Online courses have grown in popularity over the years. There’s a chance you’ve taken some in the past or you’ll take one in future. They’re the crux of the knowledge commerce trend.
In this post, however, we’re more concerned with online course creation than consumption. Creating an online course is a great way to build your authority and establish yourself as an expert in your niche. But just like in blogging, developing standout content requires some creativity especially in a world where information overload is a real problem.
Visual content like infographics can help you create better courses. Here are steps you can take to boost your course content with infographics.
1. Pick Your Platform
Seven years ago in 2011, there were only about 150 marketing software platforms. In 2016, that number had risen to 4,891, and a year later, it stood at 5,381.
Obviously, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to software in the marketing world. The only problem is, all that marketing software can cause decision paralysis—you’ll take forever to choose software appropriate for your marketing needs. But it doesn’t have to be so convoluted.
There are several features of course platforms you should consider when mulling over which platform to build an online course on. They include but are not limited to (in no particular order):
Ease of use
Are you tech-savvy? How comfortable are you with operating software? Do you have dedicated IT staff? Is the platform’s customer service always available to help you solve any technical difficulties you run into? And perhaps, most importantly, will your target audience find it too technical?
I like to think of marketing without analytics as merely groping in the dark. In the marketing world today, data drives most decisions. So ask yourself, what kind of reports, if any, are available on this course platform? Does it track metrics that are important to you? Can I export reports, and in what format(s) can I do so?
Integrations and features
How well does it work with other software you’re already using? From payments to email marketing software, will it ensure a seamless process for you and your audience? Decide which integrations you can’t live without and choose a platform that offers them.
Or some course platforms like Kajabi comes fully integrated with its own webinar and email marketing tools, along with a landing page builder with several templates. It may also be beneficial to look into such platforms instead of purchasing different software for different marketing objectives. Perhaps more importantly, since we’re talking about infographics here, consider software that allows you easily embed or add most types of visuals to your course.
You’ll likely already have a fixed budget for a course platform. Consequently, some platforms on the higher rung of the price ladder are no-go areas for you. After considering the factors above, which platforms offer all you need at your budget?
Flexibility is key here. Don’t be afraid to slightly increase your budget to help you afford your chosen platform. If you’re still confused, sign up for a free trial of one or two platforms—a trial may convince you.
Whatever you’ll choose, do so with the realization that your course platform can make or mar your online courses.
2. Create Infographics that Supplement the Lesson
For some marketers, infographics are stand-alone content. They’re created and posted with no additional supporting text except a description or headline. That’s okay.
But sometimes infographics supplement other content, like the examples I’ve sometimes used in my articles here. It’s a healthy break from just reading plain text, even in online courses.
To illustrate this, here’s an infographic about why infographics are important.
Here are some insights from the infographic:
- Just 20% of the text is remembered
- 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual
- 200%more images are liked on Facebook in comparison to text
In summary, the infographic above implies that visuals are better-received than text generally. I’m sure you’ve experienced reading a school textbook and looking confused until you saw the words “see the diagram below.” If that still sounds strange to you, see this example from author Mike Parkinson below:
To any onlooker, it’s easier to understand what a circle is from the visual on the right and not the text on the left.
Additionally, if you look at this infographic below, you’ll agree that though most of it is written content, it’s presentation still makes it more attractive and more likely to be read than plain text where readers just skim through the content. Remember, 87% of people read text on infographics, compared to the fact that people generally read only 20% of the text on any page.
When your infographic truly supplements your course’s content, your audience can have the same “aha” moments too and actually read through what you have to say.
For more clarity on creating infographics and other visuals that supplement your course, these tips from the folks at iContact is in order:
- Research your audience’s interests. What types of infographics or images have they devoured on your site or social media handles before now?
- Include infographics that have previously worked on your site or social media handles, although you may modify them a bit. Your students may not have seen them before, and if they have, it can still enhance their understanding of a particular concept in your course. Point is, don’t reuse infographics just for reusing sake.
- Use a good stock photography site. If your budget can accommodate it, pay for a subscription-based stock photography site. Or hire a skilled infographic designer to help you create your infographic—you’ll be surprised what difference a professional touch can make.
Don’t use only infographics, to supplement your course’s lessons. Use other images and videos to increase engagement and provide more value to your audience.
3. Repurpose into Slideshows
My work is cut out on this one because there’s an excellent article here on repurposing infographics into slideshows. It lists three steps to achieve this which are summarized below:
Find the right tool or service
Create Your PowerPoint Template
Since you’re using an infographic you’ve created already, divide it into appropriate sections. See how I divide this infographic on infographic ideas into seven different sections that can be suitable for slides.
Use the 10/20/30 rule
Coined by Guy Kawasaki, it means that a PowerPoint presentation should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points. This part is debatable, but you can decide what works for you by testing your presentation.
Repurposing your infographics into slideshows can help you reach a newer audience for your courses if you share it on Slideshare, and it can also be used as an incentive for email subscribers.
4. Promote Your Online Course
After choosing your online course platform and creating excellent content for your online course, promotion is next. Because promotion can decide how much of a success your online course becomes financially and otherwise.
There are many ways you can promote your online course and without giving much forethought, I can think of at least ten ways to do so off the top of my head. I won’t cover everything here since it’s an ideal topic for another post on its own, but here are my tips and some I’ve seen working for others:
Use your email list
If you have a small or no email list, you can use your online course as an ethical bribe to get subscribers by having your audience participate in a survey so you can know what type, of course, will be most helpful to them. Or you can use part of the course’s content to give a sneak peek into the contents of the full course and allow people to sign up to your email list to view this excerpt.
I know a blogger who creates helpful ebooks with excerpts from his course and sends it to subscribers as part of his pre-launch activity. In this case, since we’re talking about infographics, you can send a valuable infographic to your email subscribers as an excerpt of your online course. It will whet their appetites for your full course.
When the course is ready, send emails informing your subscribers and tell them how long the courses will be available for if you plan to keep it open for a limited time only. Studies have shown that emails have the highest conversion rate (66%) of any marketing media. Don’t skimp on them.
“It’s by far the most profitable thing I do. Nothing else even comes close.”
Blogging expert Jon Morrow said those words to show how valuable webinars are to him. If you don’t do it already, host live webinars around a problem your course solves and answer questions from your audience. At the end of the webinar, your call-to-action should direct people to a sales page offering a product—your course—to help them solve their problems completely.
Use paid ads on social media
First, keep in mind that your content or copy will differ from one social site to the other. For example, on image heavy sites like Instagram or Pinterest, sharing a valuable infographic that’s a part of your course can create engagement and intrigue to spur people to sign up for your full course.
That being said, sharing your course on your social handles is a no-brainer. However, to amplify its reach, on sites that allow it like Facebook, you can use paid ads to reach distinct groups of people who may be interested in your course.
There are several other ways to promote your course like writing guest posts, authoring a book, and partnerships. But you still have other options. You can find them here.
Garnish your online courses with infographics
Infographics will enhance your online courses. They already work well as stand-alone posts or part of other content, so chances are, they’ll enrich your online course too if you follow the steps outlined here.
Results you’ll get will be influenced by several factors including your course platform, your budget either for paying an infographic designer or subscribing to an infographic creation tool and your promotion strategies. Regardless, with these tips on integrating infographics, you’ll definitely find some success with your online courses.