As we’ve just reached our first anniversary, I’ve been reflecting on some of the lessons learned from the last year of building the world’s first marketplace for buying and selling elearning courses. To celebrate this milestone, I'm happy to share our tips on what kinds of courses appeal to buyers and how you can make your courses stand out from the crowd.
- Content matters more than design. Of course, both matter. But, when choosing between fancy, interactive design and strong content, buyers choose the more impressive content every time. If you’re storyboarding a course and deciding where you will invest your resources, we recommend that you focus your efforts on researching, developing and structuring content effectively.
- Chunk it. When in doubt, divide your course into smaller chunks. Learners find three 20-minute courses much more approachable and tempting than one 60-minute course.
- Learners don’t like accents or robot voices. We’ve heard from many buyers who say learners find accents and automated robot voices distracting. When possible and logical, create localized versions of courses for different audiences with locally appropriate narrators or speakers.
- Take marketing seriously. It doesn’t matter how great your course is if people never click the “preview” button to find out. It’s essential to write your course description well, without typos and with details. Describe everything, in clear, interesting sentences: The topic of the course, what activities the course includes, any special qualifications the instructor or developer holds, whether the course is part of a series, and so on. Write good learning objectives that don’t just say things like “our course makes the learner communicate better.” Explain how your course achieves its goals.
- Search engines are your friend. Whether it’s someone using Google to find a course or using the OpenSesame search engine to pore through our catalog, people are likely to arrive at your content through a search engine. That means that the keywords you use to describe your course are of the utmost importance in marketing your products. Use the Google Adwords Tool to research what keywords have the heaviest search volume. Use those relevant keywords early and often and select the appropriate topics in the OpenSesame architecture.
- Make your course description unique. Google and other search engines will penalize content that is repeated across multiple websites, so don’t just cut and paste the same course description on every site where you market your courses. Write a unique description of your course and your company for OpenSesame to ensure that Google’s bots recognize the value of your content.
Image credit: hgrover on Flickr