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A podcast where you join me (Colie) as I chat about what it takes to grow a sustainable + profitable business.
CRM Guru, Family Filmmaker, and Host of the Business-First Creatives podcast. I help creative service providers grow and streamline their businesses using Dubsado.
The online course industry got a huge boost in 2020, when pandemic restrictions pushed people to online learning + Zoom meetings. Now that the dust has settled, slapping together a bunch of Loom videos and a sales page doesn’t yield the same high course sales it did before!
So if expanding your offer suite to include an online course, or digital products, is in your future, this episode is a must-listen! In this episode, Colie chats with Mara Kucirek, an online course designer, launch strategist and host of the Create a Better Course Podcast. She’s helped over 150+ entrepreneurs launch online courses and digital products. Mara lives in Tampa, Florida with her husband, two dogs and brand new baby girl!
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If you’ve tried setting up your Dubsado or Honeybook account, yet aren’t actually utilizing all of the features it offers, I want to invite you to check out The CRM Blueprint. My course includes templates for all of the forms, emails, and workflows that you need to get paid in one easy step. Ready to maximize your use of Honeybook or Dubsado, enroll in The CRM Blueprint today! Use the code PODCAST for 10% off.
Here are the highlights…
00:00 – Why an online course?
05:34 – Importance of testing your funnels before you launch
09:41 – How to increase success with each launch
13:35 – Highlighting what they are paying for
16:31 – What should your priorities be in course creation
18:27 – Review user data from your course
21:49 – How to conduct effective market research
28:50 – Implementing changes in your course
32:44 – Best practices for surveying your students
34:28 – What trends are we seeing
37:07 – How hard is it to switch platforms
40:28 – Listen to Create a Better Course
Mentioned in this Episode
Connect with Mara
Review the Transcript:
Colie: Hello, everyone is creating an online course or a digital product on your bucket list today. I am chatting with Mara Kucirek about creating your very own digital products and how she helps others do the same.
Hello. Hello. And welcome to the podcast girl. How are you doing this morning?
Mara: Hello, I am excited to be here. Currently 38 weeks pregnant and feeling good today, but planning on taking a nap after this in full transparency.
Colie: Well, I mean, since I saw you at Spark, you have started your very own podcast, which I love listening to all about online courses, which is amazing.
Mara: Yeah, that, I think, Spark Conference was the very first time I started thinking through like, I need a podcast and people started saying, hey, why don’t you have one? And I was like, what would I talk about? No one wants to listen about online courses. And now I have a podcast that’s pretty much entirely online about online courses and like making your course better and a bunch of techie things and people do listen.
Colie: Well, I mean, I feel like people, I think people love to listen to the tech part because most people are not techie like you and I. And so anytime that they can like hear someone talk about it, it makes it a little more attainable for them to do it. That’s how I see, like when I’m talking about Dubsado, they’re always like, Oh, but you make it seem like it’s so easy.
I’m like, well, great. That’s my job. I appreciate doing that.
Mara: Yeah. And I have never like done some fancy extensive training with Kajabi or Thrivecart or like, I, I think people think you like go to these universities for like Dubsado something and there’s trainings out
Colie: Trial and error.
Mara: also, yeah, there’s also a lot of Mara and Colie. Just figuring it out at like pressing buttons is my favorite way to do business until I figure out how to do something.
Colie: Oh, that’s going to make its way on the Instagram. I mean, for Dubsado, I was trying to figure it out for my own business and I would literally just sit and just basically click on every button and just test everything until I knew what everything did. I mean, it’s, I feel like these people are spoiled now when they get to go to all these, you know, these courses that the platforms have actually set up for you to go through.
But the one thing that I tell people is. Those are still missing the strategy. Like, if you want to learn everything that Dubsado can do, by all means, go through their basic course. They have an advanced course. I mean, they have a lot of trainings inside of their education platform as well as on YouTube.
But what it’s missing is the strategy. Like, it’s not telling you the best way to do something as a photographer. It’s just telling you what you could do in Dubsado, period. So I think that’s where, you know, people like you and I, we will still always be needed, which is, it feels good to be needed. Right.
Mara: It really does, and I mean, I make a lot of money off of people being scared to push their own buttons in online course platforms or do things, and honestly, the amount of times I’ve done something for someone and I had to Google it or just figure it out, and I don’t think they realized, like, I learned along with them, because also these platforms constantly change every single day.
Um, so I try not to get married to like, cancel culture. so much, everybody for joining me and hopefully I can be a Herobin a specific tutorial or training, because they’re going to change it next week anyway. Or there’s going to be a better way to do it, or like a hack or something that I figure out, and then I’m like, why wasn’t I doing this from the beginning?
Colie: I mean, my favorite thing to do, cause you know, I have the course, right? So when someone asks me something that I’ve actually never thought of before, or I’ve never had to answer, if it’s something that I’m like, oh, wow. That’s something that people should know up front. I mean, I would tell you within like 48 hours, I’ve created a new lesson in my course.
That’s like, Hey, just in case you’ve run across this, this is what you do. Like recently I had a client who was testing her mini at, and I will say, I was already making a product called how to get paid using your Dubsado scheduler. Like I had literally almost finished this product. It’s a new thing that was going in the template shop.
But when she said that she was testing and it wasn’t working. The first thing that came to mind for me was, Oh, maybe it’s an error. Like we need to contact Dubsado customer service, but then as I’m sitting there and I’m thinking through all the things and I went to actually test something for myself, I said, wait, did you pay yourself?
And she’s like, well, I entered a coupon. I’m like, no, that does not work. When you are testing a paid scheduler. You can give yourself a coupon to discount it down to a dollar, but you do have to actually pay yourself or the other things don’t trigger. And I was like, Oh. That toolkit that I just made is not done yet.
Let me go make a video real fast that shows people how you test and how you create the coupon to discount it to 1 and pay yourself. Because otherwise all these people are going to be thinking that their scheduler is broken and it’s just because you’re testing it by taking 100 percent off. And then Dubsado doesn’t know that the invoice has actually been paid to trigger the next thing.
Mara: Well, and it’s amazing how many softwares have all of these rules of testing things, because I test things all the time, and I try to break things too in people’s online course, and particularly their sales page of like, What’s broken? Why does the enroll button not work? and people will test it with like, their email that’s already a student in their course, or their email that they send their newsletters from, so then ConvertKit or Kajabi or whatever is like, This email’s spam because it’s Mara, like, why am I sending an email to the same email? People don’t think through, like, Test it fresh. Test it. Don’t spend like, you know, 200 buying your product. Make a coupon code and make it like a dollar, you said. But make it an environment that mirrors like actual transactions and stuff so you know what’s going to go wrong.
Or go right, hopefully. Hopefully you tested it and it all works,
Colie: And Mara, the funny thing is, I got an email this morning from Stripe. You know, every time you, like, connect one of your payment processors and they deposit those small amounts in your account and then they take them out? I got an email from Stripe this morning and panicked. The email was, Stripe deposited a small amount, which appears to be testing your account.
If you did not start this, please contact us. And I’m thinking to myself, I haven’t done anything in my Stripe account. Girl, it was because I was testing all of these new products from my template shop and I had paid one thing a dollar. I had accidentally messed up and paid like 7. 47 for something else.
And so when it deposited those two things separately, my bank thought that Stripe was testing deposits and I was like, oh, that’s interesting. Let me go tell people that you might get an email like this when you are testing the payments of your products to make sure that everything is working. Mm
Mara: Yeah, that’s fascinating because two, sometimes you can test things a little too much and like break your Stripe account. It’s very rare that that happens, but I’ve had like clients where. They tested their checkout page like 40 times and then Stripe was like, what the heck is going on? Why are there all
Colie: know, that’s a thing now. Did you read that thing where that, that woman, she, there was someone who was like testing her account and then they forwarded all of the incoming payments to a different account and they ended up
charging like 70, 000 through her Stripe account and Stripe tried to make her pay it.
Mara: Yeah, there’s there’s Yeah, I was gonna say, I’ve seen some other crazy things out there of, like, people getting hacked into your Stripe account or your PayPal through, like, different ways, which is wild.
Colie: I mean, I think we should actually talk about today’s subject. Now. I’m sorry. We went off on a tangent guys, but I think all of that was really great information that all of you needed to hear. But Mara, let’s talk about you and what you do for others, because I’m fascinated by this. I have a degree in curriculum and instruction, and I’ve been creating online courses for like 2 decades. So I always think it’s really interesting. How business. Have business people in general that have like no education background. Like they decide to make a course and they’re like, well, what do I do next? And that’s where people like you come in. So my first question for you is when it comes to the people who are coming to you for your services, are they established business owners dipping their toes in education?
Or are they people who have been in education for a while and they’re just really trying to like step up the offerings that they already have? Like who comes to you for. these offerings.
Mara: It’s usually the first one, and so I have a background in education as well. I was an instructional designer, which is a fancy word for making online courses for companies like Marriott and Disney and all of that stuff. And now I do that for small businesses, which is way more fun. By the way, um, and I was also a middle school English teacher.
And so it’s fascinating to me that most business owners, they understand like the principle of creating a course because they want more money. They want to serve more people. They get that, but they don’t get the stuff that comes afterwards of like supporting students, making sure your course is good.
The amount of people I get, so typically they, they do have some sort of course. Sometimes I get someone, it’s their very first course baby, they’re launching it into the world, but typically those people do more of a DIY route, or they
don’t get all of the stuff to me because they’re just not
ready for the support, but usually it’s someone
who’s launched a course And it’s kind of flopped of they launched it Maybe one time they’ve got like 10 to 20
students who kind of like their course But maybe also no one is logging in and now
they’ve tried to launch it again They don’t understand what is happening And so really what we’re
looking at is the curriculum inside of the course and How do we relaunch this
But make it way better than it originally was and not just
like a bunch of loom videos
slapped together with a sales pages put on top of it
Colie: No, you can’t do that. Wow.
Mara: it’s, it’s amazing how much, um, well, I used to teach middle school and I’m like, business owners and really everyone,
Colie: like middle schoolers.
Mara: Yes, their attention span is so short. And yet most people, when they go to create a
course, they want to record like a 40 minute long video training as one lesson.
And no one wants to watch that. I don’t want to watch that. But that’s your first instinct of like, let me record everything I know about this topic in one shot. I’ll share my screen. We’ll make it super long. And it sounds really good, right? I want to teach you everything I know about this thing.
But people just want the shortcut, honestly.
Like, they want the shortest possible lesson. That’s effective. That’s the important part,
Colie: gets them a
Mara: don’t want to know. Yes, yes, that gives them a win, takes them to the result they want, but not a bunch of extra stuff in between. They’re like middle schoolers. They just want to go to recess or go to lunch.
They don’t want to have to watch this long 40 minute tutorial.
Colie: I’m wondering, this just brought to mind, um. Like in the Amy Porterfield world, you have like your signature course, that’s that kitchen sink thing. You throw everything that you know about a topic in there and you’re, you know, ,typically 1000. 5, 000 somewhere, you know, what we would consider to be a higher ticket course.
And then we have like those smaller courses that are teaching you like a handful of things. Like maybe there’s one or two outcomes. Are you seeing any kind of trends as to which ones are doing better now? Because like, I’m actually in the process of taking my big signature course and like whittling it down to have smaller outcomes and smaller wins and then offering the other things as like add ons. I just really feel like people don’t have the attention span right now or the budget, if I’m honest, to like do big signature courses because they feel like they never get through them. Are you seeing that trend or is it just me making this up?
Mara: Yes, that’s absolutely what I’m seeing. You’re not making it up, and I just recorded a podcast episode for my podcast because I keep getting like DMs or people saying the economy’s terrible, no one’s buying anything, and that’s a whole separate conversation, but people still are buying. I’m just not seeing that they want a signature course, and yeah, we’re talking like eight modules.
It’s supposed to take you two months to go through. There’s a coaching call each week. Like, that is so overwhelming. I’m currently pregnant. I’m not going to do any of that. And so the stuff I’m buying in my business are like the little
mini trainings. They tell me it’s going to take me an hour. They tell me exactly the result I’m going to get.
They give me a checklist. Like, that is what I’m seeing. And I’ve had a lot of clients lately where we just broke up their signature course. So. You do not
Colie: It’s not just me, okay!
Mara: It is not, not just you. And the amazing thing is you can always upsell. So you can always have like additional lessons that people unlock for an additional price.
But it’s a lot easier to get a yes right now when it’s pretty to the point. It’s a lower price point, which feels good, usually for you and the customer. And then you can always upsell them after they know you’re a good teacher and know your stuff. Like they’re usually more likely to buy anyway.
Colie: The funny thing is I started hearing something like now when I was doing customer research that I didn’t hear like three years ago when I was originally putting the course together. And that’s that people just kept on to asking me, well, do you just have an advanced version? And I was thinking to myself, but the course is an advanced version.
There were a lot of people who were getting confused and we’re thinking that, like, it was a basic Dubsado settings course. And I was like, um, that’s the first module. And if you’ve already done those things, you just skip that. I was like, the meat and potatoes are really in modules three and four. But people were like, you know, I don’t need modules one and two and I’m like, but you do in case you set them up incorrectly, but also that’s not what I’m charging you for.
Like, I’m not charging you to tell you how to set up your email inside of Dubsado. That is a module. That is a lesson in the course. But that’s not what you’re paying me for. You’re paying me for the strategy that you get in modules three and four. But that was when I started to think about, okay, maybe I need to repackage this in a way to where people understand, Oh, you’re paying me for the strategy.
But like, this is a pre checklist. Like you have to have your account set up in a particular way before we can get to that. This is not what you’re paying me for. Like, this is just to make sure that you’re starting off right. Um. But when it comes to setting up like these mini trainings, so you’re seeing a lot more of them, what kinds of things are people creating mini trainings about?
Or which ones are you finding fascinating at the moment? Templates.
Mara: the board and usually like the mini er the better which is interesting like I’ve had a lot of clients or like people I’ve worked with in the past and I’m not necessarily making their course anymore but they come back later and we chat or we do a strategy call or something and they’re doing like a $9 mini offer or like a $24 mini offer and it’s like One video, a checklist, and then maybe like, if there’s a template, because people still love
Colie: I love templates. Mm
Mara: Like, it sounds good. I love them. It saves them time. But I’m seeing a lot of just like, they’re really taking one piece. So I had a client recently, she’s got a course about newborn sleep. And it was this long monster of a thing. It was super informational, but no one ever finished it when we looked at the stats.
Because they had a newborn. They didn’t watch the whole thing. And so we like literally broke it up into the age of your kids, so like 0 to 3 months, and then what the
issue is. Of like, are they not sleeping through the night? Are they like crying a lot? And then it
was a separate thing if they’re like sleeping too long and then being cranky during the day.
And It was really just like breaking of the course, but now it’s these tiny little mini things and people can go on her website at
3am and they can buy whatever they need while she’s not awake and have a solution to their problem, but they don’t have to wade through like, 3 modules about having a baby and still being pregnant when their baby is right there and crying immediately like while they’re on the checkout page
Colie: So how do you determine like what is a good fit to break it up and then when they just have like a content problem? Because I would imagine That you go into some people’s courses and you’re like, yeah, people are not buying because this is crap. Like I don’t even know what the outcome is supposed to be.
Let’s work on that first versus people are probably feeling overwhelmed by all of the content that you’re offering. How would someone determine what like that first win should be? Because for myself, I determined that it was the booking process. Like if you don’t do anything else in your CRM, I want you to be able to get paid in less than five minutes. And if you are only using your CRM to do that, it is worth like the 35 to 40 a month that you’re spending. Because everyone likes to get paid, but like, how should someone go through their, like, curriculum, if you will, because I did see that you, you offer course audits, which that was intriguing, but with someone’s going to go through it, how do they just determine, like, what, what the win is that they should put first in order to bring people into the business?
Mara: Usually the best place to start is to ask people and be specific that you want one thing because a lot of people will do like a survey, like, hey, I’m making this new thing, or they’ll survey their students and they’ll ask them 20 questions about the course, which is great. That’s great
feedback, but you really want to know the one thing people care about.
And often it’s better to ask people who aren’t in your course too. Like, sometimes you could Phrase it as, hey, I want to add a bonus to the course, or I want to do this. And maybe this thing already exists in your course. But you’re asking people, if I made one thing, what would you want to learn? And trying to really narrow down, what is that one thing that people learn?
And the other thing, because sometimes people don’t respond when you survey them. That’s something that happens all the time, and I help people survey their students all the time. And like, maybe 5 percent of them respond, depending on how fun the survey is, and if we like, offered. a gift card or something.
Look at in the course what people go and click on first. Like, is it a specific lesson? Usually it’s the thing that makes them more money or saves them time. It’s like the flashy thing. And usually it is out of order of what’s in the course, because when I audit someone’s course, that’s one of the first things I will look at is look on the back end of the software and see, okay, what are people clicking on?
And you have to be mindful if you have a course that’s dripped out, then some of the data might not be exactly the same because they might only have access to like the first two lessons, but if someone joined your course and they had like free access, which lesson would they go click on? And that’s always really interesting because it usually is something on module seven.
or 8, um, and not module 1. Now, sometimes they don’t have the stuff to then go do the thing they want to do, but then that tells you, can I get them to that lesson sooner? Can we reorganize things so that way they have what they need to do to get the result they want a whole lot sooner?
Colie: I mean, and now you’re making me feel a little sad that I use course software that does not allow me to do that because all of my courses are now in ThriveLearn, in ThriveCartLearn. They were in Kartra for a very long time, and then I left Kartra for ThriveCartLearn. And I mean, I’m loving it, but I really do miss that, like, I can’t see those kinds of analytics inside of my course.
Mara: Learn. Personally, it’s a huge financial thing because I have, over the years, I’ve had so many clients that are in a software like Kajabi or Teachable is a really big one that I see people’s bills are like astronomical for, and then they’re not making money from their course.
And we like look at, okay, you’re spending like 3, 000 a year to have your course hosted, which if you have a course that’s making Six figures. That’s great. Some people have it. Some people don’t. Some people are still service providers, and like, their course is a good chunk of their income, but spending money on software really bleeds into their profit, and if, if you can switch to something like Thrivecart and instantly save like 2, 000, and give yourself a 2, 000 raise, like, I am a huge proponent for that, and I, I mean, people ask me about course software.
All the time, like I get DMs about it all the time and that’s something I’ve had to learn in my business of how do I be a walking library of online course software without being a walking library about online course software because I don’t have time to respond to like every single thing. But the money part is important and like what a company is going to charge you.
It’s pretty dang important,
Colie: Well, also, Mara, you have that episode. So everyone, she has an episode on her podcast that talks about how to choose your course platform software. And I will link that in the show notes in case that is something that you, are interested in learning more about. Because as Mara said, like. It’s going to be different for everyone.
And in a lot of cases, it does come down to your budget. I mean, if you’re picking something that’s budget friendly, like Thrivecart Learn, you’re going to miss the analytics, but I will say, I do love that it integrates directly with ConvertKit to save me zaps of sending my students, you know, into my email marketing platform and all of those kinds of things.
So it is saving money there. I just don’t get to see the analytics that I had, uh, before in Kartra.
Mara: yeah, and you can always still, and that’s where I’m like, survey people, ask them, but do it in a way where
hopefully you’ll get an honest response, cause people, people are kinda lazy sometimes when you send out a survey. If they do fill it out, and I am
guilty of this, so I’m so sorry to all my business friends that have ever taken a survey, but you know where you do the thing where you do the
survey in like 5 minutes, cause you got 9 million other things going on, and you, you don’t
always remember, like, Oh, when I joined Colie’s course,
this was the thing that stood out to me,
or this was the thing I couldn’t
Like, sometimes you don’t remember that So, that’s the other key, is try and get
your juicy people who, like, just joined. Cause they’re a little more honest, and their behaviors Their behavior mirrors
more what you want than, like, if you’re serving someone who’s been with you for three years. Because the three year people are the people that answer the
survey. But they know everything about you, and they
know everything in the course, and they probably like you in general. That’s why they’re doing the survey.
Colie: I mean, one of the best things that. I did for my course in, I would say in like the last year was I added end of module feedback forms. That was number one. I had no idea how fast people were flying through my course until I added those feedback forms. And then I saw one person went through all five modules in 24 hours.
Like, and legitimately did the work and had the links and did all that. And I was like, wow, I had no idea someone could go through my course in 24 hours. But what you said about getting like those juicy tidbits from people right after they buy, I have started my redirect page after they purchase from me, takes them to a landing page that has an Airtable form embedded, where it’s asking them why did you buy?
Two minutes. I think it’s three questions. Why did you buy? So that you can tell me then why you bought, and then maybe on one of the feedback forms later, you will enjoy something else in the course more. You’ll get a bigger return on investment for something that you didn’t buy the course for. But knowing why people hit buy is really important.
Because if so many people tell you this is why they bought the course, that needs to be present in like all of your marketing and your launch materials. So, hey, Mara, let’s talk about launching now. Because you had an entire podcast episode where it was talking about launching and I was literally thinking to myself, Oh, I should have listened to this episode before I did this launch for this one thing.
I mean, I think. And you can, I totally want your input on this. I feel like the one mistake that people make in their launch is that they think that it is, that it can’t be as long as it should be. Like their lead up to their launch is like one or two weeks. And it’s like, yeah, that’s not going to get the job done.
So Mara, tell me like two things that make a launch most successful for a digital course or a digital product.
Mara: So definitely the first thing you mentioned was a longer lead up time. And I think people forget about this because it doesn’t seem like it’s part of the launch, but we’re talking about this period of time where you have podcast episodes related to whatever
the thing is you’re launching. You have blog posts, you talk about it
more, you’re just a little more
like present with your audience.
Maybe you’re working on growing your email list. So like you’re doing all of
these things for pre launch
and that really At minimum should be a month. Often with a lot of the clients I work with where we have larger online courses, we do like a two month launch lead up and no one
else would know it other than
internally in the team that that’s what we’re doing, but we’re just like prepping people to be thinking about their
X thing, their problem with Airtable or whatever. And we’re kind of exacerbating the problem a little bit, like talking about all of
the annoying things about Dubsado or
Airtable or whatever your course is about. So, like, they kind of have at the top of their mind how annoying something is, and not in a
gross and like sleazy way, but
just in a way where we’re keeping it top of mind. Hey, you
have a problem with this thing. And Also providing helpful content, so we’re solving some of
their problems, but laying the foundation
that maybe they need some additional support. And then there’s like the actual launch phase, which depends heavily on what the product is, but it’s like four to ten days, and that’s a whole large conversation about how long your open cart should be.
People have very different opinions about it. Um, so pre launch phase is the thing I see people skip. All the time, and often it happens because people, I think they listen to like a Jenna Kutcher episode or an Amy Porterfield episode, and they’re like, Yeah, I’m gonna launch next week, and that feels really good, like, and there are moments, cause you’ve probably done this, I’ve done this in business, where you have an idea, You launch it, it goes great, and you just need to get that thing out into
Colie: Get it out into the world.
there are, there are times for that, and it’s totally okay to have, like, a beta launch, or just get your shop out there. Like, sometimes you just need to hit publish. And that’s a huge thing in the course world that I tell people. Of, your first launch doesn’t need to be when you publish the course.
We can, we can put it on your website, we can have it all set up, and then we, then we will have the launch. Cause just getting to the publish button, that’s a whole, Journey for most people, but the second thing that I think is really important is if it’s an existing course, it’s not necessarily a new thing, but student experience, which I talk about all the time in my business.
This is how
Colie and I, like, 1st bonded by the way, when we met at spark, I was like, oh, my gosh, someone else will let me talk about student experience and serving students. And we, like, had a whole conversation on automations to, like, check in on students. And like, if someone goes through your course and they don’t finish lesson 3.
Email them automatically and be like, Hey, what’s up? I noticed you never finished this thing. Because so many people publish their course, they launch it, they launch it, they launch it, and they never check in on their current students. And having students who will
vouch for you, give you testimonials, I mean, they
honestly, half the time will do a lot of the work for you when they see you launching. If they love your
course, and they feel like you
had their back and supported them, The whole launch is so much
easier. And you do that by having a good course that helps
Colie: I mean,
Mara: not, it’s
science. But, a lot of people miss that
step of, hit publish, whoever joins,
they get thrown in the bin of students, and you don’t have to worry about them, they already bought.
Why, why would you want to Worry about them now that you already have their money.
Colie: I mean, I always say if you have people who have had your service, who have bought your course, and they’ve loved you, you should never be stuck on what to say anywhere. You should never be stuck in your marketing. You should never be stuck on your social media. Because if you just very politely ask those people, They will tell you what to say. They will probably record videos for you that you can post everywhere. I mean, people love to be helpful, particularly if you have helped them. And so, if you already have students and you haven’t surveyed them, please, everyone hit pause on this. I want you to go and to survey your students. Like, everyone should be doing it.
The thing is, you should be doing it in like multiple ways because I told you that first one was, why did you buy? They get it immediately after they purchase. And then after every module, there is an air table form that has conditional logic so that you can tell me which module you just finished and it will ask you three very specific questions about that module.
But then you also want to come back to these people after you know that they have finished your course, because you want to know the actual return on investment that they got, You want to know that the wins that they got, because they can’t necessarily tell that to you when they’re in the throes of learning, whatever it is that you’re telling them, you have to come back.
30 days after they’re done, 60 days after they’re 90 days after they’re done to find out how this thing that you gave them helped them in their business. And many of us are just really missing the mark on not doing that on a consistent and automated basis.
Mara: Yes, oh my gosh, so much love for everything you said, because I see people, they’ll do the why did you buy survey like two days after. That’s great, but really most people see results like 30 days after, like you said, 60 days after. If you have a course that’s like about something pretty big, often your best testimonials come like two years down the line, when they’ve implemented
stuff, they understand what they’re doing. And people
totally forget to go back to those people and be
like, Hey, how is it going? Like, I want an update on your life. And that’s one of the biggest things I see is regularly checking in on your course students. It can be, it doesn’t have to be like
a super fancy survey sometimes. Sometimes it’s just an email. I’ve got a couple of clients where we set up
to have their virtual assistant. Just pick, like, five students every
quarter that they’re gonna email and make it, like, super personal. If we noticed a win in, like, the student Facebook group, like, they said, Hey, I had a huge win. Maybe we send them, like, flowers
or a gift. And just, like, show people, hey, you’re paying attention, you’re listening,
you’re caring. People also love when you respond to the survey feedback. Like, that really scares them, in a
good way, if they take the survey. And then they’re like, I would love a
bonus about whatever thing. And then you just email them and are like, Hey, that’s a great idea.
We’re going to work on making that. That like blows
people’s mind that you actually read the survey. And then if you go make the thing too and let them know like Hey, this was your idea. It’s now in the course. Like, thank you so much. People are shocked that just, like, following up by that. And then they’ll refer you and realize, hey, this person,
like, actually cares.
Which, if you’re probably listening to this, You do care. about your
Mara: Yeah, you do. You do care.
Colie: I will say one of the most successful things that I did, at least to me, in terms of getting social proof, it wasn’t about sending a formal survey. I had a real or maybe it was a carousel post. It was a carousel post that had some videos in it too, but I had it on Instagram and I just took the link And sent an email to every single one of my core students.
And I was like, Hey, guys, I have posted this on Instagram. Absolutely. You know. No pressure, but if you’re on Instagram today, I would love it if you could just like it, leave a comment, whatever, you know, feels good. And then I also had like just a list of three questions. I was like, if you feel compelled, if you could answer one of these three questions on there, that would be great.
Oh my God, I had like 30 students that went and posted something. And of course, this is me. Oh my God. And I’m screenshotting every one of them to use them for like the sales page and all of that good stuff. But I mean, that wasn’t even a formal survey. Sometimes you just need to tell people how they can be most helpful and they are totally willing to do that, especially if they’ve actually seen like a big return from your digital product or your digital course.
Mara: Yes, and making it as low effort as possible because surveys are great, but people see that and they’re like,
oh my gosh Colie’s gonna ask me a bunch of questions, which you actually probably
wouldn’t you would ask them like three which is super smart But some people use surveys as an opportunity to get someone’s like life story and then people don’t fill them out But you don’t have to have a formal form You can just ask for like comments on a post
like you did responding to an email.
I found a lot of people Voice notes, like if you, be careful about this, because sometimes connecting with students is opening a can of worms. Um, that could be a lot of extra customer service, but like giving them a chance where they can just talk and like send a voxer message or something. People often give way better testimonials or Zoom calls. You will get amazing testimonials out of hopping on Zoom with someone, asking
them if it’s okay to make a transcript, all of that. But when they’re forced to talk to you, it’s a much more authentic testimonial than having to sit out and write like this formal thing where you’re by yourself and you’re trying to make it sound good of like, I love Colie’s course because it’s so fun, where if they’re just talking to
Colie: So generic.
Mara: It is! It’s really generic and a lot of what I end up doing with clients is like getting better testimonials because testimonials are important. Like as much as you love someone’s course and are interested in joining, you want the tea on like, is this thing good? Do people actually see results? Is this person just like full of crap and like
making stuff up?
And so testimonials are always going to be important and having like screenshots and social proof and as much of that as you can get is usually super helpful.
Colie: So Mara, I think I’ve just got one more question for you. It’s, it’s really interesting and I’ve never had the opportunity to ask someone who does both like digital products that are smaller. And then, of course, if someone out there is like, you know, I think I want to dip my toes in the education side, but I’m definitely not ready for a course.
If someone’s like, you know, I would really love to create, let’s say for photographers, since we know a lot of photographers listen to this podcast. If they’re like, I’ve got this one little editing thing that I do, and I think it would make like a great short video. And maybe I would give them like a preset or a step by step, you know, recipe on how to do this.
What is, what is the first step that someone should take if they have an idea of what they want this small digital product to be, but they don’t know what to do with the idea?
Mara: doing a brain dump of what you want to include, like just get it out of your head of everything you want to include, and then the second part is delete half of it. As weird as that sounds, but people really do want the shortcut, and so that’s usually where, like, if I do a strategy call with someone or someone just asks me, like, hey, I’ve got an idea, which I, Colie’s idea of, like, making it super small, like something super actionable, and then maybe they get a preset or they get, like, one template.
That is so Much more manageable to people right now. I know as business owners to us, it feels like I’m not doing enough It’s not enough of an offer, but I will buy something for 5 all day long or 10 a 900 course That’s like a big
Colie: You gotta think about it.
Mara: I really gotta like think about it and make sure I’m committed So it’s great to start with something that is smaller.
So just Google Doc get out everything that it would maybe include So like, is it a, is it a video? Is it an audio training? And throw out all of the ideas that you want. Put it all over the Google Doc. And then delete like half of it, because recognize, you don’t want to include everything. You’re going to overwhelm
Colie: want to leave something for later because once they buy from you one time, they’re going to want to buy other stuff. So that could be like your second product or your third product. Don’t give it all away up front.
Mara: Yeah. But get it out of your head, because a lot of people are stuck forever in this world. Actually, every client I’ve ever worked with. It’s amazing. Because I’ll say, well, how long have you wanted to create a course, or your product? And the answer is usually years. That they tell me. I, I know. They’re like, well, I’ve been thinking about doing this for years, but then I couldn’t decide the right software to use.
Which, Every software
Colie: And you can change your software
I mean, it’s,
Mara: Thank you. Thank you. Can you say it again?
Colie: can change your software. I, I, people laugh when I tell them how I went from Kartra to ThriveCart learn. Um, I was sitting in front of the TV and I was like, I don’t want to pay for Kartra when it comes up for renewal in a few months. I want to get it over.
I sat in front of my TV and I think I was binging Yellowstone to be honest, but like, I’m just watching TV and I’m literally copying and pasting from one to the other. Yeah. And of course, there’s moving your content, but then there’s also making sure that all of your emails and your checkouts and all of that work.
But like, I told my husband, he was sitting next to me and I was like, Hey, I have a job for you this weekend, or I have a job for you. You know, can you help me transfer this stuff? And he was like, Oh, sure. I’ll do it on Saturday, but this was Thursday. And I was like, Hmm, well, if there’s anything left on Saturday, I’ll have him do it.
No, I was done by Saturday. He was like, Hey, what do you need me to do? I was like, no, I’m done. I was like, but thanks for offering. It’s great.
Mara: it’s, it’s really, you can break up with any software and it can be pretty drama free because people get freaked out about email. They get freaked out about course creation software and anything that sells. Digital products. And I see that holds people up all the time where they’re like, Pamara, I have to do more research.
I don’t know. This person uses this and what about this functionality that I’m probably never going to use? But like, what if I want to
Colie: if I want it later?
Mara: Yeah. What if I want it later? And I’m like, every. Every single course creator that I have ever worked with at some point changed course software.
Every single one. Isn’t that crazy? But like you, I mean think about it, you probably know a lot of business friends that
started on something and unless their course is like a month old, then they have not changed software yet. But
Colie: Well, hopefully they haven’t changed software yet.
Mara: You know, hopefully they have it. And that’s a whole other issue because I have worked with people that like one month We’re on Kartra and then they see someone’s using Kajabi and they want to go there and then the next month We’re on ThriveKart and like these people are very profitable But I always have to have a heart to heart with them of you cannot keep moving your course every month That is so
Colie: students are going to get so
annoyed. Every time you get a new login, your course is here. And I’m like, wait, I didn’t buy a new course. And then I noticed that it’s like a course that I had before. And I’m like, oh, they must have switched platforms. And then, you know, a couple more months out, you get another email.
It’s like, no, pick one, pick one horse and stick with it.
Mara: Yes, pick, you can always change, but don’t change too often, because at the end of the day, they all work. Some of them are better for certain business owners, but they all work. No matter what you pick, it’s gonna work. It’s gonna be fine.
Colie: Mara, if people want to learn more about you and just creating a better course, where can they find that information?
Mara: The best place and the easiest to Google is my podcast, which is called Create a Better Course, which I thought was such a silly podcast
Colie: No, it’s fantastic.
Mara: Well, then I asked people, I was like, I want to start a podcast that is about having a better course, digital products, and like, I literally mean better.
So I talk about, like, setup and stuff, but I talk a lot about, like, student engagement and Things to just make your course not boring. And so I surveyed people and I was like, I don’t have any ideas other than calling it Create a Better Course. And people were like, that’s, that’s to the point. And amazing.
Also very smart decision on SEO I realized later on. To name that
Colie: that wasn’t in front of your mind when you did that?
Mara: was not, it was not.
Colie: I thought you
Mara: if you search, I, I did not even think about SEO, and now I’ve gotten like, really good SEO when people search online courses, which is interesting. So just search, create a better course, because Mara Kucirek, that last name, is a doozy to Google.
I know Colie will put my website in the show notes. You can click on it, don’t try to spell it yourself, because it does not, Kucirek does not follow the I before E. rule that we were all taught in primary school. So anytime someone, like, tries to spell it on their own, um, you probably actually will get to my website because sometimes I test, like, butchered the spellings of my own name.
But yeah, but the podcast, the podcast has, like, so many different episodes on random things on, like, I just did an episode on Black Friday. I’ve done a lot of episodes on launch mistakes, as Colie shared, because I’m, I’m passionate about it. I’ve been through a lot of launches at this point. Some of them were complete dumpster fires, so I try to avoid that for people.
Colie: So get all of your lessons learned from Mara before you jump, you know, feet first into the fire. All right, guys, that’s it for this episode. See you next time.