Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5

4 Lesser Known Ways to Make Your Online Course More Impactful

Taking a deeper dive reveals that it's about more than just education.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When it comes to building an online course, most industry leaders have their tried, true and proven ways of succeeding. Generally, they do their research, find a niche and look to solve a problem. They may even go in-depth on the best sales funnels and ways to turn prospects into students every single time. But, the very best courses are developed by going the extra mile in ways that are usually not discussed on podcasts and in digital marketing vlogs. Their lesser-known nature may just be what makes them go the extra mile in the eyes of the students. 

fizkes | Getty Images

Ultimately, one’s goal with an online course should be to make an impact on the lives of the students who take the course. Bringing in stable revenue and hitting new launch goals is great, but courses that can even teeter near this level of success are courses that generally make the biggest impression. Aside from the standard ways in which to do this, here are four lesser-known tips to make your course soar. These suggestions will help you get ahead of many other courses. 

Related: 5 Tips for Creating Your First (Successful) Online Course


1. Make your course content expirable 

Many courses are "evergreen," meaning that they can be accessed at any time. Just because this is how many courses are created, it does not mean this is the way it should be. Think about it from a consumer's perspective for a moment. Perhaps you are interested in taking a certain instructor’s new online course, but you are busy or keep putting it off. It’s too easy to continue to kick the can down the road and never bite the bullet on the purchase. 

To get around this, make the course launch expirable. Create smaller cohorts and open your course for enrollment at different times during the year, and then make the content expirable. This will motivate students to actually consume the content, rather than getting through the first module and putting the rest off until later. Even though it’s quite true that “when you pay, you pay attention,” attention spans do fade and students may never complete the course. 

2. Be relatable and sell as a peer

One major misconception about selling an impactful course is that, as an instructor, you must be "older" or "wiser" than your students. While you should certainly have plenty to teach them and the experience to back it up, sometimes the most impactful courses are those that are taught by instructors that feel relatable. This is what Tyler Espitia, CEO/president at Espitia Consulting and creator of Ichimoku Traders Academy swears by, having earned more than $1 million in income in two years.

“I help people make a living by trading, which is usually taught by much older individuals who have decades of experience in finance and trading,” explains Espitia. “While this is great, I’ve found that the reason my course stands out is that I’m younger, and therefore, more relatable to my target demographic. It shows students that it can be done at any age.”

Beyond the aspect of relatability, Espitia says there’s something to be said for instructors who are fun and friendly, rather than "all talk" or "all teach." One must insert their own personality into the material and make it fun.

3. Host giveaways within the course

People love the chance to win something, especially if it’s something that has a perceived (or actual) higher value. Let people know that a select few students will win something like one-on-one coaching with you, one of your other products or even admission into another high-ticket program. There can even be incentives regarding their performance in the course and a number of awards they can earn. 

Using these types of incentives, everyone feels excited about the potential, and those who win will feel tremendously close to you and devoted to your teachings. These are the type of fanatic students or customers that will be the best at word-of-mouth and referral marketing for you.

4. Send video messages to participants

Finally, consider how you can be more hands-on. Many courses do provide some type of one-on-one call or full access to the instructor. Let each student know how much their attendance in your course matters to them. Send video messages using apps like Bomb Bomb or even just via social media to check-in and say hello. This interaction with you — even though it’s not via an actual video call — takes just a few minutes of your time and can mean the world to them. It shows the student that they really matter to you and are not just lost in a sea of thousands. 

Just like winning a giveaway, this too can create deeper bonds of trust and admiration, turning students into lifelong fans and customers. This extra touch is what will make them tell others, “They really went above and beyond for me.” 

Related: Connecting With Your Target Audience Through Video

Impact comes from making students feel cared for, important and special. They’ll meet you halfway. Even if you have the greatest sales tactics and content, it’s up to the student to apply themself to take the impact from the course. By utilizing these tips, you can help them get there. 

Entrepreneur Editors' Picks