Create A Course Online with Mara Kucirek
Too often, the focus of adding a course to our businesses is what that course can do for us – how it will improve our businesses, and how we can ensure we have the best course launch ever. And while I am really passionate about helping other educators have the best course launch ever, the former teacher in me is also really passionate about ensuring that our courses are the best they can be for our students as well.
Which is why I knew I NEEDED to bring my friend Mara on to help us ensure that our courses are even better than our marketing.
After years of working in corporate marketing and spending time as a middle school English teacher, Mara traded in the 9-5 life to help creative entrepreneurs share their knowledge through online courses. She provides the accountability, tech support and most importantly – strategic curriculum design – that ensures your students actually learn something and fill your inbox with glowing reviews.
After this interview, I realized just how much I could do to improve my courses for my students, and I know that you’ll also walk away with tons of great tips for improving your courses, or creating them with the student experience in mind right from the beginning!
Links and Resources Mentioned in This Episode:
- Really quickly, before we dive into this episode – I just HAVE to share something I’m really excited about with you. My book, Chasing Simple Marketing, is launching this July. I wrote this book for the business owner that stumbled into entrepreneurship because they were following their passion. But without that Masters of Business Administration (MBA) or background in business, they find marketing overwhelming and frustrating. Throughout these pages, I’m going to take you on a simplicity-focused journey to improve your content marketing and you’ll walk away with an actionable plan to simplify your marketing, so that you can fit your marketing into your business, without it taking over your business. To learn more about how to grab your copy, and even potentially get on the launch team head over to amandawarfield.com/book/ See you there!
- This week’s episode is brought to you by the Chasing Simple Content Planner and you can grab your own at amandawarfield.com/planner/
- This week’s action step: Sign up for your course as if you’re a new student.
- This week’s book recommendation: Deep Work by Cal Newport
- Find me on Instagram and tell me you completed this week’s action step: @mrsamandawarfield
After years of working in corporate marketing and spending time as a middle school English teacher, Mara traded in the 9-5 life to help creative entrepreneurs share their knowledge through online courses. She provides the accountability, tech support and most importantly – strategic curriculum design – that ensures your students actually learn something and fill your inbox with glowing reviews.
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Rather Read? – Here’s the Transcript!
*Just a heads up – the provided transcript is likely to not be 100% accurate
Too often, the focus of adding a course to our business is what the course can do for us, how it will improve our businesses, and how we can ensure we have the best course launch ever. And while I am really passionate about helping other educators have the best course launch ever, The former teacher in me is also really passionate about ensuring that our courses are the best they can be for our students as well, which is why I knew I needed to bring my friend Mara on to help us ensure that our courses are even better than our marketing.
After years of working in corporate marketing and spending time as a middle school English teacher, Mara traded in the 9 to 5 life to help creative entrepreneurs share their knowledge through online courses. She provides the accountability, tech support, and most importantly, strategic curriculum design that ensures your students actually learn something and fill your inbox with glowing reviews.
After this interview, I realized just how much I could do to improve my courses for my students. And I know that you’ll also walk away with tons of great tips for improving your courses or creating them with the student experience in mind, right from the beginning. You’re listening to episode 178 of the Chasing Simple podcast, and I’m your host, Amanda Warfield.
This episode was brought to you by the Chasing Simple Content Planner, and you can grab your own at amandawarfield. com / planner.
How do I find time to create content without overwhelming myself? Where should I even be showing up in my marketing? How do I come up with fresh content ideas? Where should I be focusing my marketing efforts? What is lead generation anyways, and how do I do it? Are launches still a thing? And most importantly, How do I put it all together to market my business strategically?
Can I really grow my business without spending all of my time marketing? These are some of the questions that float around in your head when you think of marketing. Welcome, friend. This is Chasing Simple, where practical marketing strategy meets simplicity. I’m your host, Amanda Warfield, simplicity focused content marketing and launch strategist.
Speaker, educator, and author of chasing simple marketing. I traded in my classroom lesson plans for helping creative entrepreneurs sustainably fit marketing into their business without it taking over their business. So that they have time to grow their business, take time off, and live the life they dreamed about when they first decided to go out on their own.
When I’m working, you can find me working with one on one clients, such as The Contract Shop and Rebecca Rice Photography on their marketing strategy and copywriting, or helping my students simplify their marketing and launches. And when I’m not, you can find me spending time outside with my husband, Russell.
Reading in our hammock, watching Gamecock Sports, traveling, or forcing our cats to snuggle me. If you feel overwhelmed by marketing, you aren’t alone. Many entrepreneurs find marketing frustrating, overwhelming, and simply an obligation. They know they need it, but they don’t enjoy how easily it can suck up their time when what they really want to be doing…
Is the thing that they started their business to do, which is why I’m here to help make marketing simple and less time consuming so that you can spend less time on your marketing and more time growing your business and doing what you love each week. I’ll bring you transparent conversations. actionable steps and judgment free community to encourage and equip you.
So grab yourself a cup of coffee or whatever your drink of choice is and meet me here each week for love, support, practical tips, and advice on uncomplicating your marketing and business. Let’s do this entrepreneurship thing together, shall
Really quickly, before we dive into this episode, I just have to share something that I’m really excited about with you.
Hello, my book, chasing simple marketing is launching this July. I wrote this book for the business owner that stumbled into entrepreneurship because they were following their passion, but without that masters of business administration or that background in business, well, they find marketing overwhelming and frustrating throughout these pages.
I’m going to take you on a simplicity focused journey to improve your content marketing. And you’ll walk away with an actionable plan to simplify your marketing so that you can fit your marketing into your business. Without it taking over your business to learn more about how to grab your own copy and even potentially get on the launch team, head over to Amanda Warfield. com / book. I’ll see you there.
Hi, Mara. I am so excited to have you on. I have been really looking forward to this interview all week long, so I’m super excited that you’re here. Can you just tell everyone a little bit about you and what it is that you do?
Hi, everyone. My name is Mara Kuceric. You can thank my husband for the crazy last name that no one can pronounce.
I am an online course creation expert and an instructional designer, which is the fancy term for setting up online courses, but that’s the term they use in the corporate world and in the teaching world. I’m based in Tampa, Florida. Before I was full time in my business, I was a middle school English teacher.
And then even before that, I worked in corporate marketing. So I have a huge background in education and marketing. And right now in my business, I help. Entrepreneurs and small business owners launch online courses specifically focused around making sure your students have really great experiences and actually get results and they learn something from your course and don’t just take it and then never come back and never have anything good to say about it.
Yes, I love it that
that student experience is so important and I feel like we hear. We hear people who talk with coaches and who teach coaches all the time about how important a client experience is so that you get those word of mouth referrals, but yet. We don’t hear people talk about the student experience enough.
It’s just make the course and sell it to as many people as you can. But really what we want is we want those people who are going to say this course did something for me. I finished it. It was amazing. I got that transformation that they promised. And now I’m going to tell my friends about it. And yet we just don’t hear people talk about that experience
Yeah, people don’t really talk about it at all, which is a little wild because when I was a middle school English teacher, you had to prove that your curriculum was effective. Like your students were tested. You got interviewed. You had observations around how you’re teaching. Skills were, and if it was effective, and in online courses, it’s not something people talk about very often.
And most people who are creating a course in online business, they don’t have a ton of teaching experience. So it’s not natural of, oh, wait, how do I teach people in a way that they will actually learn? And when your students have a really good experience, when they feel supported, when they feel like your course helps them, it’s Achieve something in their life, like they will talk about and start selling your course for you where if the opposite happens, and people have so so experience, they didn’t finish your course.
Maybe they felt like it was a little boring. I think we all have some courses that we personally have bought that we feel that way about that. We did 3% of and never finished when that happens. It’s kind of hard to get testimonials. It’s a lot harder to sell your course and sometimes people don’t understand why that’s happening because they don’t look at the experience of the actual students of like, is your course fun?
Is your course interesting? Do people know how to log in? Like, it’s amazing how often that’s this like, holding block of people don’t remember how to log into the course. Yeah,
well, and I think a point that you made there is so important. The fact that a lot of us go to school to learn how to teach, yes, there are people with natural abilities, but even then, you go through licensing programs, you go through all of these different things to learn how to teach effectively to others, and that’s not to gatekeep any of this by any means, there are people like you, right, that help those of us that didn’t go through that, learn how to do that, but There’s a reason that people have to go to school to become a teacher and learn how to effectively teach so that your students pay attention and get to the material and can then be tested on it and all of that.
And that’s something that I think just doesn’t, it doesn’t get talked about enough in the online space because it does feel gatekeepy even though it’s not but I sit here and I look at some of these courses like you said that I take and I’m like, I’m getting information I’m not getting education. And that’s what we want to be doing is we’re creating courses, and yet all of the.
The information about courses out there is really about how to market a course and how to put a course into your business so that your business can passively sell and make that quote unquote passive revenue. And it’s not as simple as that. And in fact, it’s funny, I was talking to one of your clients today, actually, Alex cook, and she, she’s creating her own course.
And she’s like, this is incredible. I love it. I had no idea how much work goes into actually creating a course. By itself, and it’s like, well, yeah, because no one
talks about that part. Yeah, people there’s a lot of focus on the selling of your course. And people don’t always tell you about, like, designing all of the lessons, making sure they’re not.
Long and boring, because frankly, none of us want to watch something that’s long and boring and it’s unfortunately. Easy to accidentally do that and all of this stuff is learnable because when I started my business, I had no idea that curriculum design is not a thing. Most people have done any classes or courses on.
And there’s so much that goes into it about, you know, people have different learning styles. How do you accommodate for all of it? How do you make sure people retain the information? How do you not over teach? Like, that’s a huge thing as well, if not overwhelming people, but it’s really not a thing. Okay.
In the online course world that people really talk about about what happens after you launch your course. How do you keep supporting your students? How do you work through, like, troubleshoot if they’re not having, like, finding information useful to them? And there’s so many things you can do to help out with that, but it’s just something most people don’t even realize until they’re in that boat of, oh, wait, I created my course.
I sold it. What do I do with all of these people now to keep nurturing and supporting them? So let’s just dive in there.
What do you do once you’ve actually gotten people in the door with your course? How do you nurture them?
How do you keep it engaged? There’s so many good, good things for this, and I have kind of a list I like to run through of people because you do want to have a long term Engagement strategy, basically, and really what you’re doing is making people feel supported, heard, cared about, even if your course is something where you have like a live cohorts and then, you know, they have access to the lessons, but you’re not actively doing coaching calls.
You still want to regularly be emailing people highlighting a few lessons. At the, I always tell people at the end of all of your emails about your course to your students, put the link to log in because people will forget it. They won’t know how to do it. Also put at the bottom in a PS of every single email what to do if you forgot your password because people always forget that.
So you want to be regularly emailing students if you have some sort of community like Facebook group or a circle group or a slack channel, wherever you support people regularly checking in. Celebrating student wins. That’s something a lot of people miss. And when I was a middle school English teacher, you called out people for good behavior because you wanted them to do more good behavior, right?
You wanted them to be on task. Adults are the same way. Adults are crazy similar to teaching middle school students of if I was in your course, Amanda, and you said, Hey, Mara had an amazing win this week. And I saw that she completed all five modules. You bet I’m going to go back into that course and finish the rest of it because it feels super special to feel shouted out.
And that’s something you can just do from time to time. I tell a lot of my clients, pick one day of the month, go into your student group and find like two to three people who are using the lessons or experiencing a win. Or you can also look on the inside of your course and see who’s been really active.
Who’s watching the videos and most online course software is going to give you those sneaky, creepy details, which people don’t always realize that we can see that. But we can see what you’re doing in the course. And then you can. Either shout that person out in an email, shout it out in the Facebook group, or just send them like a personal DM on Instagram and say, Hey, I noticed you completed a bunch of modules this week, and that’s awesome.
And often just recognizing people is enough that they will feel supported, they’ll feel better about your course, they’ll have a better experience, and they also know it’s a place where they can celebrate their wins and also ask questions as well. So do you recommend
having like a Facebook group just for
I usually do and There’s various ways you can do this. Facebook is still obviously very popular and there’s some other things that have popped up like circle, because not everyone loves Facebook, which I agree. Facebook is the bane of my existence sometimes, but Facebook is often the place, at least right now, in 2023 where most people are, and every time I’ve ever done a poll of, would you rather have the group somewhere else?
Facebook always wins and ends up being the most engaged active space. I also have seen success with Slack channels for courses that feel super intimate, but it might get a little out of control. Like Facebook, you usually don’t have to respond to everything. Slack is a little harder if you’re going to want a smaller group.
And then the third option is just using comments inside of the course, which can work, but It’s hard to foster community and just a comment section underneath a video where a Facebook group, you can recognize names. You can recognize individuals. So most of the time I do recommend having some sort of student group unless you have like a mini course, because any sort of group you add.
There’s a workload to taking care of that group. You’re going to have to figure out what to do with people who misbehave, which early on doesn’t happen. But as your course. rows, you’re going to get people who break the rules, who post things that are mean sometimes, and you have to figure out how to navigate and deal with that.
Do you allow people to talk about things that are off topic in your group? Do you only talk about your course? Or do you let them talk about parenting and health and there’s pros and cons of doing both? But I just always remind people. If you’re selling a 49 workshop, you probably don’t need a Facebook group for it because you’re going to have to nurture that group every day.
And that’s a benefit, right? Like, growing a community and nurturing them is a great thing, but realistically it takes time. So just be realistic about your time and the investment of your course before you commit to some sort of group. But if it’s a higher price point, I would say Over a thousand or more, especially more, a lot of people really benefit from having a place where they can connect with others.
They can ask questions. They can see you showing up and answering questions and see you as a teacher. Yeah, I think that’s
really important having that community aspect when you say that you, you do call out and you email your students, even after the launch, right after they’re going through the course.
Do you combine that email? Is that part of your weekly or monthly newsletter, or is that a totally separate newsletter that only students get? How does that work in conjunction with other
email marketing you’re doing? Ooh, this is such a good question because there are, there’s usually I tell clients to do both things.
So usually there is kind of like a secret student newsletter that only students get. And the benefit of that is you can talk about things you don’t necessarily want your entire audience to know. So usually most people will feel comfortable with you sharing their name. In something that’s only going to students now, if it’s going to your entire list and you say their name in an email, I would absolutely ask for permission and make sure you’re telling them how that’s going to be used.
And I am very ask for more permission than you probably need. So typically to your whole entire email list. If you see a win or you see something that where someone’s like, wow, lesson number 3 was really good. It helped me with X, Y, and Z. Ask that person for permission. Ask if you can use it in your email and then send that to your whole email list and do that regularly.
People often forget to be continuously talking about their course and unless it’s a course that. Is currently not available for sale. If people can’t buy it, don’t talk about it. But a lot of people have like launch periods, but you can technically still buy the course. So get in the habit of regularly showing up and sharing.
Hey, people are inside of my course right now, experiencing wins. And then on the students only 1. that’s where you can get a little more intimate and a little more detailed. Usually the whole newsletter. You’re just sharing wins on the student 1. sometimes I’ll highlight a student who. Is having trouble, like, I’ll say, hey, Amanda asked a really good question in the Facebook group about bookkeeping.
If you have any ideas, comment back to her here, but, you know, that can feel a little private and confrontational. So you just want to keep your spaces secret in, you know, the parts where you’ve said it’s member only and then share the larger wins.
Yeah. Okay. I love that. I love that idea of having just like a separate student newsletter.
How does that work? And I’m just getting
like really logistical questions here, but how does that work with if you have multiple courses? Do you send totally separate student newsletters or is it one overall student
newsletter? All right, this is also a good question because some people do have like 15 different courses, especially if they’re smaller courses.
Be mindful of, you don’t, you don’t want to have to write 15 emails a month and send them to everyone. So I’m always pro, bundle them together where you can. If it’s a course where you can talk about similar things, then bundle the emails together and just be mindful and respectful that people might not have access to certain content.
But if it’s really. Of course, they’re, they’re totally separate, like, 1’s about dog walking and the other 1’s about, like, accounting, like, people are probably not going to care about the other 1. and so you might want to do something separate there and you can change the frequency. In that case. I usually recommend at least a monthly student newsletter.
That’s sharing a few wins reminds them how to log in. Talk about what’s going on in your personal life. That is often a good spot to also tell people, Hey, I’m going to start promoting the course again. Do you want an affiliate link? Do you want a test? Like, can you give me a testimonial? And it gets people in the habit of talking about the course, but you can send it less frequently.
You could do quarterly if you have multiple courses. There’s no hard and fast rule. And I have some clients who they’re religious about doing a weekly email for their course. And that takes a lot of work to do every single week, but it can create a lot of community as well. So
one aspect of a great student experience is this community that we’ve just like deep rabbit hole into.
What are some other things we can do to really ensure that our students have a great experience in our courses?
The number one thing I always tell people is giving people clear Directions when I was teaching, you’d always start the lesson right with, okay, here’s what we’re going to do. Here’s the instructions of exactly how to do it.
And I would have it written on the whiteboard. I would have it on the overhead projector. And if there was a worksheet, I would type it at the top of the worksheet. And still, the minute I say the instructions, 10 hands go up. Wait, Mrs. K, what are we doing? Where do I put my name? What am I supposed to write?
Like adults are the same way. So make it super clear what they are supposed to be doing. Have multiple spots where the link to log in is. So in the welcome email, you might want to have a link at the top of your website that says something like student login. Um, and then you want to constantly be reminding people.
When are the coaching calls? How do they access them? How do they go through the lessons? Are they supposed to go in a certain order? Like, there’s all these questions that as the course creator seem really simple, but people are going to overthink them. And I usually recommend make people. A checklist people love this when you do it, by the way of the lessons and some of the key action steps they need to take to go through the course and people will print it out and send you screenshots.
Or you can also do something like a bingo card where you put the lessons are not even necessarily in order. Because some courses you don’t need to do in order. And if that’s the case, tell people that otherwise they’ll get confused and they’ll never get past it. The first lesson, but doing fun little things where people can track their progress and it reminds them, Hey, just log into the course, do a 10 minute video or do this exercise.
It’s a lot less intimidating for people and they don’t talk themselves out of doing the work. I love the idea of
gamifying it. It’s like adding a bingo card of adding a checklist of some sort, just so people have. More interest in actually showing up and doing the work itself, because let’s be honest, like, a lot of times we buy these courses because we know it’s something we need to learn more about, but actually doing
the work feels like a lot, and it just feels hard to get into.
And we’re all so busy. I So I do this for a living, and I have courses that I have to remind myself and like make a sticker chart. I have a sticker chart right now for a course I’m going through. And I have to do 10 minutes a day, and then I get um, a sticker. It’s a minion sticker on my chart to just remind myself, do a little bit each day.
But anything like you can do like that makes it novel, it makes it fun. Like treat yourself like a kindergartner is how I often tell people. Wait, how cute would it be to like print?
And send in the mail branded stickers and sticker charts
to new students. Yeah. Oh, and people love stuff like that. Like, it is usually so simple to execute.
I’ve given them a printable, or I have done snail mail things, because I think snail mail is so fun. Um, and then people hang it up. They take photos. There’s so much more, like, from a marketing perspective. They’ll share cute photos of your sticker or like their sticker chart. And then other people are like, wait, what are you doing?
Like, why do you have this random chart? I mean, you can even I’ve done ones where it’s like a roadmap people have to follow or they’re like, at the end, there’s like a funny castle or like some sort of prize. And like, you can also give away prizes if you want to do that. I usually advise be really careful about over promising stuff.
It’s like, yeah. Same thing. If you become the teacher with candy when you’re teaching middle schoolers, you’ll never get out of it. You’ll be giving candy out your ears for the rest of your life. So be careful about, like, giving financial rewards. I do think it’s fun to give people, like, Starbucks gift card giveaways sometimes or, like, surprising and delighting students in other ways.
But you don’t have to do that. People love just, like, a sticker chart or you saying their name or A shout out in a podcast or something like people just want to be recognized, man. Okay. So for
everyone listening, if you start seeing sticker
shirts showing up in your mailbox, you’ll know where that idea came from because that’s genius.
Okay. So we’re, we’re gamifying.
We are rewarding, we are surprising and delighting and we are building communities or anything else that we can be doing to really up that student experience.
Really keeping in mind the different learning styles. So most courses, not all of them, it’s a video of you talking to the camera or you talking over slides, right?
And really, that’s only covering one learning style visual. Maybe you could argue that’s also auditory, but There’s people learn in different ways. So you want to make sure you have things in your course where people can visually learn. So like pictures, images, anything like fun and interesting. Audio is a huge one, because how many of us have not done a course because we don’t want to sit down at our desk, but if we could listen to the lessons on our phone, we would do it.
So if your online course software has an app, or you can create just audio files. Make your courses. Of all of your videos, you just take the audio out, put it in like a folder. Someone can download and I’ve done that on like Google Drive or Dropbox to make it really easy. You can also get fancy and make a private members only podcast, which is amazing, but it’s a little bit more of an investment, but that gives people a way to do the work on the go and.
Be thinking about how can you make it as easy as possible for someone to do the work? How can they do it in their car? How can they do it while their kids are screaming and throwing a tantrum while they’re doing dishes? Like, people really appreciate having multiple ways to go through the course. I usually recommend some sort of video, have a transcript of your lesson, because a lot of people, and this is what I do, Sometimes I just read the transcript because I’m not, I don’t want to watch the whole video.
I’ll just skim the transcript. So have a transcript. Have some sort of like written Lesson and it doesn’t it doesn’t need to be word for word, but, like, the key steps because a lot of people, they don’t like watching videos. People don’t realize this, but not everyone wants to watch videos and then some sort of audio where they can take it on the go, or.
They can listen, maybe on their computer, but they don’t have to be watching because I listen to stuff all the time, but I don’t have the video pulled up off my screen. So be thinking about. The different ways people are going to consume your content and how you can allow them as much freedom as possible to do your course however you want, like you want to be the cool teacher that lets you have class outside, that lets you do class on the couch or at the swimming pool.
Yeah, I’m definitely one of those
people that does not like watching videos. I know so many people who are like, Oh, YouTube is incredible. YouTube is the best. I love watching YouTube and I just can’t get into it. I want to be able to multitask while I’m learning something so that my brain can process better.
And if I’m watching a video and I’m just sitting at my desk or sitting in bed, watching the video, I’m automatically going to get distracted because my hands want something else to do. But if I can listen, and that’s why I love podcasts so much. If I can listen while I learn. And also clean the house or do the dishes.
I’m going to process that information so much better. And it also feels so much easier to, there’s a lower barrier of entry. It feels like we listen, but I know that that’s not for everyone and that other people are video learners or kinetic and all of that, but. That I’m definitely one of those people that’s like, no, I’m not, I’m not interested in
video really at all.
I’m a similar way where when I’m consuming courses, I mean, I’m a busy business owner. I know you are as well. I don’t always have a ton of time to watch a video, but if I can listen and I can knock out my social media for the month, or I can do all the dishes that are in my sink, I’m so much more likely to do it.
And I think that’s pretty much how everyone feels because. Whenever I talk to people about so often for clients after a big launch will do a why didn’t you buy survey and this is super helpful information. I’m sure you’ve probably done this in your business to where you ask people. Hey, why didn’t you buy my course?
And the number 1 response is I didn’t have time to go through this course. So if you can think about how to solve that problem for people before you’re doing the launch, like, that’s going to make your life so much easier of saying, hey, I know you’re busy, but you can listen to the podcast. Um, the lessons are only 10 minutes long.
You can read the transcript. If you don’t want to watch the video, like, people really appreciate that freedom. I love that so
much. So many different good ways to get them that information in a way that. is attainable for different people and different learning styles. And then also, if they do look at the checklist that you give them or read the transcript and they’re like, I want to actually see this visually, they have the ability, but you’ve drawn them in at that point instead of, Oh, I don’t have any way except the video.
Okay. Well, I’ll get to it at some point.
Yeah, and assume that people are going to do the bare minimum. This sounds terrible, but when as an edge, yeah, when as an educator, you just assume, okay, what is the bare minimum that someone would need to have success? Um, and every time I’ve ever looked at a client’s course, literally every time it’s.
too long, we end up taking lessons out because it’s really tempting to, you get really excited about your course, you’re brainstorming it. And I do this too, by the way, when I make courses in my own business. And I’m like, here are the 100 lessons I’m going to do to give them everything they ever need to know about this topic.
That’s super overwhelming. Don’t do that. People want the shortcut and you can always give them more information. You can add bonuses. You can add like a part 2 lesson, but at that surface level, you want it to be as approachable as possible. And a lot of people, like a lot of people, the reason they joined your course is because they want the shortcut.
They want to use their time efficiently. And to get the results. So if you record a 2 hour workshop where you’re screen recording your entire video, like there’s times where that can be helpful, but there’s also times where no one’s going to watch that. And so I always tell people just like, give people the bare minimum to do.
And often once they have that, they will go farther on their own, they will explore the bonuses, they’ll explore the extra lessons. But if you include that all from the beginning, they will log into your course, panic, run away, and never want to log in again, which happens a lot, unfortunately. People will join
your course because they want the shortcut.
That is so good because you’re right. We don’t, we don’t want everything. We just want, I want the easiest and fastest way to X, whatever that is. Also, if you really minimize what you’re putting in the course, it’s going to be so much easier to market it and to launch it because you can give one clear transformation versus I’m going to give you everything you need to know about how to market a course that they don’t want that.
They want, how do you market it? for Evergreen? How do you market it for launching? Maybe, how do you combine an already Evergreen and already live launch system that you have, but they don’t want, how do you do all
of the course marketing in one? Yeah, it’s, it’s way too much. It’s overwhelming. It’s too much to comprehend and process, and no one sets up a real class that way.
Like, In school, everything’s organized by individual subjects and individual lessons, and then you move on to a different grade. Or in college, like, you have a very specific scope of curriculum, and they don’t, like, if you get a business degree, they don’t in one class try to teach you everything you should ever know about business.
But when you’re creating your course, it’s really tempting to do that because you probably really care about helping people, which is a good thing. And so you want to give them Everything, you know, on a topic, like, it’s so tempting to do that because it feels good. But from the student perspective, it’s, it’s really overwhelming.
And you just gave them a bunch of extra steps when what you want to do is you want to give them the fastest path possible to the results. That you’re offering so good. It
makes me think about how when I was teaching, I really had, I had 15 minutes max before all of a sudden the kids were in their own worlds.
They were not paying attention. I was getting asked about flamingos instead of whatever it was that we were learning about that day. That’s something I should probably keep in mind. Now, as we’re doing this, I’m like, man, I just need to hire her for my own courses. And I did. Go through I have a degree in education.
Like I should I could get a 2nd pair
eyes on all my stuff. Yeah. Well, and secretly behind the scenes, Amanda and I have boxer chats about courses like, we just all the time, which is the best. I remember when I found out that you were in. Like education as well. I was like, Oh my gosh, someone else in this world who like understands also the weird education world that we came from and all of the pros and cons of it.
And some of the weird business mindset things we now have from coming from the education world. Like personally, I always feel like. I need to answer every question everyone ever has, because that’s what I did as a middle school English teacher, but that is actually not helpful in my business of, I don’t need to answer every random question that people personally email me.
Wait, that’s so true. I’m just like, that’s just looking very, because the amount of times we’d be doing circle time. And
I would be reading a book and I get asked the most, I’m like, where is your head child? The most random questions. And I would sit there and try to give them an answer. And I do
carry that over.
That’s a good mindset. So teacher turned entrepreneurs. I’ve realized we tend to hire less in our business. Because as a teacher, we had to do everything ourselves. We made the copies. We designed the curriculum. We were the janitor and I have a couple of teacher friends who run their own business and one of them pointed this out to me that like, cause I personally struggle to hire in my business.
It’s something I’m working on, but I feel like I should be able to do it all. Right? That’s how I’m going to be successful. And I’m like, oh, that’s where that comes from. As a teacher, you’re, you’re literally expected to be customer service. Clean up everything. Take care of ev, all the kids D graphic design, all of the lessons into these beautiful, amazing worksheets and slides.
That’s a really painful realization, . I know it. It burns a little bit. When I realized, I was like, oh, that’s why I sabotaged myself in this way because it was really successful in my past job. You had no choice. Not so much. Yeah. Well, yeah. That’s what I mean by successful of you literally have no choice.
You had no choice. Yeah. Oh
man. Oh, that’s fun.
Okay, so we’re working
on updating our student experience. Alongside that, a big part of that student experience you’ve hit on a few times is lessons that aren’t overwhelming and that actually people want to complete versus just sitting there and not doing.
So how can we make sure that our lessons are something that people want to complete. What will actually help them learn versus just be given information?
Ooh, this is, this is the part where I think it gets the trickiest. And you said something earlier in this podcast about you’re giving people information and not an education.
And you want to be giving them an education. Um, and sometimes that’s a little tricky to do. It’s not impossible, but really just being intentional about the information you are giving. Not giving too much. Presenting it in ways that feel interesting and novel, that might sound kind of weird, but like humor, things that are funny, things that are new, help people learn.
So like, even things like having funny gifs on your slides, in your course, or funny diagrams, or telling a story, like storytelling is Huge way people learn. So being mindful of being concise, not overwhelming people. Don’t just read the slides. I, I know that’s something we all learned, like, in our college presentations, but still I audit so many courses.
And I go in and it’s someone showing me slides and they’re reading bullet point by bullet point. What is on the slides? And so I usually tell people, think of it as action steps, not bullet points or information. You’re giving them, like, you’re teaching them how to do a process. And if you don’t feel like your video.
Is teaching any sort of process, like, is there a step 1, a step 2, a step 3, and sometimes it’s a little convoluted depending on the topic, but there should be some sort of process, then you’re probably a little off track. And you’re probably just regurgitating information. That’s not super helpful for people.
That’s so good.
That’s a. A good, um, orange flag, yellow flag of this is something to double check on. If you can’t form a process out of it, either you’re regurgitating information or maybe you don’t know it well enough yet.
Yeah, yeah, and maybe you haven’t experimented with it enough to run into some of the pitfalls.
The other thing you want to keep an eye on is how long your videos are. It is so easy to intend to make a 10 minute long video. And you accidentally make a 30 minute long video. And I always tell people if your video is over 15 minutes in your course, and unless it is really like an in depth one off video where you’re showing like my batching process from start to finish, that stuff’s amazing, but not every lesson should be that long.
10 to 15 minutes, and if you really can’t fit it in 10 to 15 minutes, Your video probably needed a part two or it’s another module in the lesson or something like that because we don’t, we just don’t have long attention spans. I know that’s hard for everyone to hear, but people also need a break. They need to get the content.
They need some time to absorb or go do their homework or however in the course you have been kind of test and work through that with exercises. So just giving them hours and hours of information, which this happens because. You get on Loom, or Zoom, or wherever you’re recording your videos, and you think of all these other things you should talk about, so try to restrain yourself.
You can always edit your videos as well. Most people end up cutting parts of their videos out after recording them, because there’s things you say that you realize, well, they probably don’t actually need to know that to get, like, the main core and the main gist of the lesson. Okay, so you mentioned that
you audit courses for people.
When you are auditing,
what are the things that you’re looking for? So, 1st of all, so people in case that word sounds confusing auditing is where I go in and I pretend I’m a student. I sign up for your course. I see what happens after I sign up. So you want to be looking for the immediate experience people have after they sign up.
And this particularly is going to help with your refund rate because if you implement some of these things of having a thank you page, that really celebrates the person on that. Thank you page. I usually recommend. Giving them their first steps, which usually an easy one is go join the Facebook group, the Slack channel, whatever.
Often it does take a couple of minutes for their actual login information to come. So give them something more to do than just go to your email and look for your login information, because that’s frustrating for people. Um, you can also give them something to celebrate, like a social share image on the thank you page, but make it feel really good.
Hey, they’re in, it’s amazing. And then within the first five minutes, they should also get an email That tells them everything they need to know about the course, how to log in, when the coaching calls are, and then you want to give them their first steps. So in that first email, it should be very specific of watch the first video and comment your favorite flavor of ice cream or your favorite cookie and make it something like really weird and specific.
When I was a teacher, I used to do this thing where I would greet my students at the door every day, and I would ask them a question like, what’s your favorite cookie? What’s your favorite? Okay. Whatever, or sometimes it would be really weird. Like, would you rather be able to chew gum all day in school, or you can’t talk at all in school?
And it’s like, so interesting people’s answers, but when you ask them something weird, they’ll remember and they’ll go do it. And, like, all you’re doing by asking something their favorite cookie is teaching them how to log into the course. Cause now they have to figure out how to log in, they gotta figure out how to comment.
And how to play the intro video. So you sneakily just convinced them to log in and create the habit of knowing where to access your course. So that’s the 1st thing I do of what’s the immediate experience because that. Lessons your refund rate, if you offer refunds, 1st impressions are honestly everything like they are everywhere else in life.
And then I go through the content and I’m looking for how long are the lessons. Um, Are they too long? Are there spots where my own, like, attention is waning? Which, if that happens and I’m being paid to go through your course, that’s a problem. Because most people are not making money to go through your course.
I’m looking at the worksheets, the lessons. I’m also usually looking at what’s broken, which sounds weird. The courses are usually massive and always have broken links, worksheets that don’t download, the wrong video in a spot, and, or typos, and students don’t always tell you that, which is kind of funny. I had a client, and we had a course that was out for years, and she emailed me one time, and she was like, I just found out that all of Module 7, like, the videos don’t work, and no one ever told me.
So just like the practical of making sure things work and that’s something I really recommend you or someone on your team is doing at least once a year in your course, you’re gonna forget the things you say in there. Some people will say stuff that gets like wildly out of date. I have a client right now who she had a course and she had just written her first cookbook.
She now has four cookbooks and we never talk about the other three cookbooks anywhere in the course. So we’re updating all of that. So just make sure. Links work they can download things all of that stuff. And then the other thing I usually look for is places where you’re engaging students. And this is usually more on the back end.
There’s a lot of stuff you can do with most online course softwares. I’m going to try not to get too techie here, but you can set up like a zap or a notification. For example, where if someone doesn’t log into the course for 60 days, they get an automated email that says something like, hey, Amanda, I noticed you haven’t logged into the course for 60 days or for a couple of months.
I just wanted to check in with you, see where you’re getting stuck and, like, all of that sounds very personal, right? But it’s automated and like, so I check in on the back end of do we have anything set up like that? Because we want to prevent people from. Just completely falling off the cliff and never logging into your course, because honestly, as amazing as your course can be, sometimes the biggest hurdle is just getting people to do the work.
And that’s always going to be a hurdle. You’re never. 100% going to get every student in your course to be amazing, like middle school teacher. I never could get every student to pay attention. That would have been impossible. So don’t like, expect. That you’re going to be able to have every single person have an amazing transformation because some people just won’t do the work, unfortunately, but you can do what you can to.
Prevent them from completely falling out of touch, just just regularly reminding them and often having automated emails like that. All right, enough like, that’s all it takes for someone to come back and say. Oh, you know, I totally forgot that I had access to this. Thank you. And like, often they’ll personally respond and you can do that in a lot of different ways.
And it doesn’t have some people think, oh, Mara, you’re saying I have to go in and manually email students. No, I’m not saying that technology exists. There’s so many different ways where you can, like, say, hey, if a student never gets to less than 5 within the 1st, 20 days, you know, Let’s send them an email and offer an alternate lesson, or let’s send an email reminding them that there’s a podcast, so you’re giving them different routes and paths to go down in your course and making them feel supported.
Oh, this is all so good. I want to go revamp
every single course I have right now with all of these ideas. This is incredible. If someone is like, wow, I didn’t realize that all of this went into creating a course and maintaining a course, I guess may even be a better way to put that because. We get a lot of create the course and then just keep selling it, but there’s a lot of maintenance that does go into it, even though you can automate a lot of it.
You want to build that community with your students. How can they find you? How can they learn more about what you do
and how you help people? Yes. So my website is the best place to find me. It’s my first. And last name, my last name is K. U. C. I. R. E. K. and I’m sure Amanda will put it in the show notes also sending me a message on Instagram.
You will find me. I’m often answering people’s random course questions or just helping them navigate random student. Issues of students misbehaving sometimes, which sounds crazy, but happens in courses or people just feeling frustrated of they’ve asked for testimonials and no one has given them any. So that’s my website.
And then Instagram is basically my hub of where I’m constantly talking about education, online courses, and then passive income.
I love it. And we will definitely link to all of that in the show notes. But if you could give everyone just one action step for this, for this week, let’s say, what would it be?
Yes, so this one’s super simple. It literally will take you 10 minutes or less. I should say 10 minutes or less, but sign up for your courses if you’re a new student. So a lot of softwares will let you do a test checkout, or you can make a coupon code that’s free, sign up as a new student with like an alternative email that’s not your email, because sometimes if it’s the email you send emails from, your software will get mad.
And just check, what does the thank you page look like? Did you ever customize it and make it super fun? And then Did you actually get information about how to log into your course because that stuff breaks and people don’t realize it that people are buying your course, and then they’re never getting any sort of follow up information.
So, just from a fresh set of eyes, and I usually for all of my clients, we do this once a month where we sign up as a new student. It takes, like, 10 minutes and we just double check. Everything’s working. It still feels really exciting when they join the emails are triggering, right? And there’s nothing broken and we do end up catching a lot of.
Really random things where we’ll realize, ooh, the thank you page has an out of date link, or it has the wrong coaching calls on it. Or there’s so many things that you forget that you didn’t realize you put in your course originally, and then becomes out of date. That’s really good. That’s
I also would highly recommend for everyone that’s going to do that screen record yourself doing it because if you’re like me, you’ll do it and you’ll make notes and then you’ll go back to it later and be like, what was I talking about this
now? Yes, and if, if you have a virtual assistant or someone on your team, this is also a great thing to have them do, because usually it’s a little easier for someone else to be a little more honest about if things are working, if things look good, if the audio in your video is good, but really you’re just focusing on if someone buys my course, do they get further instructions and can they actually log in?
Because that’s. just a really easy first step that sometimes breaks and people don’t realize it. Yeah, absolutely.
So if you could give everyone a book recommendation, what
would it be? Ooh, um, I love, so Cal Newport’s Deep Work, which is an oldie, but I’ve read it multiple times and it’s all about Working with more focus in your business and he’s a little crazy in it where like he talks about going to like a dark room and no one can talk to you at all for like three hours.
I don’t do that. But since I’ve read it, I’ve implemented a lot of I have do not disturb on my phone certain hours. So people can’t communicate. I have a sign for my office door for my husband that like tells him When I’m doing deep work so that he doesn’t, I call it Kramer, like Kramering from Seinfeld into my room.
Cause we both work from home. And so ever since the pandemic, we had to solve this problem of don’t barge into the other person’s office and tell them the random fact you just learned. Cause it’s really tempting to do that. But I really love deep work and he has another book he just released about email as well, which I just read, which was super good about how to not let I think digital minimalism is what it was called about.
How does not not have email rule your life, which sometimes my inbox is a scary place. I will admit. Yeah, absolutely. I’m at the point where I just
ignore it almost for a whole week, and then I do like a deep dive, and I don’t think people like that, but
it’s what I’m doing. It’s very necessary sometimes though, because email aisles up, and I like try to be crazy strict about not being on extra email lists.
I have office hours listed at the bottom of my emails and I still get a lot and I, then I get burned out on responding to all of them. And I, I have templates and all of this stuff, but I’m just saying, I also have days where I close my inbox and, um, unless there’s like an emergency or something like that, I say, okay, we could, we could look at it again tomorrow.
Yeah, I definitely do. I do like a morning,
afternoon, end of day check in to see if there’s
any fires and if there’s not, I just. Maybe tomorrow. Yep. Yep. All right. Thank you so much for being
here today. I really, really appreciate it. And I feel like we could do 10 different episodes together, honestly, with all that we can cover, but this was such a great overview and then a deep dive into that, that student experience.
And I know that everyone’s going to have lots of questions and lots of things to think about. So we will make sure to link all of your things in the so that they can come find you.
Thank you for being here. Thank you so much. This was so much fun.
you so much for joining me here today, friend. You can find this episode show notes as well as all the resources you need to simplify your marketing over at amandawarfield. com. If you liked what you heard here today, be sure to subscribe to the podcast so that you never miss an episode. And if you could take a moment to leave a rating and review, it would truly mean the world to me.
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