#177: The 5 Reasons Your Digital Course Messaging is Failing and What to Do Instead


It is frustrating when you spend hours, weeks, and even months perfecting your course and the messaging only to hear crickets when you put it all out into the world. All too often we create messaging and course content based on a few conversations with our ideal client. We get those first few sales and then everything comes to a grinding halt.

There are no more sales or they slow down so far we can’t even call it a trickle of sales. It leaves us feeling unsure about the next steps or even if our course idea is still valid.

How are we supposed to figure out what to do when we can’t get any attention from our posts, webinars, and course content?

Today I’m going to share with you 5 reasons that this is happening and they all center around the word purpose. Having been in this exact position in the past and helped other course creators through this phase, I can share with you what makes a difference and it isn’t what you expect. In fact, the 4th and 5th reasons are really meta, but I trust that it will be the missing component that brings things together for you and creates a shift in your messaging both in your sales process and in your course itself so that you can bring in happy students who get engaged and stay until the end AND then ask what they can purchase from you next!

The 3rd reason that I’m going to share can be tricky to uncover, so at the end of the episode, I’ll walk you through the exact steps that I use to simplify the process and get to the root of the reason faster.

Inside the Bottle

Have you ever heard someone say that it is hard to see the outside of the bottle when you are inside it? They are talking about the fact that when we are inside something, it can be difficult to see the outside perspective.

Our sales messaging and the messaging inside our course can be the same way. All too often we create our messaging that gets woven into sales pages, websites, emails, social posts with an inside perspective. When we ask people around us they are either already on Team YOU or don’t know enough about what we are doing to provide critical and tough love feedback. We stay stuck inside the bottle.

The only way to get outside the bottle, so to speak, is to get to the root of our purpose. But it isn’t enough to just say that we want people to learn, grow, do better, succeed. We need to examine purpose from 5 different perspectives to get our perspective in focus.

The first purpose that we talk about today will ease us into the conversation and then we will dig deep. I can’t wait to hear which purpose you’re going to lean into first and which one makes you scratch your head. Because number 3 can be tricky, I’ll share my exact process at the end of the episode to save you time and boost your clarity.

What do you say? Let’s jump in with Purpose 1.

Purpose 1: Course Purpose

One reason that our course and messaging falls flat with potential students and even with our dedicated students is because too often we bury the purpose of the course behind a result. We have these great formulas for sharing the purpose of the course, but they don’t go beyond the surface.

Oftentimes you’ll hear someone say, “I help _______ do ________ so that they ________. This is a great first step to getting clear on the course purpose. But to create magnetic messaging we have to take it a step further. We have to get to what happens because of the course. It isn’t that our students can now whiz through an excel spreadsheet, cook a roasted chicken to perfection, or read a passage and know how to take accurate notes that help them to pass a test.

It is the fact that now that someone can whiz through an excel spreadsheet they are eligible for a promotion at work that unlocks new opportunities in terms of vacation days, salary, and future career development.

It might be that with that roasted chicken done to perfection that your student now has a go-to meal to take out to friends when there is a meal train.

Those perfect notes might shift an appreciation for a specific course that opens the student’s eyes to a possible career that they would never have considered previously.

The course purpose goes far beyond the excel spreadsheet, the amazing roasted chicken, and the study skills. It shifts the student’s life. That is the purpose of your course and when we weave this level of detail and story into our messaging both in our marketing and inside our course, it becomes real for the students. They see what we have to offer as life-changing.

Purpose 2: Purpose of Our Students

Unlocking the purpose that our course brings to the world is important and we already started to talk about what that looks like.

Understanding the purpose of our students in pursuing our digital courses is key to creating messaging and creating examples and stories within our course that will resonate with them. So often we create a course from our place of expertise, our experiences, and our need for a solution. That doesn’t mean that ours is the only reason or purpose behind why someone would seek our course.

At first glance you might be thinking that we can’t touch on everyone’s specific purpose for choosing a digital course solution. And you are right, but we can create inclusive examples that allow our students to see themselves being represented and their ultimate goal being achieved.

For example, if we have a course on teaching Excel calculations and manipulations we can look at the big picture of why our students are pursuing the course on Excel. For some it might be to pass a class that requires them to use Excel proficiently, for others it might be to earn a job promotion or a raise, and for others it might be just a fun activity to broaden their horizons.

What do these students all have in common? They have a singular purpose to master their use of the Excel software. It unlocks doors for them, that although are varied, they ultimately allow for satisfaction and accomplishment in their life.

When we can understand the motivating factor behind why they say they signed up for the course or why they are searching for the solution, we can create messaging that is magnetic and captivating.

Purpose 3: Purpose as a Digital Course Creator

When we understand the course’s purpose and our students’ purpose in seeking and ultimately taking our digital courses, we might feel like we are done and can move on to creating magnetic messaging and selling our courses on autopilot.

As digital course creators, we have to take time as the creator to examine our own purpose in creating the courses that we create. What is our purpose as a digital course creator? This can make us feel pretty vulnerable and I once heard it said that we often give up on this quest far too soon because it is easy to list the result that our courses bring our students as our purpose.

Let me give you an example from my own business. I could say that my purpose is to help digital course creators go from idea to implementation with their course and messaging. Launching their course is my purpose. That is actually the result of working with me, but is not my purpose.

When we all have access to more learning opportunities outside of traditional school settings there are increased chances to try new things, experience and experiment, and shift our perspectives. This leads to the change for tolerance and unity. By creating digital courses we begin to remove the barriers to learning so that this can happen.

That is my purpose.

It isn’t to help my clients launch their digital course. That is a result of working with me. My purpose is to ensure that more people have learning opportunities outside the traditional classroom space. Learning brings about change.

When we can get clear on our purpose, then the messaging we build gives our students something to rally behind. It becomes magnetic so that when you offer a new course, a new membership, a new lead magnet they are jumping up and saying yes! Because they believe in what you are doing. They believe in your purpose.

Now if that feels tough to figure out, today’s Sixty-Second Solution at the end of the episode is going to walk you through the process I use when I revisit my purpose and refine it as I learn, grow, and shift in my own entrepreneur journey.

Purpose 4: Purpose as a Master of the Content

Now we’ve talked about some reasonably concrete concepts of purpose. We talked about identifying the course purpose, understanding and getting in tune with our students’ purpose, and we talked about our purpose as a digital course creator.

What is your purpose as a master in your content area? In other words what is the purpose behind the fact that you are master of your zone of genius?

This is a bit on the meta cognition side of things. We have to think about our thinking. Let’s break this down a bit. We are each a master of something or a few somethings. What was the purpose that led us to build that mastery? This might be something that is different from our purpose as a digital course creator, but they are likely to be complementary.

Maybe, you became a master of the family dinner in 30 minutes or less. You’ve uncovered how to roast a chicken to perfection in under 30 minutes, you can easily whip up a 3-4 dishes without breaking a sweat any night of the week with just the ingredients in your well-stocked pantry and freezer, and you are constantly rotating meals so that your family isn’t stuck with the same 5 meals on a never-ending loop.

As a master of the family dinner in under 30 minutes, what is your purpose behind that? What are the underlayers that drove you to that mastery?

It is easy to say that we were tired of family members complaining about being hungry, or having the same meatloaf every single Wednesday, or having to stop by the store 4 times throughout the week. But that isn’t our purpose for mastery.

The purpose might have been peace and calm. It might have been the nourishment physically and emotionally of our family. It might have been a more personal purpose to fall in love with cooking and banish the resentment of cooking 7 nights a week.

We can’t ignore these beginnings that led us to mastery. Why? Because chances are our students are experiencing some of these same things. They will be able to see themselves in us. In our stories, in our purpose to build mastery. It provides motivation and trust that this is possible for them as well.

What was and is the purpose behind your mastery of your content? It might have changed over time as you have grown and changed.

Purpose 5: Purpose within the Entrepreneur Community

Finally, we come to the most meta of the 5 purposes that can keep our messaging and course from failing and that is

What is your purpose within the entrepreneur community? There is a saying that a rising tide lifts all ships. I firmly believe in this, but we each have a unique purpose as part of the community, just like each family member has a specific role in the family unit.

For example, dad’s purpose might be to take the primary care of the children and mom’s primary purpose might be to focus on career. This could shift over time and maybe they flip flop. The dog’s primary purpose might be to bring about laughter and joy with their goofy antics. The family fish might serve the purpose of teaching responsibility to the kids as they learn to feed the fish and clean the tank regularly. The kids’ purpose might be to learn, grow, and play. The point is that while the family exists to lift each other up, their purpose will be specialized and unique to them.

Think about the entrepreneur who builds courses on study skills or study habits. Their purpose as an entrepreneur within the community might be to help other entrepreneurs recognize and remedy gaps in their time management. It pops out to them when they see posts and can easily offer a suggestion or two that shifts the momentum for that entrepreneur.

An entrepreneur who is a master of the 30 minute family meal and can see other entrepreneurs in the community struggling during the launch of a course to still get dinners planned and on the table. They might offer a few ideas for simple and fast meals.

A master Excel digital course creator might reach out to the cooking whiz and share ideas for how to create an Excel file of different menu combinations so that they can be sorted by prep time and combined to build meals that take less than 30 minutes to create.

As entrepreneurs we are part of a bigger community that is working to elevate the world. To shift perspectives, bring about growth, and celebrate learning. We do that better together and when we know our purpose within the entrepreneurial community our messaging becomes stronger, we become more confident, and that bleeds over into our course messaging and content.

Action Item: Find Your Purpose

There is a song by Drew Holcombe and The Neighbors called Find Your People. If you haven’t heard it, listen to the words carefully. It is about finding connections. One part of the lyrics say,

“In a world of strangers, you don’t know who to trust

All you see is danger, tryna find what you lost

You can’t go in alone, everybody needs help

You gotta find your people, then you’ll find yourself”

If our students are looking for their people, the ones that they can trust to help them learn and grow, we need to show them our purpose at all levels. When we are able to be transparent and, yes, a little vulnerable, they begin to learn that they can trust us. Our messaging and course content becomes magnetic. They see that we are here to support them in a genuine way.

This week, take action by getting clear on the purpose of your course and your purpose as a digital course creator. Don’t stop at the surface level. Ask why more times than you feel comfortable with.

And if that really does feel uncomfortable to you or you just aren’t quite sure what that looks like, at the end of this episode I’ll share my process for how to do this in the Sixty-Second Solution. Be sure that you listen so that you can take action.

Commit To Yourself and Your Purpose

Today we’ve been talking about the importance of purpose in our course content and course messaging. Without purpose underpinning everything, we run the risk of having our messaging and course fail.

Here on the Digital Course Creator Podcast I’m openly sharing the lessons I’ve learned, the tools and tactics that I’ve used so that you can become a Six-Figure Digital Course Creator.

But here’s what I’ve realized. All too often the solutions designed to help you get to six-figures focus solely on marketing.

Success in business and in any area of life requires strategy in a number of categories and you can get that from a lot of different resources. Books, podcasts, webinars, and even courses.

So why do we still struggle consistently to reach our enrollment and financial goals?

Because whatever change we want in our lives will be 10% what we learn, read, or study, and 90% or more mindset.

As a Psychology Professor and Coach, I share as much as I can about mindset here on the show, but to truly thrive we all need individualized attention, accountability, and support.

So if you are ready to say yes to a thriving, financially solid business, I’d love to have a conversation with you.

I have at least two slots open on my calendar each week to help course creators take action, dig into their purpose, and create a strategic plan for growth so that they can get unstuck! These are free, no obligation calls.

If you are ready to make the next 12 months THE year that you go from being uncertain about your course creation business to a Six-Figure Course Creator, grab a strategy call slot at coursecalls.com. You can also find that link in the show notes, but again, it’s coursecalls.com

Sixty-Second Solution

Without a clear purpose behind why we are a digital course creator, our messaging is likely to lead to a failed course launch or worse, students who drop out after barely getting started.

Uncovering and understanding our purpose as a digital course creator is a bit like peeling an onion layer by layer. We have to go layer by layer to find the true answers; the root of our purpose.

But how do we do that? Go from surface level to deeper level?

By answering the question, what is my purpose as a digital course creator?

Then we ask “why” of our answer. Then ask “why” again. Do this until you are five to seven “why’s” into the process. Dean Graziosi recommends seven levels of this, but what I’ve found is that the number varies based on how deeply you go and how quickly. You might find that 4 “why’s” gets you to the root of your purpose as a course creator. Other times you might find that you need 9 “why’s” to get there.

This is something that I find helpful to do once a quarter. It doesn’t necessarily change, but it gets further refined and sometimes, depending on what has happened in my business it shifts in a big way.

When our purpose as a digital course creator is clear we can create magnetic messaging that connects with our students and build course content that keeps them engaged and motivated from Lesson 1 all the way to the course graduation.

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