5 Tips To Choosing A Course Platform
The tech can be one of the biggest hang-ups when it comes to creating a course.
Choosing a course platform can be extremely overwhelming! There are so many on the market it’s hard to know which one is the best for you.
Here are my 5 tips for choosing the best platform for you!
Cost can be a big factor when it comes to choosing your platform. I know that some of you don't even have a business. Your course is your business, so you don't have any revenue coming in. And there are others of you who have a thriving business making six to seven figures and you want to scale your business through an online course. So you do have revenue coming in. So those ranges from zero revenue to plenty of revenue can affect which LMS you're choosing.
I have found that the options range from free to around $500. That’s the most expensive that I've seen. Now, again, there might be more expensive ones, but that's the most expensive one that I've seen. And that is not even the starting package. That's a higher-end package know that most of them, I would say range around $70 to $120 a month. That's kind of where you're looking at. There are some that are free, and you will need to decide if that is an option for you.
Price obviously affects your features. That's pretty much what you're paying for when you are paying the high dollar, you're paying for more features. A lot of them are paying for more authors, so more people who can log in and create content on your site.
With most of the platforms, you could honestly run your entire business- website, email campaigns, landing pages, funnels, everything from this platform. Depending on where you're currently at and what you already have going on in your business, you might end up paying for things that you don't really need.
Here are some of the most popular features that the different platforms include. The obvious one would be your course hosting. Here's where you house and host your course. When you're looking at this aspect, double-check to see if they offer things such as quizzes, chat areas or certificates if these are things that you want to incorporate into your course. I know that there are people out there who are doing professional development through their course, so you need to have some sort of certificate that you can give at the end. So if your LMS does that, it tracks your students and sees that they've made it all the way through the course and you can set it up that they passed the quizzes with a certain percent. The LMS will automatically give a certificate to those people. So be aware of those types of things and know what you want out of your course before choosing your LMS.
Another feature is email marketing. If you don't already have an email marketing platform you're using, it could save you money by choosing an LMS with this feature. So the same thing goes with landing pages and lead pages. If you don't have a software or company that you're using right now for landing pages and lead pages, then you might want to incorporate that into your LMS. So it's all housed in one area. Another thing that you might want to consider is do they allow webinar hosting? I know that a lot of you plan on launching your course with a live webinar or evergreen funnels, so make sure that you double-check to see if either they offer these features or if they offer a way to integrate other software that will allow you to have those features. Some of them offer your entire funnel. Another thing to check for is if you want to offer a membership in the future, now or in the future, look for this when you're deciding on which platform. So that's just a shortlist of features, but probably the main ones that people use and look for when they have their LMS.
Think of your needs and what features do you need currently?
Free vs. Paid
And that brings me to my next part of when you're choosing a platform now. Yes, it is possible to change your platform in the future. I totally understand if you are a brand new business owner. Your course is your business and you don't have money coming in. So it seems really expensive to spend money on a learning management system. But I want you to consider what it will entail if you choose to go with the free option now versus paying later. The one learning management system that I know offers a free membership is Teachable, and they're great. You could just use the same platform and move up. You can pay later, and then you won't lose things such as your email list and all that.
If you're going to want to change in the future, then consider what you're going to have to go through. You're going to have to export your email list. You're going to have to export your students and move them over to a new platform. So there's a lot to consider when you're thinking about starting with a cheaper option and knowing that you're going to move to a more expensive option in the future. It might be a better idea I know it's hard, but it might be a better idea to start where you know that you want to end up because it's going to save you a lot of work and a lot of headaches in the long run.
Another thing to look for when you're choosing your LMS is, do you want an all-in-one or do you want a more basic but it offers integrations. Let me tell you why I would maybe go with an all-in-one and why I would go with the other one that doesn't have the all-in-one but offers integrations. So an all-in-one, a couple of examples are Kajabi, Ontraport, and Simplero (my favorite). Now, these are more expensive, but you could run your entire business on here. So if you are starting from scratch and this is where you want to house everything, this would be a really good option.
Do you want an all-in-one or do you want to just integrate everything with something such as Teachable, which offers a lot but what they don't offer, they have integrations for. So, for example, you can integrate like your MailChimp list or your landing pages, but they also offer your website. You can build your business from here as well, but you'd have to have some integrations. But again, it's a little bit cheaper option. But when you weigh it out, I don't know if it's cheaper because you're going to be paying for your email campaigns and all those things. So these are all things that you've got to think about when you're choosing your learning management system.
#3 Ease of Use
Another factor to look for when deciding is ease of use. This can range a lot from being very difficult to set up, to being really just drag and drop and you're ready to go.
Here is my suggestion for you. Go look at all of the different platforms that you're interested in and sign up for their free trial. Set an alarm on your phone or a reminder on your phone to cancel the day before the free trial’s up because it won't cost you anything.
I want you to try to upload things. If you want email, sequence, all that stuff, every single feature that you want to use, go try it during your free trial. This is so important because a lot of times the tech stuff is what holds course creators up. This is you're like, oh, I don't even know how to set this up. I'm so overwhelmed. So jump on and try it before you buy it.
#4 Customer Support
That leads me to the next thing to look for is how good is their customer support when you're in this trial version? When you're in your trials, ask a question to customer support. See how much support that you get, see how quickly they respond, see what help they offer. Most of them are actually really good and helpful and most of them have really good teaching sections and videos. And let's be honest with YouTube nowadays you can YouTube anything, but it's really nice when you have a question or someone's payment didn't go through and you need to talk to customer service. It's really nice to have a good customer service support.
When you are in your trial version, try their customer support too. Not just their platform, but try the customer support.
And finally, the last thing to look for is what kind of reports can they give you? All of the LMS vary in this. Some LMS will provide you with an extensive report such as how many links were clicked and how far do the students get and just a lot of things like that. So again, look at this while you're in your trial version. What's important to you? Do they offer what's important to you?
Let's review the list of factors to look at when deciding on your LMS:
- Price. Remember, if you're thinking of going cheaper, to begin with, consider what you'll have to change over if you decide to change in the future.
- Features. This is where there can be a huge variation between the platforms. So look at the features. Do you want an all-in-one or do you want one that can integrate the other platforms that you're already using?
- Ease of use. Sign up for the trial and see if the tech is easy enough and it’s not going to cause lots of frustration and overwhelm.
- Customer Support. Is customer support responsive? Do they have tutorials and videos that help guide you through the process?
- Data. What kind of reports can you get this week? Data tells the story of what’s happening in your business and is a huge game-changer.
Sign up for trial versions and see which one fits your needs the best. Go check out all of the tech stuff. If you're not quite ready to purchase it yet, that's okay. You at least now know exactly what platform you're going to use when you are ready to start building it out. If you already have your email list and things going, there's no reason to purchase a platform until you're ready to start building your course online. Check it out because then you'll know exactly what you're going to do and you won't be held up in the process of building your course.