There’s no particular magic recipe. There you go, I said it. There’s no specific way to create and sell a course that’s bulletproof. People tastes and needs are always changing, and every trainer is and should be, in a continuous battle to make sure their courses can survive the market. There are, however, several recipes for failure, ways to ruin your chances of survival right from the start and those recipes are rather easy to follow! In no particular order, here’s my advice: the top three ways to ruin your online or in-class course.

Be pretentious

I know, pretentiousness sounds great and it shows that you have a good grasp of the English language. But you’ve managed to effectively fail at one crucial aspect: communication. Your actual goal should be to make yourself easily understood by your target clients, and ensure that people GET IT without reading the same phrase three times. For example, instead of saying “there is a discharge of liquid water droplets falling from the atmosphere with a diameter greater than that of drizzle” you can simply say “it’s raining.”

Most of the time, pretentious language is either ignored or is interpreted as suspicious – what are you hiding from your client that requires you to be so verbose? Take the Pentagon, for example, who once justified spending $300 million on toothpicks by calling them “wooden inter-dental stimulators.” That’s a red alert if I ever heard one!

To whom are you talking? (or are you talkin’ to me?)

This is in line with my previous point, but it takes it up a level. If it is poorly managed, terminology and design complexity leads to one quick result: your clients get lost. Make sure that what you communicate matches your clients’ level of understanding (think about digital literacy as well).

The opposite of this (and by all means, please do it if you want to keep your course all to yourself) is to be elusive. Throw in a big, red button that reads “Register here!” and things will go smoothly because your users will intuitively know what to do … or not – your call. Don’t assume your audience knows what you know. They don’t. Create a video presentation, texts, any material that provides your audience with the bigger picture of what to expect from your course.

 Don’t check what’s already on the market

Surprisingly, people tend to research before deciding to spend their money. They compare, they check reviews and put everything on a tiny, little scale. Sure, impulse buying exists, and it has its place. Then again, we’re not talking about shoes here. We’re talking about a product where the content, authority, design, and overall learning objectives matter. So, if your content can be easily sourced for free and you don’t offer any type of certificate or value-added service to your product, would you buy your course? I underlined “easily” because sometimes, even if there is similar free content available on the market, communicating effectively and making yourself more visible than the “free” competition, can make a difference.

So, do your homework! Research, compare and see how your product is better. And make sure you communicate that too.

The list of don’ts could go on and on, but the bottom line though remains the same: make sure you have a valuable client to target, a useful product to offer, and that you communicate that value accordingly. In a nutshell, that’s what marketing means.

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Doru Lupeanu

Doru Lupeanu

Marketing Manager @KnowledgeOne. Strategist. Movie script writer. Transylvanian. Fanatic anime consumer.