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Make money while you sleep! Despite this sounding a bit like a click-bait headline, it is possible for health and wellness practitioners to create programs that successfully generate passive income. Once you put in the work up front to create a program it can keep making money for you in the background while you focus on other priorities.
When you make online courses there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. So, before you jump in, it’s best to understand the different program types you can choose from and how they fit with the specific needs of your business. You also need to plan the duration, modules, and overall delivery format of your program so that you can build content that resonates with your best-fit clients and keeps that passive income flowing.
Keep reading to get advice on how to create a program that will propel your long-term success.
Why the Buzz Around How to Create an Online Course?
Expanding your reach to new clients and generating an additional revenue stream are fantastic reasons to invest in creating an online course, but there are many benefits that also extend to your clients:
Accessibility. Some clients may not not have the budget to commit to repeat 1:1 visits with you. However, they can swing paying for a $250 self-directed course. By offering clients the option of a program, you can make better health accessible to a greater number of people. You can also serve clients who aren’t geographically close to you or even in your own time zone.
Flexible care. A self-paced program gives clients the option to move at the rate that feels most comfortable for them. To counteract negative inertia, you can build content nudges into your program to keep them moving forward. For example, perhaps completing a module unlocks a certain badge that they can trade in for a discounted 1:1 session with you or a bonus piece of content.
Community-building. When you’re thinking about how to create an online course, don’t forget about the power of helping people find their people. Consider structuring your content to encourage participants to engage more actively. For example, a holistic health coach who is offering an online detox program could add a group chat or create a private Facebook Group. This provides a collaborative space for participants to share their challenges, tips, and triumphs as they work towards eliminating toxins from their diets and making sustainable lifestyle changes.
If the program is fixed-date, the practitioner could even add in a group session one week to allow participants to connect in real time (being mindful of adhering to any applicable regulations, of course).
When you’re considering how to make an online course, don’t let the logistics distract you from keeping what’s in it for your clients front and center. Keep leading from that familiar place of empathy – it will help you create the best format and content that hits the sweet spot, driving conversion and retention.
How to Create a Program That Best Supports Your Business Goals
If you find yourself nodding along and saying, “I want to learn how to create my own online program,” then unpacking the differences between program types is a great place to start.
You can think of an online course as the umbrella category. It combines multimedia content, such as videos, quizzes, protocols, handouts, guides, tasks, and other resources, to educate clients on specific topics related to their health and wellness. When you make online courses you’re tapping into a powerful tool to extend your expertise and support beyond 1:1 visits.
Underneath this umbrella sit different program types, such as evergreen and fixed-date, which can be delivered in a variety of ways, including self-paced, email-only, and even an online challenge.
Online course programs at a glance
Specific start- and end-dates
Modules are unlocked based on the completion of one or more previous modules
High, sign-up deadline
Now, let’s explore these different program types, along with the benefits of each.
Tap the timeless power of an evergreen program
What is an evergreen program? The term “evergreen content” refers to information and resources that have timeless relevance. Unlike time-sensitive content, evergreen content continues to be valuable regardless of when it’s accessed. Essentially, it ages well.
Evergreen online classes offer a way to bundle up the educational resources you typically share with clients over and over so they can access them online. An evergreen program is designed to be continuously accessible to new participants and typically doesn’t require frequent updates.
Benefits of an evergreen program:
The content is always relevant without needing frequent updates, so you can set it and forget it until something needs to be changed.
You can take back the time you’d normally spend sending and resending the same information to clients and redirect it to other activities.
An evergreen program has a flexible start date so you don’t wait for a big cohort of clients to start at the same time.
Clients can flow in and out of the program at any time. You simply set your modules to unlock for each individual participant at whatever cadence makes sense.
Create your program as fixed-date to drive urgency and fill spots
Sometimes creating programs with firm start and end-dates is the best way to proceed. For example, a life coach might want to run a six-week Holiday Stress Busters program that needs to wrap up by January 1st. In this case, a fixed-date program would be the format of choice and modules would unlock based on calendar dates.
Benefits of creating programs that are fixed-date:
It’s easier to create urgency around signing up for your program if there are clear dates around it. You can tap into this urgency in your marketing materials to drive more conversions.
Clients may feel more engaged if your program has a clear journey from start to end, particularly if they have a specific goal they want to achieve.
It’s easy to create a natural community when clients know they are progressing through the program with a specific cohort of like-minded folks.
Here’s where an online challenge could come into play as well, since it’s essentially a very short group program with a specific goal, like a 7-day challenge to reduce bloat or a 5-day meditation and mindset workshop. By showing up to connect with the community each day through the challenge, a practitioner can build trust and showcase their expertise when it comes to the subject matter.
Once the online challenge ends it’s an ideal time to try and convert clients into another paid program. You can also use an online challenge as a way to re-engage clients through an email warm-up campaign inviting them to participate.
Improve accountability with an email-only program
An email-only program can be a delivery mechanism under either a fixed-date or evergreen program. An email-only program allows you to send content and support exclusively through email, without the need for in-person interactions. It’s a particularly handy format for creating programs that include a lot of written content, downloadable resources, and actionable steps. For example, new client onboarding is well suited to an email-only format.
Benefits of creating programs that are email-only:
The content in an email-only program goes straight to clients through a channel they are already checking frequently.
It’s extremely cost-effective to deliver your content and support through email.
Clients can easily refer back to previous emails if they want to revisit any content or instructions you’ve sent.
Let clients lead with a self-paced program
A self-paced program allows participants to progress through the content at their own pace. Modules in the self-paced program unlock based on a client’s completion of a previous module, rather than on a predefined schedule.
It’s possible to allow clients to progress through a fixed-date program type but at their own pace. Letting clients complete modules at a pace they feel comfortable with, as long as they complete them all by a certain end date. Imagine a holistic dietitian running a 60-day cleanse program. Making this program self-paced allows clients the flexibility to make the program work with their schedule but still maintains some structure and an end date to keep them motivated and moving forward. To do this, create the program as a Fixed-Date program type with a start and end date. Don’t set the modules to “drip” but rather set them all as just “open” so clients can access them and progress to new modules at their own pace in the 60-day program.
Self-paced programs are often evergreen, offering clients the flexibility to start and progress at their own pace, while being continually available to new clients. An example of such a program could be our holistic dietitian from above offering a program to help participants transform their relationship with food, understand the impact of nutrition on their well-being, and make sustainable dietary changes. Making the program self-paced recognizes that each individual may need to tackle changes to their diet and lifestyle at different rates in order to achieve success.
Benefits of creating programs that are self-paced
Allowing clients to progress through the content at their own pace makes it easier to fit into busy lives. There is a potential caution with this approach – some clients may lose motivation to complete the modules when they aren’t accountable to a specific deadline.
Clients can tailor their experience to their needs and preferences. For example, they can choose to spend more time on modules they find particularly challenging.
Clients may engage more deeply with the content when they have more time to reflect and apply the changes to their daily routines.
Tips For Crafting Your Online Program
Before you jump in to creating online training programs, make sure you set some time aside to think through the basics.
Define your niche – Niching down is a good way to establish yourself as an expert in a specific area and attract an engaged audience that can benefit from your knowledge. Consider both your expertise and your passion. You may have training as a holistic nutritionist, but perhaps you’ve found that you feel most connected when you’re helping women with body dysmorphia accept and love themselves as they are alongside their nutrition journey. Let this truth guide you as you determine the specific group of people you can best serve through your program.
Choose the right program type – We covered the different program types earlier in this article, but choosing the right one will depend on who is in your audience:
Are they current clients, former clients, or completely unknown to you?
Any demographic considerations? For example, clients over 60 may be more comfortable with a program delivered via email, whereas those in their 30s and 40s would likely be comfortable figuring out any platform.
How engaged do you anticipate your participants will be? If you feel that intrinsic motivation may be lacking, a fixed-date program will be better than one that’s self-paced for keeping them progressing through milestones.
Consider doing some market research by polling potential participants on which formats are most appealing before you start building your program.
Planning the content and curriculum – Before you build content from scratch, take a look at your existing materials to see if anything can be repurposed. For example, a step-by-step onboarding checklist could be turned into a short video. Or existing worksheets could provide the outline for a learning module. You can find more tips on top considerations when building a program over here.
Select the right platform for hosting your program – There are a number of ways you can deliver your program – from a dedicated online course platform to a Facebook Group to a private Slack channel, and more. The platform you ultimately choose will depend on factors like whether you want to direct participants to a location separate from their health record. A platform like Practice Better can be an excellent choice since it gives you the flexibility to run all aspects of your practice and deliver programs through a single, HIPAA-compliant, secure, reliable infrastructure.
Pricing your program – Factors like demand, competition, and the perceived value of your offering will all factor into what price you can ultimately charge. Get actionable advice on deciding how much to charge.
Ready? Set? Launch Your Online Training Programs!
Once you create a program it would be fantastic if the sign-ups just flowed in. Realistically, you’ll need to promote the program to generate demand. You don’t have to be a marketing pro to successfully promote your online training programs. Here are a few ideas you can borrow from to get the word out:
Before you do any promotion, make sure you build a compelling landing page that reinforces your program’s value, creates excitement, and makes it simple to sign up.
Leverage your social media channels to get the word out. Consider teasing out helpful advice to establish credibility and then point to your program as a place to go to keep learning.
If your program is evergreen you can use testimonials from clients who have successfully completed the program as social proof to encourage conversions.
Send out an email to a segment of people on your list who are likely to be interested in the program.
Create a sense of urgency and incentivize early enrollment by offering limited-time or early-bird discounts.
Launch an online challenge to expand your reach and create some buzz.
The sooner you create a program the sooner you can expand your reach to positively impact more clients (and earn passive income at the same time). If you need a reminder of the different types of programs, we’ve created a handy summary of how they compare. Download it and keep it close as you move forward. Happy building!
Practice Better is the complete practice management platform for nutritionists, dietitians, and wellness professionals. Streamline your practice and begin your 14-day free trial today.