5 Ways to Differentiate Your Online Course from the Competition
There’s a lot of competition out there for online courses. But don’t let that discourage you! Competition is a good thing. It usually means there is a market, so don’t be intimidated by it. You should, however, think about how you make your course so attractive that people will choose it over other alternatives.
It’s all about differentiation. You have to differentiate your online course from the competition to get more students, and it’s not as difficult as you think.
Here are five ways to make your course stand out from the rest:
1. Focus on a Niche
Don’t try to reach everyone with your online course. Instead, focus on a specific market.
For example, let’s say you’re crafting a web design course for beginners. That’s a big marketplace. There are lots of potential learners and competitors, so it will be easy to blend into the background if you don’t make an effort to stand out.
Instead, you can differentiate yourself by creating a web design course for a specific group of people: herbalists, travel bloggers, entrepreneurs, etc.
For example, check out this three-week web design crash course for creative bloggers. Sarah Eggers knows exactly who her audience is and goes for it with classes that would be essential for creative bloggers such as CSS vs HTML and Squarespace.
By narrowing your course to a small niche, you have a better chance of reaching the audience you want the most.
Tip: Make sure your course title matches up with your niche and draws attention without being sensationalist. Being concise and catchy will help you draw in the right type of attention.
Pick a SINGLE topic and go deep. If you promise the world, but can’t deliver, your current and prospective students won’t be very impressed. Instead, you want to prove immediately that you can deliver positive results.
The key to going deep is setting a clear course structure that outlines the content from the get-go. This gives your students a clear idea of what they can expect and how it will help them in the future. People want confidence in what they’re buying. They want to know it’s high-quality and that you can deliver what you promise.
Creative Live does this very well for their photography courses. For example, in their Fundamentals of Photography course, they outline all 107 video lessons, so students know exactly what they’re getting before they pay the $159 fee.
Tip: You don’t have to be the best; you just need to be better than the competition by demonstrating to your students that you are committed to their success.
Don’t differentiate on price, i.e. try to price lower than others. It’s a race to the bottom.
The reality is that people actually don’t want cheap. They know they get what they pay for; they want to actually learn. The e-learning market is expected to be worth $275 billion by 2022, which clearly demonstrates that people are clearly willing to pay for a good online course.
Know your value, research your market, and price accordingly. Sometimes a higher price will get more students because they will think the course is more valuable.
Tip: If you’re worried about justifying your price point, make sure to demonstrate why you’re worth what you’re charging by:
- Leveraging the latest technology
- Going the extra mile for student success
- Structuring your content carefully
- Providing true value — the best teachers and quality education
Usually, there’s a lot of social proof that goes along with online courses. It’s the quality and amount of social proof that can make your course stand out to potential students.
Reviews from students can help prospects understand what to expect from your course before, during, and after. Those same reviews also help you build credibility and trust in your product. People want to know that they’re getting something great.
Tip: Use a tool such as Spectoos. It is a powerful resource for testimonials. It offers a quick and easy way to collect and display engaging student testimonials all about your course. And thanks to the latest updates and the introduction of Spectoos 2.0, there are widgets and workflows that allow you to collect testimonials for individual courses, a single teacher, or a group of courses.
It may seem unusual, but YOU are part of your differentiation. You have valuable experience. If you’ve been a consultant, teacher, or freelancer for a while, you probably have a proven process that you can leverage for success. All of this differentiates you from others in your market. Use it.
Share your expertise. Share your experience. Market yourself accordingly. No one can or will teach a course exactly the same as you do. They won’t offer the same content or touch on the same topics. Highlight all the elements of your online course that cannot be duplicated because no one else can offer what you uniquely offer.
Tip: Don’t be afraid to get creative and focus on the interesting elements that make you who you are. Just be sure to highlight expertise that’s essential to your students and your lessons, this is what will make the biggest difference.
Creating and selling a highly successful online course is entirely possible even in today’s competitive market. The key is to focus on those elements that differentiate you from the rest and use them to make you stand out.
By implementing the five recommendations outlined in this article and signing up for a free Spectoos account today, you can start boosting enrollment like never before.