With Covid shutting down the world in 2020, we immediately saw normalcy go right out the window… and with that, it meant that in-person classes were canceled. We were already making plans for our digital baking course offerings but the timetable for that was quickly pushed to needing them up yesterday!
Aside but relevant: When I say “we” I am talking about my team, which includes a business development manager, videographer, marketing, SEO, designer, and of course the people around me day-day that help keep the engine running at Borderlands such as those who help with customer service inquiries and who help with fulfilling your SHOP orders. While I can’t have grown Borderlands to this level without them, anyone, at any level, can do this, without a “team” of people.
With everyone being home we doubled down on our digital strategy because we wanted to be of service. If you’ve been following us for a while you will have noticed our youtube page seeing more love and regular updates in March/April. As we were putting more content on youtube, in the background we were diligently working to put together our comprehensive sugar cookie course. This digital baking course ended up being the first of a few and we wanted to share what we have to come as well as some lessons we learned in the process:
1. Know your platform
There are so many ways that you can host your digital course! But it’s important to know how your students will be able to access your course content. We went with Teachable as our course platform but that is not to say that will be what’s best for YOU. Teachable has its fair share of limitations; ultimately, we chose it based on a recommendation and because it was within the price range of what we were willing to spend. This allowed us to have a platform where things were straightforward and we could focus on creating content and serving the community we are building in Baking with Borderlands.
2. Create an outline and a DEADLINE
You may have an amazing idea, and I’m sure you know how to bring your designs to life but it’s so important to be organized! We ended up working with an agency that gave us some helpful insight for our first course launch but the biggest value we got from them was setting a deadline for launch and then building backward. It allowed us to schedule out posts, emails, and made it so we knew when EVERYTHING needed to be set up and tested so we could launch without any issues… well at least no major issues. So along with a course outline, outline your key dates for posts, emails, ads, and most importantly your launch date.
3. Who are you SERVING?
For our comprehensive course we wanted it to be of value for as many people as possible. We wanted to make it approachable for novice bakers but also dense enough for people with a little bit more experience to gain value. While figuring out your pricing is important it’s way more important to know who you’re serving. Who you’re serving also affects your messaging and how you describe your course to others.
4. Reaching your audience
We hope you know that your social media numbers don’t actually show your true reach (read my old article HERE about IG growth!) If you haven’t started building your email list I highly recommend it. Giveaways are also a great way to get more engagement and hint at your upcoming course launch. For us, we used all of our platforms to build out a separate list of people who expressed interest in the course. We also spent a little bit on paid ads but I only recommend that if your budget allows for it. I always tell people that with an *engaged* audience that paid advertising is NOT necessary, ESPECIALLY if you are starting out. It can become a good tool as you grow.
5. Roll with the punches
Along the way, we had plenty of issues from filming constraints and upload limits, to course direction and payment plans. Things are going to happen, even with a plan, but it’s important to be flexible and trust that there’s always a solution! Also a quick note about payment plans, we offered them for a short time but experienced more failed renewals than we wanted to deal with and decided to stop offering them. It’s frustrating, but something you deal with in doing business so don’t let it discourage you just roll with it.
I hope these points are of value to you! We are going to continue to publish courses both live and pre-recorded. If you’ve made it this far then you deserve a little taste of what we’re working on. We’ll be doing a course on Macarons, Business development specific courses, and testing a platform we’ve been building out for fellow bakers… exciting things are coming 😉
If you haven’t seen our comprehensive course overview then please take a moment to watch the overview below. You’ll get a sense of the scope and scale of the project and why it required so much planning.
We’ve also released a series of courses on our homepage HERE and plan to add more throughout the year to our Digital Baking Course !
Lastly– if you’ve taken and loved our course, I encourage you to become a course affiliate and earn a percentage of sales for each customer you refer to our course, please email us: firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll hook you up with your own unique link!
And if you’re interested in teaching your own online classes and need some help, we offer a GREAT guide in our shop that talks to the ins-and-outs of how to host a cookie decorating class both physically AND virtually!!
Got questions? Comments? Drop em for me below!