Think back to your high school days. Having a car — ANY car — was a big deal. It didn’t matter if it was a rust bucket on wheels, as long as it could get you from point A to point B.

Fast forward five or ten years. You probably weren’t driving the same car as your first car. And, as an adult, that old junker doesn’t cut it anymore. You need a car that’s safe, reliable, and won’t leave you stranded on the side of the road, right?

When it comes to cars, your needs change over time. Well, it’s the same with your online course delivery platform. What you started out with in the very beginning may have gotten you from point A to point B, but it might not be right for you anymore.

That’s when it’s time to upgrade your course and migrate to a new platform.

Migrating to a new platform doesn’t have to be scary. In fact, it can be fun. It’s like buying a new car — you have to figure out your needs (low gas mileage, trunk space, four wheel drive) before you make the switch.

Also like buying a car, you need a solid plan. Otherwise, it’s like walking into a car dealership and letting the salesman tell you what to do. (Not a good idea!) So, let’s make a plan together. By the time you finish reading this article, you should have all the details you need to start moving your course from your old system to a new system.

STEP 1: Identify the issues with your current platform.

Don’t make the move to a new platform until you understand what’s broken with your current one.

Everyone’s course delivery process is a little bit different, so your answers may vary. Maybe you have a WordPress site combined with a plugin like Wishlist Member, aMember or iMember360. Maybe you use Kajabi or OptimizePress, or maybe you have a custom developed solution.

Whatever platform you use, you’re considering a switch because something isn’t working for you. So, let’s take a look under the hood and identify what’s not working. Which of these issues do you have?

  • My system is hacked together with a lot of different parts and pieces, and it’s too confusing/jumbled for me to maintain.
  • If I want to change one part of the system, the whole thing will fall apart.
  • I want to grow my business, and my system can’t scale any bigger than it already is.
  • I have to do too many things manually, and it takes up too much of my time.
  • My customer service experience isn’t great, and it’s costing me business.
  • I don’t have analytics or metrics that can actually tell me what’s working and what’s not working.
  • I can’t do simple things like create tiered pricing options or drip my content.
  • My membership site looks bad, with an old-fashioned design or confusing layout.
  • My sales are slowing down, and I can’t figure out why.

These are just a few reasons why course creators decide it’s time to upgrade. You have to know what your issues are to make sure your new course delivery platform addresses them.

So, do you have a handle on your current problems? Do you understand what’s broken under the hood? If the answer is yes, you’re equipped to move forward. If the answer’s no…or if you aren’t sure…it may be helpful to get a second opinion from a colleague or consultant.

Moving on…

STEP 2: Take inventory of your course content.

The most important thing you can do is understand the outline and format that your course takes, so that you can ensure your new platform will handle your content. After all, if you can’t effectively build your course in a new platform, why bother making the switch? Inventory your content. How are your lessons structured?

…Are you selling a self-paced ebook that students get all at once, with a video and a page of content for each of the 10 chapters of the book?

…Or, are you selling an 8-week video course with a written lesson, video and student survey that’s dripped via email every week?

…Or, are you selling something else?

Quiz time! Answer these questions to identify your content needs:

How is your content delivered?

  1. Delivered all at once
  2. Dripped over time
  3. Self-paced, where students have to complete one lesson before the next is available.

Where do students access content?

  1. Delivered via email
  2. Delivered via password protected lesson pages
  3. Announced via email, delivered via password protected lesson pages

What form does your content take?

  1. Text
  2. Images
  3. Video
  4. Audio

What additional features do you need?

  1. Student surveys/quizzes
  2. Different levels of one course (beginner, intermediate, advanced, etc.)
  3. Multiple courses easily accessible for students with just one login
  4. Automatically deployed emails that go beyond course content — think upsell funnels, check-ins to make sure students are using the product, etc.
  5. Something else: _________

Now, look at your answers. Can your new course delivery platform meet all of your content needs?

STEP 3: Understand your student experience.

You figured out your course content, and now it’s time to figure out your customer experience. There are many pieces and parts involved, and as the course creator, you need to have a handle on how they all come together. It’s quite difficult to fit a new course delivery platform into your sales process without this knowledge.

Fill in the blank time! Can you name the platforms you use at each step of your students’ experience? (Some of your answers may be the same from question to question.)

  1. My customers opt in to receive emails from me on a squeeze page/landing page/opt-in page created on this platform: _______________
  2. They receive a piece of opt-in content (a “carrot”) delivered through this platform: _______________
  3. They receive sales emails delivered from this platform: _______________
  4. When they decide to purchase, customers click to go to a website/sales page created on this platform: _______________
  5. They click to buy my product and go through this shopping cart platform: _______________
  6. The transaction is handled through this payment processor: _______________
  7. They see a Thank You page hosted by this platform: _______________
  8. They receive a confirmation email through this platform: _______________
  9. They can claim/view their content through this platform: (If you are migrating, this is where your new course delivery platform will go): _______________
  10. If they have any problems, their customer service emails are routed to this platform: _______________

Now, here’s the important part: Go sign up for your course — from sales page to delivery, just like a new student would. Was your purchase experience smooth? Did it follow the steps you outlined above?

If you understand each step of this student experience, that means you’re ready to migrate.

Woohoo! Let’s migrate!

Trust us — these questions are crucial if you’re thinking of switching to a new system. And if you’re switching to Summit Evergreen, you just did the hardest part of the whole process! With this info in hand, getting set up is fast and easy.

No headaches, no confusion…just a seamless transition from your old rust bucket to a shiny new platform!

See how easy it is to transition your course from your old platform to Summit Evergreen. Click here to sign up for a free 30-day trial.

About the author: Keith is the co-founder of Summit Evergreen, and helps course authors, product creators, and self-funded businesses increase their revenue from their existing traffic.