Episode 77

Ultimate Course Creation Framework Series: Step 3 – Collaborative Course

Today’s LMScast with Joshua Millage and Chris Badgett continues the new Ultimate Course Creation Framework series with Step 3 – Collaborative Course. This step is about why you want to pre-sell your course and how pre-selling will improve your completed course.

Step 3 builds on the foundation of enrollment and marketing you created in the first 2 steps of this mini-course. The Collaborative Course process involves pre-selling your course before you develop it fully. This initial course is a test offering to gather the feedback you need to design a complete course that will appeal to your target audience and ultimately sell.

Pre-selling challenges your assumptions about how well your course will do. The proof is in meeting, exceeding, or completely missing the mark for your expectations. If your pre-sell fails you can walk away with minimal loss. If it works then you’re on track. If your pre-sell is wildly successful then you can scale up to the next level. We’ve kickstarted all our projects with a pre-sell, including our LifterLMS course development platform, with winning results.

In Steps 1 and 2 of the Ultimate Course Creation Framework you compiled your student interest list and conducted market research. In Step 3 you’ll launch an email pre-selling campaign based on your research and send it to your interest list. Limit your initial enrollment to a manageable number of serious early investors so they can benefit from your personal attention, and you’ll receive their valuable direct feedback.

Increase opt-ins by offering incentives such as discount pricing on your future courses. Limiting access adds scarcity and offers elite co-creator status. It also keeps you from taking on too much all at once so you can be fully engaged. People are conditioned to the idea that getting in early on new things yields rewards, so you should have no trouble getting those first paying students.

Structure your pre-sell email campaign within a limited time frame with daily emails. Offer an application, choose your first students, and get started working with them immediately. Don’t worry about being high-tech, just be a great teacher and show them what you have to offer. Then allow them to help you become even better.

The Ultimate Course Creation Framework is running in sync with current LMScast episodes, and Step 3 – Course Collaboration is the midpoint of the mini-course. Sign up at CourseClinic.com, or text the word “courseclinic” to 33444, and we’ll send you Step 1 – Rapid Enrollment. You can also try a demo of LifterLMS to see how our course development platform works for you.

Post comments and subscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. Thank you for joining us.

And if you’re an already successful expert, teacher or entrepreneur looking to grow, check out the LifterLMS team’s signature service called Boost. It’s a complete done for you set up service where your learning platform goes live in just 5 days.

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Joshua: Hello, Everyone. Welcome back to another episode of LMScast. My name is Joshua Millage, and I’m joined today with this beautiful, handsome gentleman, Christopher Badgett. And we are halfway through today with our bird’s-eye view of The Ultimate Course Creation Framework.

This is a series that we’re doing … Five part series … Today is part three, and it falls in line with a mini-course we created called The Ultimate Course Creation Framework, which you can go and enroll in. It’s completely free. It’s a five-part video training. You can head over to LifterLMS.com/CourseClinic and opt in there for this course. Or you can text us the word “courseclinic” … Just one word … To 33444, and we’ll get you enrolled that way.

Today, we’re diving into step 3, which is the collaborative course process. This is really, really important and contingent on the fact that you’ve done the first two steps, which were rapid enrollment, getting 100 people on an interest list, and doing some market research, getting some ideas around things that people would potentially pay you to teach them.

Today we’re going to talk about what we call the Collaborative Course process. But it’s essentially pre-selling a course that you have not developed yet. And you’re going to be delivering this course in a very intentional, very one-on-one way to gather really, really, really good feedback so that you can build your evergreen course in the future.

Chris tell me why pre-selling is important? We’ve done it in the past. It works wonders every time. In your mind what’s the big thing that happens when you pre-sell anything, whether it’s software, a course, or whatever?

Chris: I think the number 1 thing you benefit from is just challenging your assumptions. You get to see if what you think is going to happen … You’re going to either exceed, meet, or go below your expectations of interest. That’s very important. If it bombs, you can get out without a lot of damage. If it does okay, then you’re right on target. Or if it exceeds you’re wildest expectations, maybe you can do more and hire a team and move even faster.
And then the other big benefit is just the fact that you’re in sync with your audience so that you don’t … head off in a direction where they actually want to be learning a little bit over here … but you’re not quite hitting the demand. So they’ll let you know. So they can be part of that conversation.
Joshua: Yeah, I completely agree and the only thing I’m going to add is the fact that you have received money for something that you will teach. There’s nothing like having cash in hand as a validation for the “yes.” People are willing to pay me to teach this do them. Even if you’re not, if you’re doing this as an internal project and you’re not going for payment … Having people … I’m just envisioning someone who’s doing training inside of a company. Even having people take time out of their day …
Chris: To opt in…
Joshua: … To opt in and work with you is a huge validation. We’re really wanting to work with a small group of people to collaborate with.
Let me just break down what this process looks like. We’ve got our 100 people or so on our student interest list. We’ve gone through, we’ve done some market research. We’ve got some ideas on what people could potentially learn. We’ve done some surveys. We’ve done some informational interviews.
Then, we go through and we actually do a pre-sell email sequence, which could be 3 or 4 parts, more or less, and we basically drip emails to that email list saying, “Hey, we’re thinking about building this course. It’s going to be by application only. I’m only going to work with,” … And you can pick the number, 5 to 10 people. I think any more than 10 you’re going to overwhelm yourself … “And its going to be at this price point.”
The theme that you’re using here is really a very powerful formula that I learned from Clay Collins, who now runs LeadPages. But back in the day he had a training course called, The Interactive Offer. He created this formula which is really powerful. You’re using an early investor narrative, which is this cultural narrative that’s very powerful here in the States, which is “If you get in early you’re going to be better off.”
We all know that. If we get in early with the stock, then when the stock blows up we’re going to make more money than if we got in later. Or, if we buy something or we back something on Kickstarter early, we’re going to get 50% percent off what the retail price will be later down the road. Or if we buy real estate … You could just go on and on and on and on and on.
It’s this narrative that if you get in early, you have better things happen to you. You want to use that to your advantage here saying, “If you get in early and help me co-create this course, you’re going to have some sort of benefit.” And those benefits can be a number of things. One of my favorites is just a special VIP pricing on anything that you create in the future. I think that’s a great way and people really like that because its maximizing the value that they get now by saying how much money they’ll save in the future.
Chris: Another one I just want to throw out there is that people will have an opportunity to have your ear as the creator to help shape and guide the product. So it may not just be money motivated, it might just be access motivated.
Joshua: Totally.
The next part of the formula is actually collaboration or co-creation, because that’s another powerful narrative. And then scarcity. Early investor, get in early, you have benefits. Co-creation, we’re going to work together. And then scarcity, I’m only working with 5 people or 10 people, so make sure you apply.
Chris: And that’s not …
Joshua: Very.
Chris: … scarcity. That’s real scarcity …
Joshua: It’s real scarcity.
Chris: This isn’t some mass broadcast. You’re actively engaged and listening and talking. You can only do so much of that.
Joshua: You can’t … The thing is once you get more than 10 people, you’re so overwhelmed with stuff, and life, and you can’t really take in feedback well. It’s very important to walk through these steps.
Now, I get into it at a deeper level in The Ultimate Course Creation Framework. But your emails should be paced usually a day apart from each other … Just walk them through a … think about a soap opera, some people call it a soap opera sequence, where you’re walking through a story. Leaving some cliffhangers because people want to be involved.
Chris: Yeah
Joshua: You’re not really being manipulative. You’re not being manipulative at all actually. You’re just telling them a story and you’re spacing it out so that people have time to really internalize it. And then you want to have a condensed time period where you offer an application, you accept people, and then you move into the collaborative course process and you start to teach them.
And a lot of people get hung up on that. They’re like, “well, what technology do I use?” Honestly, when you’re doing this at the early stages all you really need is Google Hangouts and a Facebook group.
Chris: Yeah. If you’re going light weight. That’s it.
Joshua: That’s it. Yeah.
Chris: You’d better be a good teacher. Let your … Don’t get obsessed with the technology.
Joshua: It’s all about content at this point. You’re delivering this content, whether you’re just doing talking head or a slide show or whatever. And then your allowing for discussion is really important because that’s where you’re going to get the meat of this worked and this didn’t work. And then you have a Facebook group for people to process as a group after the fact.
And that’s really it. Not to get into the high-level … If you want a more step by step you can just head over to The Ultimate Course Creation Framework and opt-in there. And lesson 3 is all about this exact process.
Yeah, it’s so easy to do when you really think about it. It’s getting over the mental hurdles to execute on it that’s really difficult.
Chris: Awesome.
Joshua: Yeah. Chris I’m curious. You’ve seem me do this a couple of times …
Chris: Yeah.
Joshua: Inside of Codebox and LifterLMS. What’s been you’re favorite thing that you’ve seen happen out of going through a collaborative course process.
Chris: I would say one thing is … I’m just thinking about LifterLMS, the product is so much of the feature … its not a course, but this is just what came to mind … But so much of the features and the problems that we focus our energies solving come out of collaborating with our early investors, early adopters, the LifterLMS VIPs so were just so grateful for that.
Joshua: Love that crew. Shout out to the VIPs.
Chris: Yeah. And just talking to them in the early stages and all the interviews you did and everything. We identified a lot of key points and really built some amazing relationships over the years that are continuing to grow and that whole early investor narrative is alive and strong. I know which VIP I’m going to to run an idea by about X or a different VIP about Y.
Yeah, its just been super powerful.
Joshua: Sweet. I love that.
Well, I’m excited man because I think this is going to help a lot of people. We’ve got a lot more coming around the corner in 2016. Around content and processes and methodologies. We’re going to get more detailed in terms of steps people can take and stuff. So this is just the beginning … Really excited.
Thank you so much for joining us today wherever you’re at in the world. Again, you can head over to lifterLMS.com/courseclinic to jump into this free email mini course. Or if you’re listening on Itunes or Stitcher Radio, just text us the word “courseclinic” … one word … to 33444 and we’ll get you signed up that way.
Until next time, we’ll talk to you soon.

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