By Blair Williams, founder of MemberPress, an all-in-one membership website software for WordPress.
Thanks to the widespread availability of the internet, desktops and mobile phones, the barriers to learning are lower than ever before in history. Today, anyone can enhance their knowledge through a number of platforms.
Accredited universities and colleges provide courses online. You can develop a new skill to boost your career with an affordable course. And you can enrich your life and develop creativity by learning to draw, dance or eat healthier.
But businesses are also benefiting from the growth of online learning platforms. I’ve helped many of my clients build online courses.
Creating an online course is a new and powerful pathway to grow your business. How? That’s what I’d like to share with you in this article. So let’s look at how online courses can form a new way to get new customers and make them happy.
Help Customers Use Your Product Effectively
I’ll start with an example. Companies like SEMrush and Moz offer powerful SEO tools. A major problem is that many people don’t know how to leverage these complex tools and the enormous amount of data available to them.
By offering online courses on SEO, these businesses teach their customers an awesome skill and help them use the tools better. When a customer knows how to leverage your product, they’ll use it more effectively and get better results. In turn, they may love your solution more, share the news with other people and continue to work with you.
Offer More Value
Why build an online course when you could publish a few video tutorials on YouTube? Well, learning platforms are structured to optimize learning.
A YouTube video can provide your audience with everything they need to know. But a lesson on an online learning platform can have interactive features like bookmarking, Q&A sections, progress bars and more. You’re gamifying the experience of learning, something you can’t do on a normal video platform. Another helpful feature is to automatically give users badges and certificates to acknowledge milestones or course completion. Your students or audience will feel like they’ve achieved something.
You also avoid advertisements and other distracting content that appears in a normal video feed. In this way, you’re creating value for your audience outside of your products or services. Content is king. We know that. Making educational content in a digital learning environment takes your content to the next level by adding structure and real-life value to your users.
When you create an online course, you’re simultaneously building a lead base. You can send course updates and create awareness of your products or services. As users go through your course, they can see the value of your offerings and become customers in the future.
For example, Ahrefs offers its blogging for business course for free. People who take the course may see the value of investing in Ahrefs’ SEO tools and take it up for their own blogging needs.
In this way, you’re building a pool of leads that you can build a relationship with as they learn. Over time, you can convert them into customers.
When you create a detailed and informative online course, you stand to establish yourself as an authority figure in your domain. This is a powerful way to stand out from your competition and showcase your expertise and experience.
Create A Community And Foster Discussions
Online learning goes hand in hand with community building. Your audience will ask questions and want to discuss concepts. You can build a community around your course by giving people the space to have discussions on your learning platform.
Users will help each other and learn as they communicate with their peers. Regular discussions will help people connect with your brand too.
Reach A Global Audience
One of the best things about starting an online course is that you can make it available to anyone in the world. This dramatically improves your business’s reach, and you can find opportunities in other markets and from a diverse group of people.
What Kind Of Courses To Create
How can you come up with a good idea for your course subject? Consider your industry, your audience’s needs and your solutions. Lego offers educational training to teachers, who can then teach children STEM subjects using Lego tools and technology. I already mentioned how Ahrefs helps its audience improve their blogging with a course that shows them how to use its SEO tools.
Remember to focus on providing value first. Ask yourself what knowledge gap your audience might have and how you can best fill that. Once you have an idea, setting up a course is simple.
If you have a WordPress site, just add the right learning management system (LMS) plug-in. Or consider working with an LMS platform. When looking at features, refer to the advantages I discussed in this article to help guide your decision.
Today, you need to nurture long-term relationships rather than flash advertisements that your audience will soon forget. An online course can naturally create a long-term commitment with your audience and lead to frequent engagement. Ultimately, online courses can build your customer base and improve your brand image. So try this alternative way today, and help your business grow.