IN THIS ISSUE
- What are the measures of a great course that you aren’t considering?
- The purpose of a course beyond sales and results that few realize.
- Is your newsletter an info product in disguise?
- Three jobs your newsletter must do to increase the LTV of your subscriber list.
There are a few secret ingredients that most people don’t realize they need in their information product courses.
To leave out these ingredients is the difference between a good and a great course, but many course creators might not even know something’s missing.
How could this be?
What are these mysterious ingredients?
The Measure of a Great Product
First off, what makes a great product?
Many people use sales and revenue as the sole measure of a great product.
If a course sells like gangbusters, how could someone say it’s only a good product?
If you have this question, this newsletter is for you, and I’ll get on with the reveal.
Sales are good, but these are some additional and more strategic measures:
- Longevity. How long will the product last once you’re done creating it?
- Customer Development. How effective is the product at attracting, creating, growing, and training good customers?
- Impact and Influence. Does it get desired results for its purchasers? Does it have staying power?
Unless you only intend to sell one course or this course is your absolute high-end course, your course has a variety of jobs to do.
Making you money is just one.
The Purpose of a Product
I’ll say it again, it’s not to make money, although money is nice!
The place to start is to see the product as a mechanism to create customers for life—a customer development tool.
If you think about it, the intellectual property wrapped up in your product portfolio doesn’t have much value without the customers you’re accumulating.
When it works well, customers purchase Product A, then Product B, and then Product C.
Do you see what’s happening there?
Each product sets up the sale of its successor or successors.
But the true value is in the herd (your customers) and your products are built to maximize that long-term value.
This sounds a lot like equity:
the money value of a property or of an interest in a property in excess of claims or liens against itMerriam Webster Dictionary
This is a major conceptual shift, so you may need to re-read this section a couple of times until you get it.
More lifetime customers means growing business equity—you get the privilege of serving (and selling) them as long as you can solve their problems.
The Secret Ingredients
I’ve provided a different framing for the purpose of a product and how you measure greatness, so let me get into some of these secret ingredients.
As I mentioned earlier, you could also think of these as additional jobs your course must do to go from good to great.
Yep, you thought it was over when you made the sale, but I’m here to tell you otherwise.
I want you to open your mind to the possibility that your course is as much a sales letter as a transformation vehicle.
Your course should primarily get the results you claimed it would while also selling your customer on the idea that you can solve their next problems.
In fact, the end of your course can nearly be the conversion for the customer into the next course.
But let me rewind for a second back to the beginning of the course.
Before a customer can even get to the end of your course, they have to actually start the course. Or in some cases, restart the course.
Persuasion should enter right away.
People will often buy a course and then time goes by between their purchase and their start. You might have created this gap because you urged them to buy during a busy time of their lives.
So the first thing you need to do is resell them on all the reasons why they bought the product and restore all the excitement and enthusiasm over having bought the product.
To be a great product, a product has to resell itself all over again.
Think back to your own history with courses. Haven’t you had a few false starts?
You know what I’m saying is true.
I have a few courses that never got off the ground for me.
Great products also need to create a philosophical base that’s compatible with the approach to getting its results.
The customer has to get in sync with your belief system.
If they are not on board, the course has little chance to motivate the customer to take the required actions.
You already know it’s really hard to get people to take consistent action, so you’ve got to sell the belief system that will reduce this natural friction.
For any course that I would create, I must get you on board with my core beliefs of working for assets versus trading time for money, iterating to solutions and expecting failure, and creating and reusing accumulated intellectual property (to name a few).
You have to believe this is all possible or it’s a non-starter, so I would have a decent amount of course content working with the philosophies that underly the course and how it gets results.
You need to figure out your way of integrating your philosophy into the framework(s) your course offers.
Great products sell opportunity.
The course must sell its customer on the amazing opportunity to effect some kind of transformation, be it income, physique, health, relationships, following, whatever.
To do so, the course has to actually sell the customer on themselves. They have to believe they can make the transformation; leaving behind their limiting beliefs, dysfunctions, long unsuccessful track records, and so on.
It has to convince them that this time is going to be different and that they can and will make it to the other side.
One way to do this is to get them an easy win.
It’s almost like a magic trick that makes them reconsider their assumptions about themselves.
If you can get some momentum and sustain it, your customers will keep making progress, and hopefully get to the other side.
As Gateway to What’s Next
But what is the other side?
It’s probably an intermediate point in the problem space where you ideally have a solution to their next problem.
So your product must position the next level product in your ascension ladder.
Calling back to the idea of your product as a sales letter, here is where you end your course with an offer for the next course.
The “what’s next” product can help solve the next sequence of problems or provide ways to solve the same problem with greater efficiency, less expense, or whatever more desirable attributes a customer might desire.
Newsletter as Info Product
So now, what role does a newsletter have in your strategy (if you have one)?
If you look around, you’ll see a common pattern of the newsletter acting as a single place to funnel customers into from wherever they come.
These days customers often start as social media followers of some kind and the goal is to quickly convert them to newsletter subscribers. Justin Welsh in his Content OS course calls this the Hub and Spoke pattern. The newsletter is your Hub.
As I talked about in Fencing in the Herd, your goal is to get customers onto your newsletter and get a border around them as fast as possible while you’re building a relationship with them.
Once subscribers hit your newsletter, you can start applying some of these secret ingredient tactics to set up your product sales.
- New subscribers get re-sold on the newsletter subscription itself
- Subscribers get indoctrinated into the belief system that underlies the mission or movement
- Subscribers get bought into the moment and the opportunity that is only available to this new community.
And so on.
While I’ve talked about a few “secret” ingredients here, what I’ve really focused on is that every one of your information offerings—big or small—has one or more strategic jobs to do for your venture.
There’s a lot of embedded psychology involved in deploying your strategies, but you now know you need to give it some thought.
I would urge you to pay attention to what other builders are doing to see how they do or do not use these strategies.
And then take the best parts of their game and replicate them in your own stuff.
Some secrets are easier to keep than others.
Live long and prosper.
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