How to Increase Online Course Completion Rates

A lot of people believe that as soon as they’ve got people signed up for their online course, their work is done. From there, it’s easy to feel like everything else is out of your hands. Whether or not your students complete your course or benefit from your training is entirely up to them.

With that said, it’s a good idea to reconsider.

Students who complete your online course are more likely to see the benefits and feel satisfied with their purchase. Happy customers are more likely to become repeat customers and give your business positive word-of-mouth advertising.

But that begs the question, how can you get people to complete your online course?

Luckily, it’s easier than you might think. The first thing you need to consider is why people might not finish courses.


Why people don’t finish the courses they purchase (and the fixes)


1) Your course isn’t what they expected.

Perhaps they believed your course would be one thing, but it’s something else entirely. It’s not that your course is bad. But, they’re disappointed because they thought that it would solve a problem it wasn’t intended to solve.


How to prevent or fix this

Make sure your marketing is very clear. So often I see people advertise their online courses as the Ultimate guide to _______. And unless your course is hours long and 100% comprehensive, it’s unwise to advertise it as being the one-stop-shop for everyone.

Instead, qualify or disqualify potential customers with your advertising. Let them know who your course is for, and who it’s not for. Perhaps your course is for beginner photographers. Don’t say that your course is for all photographers because professionals will be disappointed.

In your advertising, be very clear on what your course will cover, and what your students will accomplish.


online course sales page


2) They’ve gotten what they wanted from your online course

Not too long ago, I bought a course on Photoshop because it advertised a section teaching a very specific skill I was hoping to learn.

I already knew how to do a lot of what else was covered in the course, but it was a great value, and I enjoyed the modules I watched.

The course was great, and I’d recommend it to anyone. But, from the backend, the instructor may see that I only completed 20% of it and be disappointed.


How to prevent or fix this

The key here is to realize that not every single person who doesn’t complete your course didn’t finish because they didn’t like it, or it wasn’t what they needed. Every so often, you’ll find that your course satisfies a customer’s needs even though they didn’t finish.

If you find this is happening a lot, though, it could be that the scope of your online course is too large, and it might be better to break it into smaller courses.

I’ve seen people sell complete courses for $500, and then break that same course into five sections selling for $125 each.


bundles in an online course


3) They got stuck somewhere

If you’re teaching your audience something they need to be following along and progressing with, like coding for example, when they get stuck they may get frustrated. That frustration can lead to them dropping off and not completing your online course.

It may start with them thinking, “I’ll get back to this later” and then simply never getting back to it.


How to prevent or fix this

Make sure your students are seeing little wins and victories throughout your course. Online courses are essentially a shortcut to a transformation, but make sure that the final transformation isn’t the only win that your students see while taking your online course.

Every module should have a victory associated with it.


4) They realize that your online course isn’t going to magically make them an expert

Often, people buy an online course thinking that by taking that course alone they’ll be at your level.

They ignore your years of experience in your industry and simply believe that your beginner level course will be the magic pill they need to become an authority in your niche.

Unfortunately, a single course usually isn’t enough to turn someone into an expert. They need to pair that course with practice and time. Once people realize that, they might get disenchanted if they’re not interested in putting in the extra legwork.


How to prevent or fix this

Again, you’re going to want to make sure that your advertising is crystal clear and you’re not making promises that are too big.

If you’re teaching photography, for example, don’t say that after taking your course your students will be winning national awards. Knowledge is just one part of the equation, people need practice and experience, too.

If your students go in having realistic expectations, they’ll be more satisfied after completing your online course.


5) They weren’t qualified to take your online course

Oftentimes people want to learn from someone they admire. If you’ve got a following in your niche and people look up to you and respect you, expect some people to sign up for your course even though they aren’t qualified.

In their eyes, they’re learning from the greatest. What they don’t realize is that you have to walk before you can run. And if your course is aimed at people with experience while they’re a beginner, they won’t have the same success other students will.


How to prevent or fix this

Once you’ve created your main offering, consider creating an entry-level course for the beginners in your field. This will allow the people who admire you to still get that training from their hero, but in this case, the training caters to where they are in their journey.

The second upside of this is that once your students finish your beginner class, they may sign up for your advanced class. This helps you establish long-term relationships with your customers and helps you earn more.

By making it clear who you’re targeting with your course, you accomplish two things:

  1. You make your target audience feel included when they see themselves in your “who this course is for” section.
  2. You will have fewer people asking for refunds because if a potential customer doesn’t fit into your “who this course is for” section, they’ll be less likely to buy your course in the first place.




Find out the reasons

Now that we know the main reasons that your students aren’t finishing your online course, you can either evaluate what you think is happening or you can ask your students.

Consider setting up a survey and sending it to students after they’ve been enrolled in your course for a certain amount of time. Try to find out what worked for them, what didn’t, and why they completed the course or didn’t. A simple Google Form should do the trick!


Let us know in the comments, what have you done to increase completion rates with your own online course?


How to Increase Online Course Completion Rates

The post How to Increase Online Course Completion Rates appeared first on GetResponse Blog – Online Marketing Tips.

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