Creating an online group program was a catalyst for the growth of my own business. There were more people asking me how to be a virtual assistant than I had time in the day. And I was saying the same things over and over again.
Developing a group program helped me reach – and teach – more students in a more productive and effective way.
I’ve noticed that since the beginning of 2018, the majority of my clients have been coaches or consultants who are looking for ways to scale their business. The thing is, they have no additional capacity to take on anymore 1-1 coaching or consulting clients themselves.
Professionals from all sorts of industries are able to wrap up all of their experience and translate it into a program that they can then teach in a group setting.
Designing group programs is a great option for both online and brick-and-mortar business owners, especially if you:
- Have over a year of experience working with clients 1-1
- Have resources and tools in your toolbox that could be modified to be effective in a group setting.
- Are looking to share your expertise with more people but don’t have the time to reach them individually.
- Are currently booked out and are looking for ways to scale your business!
With each of my coaching and consulting clients, I have my own repeatable process for course building. At a high level, here’s what this looks like:
1. Create an Outline
Make a list of everything you do for your 1-on-1 clients:
- What processes do you take them through?
- How do you deliver the content to them?
- What resources do you have that they use?
- What are the overarching topics for each weekly module?
- What topics, resources, and homework will be included in each module?
“To be completely honest, I was scared and overwhelmed by the idea of bringing my business online. Madelaine guided me through each step, and made it fun. The systems that she helped me design not only save time, they also save me from anxiety. I’m so glad I made this investment because if Madelaine was not on board this group program… would not exist.” ~ Andrea Janzen
2. Identify Content
- Usually my clients like delivering their content in a variety of formats.
- Some typical options are audio, video, downloadable content/workbooks, written content etc.
3. Identify Delivery
- Determine where you’ll host your content – At the most basic level, you can use your website to host some password protected pages to host your program content and then deliver it weekly to your group via your email manager. Other options would be to consider a program such as Teachable or Kajabi.
4. Identify Schedule
- How often will participants receive new content?
- What day of the week will they receive the new content on?
- Will there be a live component? If yes, what day will this happen on each week (or month)?
- Will you have a community where participants can engage with each other? Where will this be hosted? Slack? Facebook group? Other?
- To get started, ask yourself “what does a typical week look like for a program participant? What content do they receive, when do they receive it, and how do they receive it?
- If you are giving them assignments or homework each week, what do they need to do once they complete it? Send it to you? Share it with the group? What actions do they need to take?
5. Identify the client engagement strategy
- What happens when someone purchases your program? How do you welcome them in? If they purchase a week before the program starts, how do you make sure they are kept engaged, excited and busy in the time between their purchase and the program start date? I usually recommend providing some prework or prep action items for new purchasers!
- Outline the process that happens after someone pays for your program. This could include, but is not limited to, the following:
- An onboarding email welcoming them and giving them a password to content access. They should always know what the next steps is and should never be left wondering “what’s next?”
- A welcome video that excitedly invites them into your group, gives an overview of the program, and their next steps between now and the program start date
- Access to and instructions for pre-work
- Invitation to a Facebook group or slack channel
- Prompts for introductions and conversation starters in the group slack channel etc.
6. Develop a marketing strategy
Each client’s marketing strategy is different, but generally, I like to follow Jeff Walker‘s Product Launch Formula. At a high level, this includes:
- Creating a sales page
- Writing a series of pre-launch and launch email sequences
- Filming a series of engaging videos to share on social media and include as part of your launch content
- Being present and engaging on social media, via Instagram, Facebook and Linkedin (depending on your audience)
- Online ads that require an ad-spend budget
- Keep in mind anything over $997 likely needs a sales call which means a writing out an effective sales script & developing a process for following up with prospects.
7. Outline admin & financials
- Make sure you have an easy way to accept payment as well as a streamlined way to send out and receive back the contracts and agreements to formalize your agreement”
While working with Madelaine, I have launched a signature and mastermind program. Madelaine’s experience was invaluable to making sure I had all the pieces and parts in place before my students logged into the dashboard… Without her leadership and insight, I would still be in the planning phase. Developing a high level program has upleveled my entire business.” ~ Rhonda Melogy
Creating a group program is not a passive income model.
It will take you three months to set up a group program, ideally. And once signed up, you can’t just give your students the material and set them free, either. They’ll need hand holding. And you should account even more time if it’s the first run as you will revise and tweak the program based on feedback.
In fact, some of my clients opt to create the welcome content and first module prior to the launch period and then build out the rest as they go, based on feedback and requests from their beta round of participants. And you’ll have to release perfectionism – otherwise, it won’t happen.
I also don’t recommend smashing a ton of folks into your first program, either. Aim for fewer participants for the first run of your program. Look at the first run as a beta – a test round to gather all the feedback you can to make the course even better the next time around.
Finally, the real success isn’t how many students sign up, it happens when your students recommend your course to their friends and sell the program for you!
Ready to get started or wondering if creating a course really is a good fit for you? Let’s hop on Zoom and chat it out.