AMY PORTERFIELD: “We knew that one of the stumbling blocks for my students was using social media and email to promote their course. So we actually use this as a webinar show–up bonus because we knew it would be highly desirable. So if you showed up live on my webinar, then you instantly got this swipe file with all these cool ways to share your course using social media and email. It was really value packed, but that's an example of a swipe file.”
“Okay, so back to you. What are some models that your students could use to get them inspired or to help them create their own version? When I say models, stuff you use in your own business that they can model for their own. How can you add variety here and give them a range of options? And remember: what is going to be so irresistible that it could be one of the deciding factors for a potential student enrolling? I haven't talked about that a lot yet, but that's part of these course enhancements. What's so irresistible that they're on the fence of buying your course and then you tell them that you've got this big swipe file full of x, y, z, and they're like, ‘Wait a second. I need that’?”
INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-million-dollar business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, money, and time to focus on growing my small–but–mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step–by–step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and helps you create a life you love, you're in the right place. Let's get started.
AMY: Well, hey, there, friend. Do you want to know what's kind of cool about today's episode? If you listen to the entire episode, there's a good chance it'll make you more money. Interested? Okay, okay. I should preface that by saying that if you take today's strategies and put in the work to bring them to life, they can make you more money. They've definitely increased value and revenue for myself and my students. Still interested? Great. So let's get to it.
What the heck am I talking about? I'm talking about course enhancements that add value to your course so you can finally charge what you want to charge all while going above and beyond to serve your students. After working with thousands of course creators—oh, man. That number’s even getting bigger—I've developed some tried–and–true solutions for adding value to a course through simple–but–powerful enhancements. Plus, these subtle additions will ensure that you can feel confident with your price point, which is an important factor in getting your audience members to become students.
In today's episode, I'm sharing five ways to add value to your digital course. And since I’m a show–and–tell kind of girl, I'm sharing real–life examples to show you how I've personally used it in my own business. I'm also asking you questions to help you get clarity on how you can add each enhancement to your own course. So be sure you have a pen and paper handy. Oh, and here's the best part. Not only will your students get more value in your course when you do add these enhancements, but you'll also be able to increase the perceived value of your course and charge more, if that's what you want to do, when you talk about these in your marketing messaging.
All right. If I had to choose just one enhancement, it's number five, my personal favorite. So stick around and see if you can guess what it is. Let's do this thing.
All right. Let's kick this off with the first course enhancement that you could add to what you're already offering, and that is adding a visual element. For all my visual learners out there, this is a huge plus and a valuable addition. If you've got a course that has a lot of information, which many of you do, then that lends itself well to painting a visual picture.
So, for example, let's say that you teach people how to make pies and maybe you talk about fourteen different types of pie–crust designs. Having a visual element to go along with that particular module or lesson would be brilliant. Or maybe you're a clothing stylist and your mini–course topic is how to look great for speaking gigs and meetings. Maybe you add visuals or different outfit options and combinations to help you get your students’ creative juices flowing. Now, when I say visuals, I'm usually talking about a PDF with different pictures, but you can get creative here and do whatever makes sense for your own course. But both of those options would not only add value, but make your course more fun and offer various ways to learn, and it really changes things up so that they're not just hearing you or not just seeing video, but they've got something tangible, like a PDF, to use when they start to implement.
So let's briefly chat about how I've used this strategy in my own business. I use this both in List Builders Society and in my signature course, Digital Course Academy. To spark your creativity, let's talk about the way I've used this in Digital Course Academy, DCA. Because my course teaches my students how to create, market, and sell their course, there are a lot of moving pieces. I bet some of my students right now are shaking their heads, like, “Yes. Yes, there are.” It's a lot. Again, it's a signature course. I hope you get a full transformation of creating and launching your course from scratch, so I've got a lot to cover.
So I found that it's been really helpful to provide frameworks inside of my course. They’re PDFs that are visually explaining the order of steps that my students will take during their journey through the program of creating and launching a digital course.
So I have multiple frameworks. One is called the Course Creation Framework, which helps my students to understand the steps involved in the sequence of course creation by outlining the steps in a beautiful visual that breaks down the entire process and makes it simple and clear.
Now, a lot of the times the reason I create these frameworks is my students just want to know, “Amy, where are we going? How do I know where we're starting, and how do I know if I've gotten to the end?” And because my course is pretty meaty, I break it out into chunks, and each of these chunks become a framework. So there's a framework for outlining a digital course or creating a digital course. There's a framework for how you do your webinars. There's a framework for your post–webinar email sequences. There's a sequence in all of that, and I break it up into bite–sized pieces so it's not so overwhelming.
Now, maybe you're saying, “I hear you, Amy, and I love this idea, but how do I decide what to offer as a visual or as a framework of some kind?” And I'm so glad you asked. Here are some questions to help you identify how to use this enhancement specifically for your expertise and for your course. Ask yourself, what kind of visuals would best serve me, my market, or my course? Now, when I say me, that means you as the course creator, because quite honestly, many of my visuals and frameworks were created out of my frustration with, how am I going to teach all of this? How am I not going to make it overwhelming? How do I keep it all clear in my head so I can teach it step by step by step? So the visuals actually help me as a teacher. And then, of course, they helped those in my audience, and they helped just navigate through my course.
So some examples might be that you do a PDF, but here's some other examples. Slide shares or infographics are fantastic, maybe a series of candid photos where you're literally showing real life of what this looks like. So it doesn't have to just be a PDF. That's probably the easiest way, though. And if it's a PDF, it might be a roadmap or a blueprint. If you're in Digital Course Academy or List Builders Society, go back in there, look at some of my frameworks to get some ideas.
Okay. So that's number one, adding a visual element.
Next up, the second course enhancement is to invite guests to contribute. This, my friend, is an enhancement that has truly served me and my students well. Inviting an expert to teach a lesson or a full module—that is, if the content is meaty enough—or a bonus in your course will not only add another perspective to your offer, but will also enhance your students’ learning experience and increase their success and make your offer more desirable.
So, for example, if you're teaching a course on writing and self–publishing a book and you want to add a specific piece around being your own PR agent but you're not exactly the pro in that area, you could bring on an expert who specializes in that to teach your students.
I’ve used this strategy throughout my business and my courses for years and years. For example, with one of my most recent Digital Course Academy launches, I invited one of my students who is an expert on Facebook ads to teach how to use them to grow your email list and promote your course. It was a huge hit. I had one of my dear friends, Stu McLaren, support and educate my students on something called the Founding Members Pre–sell Strategy, and that was a lesson inside of a module. And I collaborated with my girl, Jasmine Star, for an irresistible bonus, and she did one all about launching with social media. That's her expertise, not necessarily mine. So all of these added immense value to my students.
Two things you might be thinking. Number one, you might be brand new and don't have access to big experts. That's okay. Just because somebody doesn't have thousands and thousands of social–media followers and just because they haven't made millions in their business doesn't mean that they are not an expert in their field. So you don't have to go for big names when you're just starting out. Just find really quality people that are there to serve and their knowledge is exceptional, so you know they're going to add great value. So you don’t have to go after the big names for this to be a success.
Now, I know what you're actually thinking beyond that: “I can't afford to pay other people to be experts in my course.” Well, just know that there are other ways to compensate or return the favor. And I'm not a huge fan of paying people. I didn't even do that when I was brand new in the field. I really like a really good trade, a trade that feels good to you and to them. So what I mean by that is perhaps you teach something to their audience that they would find valuable, or you offer your course to them as a trade off. So you could say, “Hey, if you do this bonus, I'll give you my course for free,” or “If you do this bonus, I'll do this bonus for you.” So you could do some kind of trade off, and you just think, “Okay. How could I make this valuable for the other person?” Do what works for both of you, but you don't necessarily have to pay them.
What I'll say right now is do not ever give them a cut of your course profits. That is not the way to go. That is like a long–term solution to something that doesn't need to be long term. Like, you can do a trade, you can make it valuable for them, you could have them on your podcast, you could interview them for your blog and email about them, you could email about their product to your list, you could interview them on social media, whatever they would find valuable as a trade. But again, you don't give them portions of your profits of your course.
Okay. So now you might be asking, “Who the heck should I turn to?” So here are some question prompts to help you identify who might be a good fit or who could add value to your course. So think about a friend, a colleague, a family member, or a fellow student—which is always cool—that may offer another point of view to complement your content. Also, think of it this way. Is there anyone who could add value that either takes your content in another direction or goes a little deeper or goes above and beyond what your students expect? That's really cool. So you'll gain clarity on this when you think about what your audience needs to get the results you're promising in your course. The only rule with this enhancement: that it adds value and serves your students.
So that's number two, use a guest contributor.
Next up, course enhancement number three, use templates. Holy heck. Last year was definitely the year of offering templates within my business because it's something my audience and students go crazy over. So why templates? Well, templates can be a huge time saver for your students and will help them to reach their end goal more quickly. And after all, isn't that a huge part of what we do inside our courses? Help our students get results quickly? So creating templates that offer your students a resource in an area that they either don't know much about or that could potentially be a big stumbling block to their progress can offer them a quick win and leave them singing your praises.
I also think about, where does my student not want to reinvent the wheel? Usually they don't want to reinvent the wheel, because it's a big stumbling block for them and they get stuck. But when you're thinking about a template, that means somebody’s not staring at a blank screen or starting from scratch. They have a jumping–off point, and people love a jumping–off point. So that's why I think templates as a course enhancement are really popular and valuable. And they move the needle, meaning people are—their ears perk up, like, “Ooh, you've got that in your course? Tell me more.”
So I've used this a few different ways in my courses. So, for example, I offer an up sell, so it's not free, an up sell of slide–deck templates, which are professionally beautifully designed slide decks, and all my students have to do is go in and add their content. Now, they can tweak the fonts, they can tweak the colors, but there's multiple slide–deck designs, and they can choose the one they like best, and they get to go to town, not starting from scratch. So this is something after you purchase DCA, you have the opportunity to add to your purchase. Again, it's a quick win and allows them to move forward quickly without having to start from scratch, and it mitigates a lot of frustration of trying to figure out Keynote or PowerPoint.
Now, again, this can be something inside your course. You don't need to charge more for it. I just gave you an example of how I charge more for it. But I offer templates inside of my courses as part of the program as well.
Now it's your turn. What kind of plug–and–play template would be invaluable and irresistible to your students? So, for example, maybe you teach your students how to design their own Christmas cards. You could provide a few premade template options for them to get started. Or if you teach your students how to edit and take professional–looking images, you could provide them with pre–created filters. You could also take this idea to a different direction and provide fill–in–the–blank budget trackers, if you’re a finance expert. Or meal–prep templates, if you're a health or nutrition coach. I mean, it doesn't get much better than that, right? It makes it so easy for your students to get started.
So that's number three. That one almost made my very favorite top of the top list, but it didn’t. We’ve got two more to go. Number five’s my favorite, but let’s move to number four because it’s a good one.
The number–four course enhancement is to offer swipe files. Another one of my audience favorites. My audience loves a good swipe file. So if you're wondering what a swipe file is—it's a very funny word, so I get it—don't worry. I've got you on this one.
It's actual materials that you've used in your own experiences, but you've edited it in a way that your students can take it and make it their own. Listen, I've been in business for a long time now, and I'm a firm believer in modeling after the best, which means taking inspiration from others and putting my own spin on it. And please don't think I'm saying copy what they're doing, because that is not what I'm saying. Those are two very different things. But pulling creativity and inspiration from others who have succeeded is a big reason why I love offering swipe files inside my courses so that my students can just do that. They can be inspired and follow my lead.
I've always provided swipe files in my courses, and my students tell me this is extremely helpful to them, especially because not everyone loves to, let's say, write copy, which is a lot of my swipe file. So having something to model after or something that offers inspiration can be a lifesaver.
So, for example, because the content I teach involves my students creating a lot of email copy, I offer swipe files with exact emails that I've used in my own business. So I'm giving them the actual emails.
Now, I’ll always tell them that use this for inspiration, take ideas from this—this is exactly what I sent out—but change it. Make it your own. Don't do a copy and paste. Every time I give a swipe file at the very top, I say, “Please do not copy and paste this. Please just use it for inspiration.”
And here's a gut check. You know when you're copying versus using it for inspiration. You know you are. You know when you're copying and when you're not. So just go with your gut on that one.
Also, something new and fun that I did this year that wasn't part of my course but instead part of my pre–launch runway was a social–share fill–in–the–blank template pack with swipe files. Okay, let me repeat that. It was a social–share fill–in–the–blank template pack with swipe files.
We knew that one of the stumbling blocks for my students was using social media and email to promote their course. So we actually use this as a webinar show–up bonus because we knew it would be highly desirable. So if you showed up live on my webinar, then you instantly got this swipe file with all these cool ways to share your course using social media and email. It was really value packed, but that's an example of a swipe file.
Okay, so back to you. What are some models that your students could use to get them inspired or to help them create their own version? When I say models, stuff you use in your own business that they can model for their own. How can you add variety here and give them a range of options? And remember: what is going to be so irresistible that it could be one of the deciding factors for a potential student enrolling? I haven't talked about that a lot yet, but that's part of these course enhancements. What's so irresistible that they're on the fence of buying your course and then you tell them that you've got this big swipe file full of x, y, z, and they're like, “Wait a second. I need that”?
It could be journal prompts that you've used over the last ten years to journal every single day for ten minutes. They get stuck with what to journal about. Here are a hundred journal prompts. That would be considered a swipe file because this is what you use in your own life to get success. So what's so irresistible to your audience? Think about what you're already using in your own experiences, whether it be your business, your personal life, depending on your course, and then use that as a swipe file.
All right. So that's number four.
Last but certainly not least, and my personal favorite, is to give them more of you. Let's be honest. Your students really want more of you. And I personally love spending time with my students as well.
Now, let’s just take a step back real fast. I'm not saying you need to show up every single day in your Facebook group. I am known for that, but it's not something I do all the time. And I don't necessarily suggest that to my students, because I know it takes a lot of bandwidth, and I have a big team, so they help me do it. So I'm not saying show up everywhere, anywhere, all the time. So hear me out. But here is why I love this.
Your students want answers to their questions. They want your knowledge and expertise, and they want your reassurance, and they want to be inspired by you. So if you can make it happen, consider giving a little bit more of you in your course. And you've got to make time for this, and my biggest secret to you is schedule it way in advance.
So if you have a launch this summer, let's say—right now, when I'm recording, this is actually in January—so let's say you have a launch in June. You know you're going to launch in June because all of my Digital Course Academy students out there, they choose their launch date way ahead. If you're not in my course, that's okay. Choose your launch date. If you're going to launch something this year, make sure it's already on the calendar.
So if you know you're going to launch in June, look at your calendar and say, “Where can I show up live for my students during this time?” Get it on the calendar now. It's way easier to make this happen when you schedule it way in advance.
So, again, let me be clear when I say it doesn't have to be one on one or all the time. And one on one, for sure. I don't do one on one. But you can do group calls once a month for three or four months inside of a Facebook group or Zoom, or if you're offering a Facebook group, maybe a weekly Q&A is another great idea. I love hot seats, so in my Momentum membership, once a quarter we do hot seats—it's hot–seat palooza—and we do tons of hot seats where I show up and give my feedback. And it's a concentrated period of time. It's already scheduled in advance. And so I know it's coming, and I can get my head around like, how am I going to make my schedule available to this? So if you plan in advance, you can show up more for your students.
What I love, and my students do, too, about doing, like, a group call is that they get questions answered that they didn't even know they had, because it might not be their question I just answered, but they're like, “Whoa, I didn't even know to ask that.” Like, you don't know what you don't know. But if you start hearing other people ask questions, you get a lot of value from that as well.
So, when Digital Course Academy is going live each week, I host a Q&A with those students, and I show up a few times a week so that they can get their questions answered. And honestly, it's a win–win for both of us because my students get to have this one–on–one attention when I'm answering their specific questions. And I—pay attention here. If you're multitasking, come back to me. This part's important—when I do live group Q&As inside of a digital–course group, I keep a pulse on how they're doing and where they're getting stuck so that if I need to change something in the moment I can. But usually it's like, “Next time I launch this, I'm going to explain this in a different way or add a new video.”
So let me give you a quick example. In Digital Course Academy, the last time I launched it, we had totally redone the entire program and made it easier to get to the finish line. So when I launched Digital Course Academy in September 2020, it was a brand–new program. And so when my students went through it, one thing I noticed because I was live on Q&As in the Facebook group is that they were very confused of the launching timeline, and I thought I had done an exceptional job of explaining it in my videos. And this is module one and two. This was, like, right away in the beginning. And they were just so confused about one terminology, like what's a prelaunch and cart open and cart close, like, all the words I was floating around and just the sequence and timing of it all. So I made a live video in the Facebook group and said, “Let me just lay out the entire launch schedule from start to finish, and let me give you a glossary of terms so you know exactly what's going on.” So this was a live video, a live training, I did in my Facebook group during the Digital Course Academy class. The class is twelve weeks. And so I did that. It was very popular. And now we're going to pre-record that and put it into the course before I launch again. I would not have known they were confused if I wasn’t live and answering questions for them. That’s why I think this is so valuable.
So whether you do weekly, monthly, or different variations of that, I promise you, my friend, your students will gain so much insight and value. In fact, for List Builders Society, if you join me in that program, for twelve months, you get a monthly live Zoom call with me. So as a group, coaching, but for an hour or sometimes more, I answer all questions around list building. So for twelve months, if you're part of List Builders Society, you get to hear from me and you get to submit your questions. I can't guarantee that I answer everyone's questions, and we make that very clear. But if you tune in once a month to my live Zoom Q&A calls for List Builders Society, you will get value. You will get questions answered even if they weren't your questions.
So for those of you who want to join me in List Builders Society, go check out my free list–building masterclass. It’s at amyporterfield.com/listbuilding. I think you'll find it really valuable if list building is one of your goals to get dialed in.
Okay. So now I want you to answer these questions to get clarity on how to use this specific course enhancement. How can you provide your students more access to you without overcommitting yourself? What do your students really want more of from you? How can you make that easy? Whoa, did you hear that last question? How can you make it easy? It doesn’t need to be super overwhelming. It doesn’t need to be ten hours a week. But there are cool ways to do this. Even look into Voxer or Slack channels or different ways that you could hold office hours and people can ask you questions. The more access to you, the more they feel supported, but you don’t need to create more stress for yourself to make this work. Get creative.
So, that’s number five, and my favorite: give them more of you.
So there you have it, five enhancements to include in your next digital course. But before you go crazy, little grasshopper, take a moment to identify which of these would suit you and your course best. Do not think you need to try to tackle all of these at once. Think about the one that would be most beneficial to your students and the one you're most excited about, and just do that one. Here's to enhancing your students’ experience in your community one step at a time.
Thanks for joining me today. I'll see you next week, same time, same place. Bye for now.