How to Choose the Right Online Course Platform – In Just 7 Minutes with Jeff Cobb

Check out episode
  • Discover which online course platform or LMS is right for your online course business and learning objectives
  • Learn about the importance of knowing your focus areas that is critical for unlocking the full potential of your online course business
  • Find out how the right platform can make it easy to share your knowledge, grow your audience, and scale the online course business

Resources/Links:

Summary

Do you keep on creating online courses?

But are confused by all the online course platform choices?

Are you sure you’re using the right platform to ‘house’ your content, optimizes user experience to your students at the same time making it easier to share your knowledge, grow your audience, and scale business?

You’re not alone! That’s why Jeff Cobb drawn on his 20 years of e-learning and online course platform experience to help you cut through the confusion and choose the right platform.

In this episode, Jeff shares his insights on how to find the right platform for your online courses and how finding the right one can greatly affect your sales and can even create a community around your online course.

Check out these episode highlights:

  • 01:33 – Jeff’s ideal client: “So it’s going to be a solo expert, speaker, consultant, author, or maybe a small business, but what they have in common is they’ve got deep expertise, and they want a way to monetize that through educational products.”
  • 02:07 – Problem Jeff helps solve: “I solved a number of problems but for the purposes of this conversation, it’s really, how do you select the right platform for creating and selling those online courses that you want to put out there?”
  • 03:11 – Typical symptoms that clients do before reaching out to Jeff: “One is frustration. So, it might be somebody who’s like, already tried out a platform, tried to get out there, thought they were going to, you know, get tons of learners, make lots of money, whatever, and they’re just pulling their hair out because they can’t really get the thing that they wanted it to do.”
  • 04:16 – Common mistakes that people make before they find Jeff’s solution: “They’ll get distracted by the bells and whistles. I mean, there’s a lot of pretty cool stuff out there right now, and you’re thinking, you know, “I want to do this. I want to do that. I want to do-” whatever, and you’re just following those lights all over the place, and you get distracted from what your real goals are.”
  • 05:04 – Jeff’s Valuable Free Action (VFA): “You really have to get clear about your objectives, meaning both your business objectives and your learning objectives. So, what are the types of things you’re trying to achieve as a business? And from a learning standpoint, what kind of outcomes are you trying to create?”
  • 06:07 – Jeff’s Valuable Free Resource (VFR): Check out Jeff’s Website: learningrevolution.net/freeguide
  • 06:40 – Q: Can you actually still do online courses and make money at it? A: You know, it’s getting a lot harder, particularly with just sort of self-paced, on-demand courses. People have this dream of, you know, “I’m going to set it up. I’m going to automate it. Set it and forget it. Just run people through this, you know, this online course”.

Tweetable Takeaways from this Episode:

“You really have to get clear about your objectives, meaning both your business objectives and your learning objectives.” -Jeff Cobb Click To Tweet

Transcript
(Note, this was transcribed using a transcription software and may not reflect the exact words used in the podcast)

Tom Poland 00:10
Greetings, everyone, and another very warm welcome to this edition of Marketing The Invisible. My name is Tom Poland joined today by Jeff Cobb. Jeff, good day, sir. A very warm welcome. Where are you hanging out?

Jeff Cobb 00:21
Thanks, Tom. It’s great to be here I am in Carrboro, North Carolina, which is affectionately known as the Paris of Piedmont here.

Tom Poland 00:28
Isn’t that where the republican convention has just been not held?

Jeff Cobb 00:33
Ah, that was in Charlotte. This is a very different place than Charlotte.

Tom Poland 00:37
All right, I should not have entered into politics. Let’s carry on with the main event which is here. To those of you who don’t know Jeff, he’s a seasoned entrepreneur with more than 20 years of experience in the e-learning industry. And folks, if you don’t know about e-learning, online learning courses, and programs, this is a whole science in itself. Trust me on this because I wasted a lot of money before I figured out that people like Jeff could help me. It’s a whole science, it’s a specialty. He’s the author of multiple books, including Leading the Learning Revolution, and he was referred to me by someone of our high and very high esteem, Danny Iny. So, Danny, thank you for the referral introduction. Our subject today is “How to Choose the Right Online Course Platform”, a question I often receive and don’t feel adequate to answer but here, we’ve got an expert. So, Jeff, our seven minutes starts now. Question number one please, so who’s your ideal client?

Jeff Cobb 01:33
So, it’s going to be a solo expert, speaker, consultant, author, or maybe a small business, but what they have in common is they’ve got deep expertise, and they want a way to monetize that through educational products.

Tom Poland 01:45
Perfect! Very clear. And that probably 70% of consultants and coaches who continue to reinvent the wheel one-on-one, but would like a more scalable world were to help more people and generate more revenue. So, I’ve probably described a little bit about the problem you solve, but that is question number two, what is the problem you solve? How would you articulate that? And we’ve got six and a half minutes left.

Jeff Cobb 02:07
Yeah, and I solved a number of problems but for the purposes of this conversation, it’s really, how do you select the right platform for creating and selling those online courses that you want to put out there?

Tom Poland 02:18
Well, let’s explore that, but just to give people a heads up, what are some of the other problems you solve? What services do you provide? Just while we’re on the spot, we might as well tell them.

Jeff Cobb 02:26
Sure, well, you can create them, you know, but first of all, you got to figure out what the right topic is. You know, what to focus on even if you’re an expert, you know, you still got to get something that aligns with your market. You got to know how to market them effectively. When you’re creating them, you need to create something that’s actually going to have some impact that, you know, people are going to find valuable, and they come back for more. So, you know, basically, I treat learning as a business, and I help you treat learning as a part of your business.

Tom Poland 02:52
Perfect! Good to know. Thank you. Question number three, five and a half minutes left, what are some of the typical symptoms of an ideal client for you before they find your solution, and what’s going on? What are they thinking? What are they feeling? What are they experiencing that would give them kind of a heads up and go, “Okay, I have these symptoms, I need to speak with Jeff.”

Jeff Cobb 03:11
Yeah, two big ones. One is frustration. So, it might be somebody who’s like, already tried out a platform, tried to get out there, thought they were going to, you know, get tons of learners, make lots of money, whatever, and they’re just pulling their hair out because they can’t really get the thing that they wanted it to do. And the other one is overwhelmed, and people who are very often in this sort of, you know, “deer in the headlights” paralysis by analysis sort of thing, they just- they don’t know what to do because I mean, there are a ton of platforms out there now. It sounds like everybody and their mother is making one. So, how do they pick the right one that’s going to fit their needs?

Tom Poland 03:43
Right. Everyone of their mother’s making one, that’s about right.

Jeff Cobb 03:45
I think my mom is making one right now, yeah.

Tom Poland 03:47
It’s not possible for my mom, she’s in heaven. God bless her. Question number four, and this is a really interesting one, folks, because- four and a half minutes left, Jeff. People are generally quite smart. They understand they have these frustrations, and they have these problems that have a lack of scalability. So, they’re going to try stuff, right? And you’ve already mentioned why they’ve chosen the wrong platform but what are some of the other common mistakes that people make that we can help folk listen to this void, that you find your ideal constant commonly make before they find your solution?

Jeff Cobb 04:16
Yeah, they’ll get distracted by the bells and whistles. I mean, there’s a lot of pretty cool stuff out there right now, and you’re thinking, you know, “I want to do this. I want to do that. I want to do-” whatever, and you’re just following those lights all over the place, and you get distracted from what your real goals are. You know, so that happens, a great deal. Sort of a part of that is you might see somebody, you know, you really respect, you know, who’s using platform X, and you’re like, “Well, I’m just going to use platform X because that’s what Pat uses” or whatever, doesn’t mean it’s right for you. You know, and when you talk about that in a minute, but yeah, it’s some combination of those things that people make mistakes in.

Tom Poland 04:51
Great. Thank you. And so, two and a half minutes left. Question five, let’s get on to some of that advice, what’s one free action that someone could take who’s listening to this, not going to solve their whole problem, but it’ll take him a step in the right direction?

Jeff Cobb 05:04
Yeah. You really have to get clear about your objectives, meaning both your business objectives and your learning objectives. You know, so what are the types of things you’re trying to achieve as a business? And from a learning standpoint, what kind of outcomes are you trying to create? Are you just mostly providing information? Are you really trying to change behavior? Are you certifying people like, you know, what are you really trying to get at? And then the real key to this is, you need to be very clear, think about those things, even write them down, document them, before you start spending a bunch of time shopping for platforms, because then that whole, you know, getting distracted by the features, the bells and whistles is going to kick in. You’re not going to, you know, treat your objectives the way they needed to be.

Tom Poland 05:46
So, figure out those objectives. Is it a learning objective? Is it a change of behavior? Are they implementing something? Is it a cultural change? Figure out your objective because that gives you context for the platform you’re going to use. Makes a lot of sense. Question six, sir, just over two minutes left, what’s one valuable free resource? Where can we direct people to that’s going to help them even more?

Jeff Cobb 06:07
Yeah, on my site, you’re going to be able to get a guide to doing platform selection right, along with a spreadsheet that helps you with comparing things and takes you through a real process, you know, rather than just doing a kind of scattershot, and that’s in learningrevolution.net/freeguide. No spaces, no hyphens, just free guide.

Tom Poland 06:24
Fantastic www.learningrevolution.net/freeguide. Thank you, sir. Well, we’ve got 90 seconds left, so plenty of time for the last question, which is, what’s the one question I should have asked you, but didn’t?

Jeff Cobb 06:40
Well, what I get asked often right now is, you know, “Can you actually still do online courses and make money at it?” because that’s what people want to do, and I’ll say, you know, it’s getting a lot harder, particularly with just sort of self-paced, on-demand courses. People have this dream of, you know, “I’m going to set it up. I’m going to automate it. Set it and forget it. Just run people through this, you know, this online course”. You know, these days, that’s kind of like having a book and anybody’s ever published a book knows you don’t make money off of the book itself. You know you got tons of competition out there, everybody has a book. You make money off all the stuff around a book. And I think with online courses now, it can’t just be the content, it can’t just be that sort of on-demand experience, you have to be thinking more about, “How do I build a meaningful community around this? Will it help take my learners to a different level by them helping out each other? How do I provide coaching or ways to access me?” They’re still scalable, but you know, make it a more intimate experience because, you know, whatever your topic is, there’s going to be tons of other content out there. What’s really unique about it is you and the community that you’re able to create around it. And if you’re going to get into online courses these days, you have to be prepared to think those through and how are we going to support those? And how is the platform that you want to use going to support those? Make sure that you’re checking that.

Tom Poland 07:53
So, this is a massively important strategic decision that people are making and often not giving it due consideration. Jeff Cobb, such a rich- a short, but such a rich- a wealth of information that you provided. Thanks so much for your time and for being generous with that advice.

Jeff Cobb 08:10
Thanks so much for having me, Tom.

Tom Poland 08:12
Thanks for checking out our Marketing The Invisible podcast. If you like what we’re doing here please head over to iTunes to subscribe, rate us, and leave us a review. It’s very much appreciated. And if you want to generate five fresh leads in just five hours then check out www.fivehourchallenge.com.

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