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About Breanne Dyck
Breanne is the person onlinetrepreneurs call when they want to sell more and teach better.
She spent 5 years as a course developer and curriculum expert at one of Canada’s most prominent technical colleges, while also providing strategic websites for clients in technology start-ups, non-profits, media, etc.
Breanne’s system is a unique blend of adult learning research, psychology, web design, marketing and business strategy.
Learn more at MyNameIsBreanne.com.
Key Points & Takeaways
- Think about how to teach better, so you can sell more. You must focus on the quality of your courses and the learning experience to build a sustainable business around online courses: “You can’t just put out anything — you have to be prepared to really create an exceptional learning experience, because that’s going to be the foundation that supports the rest of your business.”
- Don’t be afraid to be who you really are. To be authentic means you have to be giving voice to who you are in, in that time and in that moment. Your authentic representation will change over time. Powerful courses emerge when you embrace who you really are as a teacher.
- The key to growing your business is your customer experience. How happy are people with your course or product & how likely they are to recommend it to friends?
- Learners want to feel a sense of progress as they go through a program. Your mission is to help them experience that progress and accomplishment.
- The #1 predictor of student satisfaction in online courses is how much learners feel like they have the opportunity to engage with their instructor — the sense that “you are there” and supporting them. This sense of engagement and support leads to happiness, completion, accomplishment, and sharing your course with friends.
- If you plan to never engage with your students — then you’re creating an ebook, not a course.
- Many content experts mistakenly start with a “teaching-centered” mindset, focusing on what they want to teach and how to teach it. Instead, take a student-centered mindset.
- Create an environment in which learners can take action with what they’re learning, be hands-on, do the work through the course, and get support when they need it.
- Challenge yourself to design your program such that 80% of the time someone spends on your course is spent taking action and doing the work — while only 20% is absorbing information you put in front of them.
- Marketing starts with going out and listening to the conversations that people are already having about the problems you can fix. Spend time listening and learning the vocabulary and questions people are using, looking for repetition and patterns. Then engage by answering questions and being helpful. By the time you get to making the sale, you’ve already built a connection with the audience, they trust you and they’re ready to buy. If you do it right, people will be coming to you asking to buy before the course is even ready.
- You can’t invent market demand; you can provide a new solution to an existing problem. Keep peeling back to get to the “core burning desire” — what’s the real underlying need you can serve? Reach out to your audience and ask “What are you struggling with?” Then you can respond and dig deeper. “That’s really interesting, what have you tried? What’s worked? What would it mean for you if this problem were to go away?”
- Search Amazon for your topic and read book reviews. Focus on 2 – 4 star reviews and look for what people like and dislike about the book. “I wish the author had gone into topic A, B, C more.”
Breanne’s key guidance to improve your course business
Spend less time in your own head, and more time worrying about your clients.
Ask, “What do they actually care about?”
The thing that makes an online course or business successful is whether you can help people achieve some particular goal they have for themselves.
Stay focused on that above all else!
Resources & Links
Here’s a great post from Breanne that illustrates how she approaches marketing and launching an online program: When Should I Start Promoting?
Breanne, great to have you here today.
Breanne Dyck: Thank you.
And I get to know Breanne through her writing about online courses, teaching effectively online, developing authentic and effective marketing strategies for pivoting online courses and just the wealth of innovative techniques and ideas that she has presented on these topics on her blog. I would highly recommend that you check out and get on to her mailing list as well because it’s really, really insightful and quite fresh compared to other sort of older perspectives on online courses. So, just really excited to pick her brain and help start developing innovative ideas about how to develop their online courses and programs and a business around it.
So really excited to have you here, Breanne, I was wondering if you could tell people a little bit about what you do and how you got into this kind of a unique business that you have.
Breanne Dyck: Sure. First of all, thank you for that glowing introduction and for inviting me to chat with you. So as Abe said, my name is Breanne and not coincidently that’s also the name of my website, mynameisbreanne.com. And for the last few years, I’ve been really curious, I guess you could say, to try and figure out how the people actually learn and how can we use that in our businesses to help our businesses grow. So let’s go back seven years and I was recently out of university. I was one of those perpetual students. I actually did 200 grad degrees back to back because I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do.
Breanne Dyck: Spanning the spectrum from computer science to religious studies and when you get out of two degrees like that, you kind of are left running, “Well, where do I go from here?” And I’ve been putting myself through a school doing web design on the side. I was self-taught just I think my first site that I did was $500 for the company that my dad worked for and it just kind of kept on going and evolving from there. And I wasn’t ready at that point to run my own business. I tried for a couple of months and when I say tried, I mean, I pretended to try. I quickly realized that I was going to have to go get some work, a job, and I happened to get a job in a post secondary institution. It’s a technical college basically teaching everything from carpentry to culinary skills to accounting, first aid and paramedic training. The real hands on practical type of skills in this post secondary college environment.
Breanne Dyck: And this was all new to me. I mean, I’ve been a student but I’ve never been on the flipside. So I was brought in to develop course websites for the students. And this was also you think five, seven years ago, this was also when online training was just starting to evolve, been around for a while, but it was often, what is going to put course content on a website, it’s not going to be our course. And around five or seven years ago, we started to see more video coming online and more interactivity and this was flash and flash games and shockwave like this was the big thing at the time. This was the bleeding-edge. And so this is the world that was thrown into. And over the period of about five years, this is the world I was immersed in and it was all about how do you take something like a physical skill like carpentry or being an electrician or plumbing, how do you take that and teach it online. And these were the things that we’re wrestling with.
Breanne Dyck: And we were looking at can we do simulations, can we create a virtual 3-D building that the electricians can walk through and identify the building code violations and that kind of stuff and this was all great. So I spent five years doing this. And I moved up. I moved into a position where I was basically overseeing all of the curriculum for one of the departments, so dozens of programs, hundreds of courses making sure that it all worked and flowed. And I finally just one day said, you know what, “Good enough. I can’t stay here anymore.” I had moved away from being like actually doing stuff into being more of almost _____ [00:06:41] get up to that level where you are not actually working with people doing things anymore. That was enough. So through that whole time, it was about five years that I was at the college. I had kept doing my website stuff on the side and I kind of looked at one day and said, “You know, if I actually tried, I could probably make a business of this.”
Breanne Dyck: So I quit my very good safe secure day job and I went and decided web design. I’m going to be a web designer and that was the plan. It evolved a little bit into, “Well, I’m going to be an online marketer.” But it wasn’t quite feeling right. And at the same time, I noticed more and more these online courses popping up. People were doing launches. It wasn’t e-books anymore because e-books were really big four years ago. But two years ago, it was when we really started seeing courses, everyone was doing a course. And I started taking some of these courses and enrolling in them and some of them were good and some of them left a little bit to be desired, let’s say. So it was just on a spur of a moment kind of thing where this is an in character for me at all. I’m not the type of a person that reaches out but I was in one of these courses, it was a beta course.
Breanne Dyck: And just I sent an email to the course creator and he said, you know what, I don’t love this course. I’m sorry, but I think I can help you make it better. And for whatever reason, they said sure, let’s try it. And so that completely changed the entire trajectory of my business from being web design, I’m going to build the website to now what I focus on which is, yes, your marketing is important but you have to have the product to back it up. So I am going to help you actually teach better in your courses so that you can sell more in a way that gets results for your business and your students.
Great. Yeah, really, really interesting how you arrived this place and what I was hearing from what you said is that at certain point it didn’t feel right to you. I think that perhaps tightened you the theme of this interview is which is being an authentic expert.
And I was wondering if you could speak more to what authenticity means to you and the context of the unique practice and business that you’ve been creating and how do you go about practicing authenticity in your business and in your teaching?
Breanne Dyck: It’s a good question because especially when you are dealing online, it’s hard to be authentic and transparent without giving up your privacy and giving up what is that line between what should be my personal and my public in that sense. And the cliché that I have heard over and over and over is don’t pretend to be something you are not, when it comes to authenticity, that’s kind of the line that’s trotted out don’t pretend to be something you are not. But for me, what I’ve been learning as I’ve been developing my business and helping others develop their businesses is that the opposite of that has to be true too. So it’s not just, “Don’t pretend to be something you are not, it’s don’t be afraid to be who you really are.
Breanne Dyck: And what has occurred to me? I’ve gone through a major business pivot. I understand what it’s like to change direction or to have a feel like you are changing direction completely and very quickly. And so part of authenticity for me has been that it’s not something you can set and forget. We all grow, we all evolve and so for me a big part of being authentic is to not try to get stuck into a way of thinking that doesn’t serve you anymore or doesn’t work for you anymore. Don’t just keep doing things one way because the way you’ve always done it. To be authentic means that you have to be giving voice to who you are in that time and in that moment and if that changes overtime, then your authentic representation of yourself has to change as well.
So how has that changed for you?
Breanne Dyck: Well, a lot of – when I was first trying to figure out this whole new online course creating, mentoring type business, there really weren’t too many people that were doing it. It was pretty new in terms of – there was a lot of material out there on to how to launch a course. How do you market? How do you sell? How do you build a list? How do you do all these things? And that wasn’t really what interested me. I mean, I was interested in that because that’s where you make your money. But I was also interested in actually creating a quality product, these other _____ [00:11:39] and other experts at the time, it was all about okay, now go create your outline and create your product and then we will get back to the fun stuff which is the launching stuff. And so when I kind of parachuted into this world, 18 months ago or so, almost two years now, this was really hard for me because I believed really strongly that you can’t just put out anything.
Breanne Dyck: You have to be prepared to really create an exceptional learning experience because that’s going to be the foundation that supports the rest of your business, the best launch in the world but people ask for refunds two days after they get in the course. You might as well have had that amazing launch. So when I parachuted in, no one was talking about that and I found it really hard because what I was hearing around all of this was sell more, sell more. I’ve talked to people. What are your pain points around creating courses? I don’t know how to make money. I don’t know how to scale. I don’t know how to, all of these things and it felt thin to me. On the flipside, I would talk to people who would say, well, I just want to have a bigger reach, I want to have a bigger impact, I want to reach more people and that felt like too pie in the sky. And so for me, a big part of being authentic in this business has been trying to navigate those two extremes, the really hard tactical just make money, run business now.
Breanne Dyck: And the – I want to actually make a difference in people’s lives and change the world and trying to find a voice that aligns those to where the point, now when I talk about what I do in my business, there are two phrases that I use with people and that’s I’m here to help you master the business of teaching online and the way you are going to do that is by teaching better so you can sell more. But it took me a long time to think about how to take these two things that felt diametrically opposed and internalize them to a point where I could express them in a way that felt authentic and didn’t just feel like I was going for a quick buck.
I love the sort of simplicity of that teach better so you can sell more. Can you talk us through that in a bit more depth? What does that look like for you and what are some of the strategies that you’ve developed for helping people teach more effectively online?
Breanne Dyck: Sure. I mean, I could probably go on and on and on about this. So I will try and pick a few of the highlights. I look at this from a couple of perspectives. So like I said before, there were these two kind of messages that we have going on in online business especially online training business. They are ‘make money side and have impact side.’ And from everything that I’ve learned both through personal experience, and I mean, I love research, I read academic research papers for fun. And one of the things that has jumped out time and time again is how important customer satisfaction is to the growth of a business. And in fact, there is a lot of evidence to suggest that when you look at all of the leavers that can cause a business to grow or not to grow, underneath them all is your customer experience, how happy they are with your product, how likely they are to recommend it, all of that sort of thing.
Breanne Dyck: So this is where I started to think, okay, so really the core of creating an amazing online training business that both does this, make money side and thus help the world — change the world side is we need to be creating remarkable customer experiences. So, okay, next question, well, how do you do that? So this is where I started going to the academic literature and I’ve said for some time that the academic world knows a lot about how people learn. I mean, they’ve got it down to a science from psychology to neuroscience and how to learn theory like there is so much going on in that ivory tower. They don’t know a thing about how the online economy works. So I started going into those research papers and reading the actual studies in the journal articles and said, okay, what is it that actually gets people engaged.
Breanne Dyck: How do you actually create great customer experiences and what came out of the literature, because retention in keeping students around is a really big issue for colleges, not just for online business. So colleges were looking at those questions, how do we keep the students once we get them and they said, well, okay, what we have to do is a few things. We have to be able to give them great experiences. They have to like their program. They have to feel like they are actually making progress. They have to feel like they are learning something. And as I was reading through, I realized well these are the same things you have to do in online business. So it can be really simple. Research, for example, tells us that the number one predictor of student satisfaction in an online course is how much they feel like they have the opportunity to engage with their instructor. So to all of those course creators out there who are looking at creating an online course as the perfect solution for passive income, I have news for you.
Breanne Dyck: If you plan to never engage with your students, you are creating an e-book not a course. If you want to actually be creating a course, you have to be willing to engage with your students. That doesn’t mean you have to get on Skype with them or in a Google hangout. But it might mean that you should have a Facebook group or it’s just that you give them your email address so that when they have questions, they can email you and you can fire off a response because that’s the number predictor of student satisfaction. Numbers two and three are how satisfied they are with the course material and how satisfied they are with their interaction with their peers, but number one is do they feel like you, as the instructor, are available to them to answer questions. Even if they never ask you questions just the fact that they feel like you are there, is a huge predictor of student satisfaction which then makes them happier students, which means they stay current with the course material, they keep doing stuff if they feel like they are happy with it.
Breanne Dyck: They are more likely to continue on to completion which means they are more likely to get the results which means they are more likely to tell their friends and give you a testimonial which then means that you can take all of that feed it back into your marketing engine and help more people, reach more people some more courses down the road.
So you are making the case that it’s really not so much about just the content that your course provides and even perhaps how well structured or how high quality the content is but giving the people the sense that you as the guider or instructor really care about them and you’re paying attention to their progress?
Breanne Dyck: That’s not to say that your content can be terrible.
Breanne Dyck: Because if your content is terrible, they are never even going to stick around to see if you really engage with them. But one thing that we often do or we often see when we are creating online courses is the question of content.
Breanne Dyck: What am I going to teach? What am I going to tell? What am I going to talk about? What am I going to put out there? And that leads us into what’s called a teaching-centered mindset where we are thinking about what we want to teach and how we want to teach it, instead of asking ourselves what do people learn and what’s best way for them to learn it. Now you can put out a great program that has a few maybe short video introduction pieces. I am talking like no more than 15 minutes total of video for the whole program, a couple of workbooks, maybe a Facebook group or a group call, and your students can be thrilled with that and you didn’t have to overwhelm them with content. You didn’t have to throw the proverbial encyclopedia at them.
Breanne Dyck: What’s more important is that you create an environment where your learners can take action with what they are learning, practice, be hands on, get involved, not just passively consume, but do the work through the course, feel like they have support when they need it and that’s going to be your winning solution. It’s not about how much information you can throw at people, in fact, I challenge my students when I am working with them and my clients, I challenge them to say 80 per cent of the time that someone spends on your course should be them taking action doing the work. Only 20 per cent should be you actually putting material in front of them.
Yeah, that’s terrific guidance. I wonder if perhaps one of the reasons that doesn’t come naturally to you some content experts [00:20:54] resist that idea if they feel like what they are selling is content…
…their expertise and they want you to sell the course that they don’t have a lot of content to talk about.
Breanne Dyck: Yeah.
When selling it, so wondering how do you address that?
Breanne Dyck: Well, it’s true and it’s really that is an interesting observation because a lot of these content creators, at least the ones that I’ve spoken with, they are pretty good marketers and they have a pretty good solid kind of foundation under the feet of what online marketing can look like. And they know and they will preach and they will tell anyone who listens that the way to sell online is to sell the benefits and the results, not the features. So you sell by the time you finish this course, you will be able to ABC as opposed to you are going to get a 20-page workbook and five hours of video and blah, blah, blah.
Breanne Dyck: And what’s interesting is that there is this intuitive kind of understanding in the online marketing space, okay, we get it, right, you sell benefits, not features and yet when we come to produce our own stuff, we resist that and we fall back on well, I can’t sell that because I only have this much. I can’t sell it for $500 because I don’t have enough video or what have you. And so that was actually something when I was preparing my first one, I know this, I teach this stuff, and I still was going to be selling this program and I’m looking at this like, ah, I don’t have any video. Do I put in video? Just will I have videos so I can say it’s a video course like what about you? And there is an interesting tug of war that goes on because you know as a marketer that if you can put video course on the sales page that people are accustomed to buying video courses at a certain price point.
Breanne Dyck: And I know as an educator that it doesn’t matter. It’s not going to help them learn. And what I finally kind of came to an end, I settled this tug of war in my own head was two things, number one, I can’t serve anyone if they don’t get in my course. So I can have the best course in the world but if I don’t get them in the door, it doesn’t matter. I am not helping them if they are not actually buying. And number two, just because I want to use video, it doesn’t mean that it has to be a superfluous thing that I am putting on the end, it can still be in service of the greater good for my students. So I can still be looking and say you know what, my students actually I know them and I know that for some of them, they will watch a video while they are eating their breakfast before they get started for the day. And I know they will do that and so when I started thinking in terms of what’s the best way to deliver this…
Breanne Dyck: …information for my students and then how does that help me sell it, I was able to come to a place where there is a little bit of video on my product. I don’t sell it as take this video course. It’s on the sales page that there is video in it. But what I am really doing on the sales page is I am selling results. I am selling the quotes from students who went through the program or through clients who I worked with one on one with the same material. I am selling their results to say I went through this process and I went from no idea to making $5000 worth of sales in less than six weeks. Or I‘ve been trying for months to get this course out of my head and I didn’t know how to do it and now I actually have a structure. I followed it. I know exactly what I am going to teach. That’s ultimately the people want to buy. The people don’t want to buy video. They want to buy the solution that your video can provide to them.
Yeah, that’s great.
So what I found was interesting you said is that you feel that most content experts have a hand on online marketing and I guess that’s true for people who are sort of successful already. We do also see a lot of dominion experts really struggling with marketing their services and their courses online. I was wondering if you could kind of share how you approach that challenge for someone who is not as confident or not as – doesn’t have their online marketing on autopilot? Do you have sort of suggestions for thinking about how do you market this type of engaging effective online course and what are some of the strategies you use to make your course launches successful?
Breanne Dyck: Sure. I think one thing that you just said in that question is actually the answer in a lot of ways. And you said that they don’t necessarily have the confidence. We all are marketed too almost every hour of every day.
Breanne Dyck: We all see product launches come through out inbox. We all are marketed to. We know what makes us buy and what turns us off. That’s why I say that course, or content creators especially if you are functioning in the online space, have a pretty good handle on online marketing. That doesn’t mean that they are doing it or that they know exactly like it’s not like they could write down and break it down of step ABC or D but intuitively because we see it so much. We have kind of a sense for example I don’t think you would find too many content creators these days that would not have heard at least how important it is to have an email list so that you should – like just given the idea or the word of a launch, we know what these things are. We may not be doing them especially well and we may not know the nuts and bolts. We may need a guide to help us through that. And that doesn’t mean we are as ignorant about online marketing as we sometimes claim to be.
Breanne Dyck: So for someone who is in that boat and they – especially for people who are trying to make the transition from a traditionally offline or semi-online business like maybe coaching, or maybe a holistic healthy type business where you have your face to face clients and you want to maybe see if you can transition to something online. How do you – how you get this whole marketing thing going? Where I would start is to say your marketing actually starts long before you even think it has. For me, when I look at marketing, I actually wrote a blog post about this and the question was “When do I start to promote my product?” And my answer was you start to promote your products before you even know you are going to have a product. So what does that mean? I mean, that doesn’t mean anything. That’s a nonsense, right? How can you promote a product if you don’t have a product.
Breanne Dyck: Exactly! But what I mean by that is the very best products…
Breanne Dyck: …come not from again what we said before, not from what I want to teach, but from what people want to learn, and so marketing starts by going out and listening to the conversations that people are already having about the particular challenges that you can fix. Marketing doesn’t start by talking at people. Marketing starts by listening to what people are already saying, listening to them saying what their challenges are, what their pain points are, what their hopes and dreams are, what obstacles are getting in their way, and then you’d just be helpful. You don’t even know your product is going to be, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be helpful, you can’t jump in and give someone a helping hand. Oh, I’ve dealt with that before. Here is how I handled that. Or here is how I helped my clients do this. Or here is a particular technique I use as a de-stressing thing in my clinic or what have you.
Breanne Dyck: You start to really become immersed in the world that your future customers inhabiting. That’s where marketing starts. It’s be listening and learning the vocabulary that people are using because when you get to a point then you started to hear the same questions popping up over and over, and you started to hear the same words popping up over and over, then you start to think instead of answering this question 20 million times to individual people, why don’t I just put a product around it? And then you can go back to those same people, the same conversations, or same community and say, hey, I am thinking about doing this. Is that something what interests you? If so, I’ve got this mailing list thing you can just sign up for and we can dialog about it. And then the process of marketing and launching and promoting becomes, this is what I am marking on. Here is an update. What are you currently struggling with, so I can make sure I address it.
Breanne Dyck: It becomes a conversation instead of a sales pitch. You continue to do this. It helps you build a better product. It helps you know how to on your sales page and you can be taking notes when people tell you what they are struggling with. You will be highlighting phrases. Those you can show up on your sales page as real world examples of the questions that you help to address. By the time you get to making the sale, you’ve already built a connection with this audience. They already trust you. They already know and like what you have to say. So you’ve been helping them either one on one or through a blog or through email or what have you. If you do it right, you will even have people coming to you before you have your product ready and say, when is this ready, I am ready to buy, let me in already. And I’ve seen it happen. So that’s how I say if you feel like you – this online marketing thing is so big and so overwhelming, just look at it as an opportunity to start listening to conversations.
Breanne Dyck: Participate in them and just do what comes naturally. Don’t start trying to be doing big launches and stuff before you are ready. But you have to start as by really understanding your customers and really getting inside their heads.
That’s great. The other thing I might add is depending on how narrow your focus is, you may have to put some effort to sort of get those conversations started. And if you are in a big market, then there are probably naturally all over the place and like you are saying you can just listen in but I was thinking, for example, our space of online courses, over the last few years as we did research in that area, there wasn’t necessarily a ton of conversations that we could just drop it on, we had to kind of reach out to people and try and start those conversations?
Breanne Dyck: Well, the thing in that case is that the conversations are going on but they are probably using a different vocabulary.
Breanne Dyck: Because you can’t sell something to someone if they don’t feel the need. If they don’t think there is a problem to be solved, they are going to buy it. So the conversation when you are getting started or when I was getting started, it wasn’t about how do I create an online course. It was how do I make some money on the side, how I make online, what can I do to bring in a little extra income, I lost my job, what can I do while I am looking for another job, those were the conversations that are going on. When those conversations are going on, your answer can be unique. The questions are out there, you just have to be listening with the questions, you can’t invent market demand. You can provide a new solution to an existing problem but you can’t just invent new demand.
Yeah, that’s okay. That’s a great way of framing it. It is sort of going a little bit deeper and to peel back until you find the underlying problem or demand that you are serving?
Breanne Dyck: Absolutely, and I mean not going back to the marketing question, that’s marketing fundamentals that if you can get that thing right, if you can peel back and get to the core burning desire as to what is actually going on, now what they will say off the top of their head is what’s the real underlying, if you can get to that core nugget, then you can sell. But until you get to that, you are never going to be as successful as when you do get to that nugget.
So for someone who is listening to this in this kind of content expert or guide category, the coach or an author and they want to do this thing, well, this is great. I want to better understand my market and go deeper, how do they do it? What would be some things they could do and listen better to their market?
Breanne Dyck: One of the easiest things that you can do if you already have an audience and I will tackle if you don’t after, but if you already have an audience is…
Breanne Dyck: …something really simple you just reach out that audience and you ask, what are you struggling with? The answers that you are going to back are going to be mostly useless to that initial question. It’s going to be all that surface level stuff that doesn’t mean anything. But once you get some of those answers, then you can respond and say that’s really interesting that this is what you are struggling with. What have you tried? What has worked? What hasn’t? And what would it mean if this problem were to go away? Then you will start to see the floodgates start to open because you are not just taking the first answer at face value, you are actually asking a follow-up that makes people actually think, well, what have I tried? What haven’t I tried? Why haven’t you exercised right? I haven’t exercised I don’t have time. I’m too tired after I get home from work. Well, what have you tried? Why has that worked? Why hasn’t that worked? Well, I mean, I guess, I tried working out.
Breanne Dyck: In the morning before I went to work and it didn’t really work because I was – I just couldn’t get myself to the gym and bla bla bla and they go into their whole life story. That’s where you can start to see some real insights. Now, okay, what happens if you don’t have an audience that you can go ask these questions to? So this is where I think it was Jay Abraham who is like a marketing genius as far as I am concerned. He came – he did a presentation. It’s on YouTube somewhere but he talked about he approaches this. I felt he was genius. He goes to Amazon and he looks, he just types in to Amazon the subject of whatever he is thinking about, whatever his marketer’s niche is about, type those into Amazon, looks the books that come out and then he goes and he starts reading the book reviews. And he starts looking at the – not the five-star of use because those usually like this but it was great, I loved it and not the one star reviewers, because it’s like this book sucked and that’s it, not useful.
Breanne Dyck: He looks at the two, three, four star reviews and he reached them and says usually they go something like this. I like this book because of bla bla bla bla. I thought he did a really great job of talking about this topic. I wish that the author had spent more time on ABC but I liked how he tied in XYZ as well. And all of a sudden, he suddenly say oh, this person wishes that the author had gone into ABC a little bit more. That’s interesting. Let me know that doubt. You do this for a whole bunch of reviews, for a whole bunch of books and he will start to see patterns emerging. People are really struggling with this one particular thing that none of the books are talking about or none of them are doing justice to. Or on the flipside, the thing that makes all of these books great is this one particular thing that they are talking about. You can learn a lot about what makes people tick by looking at – what are the products they’ve already bought, what are they already engaged with.
Breanne Dyck: What do you they like about it, and what do they not like, that gives you a place to start digging.
Cool. Yeah, that’s really clever technique to sort of take advantage of the public data that’s out there.
Breanne Dyck: And it doesn’t have to be just Amazon. If you are dealing with an audience, maybe your audience is younger, right, so maybe the teenage demographic and they are not reading books and they are certainly not leaving reviews on Amazon but they are probably watching videos on YouTube. You can read the YouTube comments and if you can get through all of the true comments, there are some gems in there. You have to dig a little bit but they are there. You can do the same thing with blog posts. Actually when I did my research, I like looking a blog post but that’s not. What I find most interesting and most valuable is the comments that I love to mind because that’s the discussions, people will open up. The blog posts are, we are trying to portray ourselves as experts. We are trying to show that we have these answers.
Breanne Dyck: The comments are where people really start to show their vulnerabilities. So wherever you can go online, there is so many opportunities where people are bringing their whole authentic selves to the conversation that that’s a great place to go _____ [00:38:16] insights.
Excellent. Well, as we are getting close to time here, I want you to kind of shift towards helping people move forward with their online courses and maybe this can be our sort of final topic. As a lot of content and domain experts, again authors, and speakers, and coachers and bloggers and so forth, they seem to struggle with the practicality, the process of logistics of creating an online course and getting it out into the world. So I was wondering if you could speak to that a little bit because you seem to be really good at helping people with the actual getting it done…
…getting their out in the world? What advice do you have for someone who has great course ideas but he is having trouble moving it forward?
Breanne Dyck: Sure. In the conversations that I’ve had with the content producers in exactly that situation, there are two big pain points that I’ve heard. The first pain point that I hear a lot of people talking about is I don’t know what technology do you use to deliver my course? Now that could be platform, so do I use word press, do I use WizIQ, do I use whatever else, or it could be do I use video, do I use PDFs, but all of this technical, technology side of stuff, the answer to that question then I give is you are worrying about it way too early and you are thinking about it way too much. Instead of trying to figure out what the technology is and then build your course to suit it.
Breanne Dyck: Design your course first. Know what you want to teach and how best to reach your audience, is your audience that teenage demographic or they are going to be wanting to watch video or are they stay at home moms who have kids running around and they can’t sit down to watch a video to save their life because they’ve got too much screaming going on in background, right. Worry about those details. When the technology comes honestly, pick something and try it because you will never know if it works or not until you try it. So that’s the number one hang-up. I don’t know what technology to use. The short answer to that is you are worrying about it too early. Worry about whether you’ve got a market and a course first.
Yeah. Or even validate the people who are even…
Breanne Dyck: Exactly.
Interested in signing up before you credit.
Breanne Dyck: Yeah. The second question that I get a lot is this is really interesting. This is something that my research, so talking about how you go into the audience and you kind of do this for research or whatever, and I have for a long time been talking about designing your course about…
Breanne Dyck: …planning your course, using all of this vocabulary because that’s what I learned in the post secondary. That’s what we called instructional design or learning design or course design. That’s kind of an official name. No one knows what that is out there in the real world. And what I found as I was doing this research, the question that people had is how do I structure my course? So that’s a practical example of what we are talking about earlier, now on my sale page you won’t see anything about designing courses or selling or sorry, _____ [00:41:30] designing courses are planning them. You will see things about structuring them. So when you are structuring a course, how do I start? I am so overwhelmed. I don’t know where to begin. This is where there is a multistage process and it’s actually my flagship program called Transform Your Course is literally six weeks where you walk through this process of structuring your course. But in short, you start with the goals. What do your learners want to be able to do?
Breanne Dyck: What do they want to be able? What knowledge skills and attitudes do they want to have at the end of the program that differs from where they are now? What’s that learner’s journey that they are going on? They think what that looks like. Then ask yourself okay, for all of those goals that they have, my audience has in their own words, what are the specific things that I know they need to be able to do in order to be successful? So what are kind of their checklist items that they have to be able to do if they are going to reach their goals? And literally you step it back and you break it down into pieces, you don’t have to worry about structuring the whole thing at once, start with those goals and those outcome and just break them down, break them down into piece that feel too small and then start to build them back up. Don’t worry about is this a PDF or is this whatever until you actually know what it is you’re teaching. And then when you’ve solved that kind of structural problem and again there is all kinds of tools you can use.
Breanne Dyck: I’ve got a bunch of them on my site that I talk about how to structure stuff. But then you can go and say, okay, what’s the best way for someone to be able to do this. How could they actually go up and do it? What’s the actual like action that they could go? And how can I support them in that? What I found is that when you take that approach, the big goals and then what are the things they have to do to get their – I mean, worry about all of that and when you figure out what that looks like in terms of your actual curriculum content is most course creators can reduce the amount of content they have to produce by about half because they automatically are eliminating all the stuff that no one cares about. That’s interesting but it doesn’t actually help you get the goal achieved. And what you are left with is the really core. This is why – this is what actually matters. So break it down. Work from the – work with an end in mind. Work backwards, start big and break it down. Can you do this? No. What do you need to be able to do first?
Breanne Dyck: Well, can you do that? No, not yet. Okay, what do you need to do that first? Can you do that part? Oh, yes, that you can do. Okay. So now we can start building you back up.
Excellent, excellent. You’ve almost entered this in seven great ways already, but I am going to ask you the question anyway.
Breanne Dyck: Alright.
Just a final chance to reflect on the sort of key threats here but given some tremendous insights for people looking to start creating their courses, if you are _____ [00:44:38] down to a particular takeaway a piece of guidance or a recommendation, what would you say is one action that listeners could take today to start creating more authentic and more successful online courses?
Breanne Dyck: What I would say is spend less time in your own head and more time worrying about your buyers.
Breanne Dyck: Whether they are your buyers already and so you are worrying about what’s actually the best thing for them in the course or they are not your buyers yet and you have to figure out what do they actually care about. The thing that makes us an online course or an online business or any business successful is whether or not you can help people achieve some particular goal that they have for themselves. If you can keep focused on that above all else, your audience, your market, your buyers will tell you where to go next.
Perfect. Well, thank you so much for your time and sharing your expertise and your experiences today. That’s been really, really helpful and I would just ask for you to share again with people where they can go to find out more about you and your work and your courses.
Breanne Dyck: Sure. So the best place to find me is on my website which is…
Breanne Dyck: …mynameisbreanne.com so mynameisbreanne.com and that’s where you can sign up for mailing list. So I send usually weekly articles that are latest research in how to apply it, marketing techniques, how to learning theory, case studies, all of the sort of thing. Definitely hop on the mailing list. Read through the site and through the archives. You can also find my social media details and all of that through that as well but I definitely will encourage people to hit up the site and then, yeah, I mean, I practice what I preach. One of the first things you will see if you sign up for my list as I will ask you the question of what are you struggling with and what can I help you with and I really do mean that. I want to hear from people and I respond to everyone of those emails that I get to try and be as helpful and help as many people as possible.
That’s great. Yeah, if you are new to this and you are working for a model as to how to run…
Effective engaging customer centered blog in the mail list, I think Breanne is a perfect place to start because she models all those practices, yeah, beautifully. Well thanks again for your time. I hope that we will be able to talk again soon and I appreciate again all of your insights and inspiration on this topic.
Breanne Dyck: And thanks for having me.
Thanks again for listening today. I hope you found this interview to be unique. Breanne really looks at the world of online programs a bit differently than most people do and it shines through in this conversation. Don’t just listen though. Take action. Go to authenticexpertpodcast.com and get our top takeaways from the interview. Then start applying Breanne’s guidance as you design your own online programs and deepen your work as an authentic expert.