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#013 Do People Still Buy Online Courses?

Uncategorized Feb 28, 2024

TSFF #013

Do People Still Buy Online Courses?

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"Do people still buy online courses?" This is a question that I sometimes get when I'm talking to new online business owners or people who just want to start making content online and could see it leading to building their first online course.

They want to know if people still buy online courses and if so, why do they?

The objection that a lot of people come to this question with is: why would people buy an online course when information is free?

Information has been democratized; it's ubiquitous, it's everywhere, you can get information for free. So why would they buy a course?

The short of it is they're not actually paying for the information itself; they're paying for something different, but it's related (more on that later).

This post will help you know exactly how to make your course valuable so that when you release it, it is something that your audience will want to buy.

And it will answer the question, do people still buy courses? Because the answer is a resounding yes.

To make sense of this, it's important to understand what people actually pay for when they pay for courses.

They Pay for Aggregation (Not Just Information)

They are not actually paying for information; they're paying for aggregation. I got this language from Justin Welsh, but I think he's right on. They're not paying for the information; the information is really everywhere.

And if you do this right, you're actually going to cover a lot of the information in your free content. But if they sift through all of your free content and they go to all of the other free content that's out there, they then have to act as the curator and aggregator of all of the possible directions they could take, all of the possible pieces of content they could apply.

If they're not going to buy a course, they have to be their own aggregator.

People will pay to have you do that work for them. They'll pay for you to organize the information, for you to aggregate it and curate it into the best possible sequencing of actions and things they need to learn to get the result that you want to get or that they want to get.

They Pay for Synthesis and Simplification

In addition to aggregation, what they're paying for is synthesizing and simplification.

So your job as a course creator is not just to make a course about a topic; they can learn about a topic for free just Googling it.

Your job is to aggregate the best information and then synthesize it into the irreducible minimum to get them from where they're stuck to where they're trying to go.

And your job is to simplify it so that it makes sense, so that you take the complex work of taking all of this knowledge that you've sifted through and simplify it into something that produces for them an understandable body of content.

They Pay For a Clear Path

Finally, what they pay for is a clear path. You are giving people with your online course a clear path to get from where they are to exactly where their desired outcome is, and you are mapping out the steps that they need to take along the way.

A clear path provides a short cut which is a powerful offer of value that people will pay for.

For the people who naysay online courses, it may not be valuable to them to have the information aggregated. They may say, "I can do it myself!"

You're not really after those people. I'm not really after those people. If my free content helps them in their aggregation process, awesome, I'm happy to help.

But when it comes to my online courses, I know that there's always going to be a percentage of people who don't have time or the desire to aggregate all the information and to sift through all of the possible paths they could take; they just want the clear direct shortcut, they want the clear path.

We as course creators are in a unique place to give that to people, to serve them with a clear path that saves them time - that has value. They'll pay for it.

They Will Pay to Learn it From YOU

There is a magic to this because the final thing is that they will pay for a course if it's you teaching it.

The way this should work is not just that you make a course and distribute it to the world; you have an audience that you have built over time because you have shown up with consistent, helpful, relevant content.

These people have started to trust you and know you and like you. You have actually created an audience of fans; they appreciate you because your content has helped them and has gotten them very far in their goals.

When you show up with a course and say, "If you want to go even deeper with me, I have aggregated, synthesized, and simplified all of this information into a clear direct path, a process for you to learn this process," they will pay for it in large part because they want to learn that path from you.

That's the way this type of business works best; you are the niche, you are the value.

So show up with your content, build the course that your audience really wants to get them from where they are stuck to where they want to go, and you will sell courses. It's not impossible; it still happens every single day.


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