Create them as if they are part of a curriculum instead of just stand alone somewhat related products.
Why is this important?
You provide a clear path and roadmap to follow, which helps strengthen and grow your community.
You allow yourself time to choose what products you create and which products you’ll promote. Thus giving you more time and freedom to focus your creative efforts on what lights you up and making your work the best it can be.
Today’s episode will help you kind of do both and give you a strategy for improving revenue without slaving over a new or even an updated product.
I’ll be referencing a past article I wrote for the site Think Traffic – way back in 2012 and I’ll link it below…so listen and then head over to that post!
It’s funny how you can pull wisdom from your own archives…and it was especially relevant as I started to lay out the future for Fearless Launching — not just as a stand alone course, but as a curriculum — one that starts outside my doors!
So let’s dive in.
First – let’s talk about the way people usually create courses.
They come up with their first idea and do that…then they choose another topic that is relevant but necessarily related and they might create that.
Sometimes the courses will have some relation to the other, but rarely do you see them as a first or second or third step or having any order at all.
That’s why a curriculum really makes your entire product suite stronger and smarter.
What is a curriculum?
Really all a curriculum means is a course of study – you can look at one program or product you create as having a list of things you study within that course. I like to look at curriculum as the different course, programs and resources a student can access along their learning timeline.
Oy. A mouthful. I know.
But – here's the basic gist of what I mean.
Let’s take my Fearless Launching program.
Before someone is ready to launch or feels ready to launch, there are other pieces of knowledge and information and work they’ll need to do.
They need to decide who they’re helping/serving.
They’ll need to build a list.
They’ll need to create a product or at least start creating a product.
They might need a blog.
They might not be sure what tools to use or even have their website set up.
Each thing they need to learn could be a product or course you create. It could also be something you know and love that someone else offers.
It encompasses the before, during, and after people work with you.
Before You Create Anything
You create a curriculum for your customers, your ideal customers.
Whether they're your soon to be customers, whether they're just people in your audience, whether they're real people or an avatar you've created based on real people — these are the ones that guide you as you’re creating your curriculum.
If you haven't done any customer avatar exercise, customer persona exercise, or really looking at who is on your list already – now’s the time.
Who are these people? What do they want? What do they need? What are their hopes, dreams, desires, fears? That's definitely something I would highly recommend doing. I did it when I was helping launch B-School with Marie Forleo and Laura Roeder when they first did it. I was going through the content as they were creating it and as we were putting that whole course together.
You can just look up customer avatar, ideal customer exercise. Something like that. Customer persona. Look up those, Google those, and you could find a few really great resources.
The more real you can make your avatar (instead of making up details), the better.
I know at first you might think, “I don't have anybody on my list. I don't know who my ideal person is.”
At that point, you do need to make a guess when you're first starting out. You could be basing it on people you know, current clients, people you know in a Facebook group who need what you’ve got to share.
Facebook was my way of connecting with audiences that I could see clearly what they needed next…take a look at your current groups–you might be surprised!
Create Your Timeline of Training
I think the first step before you create this curriculum, basically it's like a timeline of training. Timeline of resources that this person needs. That's what a curriculum is. It's just like going to school. If you're training to be anything, a doctor, a lawyer. If you're going for any degree in college, there's a curriculum. There's a list of classes you have to take in order to get that degree.
Look at your business like you're going to give a degree. What knowledge do people need to have throughout the lifetime of their business, their life, whatever, to get this degree or certification from you.
Like I said above…You can do this even if you don't have your own products. You can choose products that really exemplify, or contain the knowledge that they're going to have to have to get your “degree”.
I'll take myself for an example here. I have Fearless Launching. Everything I write about is about some aspect of launching. You probably have noticed that I can tie launching to literally anything because you can. Everything comes back to launching.
Once you establish yourself in one area, it's very natural for people to come to you with other questions they don't realize are potentially going to be answered by other training and other products.
Those questions, those requests, those, “Hey do you know anything about this?”
There are so many topics under the umbrella of launching that it's impossible not to get questions about ads, analytics, list building, webinars, telesummits, challenges, blogging, community, everything is in there. It's a great problem to have and it's a great opportunity to make note of what those things are.
People tell you what they want through their questions.
I recommend doing this exercise even if you don't ever publicly talk about it.
Having knowledge of where people are on a timeline, or in some sort of cycle. Where they are in their life/business, is a good exercise for you and your business.
Understanding that before someone comes to Fearless Launching, they might need a business or to have set up their blog and they do have an audience. They might need a product or a pretty good idea of what their product is. They might need to have a bit of understanding about their audience. They might already have clients in another area. Maybe they have another part of their business.
Maybe there's certain things that I know that they already know coming into Fearless Launching.
What if they don't know? What if they don't know how to blog? Don't know how to create content that then turns people into subscribers? Have no clue what guest posting means? What if they don't have any real list building strategies? What if they've never done a webinar? What if they've never been on social media?
That's an opportunity for you to stand back and say, “What can I offer here to get them ready for Fearless Launching? What does this person need to learn and do first?”
Then, for extra credit, you’ll skip to just after your signature or main offering…. Ask “What else do they need to learn?”
If you can figure the before and after out, it actually gives you some opportunities to not only strengthen your program, but to take an active role in preparing them for your program and supporting them after!
How the Curriculum Works
You’ve chosen the topics/information you want to include in your customer timeline.
Time to start filling the spots with real products.
You could literally just have one product and decide to fill the rest of the topics out with affiliate programs.
You might even start out with affiliate programs with the intention of eventually replacing the product with one of your own.
Instead of simply sharing affiliate links, create something that goes along with the product. If it’s a tool, offer a master class showing how you use it. If it’s a course, offer a pdf that allows them to still have you with them as the “teacher”.
Now, once you fill all those holes, you can decide which things you're going to create and which things will always remain affiliate programs or partner programs.
I think a really good example of this is Amy Porterfield. She has her Webinars That Convert now. She has her Courses That Convert. Then she fills some of her launch lulls with promotions of related and helpful products like SamCart and LeadPages, and even within her programs she’ll promote GoToWebinar and other webinar platforms.
There are lots of people who do this same thing very successfully.
Guidelines for choosing products to fill out your curriculum.
Enough said. But think about the company, the partner, do they have the same values you do. Have you done business with them personally. These are all important. Sometimes the people you love aren’t the ones your audience will love…so do your best to look through the eyes of your customer…
Make the products visible.
After you've been picky, make those products visible. Take ownership. I am the biggest fan of taking ownership.
When I say make them visible, include those products in promotions and schedule promotions throughout the year when you're going to focus on making those products more visible to your audience. Include them in an email sequence, write blog posts, create resource pages to bolster that connection.
Integrate your own product.
You might still have a product or an idea for some product that's going to eventually fill one of the slots in your timeline and that's great. Before you make the switch you can still create add-on bonuses, additional videos, or some sort of resource you can personally create to help that person.
Creating a combo package for the people who purchased that partner product keeps them in your world. You're not just selling someone else's product. You're just saying, “Hey, here's that product. Here's a masterclass to go along with it that actually will help you use that product better.
Take the commitment seriously.
Adding that product to your shop page, talking about it on a regular basis, reaching out to those partners, make sure that you do that. That's a relationship. That's the commitment I think is most important is the relationship with that business owner. Even myself, I haven't reached out to LeadPages. They've sent me multiple things to do webinars and promotions with them. I really need to do that. Every time I've done the webinars with them, I've enjoyed them. I've learned something. People have always learned something.
Take the commitment seriously by doing really specific things like I said with them. I think this commitment piece goes along with making the product visible and taking ownership.
Act like it's your own product.
Even if you don't have your own product – act like whatever you're promoting is. What would you do if it was your own product? Would you do differently than you're doing now?
Creating a curriculum for your customers, your ideal clients, ideal audience, is such a gift.
Showing people what to do next. Having a clear path. People want that help…heck, I want that help.
Even if you didn't create a product or course or service, you can still be the hero and the one people remember. Help people save money. Help people find the right tools. Help people get ready for your products and services.
Be the hero.
Spend some time today and create a curriculum of topics your customers will need to learn, understand or do before they get to your main product.
Then – start thinking of what you can offer in each spot along the timeline to help people get your degree. 🙂
A great first step toward creating your curriculum is spending time researching your ideal customers. We do this and more inside Fearless Launching — which takes the complexity out of launching and makes it easier to get your ideas off the ground.
Join us now before the course price raises! You’ll get the current course PLUS all upgrades and new bonuses for our Fearless Launching 2.0 live launch!