expert, the course should be an extension of your brand: people are buying you and your expertise, so let them know that they’re getting excellent value for money. The best way to do this for this in order to secure new customers is to make sure the course looks every bit as professional as the rest of your business. If the branding on your course looks cheap or hurried, people will think you don’t care, and if you don’t care why should they? 

So what do I mean by ‘branding’

I talk a lot about branding as it’s a subject that’s very close to my heart. Having worked as a designer for over 20 years, I’ve often been asked to help with people’s branding and I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve spoken to prospective clients only to realise that ‘branding’ to them is just a new logo.

That’s important, don’t get me wrong, but branding can’t be summarised in one graphic; it should go right across your business. Imagine you were to buy a motorbike and you got yourself a beautiful new helmet to go with it: that’s all very well and it’s the first thing people think of when they think of bikes, but you can’t just hop on and assume that a helmet is all you need. You need riding leathers, boots, gloves and a licence that says you can ride for a start! There’s so much more to riding than the helmet that everyone sees, and there’s so much more to branding than the logo that everyone sees!

Your brand needs to be consistent throughout everything you do: that means graphics, colours, fonts, tone of voice (the way you ‘speak’ in written conversation and on social media) and so much more.

It’s a lengthy but very worthwhile process and needs to extend to your digital course. To help you get started, I’ve put together 10 top tips to help you nail the branding on your digital course:

Tip 1:
Understand what you are trying to achieve and the goal of your digital course. For example: is this course a ‘freebie’, a stand-alone product, or is being used to drive leads to a bigger product. Having an idea of how your digital course is going to be used will help you to achieve clarity arounds its goals.

Tip 2:
Define your ideal student – where are you best placed to advertise to them, how do they speak, what will make them invest in you?

Tip 3:
Decide on your colour scheme – will you use your primary brand palette or will you extend your colours and create a palette that complements your primary palette? It’s important to stick with your primary colour as this represents your brand, but you could always build a secondary palette that feeds into the digital side of your business. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you are staying consistent.

Tip 4:
Create a course logo – identities are not just for companies, they are for products as well, and a digital course is a product that needs its own identity. For example, my overall branding is Pink Lemon, but I could choose to brand individual courses as ‘green lemon’, ‘blue lemon’ etc to denote different aspects of my offering; or I could create a new logo that incorporates the Pink Lemon, but still allows me to go in a completely different direction.

Tip 5:
Choose your fonts – fonts can say a lot about your brand so choose wisely: is your business feminine and relaxed (and might therefore suit an italic, scripted font)? Or is it dependable and conservative (a heavy, bold font perhaps)?

Tip 6:
Pick your images – every image tells a story! The images you use within your course must complement what you are sharing with your student. Images play an important role in supporting the written word. The style of the image and the way it is laid out will convey a meaning, and so it’s important to align the meaning with the content of the course – you shouldn’t just search stock images for ‘business’ photos for example. Try, where possible, to use original photos or graphics that are tailored to your business ideals.

Tip 7:
Creating videos – make sure the videos within the course are consistent in terms of filming style and location, and that any title slides and graphics within the videos look as though they are part of your suite of design. Think about creating thumbnails at the start of the video that tell your students what the video is about so that it looks clear and polished.

Tip 8:
Create a Brand Style Guide for consistency. By this I mean you should have all the details of your brand written down in one place. Think of it this way: if you won your dream holiday and had to leave the country tomorrow, would you be able to leave the running of the business to someone else? Think of everything they would need to know from your colour palette to the way you use language and make a note of it. This will help you avoid inconsistencies within your brand.

Tip 9:
Digital course assets – make sure that all your design assets (header, hero banner, product image, thumbnails, checkout image, log-in graphic) within your digital course are consistent. Ensure the design you choose runs throughout all of the design elements so your course looks neat, professional and instantly recognisable.

Tip 10:
Brand your course like you would your business! Even if it’s 5 minute free taster session it deserves the same care and attention as the rest of your business. You wouldn’t wear your best suit to one meeting and then send your assistant to the next meeting in a onesie (I hope!) so don’t let your digital course make you look bad!

Summary

Branding isn’t just for businesses; it’s for products as well. Your digital course will be competing against others within the marketplace so you need to ensure that it looks and feels like your brand.

Think about how you want your students to feel when they see your brand, and then consider how that extends through to your course. The ultimate goal is to get your students to the end of the course having experienced a transformation. Make it as accessible and welcoming as possible so that they leave raving about your course and telling others about it.

Above all, make sure that your branding is so eye-catching, distinctive and evocative that one glimpse of it is all it takes to make people desperate to know more!

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Getting started with a digital course

Getting started with a digital course

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”

– Benjamin Franklin

If you’re thinking of creating a digital course for your business then it’s vital that you take a considered approach. After all, creating a digital course is not a five minute job; it takes time and effort to create a course that will sell.

Not only do you need to think about what you are going to teach on a broader level, you also need to plan out the specific content and structure the course so that it flows. You need to consider what the learning outcomes will be so that you can effectively communicate this through the marketing stage to convert sales.

With creating a digital course, much of the work is front-loaded which means that you will be doing a lot of work upfront before making any money. There are a lot of important decisions to be made before you dive into creating your content and to help you stay on track, I’ve created a checklist of the five most important aspects of course creation.

  1. Choosing the right topic to teach

The very first step to creating a successful digital course is to decide on your course topic. When choosing your topic, focus on a niche area (a segment of the market).

Don’t try to appeal to everyone, that approach is rarely successful. Instead focus on a core group of people that you can really help. For example, if you were going to create a digital course on social media, instead of trying to teach students all about social media (which is a huge subject), narrow the topic down to a specific area (like a specific platform, or how to get results in a certain area).

The more focused you are, the more opportunity you have to convey your expertise, and students are also more likely to get better and more effective results.

When you are thinking about your course topic, consider the following:

  • Your audience
  • What their specific challenges are
  • How you can resolve these challenges through your teaching
  1. Validating market demand

Once you have come up with your perfect course topic, the next step is to test your idea and find out if there’s market demand.  You don’t want to spend a great deal of time and energy creating digital courses that people are not prepared to pay for.

Validating your course is a very smart idea because:

  • It will prove there is market demand for your digital course
  • You can generate revenue
  • It will give you the opportunity to build your email list
  • It will give you the opportunity to talk about your course and build interest around it

There are many ways to go about testing your idea, such as:

  • Do a Google search – are people searching for your topic?
  • Interview your target audience
  • Create a focus group
  • Create a survey
  • Create a lead magnet
  • Create a poll on social media platforms
  • Run a free webinar
  • Run a pilot program
  • Check out other course websites such as Udemy and UpSkill
  • Visit Quora
  • Check out Feedly
  1. Defining your ideal audience

Your ideal customer is someone who wants to buy what you have created because it’s something they need or want. Once you have a clear idea of who your ideal customer is then you can set about creating content to wow them.

Think carefully about your course content. Is this an area in which you have a lot of experience? If so, think about past clients that you’ve worked with: were some more invested in your topic than others? For example, before I started creating digital courses I helped people with their branding and would often look at whether or not a digital course would be appropriate for my clients as part of their brand. Some of my clients were immediately excited by the idea and so I had an inkling of the kind of client I would be dealing with when I started course creation.

Looking at attributes such as age/geography/sector etc is a really good starting point for discovering your ideal audience, but it’s not the only way: in my own research I found that my ideal client could be any age and from any sector, but they had an attitude in common – a passion and a desire to grow their business that tended to manifest in things like increased social media presence, attention to branding and big business goals.

  1. Being clear on the results

What results are you looking to generate from your digital course?

Whenever you feel stuck on subject matter, ask yourself this: what will my clients get from this course? Be as specific as you can. Let’s take the idea of a social media course again – the answer to that question could be “at the end of this course my clients will be able to set up a Facebook business account and be generating regular sales from it within 6 months” Try to phrase it just like that “at the end of this course my client will…” if you can be that specific with your offering, then clients will be more likely to buy.

Once you’ve considered what results you want for your client, ask yourself what results you want for yourself. Try to be just as specific with this: “I want this course to generate x amount of revenue this year” or “I want to have sold x number of courses by Christmas” Knowing exactly what you want to achieve from your efforts will help you stay on track. Whenever you start to feel that you’re losing focus, simply refer back to your ‘results statement’ and it will put you back on track.

  1. Choosing your preferred delivery method

When it comes to delivering your digital course, there are 3 main options to choose from:

The most popular option which is a Learning Management System (LMS)… now there are quite a few different platforms to choose from and again, and the platform you select will ultimately be down to your personal preference.

This is something I look at in great detail on my own course, as there’s a lot to consider. You will be influenced in your decision by your budget, your computer skills and the amount of time you can afford to spend on course maintenance, among other things, so do your research in the first instance to avoid frustration down the line!

Summary

Creating a digital course is tremendous fun and very rewarding but, as I mentioned earlier, it’s not a five minute job. If you’re going to create a digital course then you owe it to yourself and your clients to take your time and give it your best shot. There’s a lot of work involved if you want it to be a success, but hopefully this article will help you organise your thoughts and give you a good jumping off point.

Good luck, and let me know how it goes!

If you would like to book a FREE complimentary consultation to see how I can help you grow your business then please click here.

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10 reasons why a digital course needs to be included in your plans

10 reasons why a digital course needs to be included in your plans

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”
– Mark Twain

2020 has gone and we now have a whole year stretched out in front of us, that means it’s time to get into business planning mode for the year ahead.

Now if you’re anything like me, you’ll make a habit of reviewing the previous year come January, and I think it’s fair to say that no one expected 2020 to be quite the rollercoaster it was! 

Last year started off really well for Pink Lemon as we moved into our new office in Kent. We had just got settled and started hosting The Visibility Hub and then boom… we’re in lockdown. Those pre-planned goals became random words on a screen as we suddenly found ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic. 

I’m sure I am not alone in finding myself having to re-evaluate and make changes, but one of the benefits of being in lockdown is having more time. So with that in mind, and being at the start of a brand new year, I want to share with you my thoughts about why a digital course needs to be included in your business development plans for 2021.

Firstly, let’s talk about what a digital course is. 

A digital course (or eLearning as it’s also known) is a way of packaging up your knowledge and expertise and sharing it with the world to create a new income stream. Digital courses are growing rapidly in popularity due to the ease and accessibility of online learning platforms such as Udemy and Teachable.

It’s now commonplace for adults to ‘upskill’ and learn new things, and digital courses make that possible. Gone are the days where you would need to physically attend Adult Education classes in order to learn something new. Now you can find digital courses covering anything and everything at the touch of a button, so that you can learn from the comfort of your own home.

If there’s one thing I know about it’s adult learning, as I spent the majority of my twenties and early thirties upskilling. From the age of 22 to 27, I worked in London for various media houses, whilst attending night school to learn. I spent 5 years attending various colleges in the evenings, after long days at work. I would then commute back to Kent, which was exhausting as I wouldn’t get in until late. 

At 27, I left London to take a 3 year BA Hons Degree course at University of Creative Arts. In total I had spent 8 years in adult education before finally qualifying in my chosen field. The reality is that now I probably could have completed a lot of these courses digitally making my life an awful a lot easier. The point is that we now have access to anything we want to learn, which is incredible.

Why should you create a digital course?

I’d like to share a statistic with you that puts digital learning into context: according to market research firm Global Industry Analysts, it is estimated that the online education industry will grow from $107 billion in 2015 to $370 billion in 2026. 

That’s quite some growth! and it shows how popular digital learning has become. Trends have changed, people want to learn from the comfort of their own home, especially when we are confined to our homes in order to keep our loved ones safe, and learning new skills is a powerful safety net during a time in which our jobs are in constant jeopardy.

So why create your own digital course? Well the reasons are endless, but I’ll start with my own favourite top 10 reasons:

1. Brings more money into your business… cha-ching!

2020 has shown us that anything can happen, and so we need to be prepared.  The reality is that you only have a certain amount of hours in the day and a certain amount of energy to give, and how you spend your time and energy matters.

It’s a far smarter strategy to create something once to sell over and over again and that’s exactly what you can do with a digital course. Having a digital course alongside your 1-2-1 services and products enables you to bring in another stream of income for your business.

2. Creates financial freedom

The great thing about a digital course is that there are no limitations when it comes to where you sell it; you can sell your course to someone on the other side of the world because you are not restricted by location. You can sell whenever, wherever and to whoever will benefit from it. This means that you can literally make money whilst you sleep and who doesn’t want that?

3. Positions you as an expert

A digital course enables you to leverage your know-how and become an expert within your field.  If you facilitate a transition of any kind that makes a difference to someone then it’s worth exploring this direction. 

By positioning yourself as the ‘go-to’ person, you open yourself up to further opportunities.

4. Allows you to make a greater impact in the world

Another great benefit of creating a digital course is that it means you can have a greater impact on people’s lives. Of course, earning money is great and we all want to achieve financial freedom, but there’s nothing quite like making a difference to create job satisfaction. 

5. Elevates your brand

When I work with my clients, I talk a lot about brand strategy and how to develop a strong, meaningful and purpose-driven brand. Well what better way to achieve that than to create a digital product that makes a real difference? 

This is one of the reasons I have created my own branding course ‘Getting Started with your Branding’ because not only will it make a difference to someone in their business (who cannot afford specialised branding services) but it also makes what I do different to other branding agencies. 

This digital course demonstrates that I don’t just ‘talk the talk’ but that I am in the trenches ‘walking the walk’. I am completely committed to my subject and the fact that I have gone to a great deal of effort to create a digital product to teach others, validates my dedication.

6. Tap into a new audiences

We all know that in business it’s vital to pinpoint your ideal customer so that you can create products or services that directly meet their needs. Well the same can be said for digital courses. In order to successfully sell your digital course to the right student, you also need to know and understand their challenges and how your course can specifically solve them. 

A key benefit of creating a digital course is that you can target customers that perhaps cannot afford your one to one services. This enables you to widen your client base and tap into a whole new audience. 

This was a key driver for me creating ‘Getting Started with your Branding’ as so many entrepreneurs starting out in business need to know how to brand their business effectively but have limited funds because they are in the early stages of starting their business. 

7. Provides time freedom

In my previous blog, ‘How I survived the Pause of 2020’, I wrote about how it’s not sustainable to exchange time for money in our businesses long-term. There’s always far too much to do and we cannot be everything to everyone all of the time. 

One of the things I have also come to realise is that no one ever really pays enough for the value provided. How can they when it’s something that is difficult to quantify.

One of the ways in which we can create time freedom for ourselves is to change the way we work and our business model. Instead of exchanging time for money, what if we exchanged value for money instead? 

Achieving time freedom will give you more time to spend developing your business rather than being stuck simply trying to stay afloat. 

8. A great way to build your email list

Creating an email list for your business is one of the single most important things to do as it is a powerful way to develop a more meaningful and intimate relationship with potential customers. It’s also a great way to share your message with an audience that cares and wants to be a part of your brand.

According to the Nielsen Norman Group, when asked which medium consumers would like to receive updates from, 90% preferred an email newsletter with only a mere 10% choosing Facebook.

9. A digital asset that helps to increase the worth of your business

By creating a sellable digital course, you will be creating a valuable digital asset for your business. This becomes particularly important if you decide to sell your business in the future.

10. Differentiates you from your competition

What better way to help your business stand out, than to create a digital product that puts you head and shoulders above your competition? This will help define your USP and make the competition irrelevant.

Now you may find that there are other courses out there similar to the type of course you would want to create but that’s ok. In fact it’s actually a good thing because it proves that there is market-demand for what you have to offer.

Creating a digital course for your business will not only give you a strong competitive edge, it also proves that you are fully dedicated to achieving results for your customers. This means that you can focus your marketing efforts on tangible results, rather than competing on price.

Summary

So there you have it, my top 10 favourite reasons why you need to include a digital course in your business development plans for 2021. 

You see during those long weeks of lockdown in early 2020, I had plenty of time to consider the impact of digital courses, and the more I thought about it, the more I realised that this was the right thing for my business, and the more I realised that it was probably the right thing for a lot of other businesses as well.

The world is changing and, whether for better or worse, the internet is going to play a bigger and bigger part in our everyday lives.

We need to make sure that our businesses don’t get left behind and digital courses are one of the best ways to create passive income, reach a wider audience and realise the full potential of your business.

If you’ve been considering creating a digital course but always felt that it wasn’t the right time then I’m here to correct you.

The time is right, the time is now, and the future is ours.

If you would like to book a FREE complimentary consultation to see how I can help you grow your business then please click here.

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