If you are running a service-based business, you may have reconsidered your offers time and time again. What more can you impart to clients? How do you get them to engage with your business in the long-term? These questions are all incredibly important in determining just what type of operation you want to run and what you want to achieve out of it after years of hard work.
One thing you may be considering right now is creating a course or a program to help keep the income rolling in. When you’re in the service industry, after all, you impart value, skill, or knowledge to clients. You are, in a sense, selling intangible things and outlining a formal course or program can give form to the substance you offer and therefore, make it easier to sell. However, you might be confused as to what exactly you should be doing.
Should you go for a course or a program? Maybe both?
To many people, these two terms are interchangeable. However, for service providers and content creators, there is a fundamental difference between the two: Time.
A program is typically longer than courses. It’s more of a step-by-step or multilevel service that clients would have to avail on a monthly basis. For example, if you join a fitness program online, you will have to subscribe to a particular fitness plan. Whether it’s a three, six, or twelve-month program, you will have to pay the provider on a monthly basis as part of the subscription agreement.
A course, on the other hand, is a one-shot, one-time payment type of service. For a fixed, one-off fee, you’ll be granted access to the material that you have wanted to learn or given access to a service (e.g. software) that you can use for life.
Depending on your motivation and goals for the material or service you want to extend, both setups have their respective pros and cons. What you really need to do before deciding to create a program or course is to figure out what kind of results you are aiming for. You must also consider what would work best with the content material or service you have in mind. After all, you can’t create a program for service that is not meant to recur. In the same way, you can’t create a short course about something that takes time to learn.
However, if we are to talk about profitability, one has the advantage over the other. In this case, programs are a better option if we’re talking profit.
Programs Are More Profitable – Here’s Why
As I explained earlier, courses are often a one-time deal. You sell it as a package with complete access to everything. You profit off the sale once and then move on. If you think about it, this type of setup will be a big pain in the neck going forward. Every month, you reboot; you go back to square one. You have to generate new leads, tweak your marketing style, think of ways to appeal to a bigger audience, and even after doing all that, you don’t know whether you’ll get the same exact conversions you have in the past months. In other words, whether you meet your sales quota or not remains a grey area every time a new month starts. The level of uncertainty is relatively high.
This problem can easily be negated if you opt for a program-type of approach. A program ideally lasts for six months or more. Most businesses that market program-type services offer bi-annual or annual subscription plans. This helps ensure a steady and recurring source of income. Those that do offer “cancel anytime” subscriptions to lure in commitment-phobic customers successfully often have enticing promotions for yearly subscriptions. Again, this is to increase the company’s chances to encourage customers to stay on the program for a long time. After all, the longer the client or customer commits to the program, the more stabilized recurring revenues of the company becomes. I talk more about this in Annette Fergs TV, Episode 26 which you can view here: https://youtu.be/5w4J4WibHYI.
If you opt for a program-type of service, you don’t have to worry about selling for the next month or meeting quotas. Because you receive recurring payments for your services monthly, you can easily project how much you’re going to make the following month. You know in advance whether you’ll make the cut or not based on the number of clients you already have on board with the program at the moment. You’re not even including the new sales that you might make the following month in your calculations, and you can already create a revenue forecast based on your receivables. Programs, therefore, are much stabler, profitable, and practical than courses.
However, as I also mentioned earlier, everything has a catch – with every pro comes a con.
What’s The Catch?
Programs are undoubtedly stabler and more profitable than courses. You can rest easy knowing that you have recurring revenues for all the months you have your program on. However, one major catch is that running a program requires a whole lot more effort than a course.
With a course, you often record everything just once. You can write the content one time, record informative or instructional videos just once and you are through. All that’s left to do is to work on marketing, generate leads, attract new clientele, and sell. It’s basically the same thing over and over. Plus, if you’ve got the marketing formula down to a tee, the sales will naturally roll in month after month. Although, that still does not completely eradicate the possibility of your course just burning out naturally. When that happens, it only means that it has outlived its purpose and that it’s probably time to create something new.
A program, on the other hand, would require a lot more effort from you. It requires you to show up more often; extend more assistance to clients in real-time. It also means coming up with new content monthly, creating new supplementary videos, and conferencing with everyone involved to make sure you’re all on the same page. Running a program also means being present throughout the duration of the program. It is unlike a course where you can leave clients to their own devices. In a program, you have to make sure that you give twice or ten times the value clients can get from a generic course. After all, they are paying extra just for that.
As you can see, it all comes down to what you value more and what your resources allow you to give your audience. However, profitability-wise, the obvious winner are programs. They’re more expensive, they give recurring revenue, and they give you a sense of stability. In turn, you just need to be ready to do your part.