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Marc Aarons on Crafting Your Online Course

About This Talk

This talk is by Marc Aarons and was recorded on October 29, 2020. You can learn more about Marc by:

Timestamps

00:00 Intro
04:20 The Problems With Mark’s First Website
06:25 Getting Course Ideas
07:30 Crafting Your Course
19:20 Having Sales Certainty

Growth IDEAS for Your Course

When it comes to planning your course, you might be wondering where good ideas from courses come from. Marc recommends you start with his IDEAS framework:

  • Ideate: spend 1-2 weeks in the ideation phase. You probably have ideas about your course business already, and you can explore a few of them, but just don’t spend too much time here. The big idea is to determine if you “have a worthy course idea.”
  • Discover: again, this should take 1-2 weeks, but this is where most people get tripped up. The discover phase is where you collect evidence that there’s a market for your course, and who is in that market. The discover phase should prove that you have an idea worth acting on. 
  • Experiment: spend 2-4 weeks selling the course manually and to a small number of people. This will give you the opportunity to walk several people through the course, collect their feedback, and see if you can get the validation of people actually paying you for the course materials and experience.
  • Accelerate: spend 3-6 months accelerating once you have a firm understanding of your buyers. At that point, you can begin to make your course more repeatable and increase capacity by improving your delivery and operations, and perhaps pulling back on coaching and consulting aspects of your course. 
  • Scale: spend the next 6-12 scaling once you have a firm understanding of what a whole lot of buyers do (and what they need). The core component of scale is increasing volume by finding high-converting, affordable traffic sources that are also sustainable. 

Following the process outlined above than get you to the third level of reaching a $1M course business in about 8 weeks. In order to do that, you should focus on two things: 1) creating and collecting responses to a survey, and 2) crafting a sales page you can use to sell your course.

CRAFT Your Course

There are five elements to CRAFTing your course:

  1. CORE Method: the main method you use to deliver your course
  2. Right topics: the topics you put together in your course to make the course complete enough for your audience to gain value, but not overwhelm them
  3. Audience groups: the specific audience groups you are targeting
  4. Features they need (to be able to realize value): features within your course that help your audience get value immediately from it
  5. Timeline to value: how long it takes people to get value from the course

And if that sounds like a lot, here’s a shorter way to do it: 

  • Pick a course idea
  • Write the sales page
  • Get traffic
  • Sell the course

Marc’s been looking for a faster way to create courses since he started, but only if faster has zero sacrifices in terms of course quality and experience. Marc was forced to figure out a faster way when a client of his took a trip from New Zealand to the US. It’s a 21-hour plane ride and he had to outline and shoot everything in a weekend. What Marc learned is the method he’s revealing here. 

Now on to how to sell your course. 

Get SALES Certainty

To get SALES certainty, you need to take the five steps in the acronym:

  1. Sales Demand: determine market demand through surveys and estimating market size for your course
  2. Amount They’ll Pay: get a sense of the exact amount people are willing to pay for your course
  3. Long Term Value: understand the long term value buyers will get from your course, and how that impacts their willingness to buy and pay
  4. Exact Offers: get clear on the offer you’ll make and how it’s constructed
  5. Sequence Timing: when you’ll sell it, and how
  6.  timing impacts sales

The Sales Survey

Having a sales survey is a critical step in Marc’s process. He has several questions that he uses to have clients and prospects tell you how to sell your course. Here are a few of the questions in the survey: 

  • Measuring long-term value
    • What kinds of value will you get from this course?
    • If you were to recommend this course to someone else, how would you describe the value of it?
    • Who should buy this? 
  • Exact offer
    • What topics do you need covered? 
    • What format would you like most? (DIY, workshop, in-person, as a service)
  • Pricing
    • What’s the most you’d pay for this?
    • What’s the least you’d pay, where the amount would start to make you question the value of the product?
  • Sales timing
    • When do you want to buy this?

Here’s an example of Marc’s Sales Demand survey:

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