When considering how to get more customers, do you follow the “Wal-Mart” strategy of ‘Pile ‘em high and sell ‘em cheap’?
Or, have you ever rummaged through the bargain bin of DVDs at a discount store? Are any of them actually worth watching? Maybe, if you’re into B-movies that went straight to DVD. Don’t let your courses be B-movies. Go for the Oscar every time.
The low price / high volume strategy might work in high-volume retail, and, yes, we’ve probably all been guilty of buying a “B” movie once in our lives, but when you’re selling online education it’s the value you create around your course that sells, not trying to undercut rivals selling something similar. People will pay for the value they perceive in your course. If it’s a few dollars more than another, but a prospective learner can clearly see the additional value they’ll receive, you are more likely to sell good numbers of it than if you offer a less convincing effort at a giveaway price.
The best way to ensure your courses are high value is to make them truly unique: not only will this reduce (or eliminate) any rivals, you will also be able to separate out the reasons why you’re different as selling points. You might not be the only eLearning provider covering your subject matter, but you will be the only one offering it your way.
Here are a few ways to create uniqueness that are sure to translate into value:
- Share your passion. If you are only offering a course to make some money, people will sniff that out immediately and walk away. Be generous and learners will love you for it and tell others.
- Put in the work. It’s roughly the same amount of work to produce a small course as a more substantial one. All the things you have to do to get a course up and running will dwarf the actual creation of the content and supporting resources that will make it great. Try not to kid yourself that a sausage machine of low-effort courses can be the way to high sales. For the time you put into it, you might as well set a higher price point and offer something more substantial.
- Get feedback. Allow a focus group of learners to take your course and then ask them how much they would pay for it. Then, either take an average, or change your course to specifically alter it to address any concerns or requests.
- Provide extra resources to supplement the course. These can be placed in a ‘resources’ section of your website or downloadable for free before enrolment, after the course has ended, or at strategic point during the course. They should always provide extra value and be generous in spirit – this communicates your passion for your subject and learners love that.
- Create supplementary resources. One way to do this is to have two versions of each course: a plain vanilla core product and a ‘deluxe’ course at a slightly higher price, with extra value in the form of supporting materials. Then, offer an attractive upsell to give people that ‘reason’ to make the bigger buy.
- Offer payment plans. People might not have enough in the bank to buy your course outright, but if they have the option of paying in instalments this can make it easier for them to click ‘Buy’.
- Focus on content, not frills. Make your course look and flow nice, but don’t invest more than you need to in branding and design. No amount of high-end design work will make people buy your course if it lacks the meat in the sandwich: actionable value (stuff people can use to achieve something in their lives) and a sense of you as a generous source of quality information. That’s the value people are willing to pay for.
The best bit of advice to follow when creating your course is asking yourself if you would sign up. If you find yourself saying, “probably not” then why would you expect others to? Go for high value every time and let the courses speak for themselves through happy students, word of mouth referrals, and cross sells!
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