Welcome to Part 2 of “The 10 Most Common Places People Get Stuck When Launching a Course”. We ended Part 1 with ‘Not Knowing What to Say’. We begin Part 2 with getting ‘Lost in the Details of Content Creation’.

Sometimes you don’t have enough to say and sometimes you have too much to say. ENJOY!

#6 – Lost In The Details of Content Creation

Let’s say that you are teaching somebody how to build a house. You stay on track and go through the main points of how to build a house – how to select a contractor, how to choose the right blueprint and the things you need to know about zoning and permits. You create content for each one of your points. You keep it simple.

A lot of people don’t do this. A lot of people get lost in the detail, and the next thing they know they’ve created a 4-hour video series on how to choose the perfect contractor when really, what people are looking for is something simple – like 20 interview questions when you are choosing a contractor.

It’s easy to get lost in the details. You want to make sure that your customers know absolutely everything, so that they can’t possibly have any other questions on the subject. Right??

For somebody who is new and trying to figure it out, this can get completely and totally overwhelming.

Think about this. You’re going on a trip to Washington, D.C. and you’ve never been there before, so you’d like to ask friends for recommendations on what to do in town. Since you’ll only be there for two days and can only do a handful of things, ideally you’d get just a few recommendations.

But instead, what if you asked one of your friends, “Hey, I’m going to be in D.C., what should I do?” And all of a sudden they give you all these places to go, all these restaurants to eat at, these roads not to drive on. They start telling you about all these events that happen in D.C. at different times of the year and why you should really plan 10 trips to Washington, D.C. All of a sudden, you’ve got too much information. And now, the information becomes irrelevant.

When you’re in the business of teaching, what really happens is people are paying you to curate content. They want to have just enough information, at the right point in time, so that they can accomplish a goal and move forward.

If they need additional information, you can provide it, but you don’t want to send them 80 different things to sort through. You want to give people choices, but not too many choices.

Too many choices can make people question their decisions. If someone questions their decisions for too long, they end up deciding not to make a decision at all.

Take a trip into your local supermarket. You have a cold. You walk down the cold remedy aisle only to end up staring at a wall of promises to take every symptom away. Which one do you choose? You get overwhelmed and wander to the soup aisle. Again, only to stand and stare. Do you want only noodles and chicken or what about tomato? You choose tomato but do you want plain tomato or basil tomato? Do you need a small can or a large can? Which one would your mom make to make you feel better? Too many choices and you’re stuck in indecision.

You want to give people choices and options but you don’t want to give them too much. Too many choices is worse than none at all!!

The trick is not to get lost in the details. You’ll want to refer back to your outline and syllabus. Remember what you’re teaching. Make sure you’re going deep enough to answer the questions and teach what they need to know for that level, but not so much that you leave their heads spinning.

#7 – Not Creating Videos or Worrying About What You Will Look Like on Video

There is one learning tool that reigns above all the rest – VIDEO! It transforms your online course from “words on a page” into a multi-sensory experience. It makes your course information engaging, effective, and incredibly valuable.

And it’s not hard to make.

The trick is being comfortable in front of the camera.

Everyone gets nervous about being on camera when they’re first starting out. It’s normal. Even supermodels – they really don’t have any problems, but they imagine that they do.

Guess what?! The more videos you make, the more comfortable you’ll become.

Whatever you end up doing, you need to know that it’s not important whether you think it looks good. It’s important whether somebody else thinks it looks good.

Keep in mind that you’ll be more critical of yourself than others will be of you. Just remind yourself that you don’t have to be perfect. You just have to try.

Ultimately, people want to visually know who they are buying from. Putting a face to a course increases trust. And we all know that trust helps build long-lasting relationships. Video is a reliable source. Seeing is believing.

Over the years, people have become increasingly visual-dependent. Is there a better way to instill trust in the education you’re providing other than to show it off?? A survey done by Forbes shows that 59% of senior executives would rather watch video content than read it. Not only that but at least 100 million internet users login to watch videos online EACH DAY!!! Video is the future of online learning.

#8 – Not Understanding the Market or Your Audience

Creating and launching a program takes work and it’s the exact same amount of work that has to be done, whether you get it right or whether you totally miss it.

Think of it more in terms of being at a shooting range – if you’re firing the arrow and your focus is on drawing the bowstring and letting the arrow go – it takes the same amount of effort to focus on firing the arrow, whether you hit your target or not.

Sure, you can create and launch a program without actually understanding it. Sure, you can teach valuable information The content might even be decent. But if you don’t know who you’re selling it to, so that the market can identify with you, you’re going to miss the mark.

You’re going to waste a lot of time. You’re going to waste a lot of energy. You aren’t going to be efficient.

What can you do to avoid this?

You need to understand: Who Is Your Ideal Customer?

First thing first: create a customer avatar or profile. Literally imagine a person. Give them a name. List all the things that you imagine about them – their hair color, whether or not they wear glasses, whether or not they wear a trendy fedora, etc. Can you see your customer?

Here are some easy-to-understand examples of understanding your ideal customer.

EXAMPLE #1: Selling Ink Pens

Let’s assume that you are in the business of selling ink pens. Everybody uses ink pens. You have these amazing ink pens that come in 30 different colors (because colors are important and shades are important). They are $5 each. A set of 20 of them is $100. Your average ink pen user is going think you are absolutely crazy. All they need is a $2 Bic pen. They spend $2, they get a box of 12, they write. They don’t care if anybody steals them. The only goal is that it puts ink on paper.

Now, think about an artist who sketches in ink. For them, the average box of 12 ink pens for $2 is not adequate. They want shades. They want different colors. They care about how fine the tip is. They’re using them for a different function.

It’s technically the same tool, but you would be using a completely different marketing strategy for marketing to artists versus marketing to the average person.

EXAMPLE #2 – Selling Girl Scout Cookies (YUM)

Let’s say you launch a course on “How to Sell Girl Scout Cookies”. The chapters include all the basic information:

  • How to handle all your pre-orders;
  • How to get your friends to order 15 boxes because they feel guilty (and the cookies freeze well);
  • How to do the perfect pigtails on your daughter so she will sell more cookies;
  • How to avoid getting stuck at the grocery store in below-zero weather managing the table; and
  • How to keep your kids from sneaking and eating all the cookies that your customers already paid for.

You’ve got great content. Your content is solid. It’s there. It’s totally worth the $19.99 that you’re going to sell your course for.

To the mom who you’re selling to, you’re saving her a whole lot more time. To the mom you’re marketing to, you may use the language, “Help your daughter and her friends win the prize for selling the most Girl Scout cookies.” Or it may be, “Reduce the stress that cookie season causes.”

Now, let’s market to the dad. Your language is going to be different. A lot different. You’re marketing strategy is going to be different, e.g. “How to keep the peace at home during cookie season.” or “Tired of asking your co-workers to buy cookies? Do this instead.”.

If you’re marketing this to moms, your marketing language is going to be totally different than if you’re marketing this to dads.

Your content may be 99% the same but your message and your marketing really depend your audience.
You have to understand who the audience is when you are creating the content because it not only changes how you create your product, but it changes how you create your entire launch messaging.

If you get it wrong, don’t get discouraged.

The most important thing about getting things wrong is that you have learned what doesn’t work, and you can step back and improve. Go forward. Try again.

#9 – Not Knowing What You Are Selling

Why are you selling a course?

If you can’t answer this question, then you don’t know what you’re selling.

A lot of people are quick to jump on a bandwagon. They think, “Suzy made $10,000 from launching a course. Joe made $25,000. Nicole made $2,000. I’m going to sell a course too.” But they don’t know what they’re selling.

This bandwagon junkie starts throwing things together – because, of course, they want to jump on the “I’m selling a course” bandwagon. They tell one person one thing, they tell another person another thing, and they get two sales and say, “YES!” Then they talk to somebody else, whether that’s via e-mail, Facebook messages or a real conversation, and they promise 10 people 10 different things simply because they don’t know what they’re selling.

If you’re talking to one person about one thing and another person about a completely different thing you’re creating different sets of expectations – not everybody is on the same page. You end up creating a situation where you are trying to be everything for everybody. You end up not winning.

You need to avoid this.

As you create your course, create your offer.

Create an internal document that says what is included in the course. You don’t necessarily share this with everyone. You need to have it for your own talking points. It can be a series of stickies on your computer monitor or a document on your laptop or just a few notes on your phone – but you need to say that this course is on, for example, “having the best wedding ever”. It includes tips on finding a venue. It includes tips on getting the perfect gifts for your groomsmen and your bridesmaids. It includes how to not spend one million dollars on your wedding dress. It includes how to handle travel arrangements. It includes the exact script to use on how to say NO when people want to spend your money and you don’t want them to spend it.

If you know what is IN the course and what it is that you’re going to be teaching, then you can talk about it consistently. You can be more articulate.

In the course of setting expectations, your customers will be happier because what you say you’re going to give them, you actually deliver.

#10 – Thinking That Because the Course Has Already Been Done By Someone Else, Yours Isn’t Worthwhile

Everyone does it. We look at what someone else has done and think, “There’s no way I can do that.” That’s simply not true.

When you are building your first course, you have no experience. You haven’t put the time in. So why would you compare yourself to someone who has put in 10 years or 5 years or even 2 years? You aren’t being very fair to yourself.

Give yourself the gift of time: time to learn, to work hard and ultimately to rise to the top.

If you don’t give yourself this time – you are going to get frustrated and give up.

There are two different types of people: people who have big, huge, amazing egos. Then you have other people who say “Somebody else already talked about this topic. No matter what I know, it can never be enough or that much different.”

Is this a problem that you have? If you don’t have this problem, GREAT! But if you do, know that you are not alone.

Many of the gurus were actually very humble and did not consider themselves gurus. A lot of the people weren’t recognized for their fame or their acclaim until they were dead or they failed multiple times.

Henry Ford and the Ford Motor Company is known for well-made American vehicles, but Henry Ford did not have instant success. Ford’s early business ventures failed multiple times and left him broke before he founded his successful company. Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard and started a failed business before Microsoft. Vincent van Gogh was mentally unstable; he was a shy child with low self-esteem. His work is now known as the most influential and glorified art in history.

It’s not about whether you think there is a market for it. It’s more about – it has been done before, but is there still a market for it? Obviously, if you are teaching a course on underwater basket weaving, you want to make sure that there are enough underwater basket weavers to be able to buy it.

Ultimately, if you Google something, you very rarely will Google anything and only get ONE result. NEVER! Very rarely do you walk into a bookstore and find only one book on a topic. Now, if you are looking for a copy of the Bible in Russian in the middle of Bismarck, North Dakota in a town of 500 people, are you going to find it? Probably not. BUT if you are looking for a cookbook there are going to be a lot of different nuances and a lot of different varieties.

Just because one person has written a cookbook on easy crockpot dinners doesn’t mean that there is not room for a second and a third and a fourth cookbook.

In the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series, there are 250+ books. In TV, Survivor was done more than once in different locations, in different varieties, in different variations. In reality TV, you have The Kardashians, The Real Housewives of … what city do you live in? I’m sure there is one in your city.

Just because it’s done once doesn’t mean it can’t be done again. It doesn’t mean that it can’t be done with your level of expertise and with your flavor of knowledge.

You may say something that a person has heard 100 times before, but it may be the way you say it or that something has changed in their lives, and this is the time that it clicks and that magic happens. Whatever they’re trying to learn actually just sinks in and the connection happens.

You will get stuck. The first time may not be the best time. Don’t give up. Let this information sink in and go for it. Make that video. Tell yourself that just because someone else has done it, doesn’t mean you can’t. Don’t be afraid of the technology. Spend the money to make it look good. Know what you are selling and sell it with confidence. Go do it.

About the author: