How to know if you are overcomplicating your ecourse

Tell me if this sounds familiar. You begin to write a blog post, and before you know it, your “quick update” has turned into a rambling, 3,000 word novelette that covers everything from where to find a graphic designer to create your logo all the way to setting up your WordPress website.

Sure, a 3,000-word blog post can be great for traffic, but only if you’ve kept it tightly focused. But what happens all too often (in blog posts and in ecourse development) is that every point covered brings up a new point to be addressed.

  1. Logo design leads to business card formatting.
  2. Business cards lead to taglines.
  3. Taglines lead to ideal client avatars.
  4. Avatars lead to…well, you get the idea.

The point is, when you aim to provide the very best information for your audience, it’s easy to want to include one more important detail.

And…soon, you’ve outlined an encyclopedia’s worth of content that overwhelms not only you, but your clients as well.

One Problem, One Solution

Most people don’t need or want an all-inclusive answer. If your ecourse helps your clients identify their ideal client, then including information about choosing a domain name might seem relevant, when it’s really just a distraction.

Worse, if you try to branch out too much, you run the risk of overwhelming your customer. Too much of that, and they’ll log out and never return. Not because you’re a bad course creator, but because they’ll be convinced they’re a bad student.

Sidenote: I recall a conversation I had just recently with another consultant who was feeling overwhelmed that there was always something new to learn. And yet she is a specialist!

Which brings us to another issue with trying to include too much info in a single course. When you try to include too much information, what you end up with is very thin coverage of a lot of different topics.

I made this major mistake on one of the WordPress courses I created for a partner network. The sad thing was the first course was well received.

But the minute I revised it and went overboard with information, I lost the audience.

But, when you focus your ecourse on a single problem and a single solution, you can dig deeper and present ideas and information that won’t be found just anywhere.

You can safely create:

  • Case studies
  • Worksheets
  • Planning documents
  • Checklists
  • Video content

These are the types of things that your audience will happily pay a premium for, because they cannot find them elsewhere.

When you focus your course on a single problem, you’ll have the leeway to create these and other resources. Take a broader approach, though, and you’ll be forced to scrimp on the “extras.”

But make no mistake—there is still room for that all-inclusive, massive eCourse.

Keep in mind, though, that if you decide to go ahead with an eCourse of this magnitude, you will (by necessity) have to:

  • Expand the length of the course to accommodate all the extra information. Each week (or module) becomes its own “mini” course, focused on a single issue/solution.
  • Increase the cost of the course. If your market will bear a high-ticket, multi-module course, then by all means you should produce one. But do keep in mind that the more information you provide, the higher the price point.

Remember, too, that a large course is a much more difficult sell—and we’re not just talking about the price.

There’s a bigger commitment on the part of the buyer as well, and that’s something they’re going to have to carefully consider before they take the plunge. A smaller, single-problem course is easier to commit to and easier to complete and be successful with.

What’s Next

You may be wondering how to split your market’s problems out. I mean, what exactly is a single problem to a single solution?

One example I gave in a presentation I did for a partner network was to consider your avatar’s top 3 problems. And understand there are many ways to solve this problem.

For example, an info creator wants to get more traffic to his site. He basically has 3 options for traffic…

Paid. Free. Or partner.

If you were to apply the one problem, one solution technique for your ecourse; then you would want to focus on one traffic type to teach for your course.

Of course, there’s no stopping you from choosing examples of all three traffic sources as an overview, but you won’t be able to go as deep as you may like for an ecourse.

And not going deep means your information will be perceived as generalist training.

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