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The pros and cons of creating a mini course to attract more learners

Bigger isn’t always better, especially for course creators who are looking to increase their profits through alternative revenue streams. Additionally, building a full-length course takes time, energy, and effort. Sometimes, it’s better to start with a small product to warm up your audience. For example, a mini course is a great alternative to full courses for new creators and can be used to sell affiliate products.

If you’re ready to create a product and start generating profit in your business, a mini course may be a solution for you. Mini courses are a viable option to add lifetime value to your learners. In this article, we’ll discuss why and how to create a mini course and the benefits it can bring your online business.

What is a mini course?

A mini course is a short online course that can be done in two hours or less. It can involve a combination of text and video from repurposed content or material from a longer product.

But what makes a mini course valuable for your audience? The secret is to make it hyper-specific.

For example, if you’re an online English teacher, create a mini course on one specific grammar principle that English learners struggle with. Dive into the niche ways your learners can overcome the grammar obstacle and support it with real-life applications.

Narrowing in on your topic in this way is key to the success of your mini course.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a mini course?

While mini courses have many advantages, it’s only fair to consider everything and make a list of pros and cons. Use this guide to help you.

Advantages of creating a mini course

There are lots of advantages to creating a mini course to attract new buyers. Mini courses require little upfront investment and is a prime starting point for new course creators who want to grow their audience and profits. Here are three key advantages to creating a mini course:

  1. Easier to create than a full-length course

    One of the greatest advantages of creating a mini course is that you don’t need any previous experience to get started. It takes less time and investment overall. The benefits of it being easier are that you can get started immediately and with less pressure to create a lengthy course.

    The small form factor of a mini course allows creators to jump in with their ideas and get immediate feedback.

  2. A way to attract more learners who aren’t sure about committing to a full-length course just yet

    The entry-level price point and actionable value make it a great option for new subscribers to learn about your business.

    For example, if you are an online yoga teacher, your mini course could instruct beginners on simple breathing exercises. They receive the immediate benefit of hearing your teaching style and authority, which can encourage them to buy longer courses.

    It’s also easier for busy learners to concentrate on small nuggets of information. This way, they can balance learning with their lives and make an informed decision about purchasing more expensive products from you in the future.

    Mini courses give creators a way to provide value in small, easily digestible packages. This builds trust with your audience and can attract new learners in the long run.

  3. If the mini course sells well, it can be a great starting point for a longer course

    Starting with a mini course is a great way to test the waters with your audience. If it’s successful, it can quickly grow into a way to lead buyers to your more premium options.

    For example, if you are a fitness course creator, your mini course could act as preparation materials for a full-length training program.This gives your students the option to try out your services while you gain feedback on what’s working. Then, as you scale, you can begin course bundling to further drive profit.

    A successful mini course can potentially lead to a longer one because the feedback will show you exactly what your audience is ready to buy.

    Leading learning platforms like Linkedin use this same strategy to offer bite-sized versions of premium content. Short video courses are then expanded into longer modules and offered at a higher price to current subscribers.

Disadvantages of creating a mini course

Creating a mini course comes with some disadvantages in the form of challenges for course creators. Here are three disadvantages to consider:

  1. Challenging to condense information in one mini course

    One disadvantage to creating a mini course is how challenging it can be to condense information into a smaller format. While a mini course acts as a minimum viable product, it is still expected to be full of quality content that benefits your learners.

    This is why it’s so important to narrow your topic as much as possible. This way, you can focus on condensing a smaller amount of information, with greater impact. From there, use tools like SEMrush, and Google Trends to conduct research to support your chosen topic.

  2. Hard to decide on a price point

    Mini courses are meant to be sold at an attractive price point. Because production cost is lower with a mini course, it can be a fraction of the cost of a full course.

    For impulse buyers, the best price point is 99 US dollars or less. As you choose the price for your mini course, consider these three things:

    • The length of time it took to build the course;
    • What your audience would want and find reasonable;
    • Your ideal profit margin.

    If you keep these in mind, you’ll be able to settle on a price that balances value for your audience and profitability for your business.

  3. Can be difficult to narrow down the topic enough

    It can be difficult to choose a narrow enough topic for your mini course, but not impossible. The more specific, the better.

    If you’re a course creator who specializes in foreign language instruction, your mini course can be as niche as a one-hour video lesson. It could cover a single verb tense and how to use it in several scenarios.

    When the topic is hype-specific, you increase the likelihood of having returning customers. According to RJMetrics, returning customers spend up to 300% more than new ones.

    Here are a few tips to help you narrow your mini course topic to any niche.

    • Focus on solving one problem, no matter how small it seems;
    • Choose a topic that has a measurable outcome so your students feel a win instantly;
    • Avoid subjects that are generic or too broad;
    • Avoid overly complicated subjects so as not to confuse your audience.

    If you consider these, you will build a targeted mini course that can grow your audience and increase your engagement over time.

Steps to create a profitable mini course

While a shorter online course is easier to build, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take the process seriously. Here are three key practical tips to create a mini course:

  • Find a very specific topic and narrow it down

    Identifying your course topic can feel frustrating, but it’s important to remember you already have topics you are an expert on. Avoid broad subjects for the topic of your mini course. The key is to start with a specific theme and make it actionable for your learners.

    As a course creator, it is best to share knowledge that is based on a goal. This makes it easier to choose your mini course topic, and it does three important things for your audience:

    • It gives your audience a clear representation of your entire business;
    • It attracts learners who are ready to invest in changing their lives, even if the first investment is small;
    • It gives them something attainable to focus on rather than a broad subject.

    These will also increase the profitability of your course because meeting goals successfully is a valuable experience for your subscribers. Not to mention, creating your course based on a goal will make it easier to market as your ideal customers would have that goal in common.

    Once you’ve landed on your topic for the mini course, you can build an even bigger list of topics and choose what seems to be easier to create and what could attract learners. This way, there are multiple options for you to choose from and potentially numerous mini courses to add to your brand.

    Read more: Things to know before designing an online course for your niche

  • Re-use content

    Re-purposing content is also known as content recycling, and it is the next step to consider as you create your mini course. Your best content may already be at your disposal, and your profits benefit from its reuse.

    One option is to create your mini course from a larger course that you’ve already created. This adds more streams of revenue to your business, and more opportunities for learners to engage with your content on other platforms.

    Mini course modules can also come from blog content, social media posts, and other high-performing content from your brand. One study from BrightEdge showed that organic content accounts for 51% of content traffic online. This is why it’s so important to re-use content; you increase overall authority as your performing content is adapted to new formats.

    Read more: 11 Ways to repurpose your webinar content

  • Choose a platform

    Choosing the best platform for your mini course doesn’t have to be hard. Many course creators start with an email course for their first one. Email is a great option if you already have a list of active subscribers and are looking to introduce or test new content.

    However, there is an even better opportunity for knowledge entrepreneurs who want to have greater control over content creation and distribution.

    Using a learning management system (LMS) gives you creative flexibility and the opportunity to reach a wider audience with marketing tools integration. It also has e-commerce capabilities, so you can use it to direct learners to your membership website.

Are you ready to create your mini course?

The e-learning space is growing rapidly and with trends like micro learning on the rise, bite-sized content is here to stay. A mini course is the right way to go if you want to attract new learners and grow your online business.

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