In our last post, we began looking at the top five things you can do to get more students for your membership or course.
We saw that first, you need a flywheel in order to build a sustainable system for marketing your membership.
Second, we saw that you need to plan for “extended execution,” which makes sure you execute your plan with the long game in mind.
Let’s move into the next three things you need to do if you want to grow your membership or online course business:
3. Map a Student Journey
As we mentioned in the last post, the leverage you can create with online learning programs is one of the biggest advantages.
However, there’s a danger.
If you move too fast and don’t craft a journey for your students to take, they are going to get burned out and your churn and/or refund requests are going to become difficult to manage.
A great student journey accomplishes a few things:
- It gives students something to look forward to
- It creates confidence in your expertise
- It creates a sense of accomplishment among your students
- It empowers students to take their learning more seriously
- It sharply raises the value of your training
When you think about it, it’s remarkable that one simple idea can have such a profound impact!
Because each membership site and online course is unique, it’s hard to generalize what your student journey should look like.
But here are a few ideas that should get your wheels spinning:
Your learning framework is what makes your training unique from everyone elses.
It sets you apart and gives people a reason to learn from you instead of one of the myriad other options available.
The best person I know to learn the art of frameworks from is Russell Brunson. His book Expert Secrets (affiliate link) goes in-depth on how to create frameworks within frameworks to guide your audience and students.
The map is a visual representation of the structure of your framework(s).
Your “map” may not look like an actual map. For example, Russell Brunson’s framework called the “value ladder” looks like stair steps.
The question is, can you provide some sort of visual representation of what you are teaching that help students click and/or identify with it faster or to a greater degree?
Every great journey has milestones along the way.
It’s hard to accomplish a goal if you don’t know what it takes to reach it.
If your training is truly taking students on a journey, you need to make sure they are motivated to keep reaching new plateaus.
It’s really fun to get stuff. And even more fun when you are receiving as a result of something you have accomplished.
A membership program or online course that actively rewards students for reaching new heights can be a great way to encourage participation and stickiness.
As a bonus, rewards also invite word of mouth. This one simple addition could help reduce churn and bring in new students! It’s a real win.
Certificates are related to rewards but have more to do with status than anything else.
When someone completes your training (or an aspect of it), make are they are rewarded with some sort of status symbol that can be displayed publicly.
Take this to the next level by performing some sort of ritual that celebrates the achievement publicly and creates an experiential moment that students will remember for life.
4. Build Your Network Effect
It’s no secret—the best form of marketing is word of mouth.
That said, it’s also the most mysterious form of marketing there is, as it’s quite hard to “hack.”
The best way to create word of mouth is just to be interesting, which is great, but also very subjective.
There’s another way to accomplish a similar result to word of mouth that comes from the world of technology: The Network Effect.
The Network Effect describes a system that actually increases in value for each user the more users join the system.
Each new user creates value for the other users who are a part of the system.
A classic example is the telephone. A single telephone is useless, and the more people who have them, the more connectivity is possible, and thus the more value is created.
An obvious modern example is social media. There’s nothing “social” about a social media website that has one person, and clearly, a site with 50 is better than 5.
The quickest way to add a network effect to your online training programs is to add a community element.
If you only offer an online course right now, consider adding a Facebook group or another community engagement platform and creating a Student Center there.
By doing this you extend the value of your courses beyond the content they contain and into the results and camaraderie that result from multiple people engaging with the material at once.
A membership website will often have some aspect of this built-in already, which is a great start, but also introduces other opportunities to create a network effect.
Some of those opportunities include:
- Directories that place members in geographic or otherwise contextual proximity to one another
- Larger data samples to create more value for future members
- New ideas for content
- Collaborative tools that can match-make and help people create results together
And lots, lots more I’m sure!
Having a system that your students can plug into will be a game changer.
This makes your programs more like an ecosystem than merely a training course, which makes all the difference in an industry where churn rates can be quite high.
5. Strategize Your Offer Growth
There’s an additional aspect to the student journey that matters a great deal, and it also matters to your business: the frequency, size, and value of your offers.
In a course or membership business, you make the rules.
There’s a loose statistic that about 10% of your students would be willing to pay about 10 times more for a service or program if you had one to offer them.
You decide if there will be a cap on your offerings or if you’re going to continue offering more value. Let’s talk about the three things that go into this.
1. Offer Frequency — Make More Offers
One of the biggest oversights in business is not making enough offers.
Myron Golden talks about the four different kinds of offers:
- Lead Generation Offers
- Core Offers
- Premium Offers
- Continuity Offers
For a person to move and take action with your programs, you will need to create an offer that is targeted and compelling for them.
But not all offers resonate with every person!
The more offers you make, the more you find out what your audience wants, and the easier it is to onboard them as students.
2. Offer Size — Make Bigger Offers
As you become more successful in educating and inspiring others online, you will come to face a conundrum: The value of your personal attention becomes much more sacred.
There’s a scale at which you can no longer provide that sort of attention, and if people are going to access it, they are going to need to pay more money.
This is not an ego thing — it’s a simple demand thing.
You will simply not have the time to help everyone at that level, and the only real way to differentiate them is by asking them to pay more.
I think all course and membership facilitators should start thinking “big ticket” sooner rather than later.
Start crafting that next level of the student journey that is bigger and better, and make more offers to the people in your audience who can afford that level of investment.
3. Offer Value — Make Better Offers
But you don’t just want to make bigger offers, they need to be better as well.
Here’s the kicker though: They don’t need to depart from your normal frameworks.
Of course—they can. If you want to “save” some frameworks for people who are paying more, that is fine.
Normally, though, premium offers consist of:
- Going deeper into and practically applying the frameworks you teach in your main training, books, and even your free content.
- Giving a “first look” at new frameworks you are inventing and testing to see if they work with your students. This will give early results to premier students and allow you to refine the process when you share it more widely.
Just making more, bigger and better offers can be the secret sauce you need to grow your student base and your income.
I hope you have found this short series helpful.
At NorthMac, we love working with people just like you to help craft amazing online courses and membership websites.
We can also help you get the word out about your programs and even help you design programs that will impact your students for years to come.
Reach out anytime and we would be glad to help you.