How to Create a Strategy for Your Online Course

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Episode Transcript

Joshua: Hello everyone we’re back with another episode of LMS Cast. I’m Joshua Millage and I’m joined once again with my very [mountainous mountain man 0:00:09] friend here Christopher Badgett. Today we’re talking high level strategy but I think this is really, really important when you’re thinking about building a course because well, because strategy informs everything else. We’re going to be talking about Blue Ocean Strategy versus dealing with things in a Red Ocean so Chris what is the fundamental idea? What is that even mean blue ocean versus red ocean?

Chris: Well it comes down to strategy like you said in positioning your business your course, your product your offer to the world. A blue ocean is wide open it’s like you’re the only one out there you’re essentially creating a category, you’re offering something that’s truly unique. The red ocean is competitive market where if I were to think the context of online courses I would say a competitive market would be how to do internet marketing. It’s very competitive but a blue ocean example of that would be some very specialized new competitive or non competitive market where you ca just rise up and create a name for yourself as a leader and gave that what they say is the first mover advantage.

Joshua: Right and this is a concept that goes back to a book that was written I believed in the late 90’s or early 2000 it’s called the Blue Ocean Strategy and essentially what the analogy that is being used here is that you don’t want to participate or you want to avoid participating in a ocean that is red where it is like sharks are eating each other and eating things and it’s all bloody to it’s competition versus a blue ocean which is like you said wide open and there’s not a lot of competition. But some of that comes back to language and positioning messaging, so one of the most incredible books I’ve ever read I think I have it … It’s somewhere around here. It’s a book called Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz.

It’s a book that’s like it’s about two hundred dollars, two hundred fifty dollars if you’re going to buy it now it’s been out of print but it’s the most phenomenal book for one copy writing but really this idea of positioning and one of the key ideas in the book is one of market intelligence and so as the market matures the messaging in the market become it has to become different. The example he is because this book was really like I think in the 1960’s or so. He talks bout cigarettes so it used to be cigarette companies come out and it’s like we have the best cigarettes when the market is really new that headline could work like we have the best cigarettes. Then as time goes on the market gets more mature, more competition comes in to the market we have to position themselves differently.

Now its cigarettes with toasted tobacco and filters, like what the heck is toasted tobacco? I don’t know it’s like the language changes and then the market gets more mature and now we have Virginia Slims [which had it told 0:03:17] the female demographic. As the market matures again so they’re constantly positioning and current trying to create these new pockets this new opportunities in the market that already heavily kind of bloodied with competition and I think that happens everywhere you see it all the time. The cell phone market was absolutely saturated but Apple came in and just changed everything, they had a new message new opportunities.

I remember when Steve Jobs gave that speech he said today we’re releasing a revolutionary, new internet device a phone and a personal I think he said like a personal productivity device too or something like that or like a internet reader. Then he’s like he said like three or four times he’s like by the way it’s all one device and he’s like oh my gosh because up into that point you had your phone, we had like a little like compile at internet tablet, these things are working bonds he created a whole new market by putting them together and doing something different. My question to you Chris is how do you do this with education courses?

Chris: Well let’s have a fun little experiment here and give me an industry or type of skill and we can do a competitive version and a blue ocean version.

Joshua: Okay well let’s do one and I think let’s do gardening.

Chris: Gardening, all right easy for me.

Joshua: I want to say easy yeah.

Chris: Because I have a learning management system my own gardening so I’m kind of familiar with pace.

Joshua: Right, but I want to talk about gardening too not because you are a domain expert in this and you and your wife have a phenomenal course on organic gardening. I also think that for the untrained ear like myself I just think gardening. I don’t know about all these other things and I was just getting to know you I don’t know about Pharma culture and organic gardening all these things but to me it’s just gardening. I look at it from my perspective it’s like I don’t want to get involved there, there’s too much competition. How I would I position myself differently?

Chris: Well let me just start it off just kind of go Macro in high level and say that sometimes a blue ocean strategy is better and sometimes entering a competitive market is better and all that really comes down to as a blue ocean can be harder to pull off, and it takes great marketing and positioning and your offer really needs a resonate. It needs to have what we called product market fit, if you go into a proven market you just … It’s going to be the ocean is going to be red the model is kind of improving and now you just have to position yourself a little differently as why you’re better competitor to these other offers or your still in the same category.

For organic gardening it falls to create an educational course about a beginners guide to organic gardening that would be a very competitive market, very red ocean, there’s a lot of books and courses in person online about how to get started with organic gardening. If I wanted to take more blue ocean strategy approach I will create a course that’s very specific and in some ways like you mentioned the new Steve Job’s example combine a bunch of elements that people already understand into like one product. That course would be how to turn your regular lawn into a food forest in one year? With Pharma culture techniques or something like that, that was so targeted and so specific that there’s really not that much competition out there for in that nature of Pharma culture and also with the food forest focused.

Joshua: Right.

Chris: Which is an organic gardening that doesn’t exist just on the ground in the way we traditionally think about a backyard garden that has layers and canopy and all these different things. That would be an example of entering a organic gardening very competitive.

Joshua: Right.

Chris: How to turn your lawn into a food forest in a year very niche specific and blue ocean like.

Joshua: That’s awesome. That’s really cool and I think that’s the difference. Let’s do another one, let’s do like accounting.

Chris: Accounting so intro to a cruel method accounting would be very competitive in terms of accounting expertise. If I were let’s say you and I are location independent entrepreneurs we can work from anywhere, we were just in Thailand I spent last winter in Costa Rica and just so we have this location independent thing which is really cool. Accountants can do that too so if I were to create a course called how to take your brick and mortar accounting business one hundred percent online and fully location independent? So you can.

Joshua: Yeah.

Chris: Ran your accounting business and continue to attract new clients from a Southeast Asia beach?

Joshua: Right.

Chris: That would be like, that’s like mind blowing-ly different and kind of more blue ocean like and it goes against the grain of the traditional more standard accounting education material.

Joshua: Right and then one this is it looks like something that I’ve been looking for is, if there’s any accountants listening I would love to talk to you because I’m constantly looking for help me in the accounting world and understanding so if you had a course on accounting basics for internet entrepreneurs that would, no one is doing that.

Chris: Yeah.

Joshua: If there’s an accountant listening no one is doing that well and no one is teaching us how to organize other seats no one is teaching us and it’s excruciatingly painful but it’s because there’s this idea of like one side fits all this is how you do it across the board. No I want to be spoken to specifically as a location independent internet entrepreneur the way I’m doing the way of accounting. That’s taking accounting down to any entrepreneurs down to location independent entrepreneurs, internet entrepreneurs. The niche goes deep there and I would read that and go that’s for me, because I’m that person and he can speak directly to me.

We talked so many people lately from all over the world, people who are also in gardening, people who are in mind set meditation training with VA Pension planners. I’ve talked to all sorts of people and I think this is something I hope inspires them to talk, think about what they’re teaching and think about they’re messaging around and get really specific on who they’re trying to help curved out that blue ocean for themselves.

Chris: I just want to say too we’re big believers in the power of niche marketing and focus. If you’re concern of like which way should I go? Should I go red ocean? Should I go blue ocean? Or you say there’s a lot on this podcast that one approaches to transcending include so do both. Try if you’re an expert in accounting try a traditional competitive course that is similar to other ones you’ve seen out there and targeting a more general audience. Then just do some experiments with some really niche focused, combining different ideas or processes in different ways to try to make this kind of blue ocean course.

Do both and see what your market resonates with because you may find that one way or the other it works best for you but the best way to do it I would encourage you to watch couple episodes ago about pre-selling as put both offers out there and get people on those courses and see what resonates and also see what you have the most fun doing in the type of interacting with the type of people that you’re attracting to those different offers.

Joshua: I couldn’t agree more. Well Chris I think that’s a beautiful way to sum up today’s episode and would love to hear everyone’s thought on this content. You can email me at [email protected] or [email protected] we’re really loving this podcast we’d love hearing from everyone in the audience. We’re excited for the upcoming launch of Lift your LMS and if so if anyone is [interested 0:11:46] would like to be notified about that you can go to watch some of the content that we have available on that plug in and yeah let us know what you think. Until next week, we will see you soon.

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