That most of us know as a home study course is an interesting beast, because it can consist of many methods of content delivery. Commonly, a home study course will consist of some printed component (often a 3-ring binder) and some combination of CDs, DVDs and additional printed components.
It can also include a flash drive, some content that is delivered online via a membership site and any number of other things. As such, any of the consumption tips and techniques talked about in other articles we have written for Traces for a specific content delivery method can be applied to a home study course if it contains that type of component.
The biggest factor you need to try to mitigate with any home study course is the overwhelm factor. Picture this—your customer is at home and the post office delivers your new home study course which arrives in a big white box. The customer opens up the box and pulls out the first component—a thick binder containing a few hundred pages worth of material. Then they pull out another binder with more material, followed by a set of DVDs and a few CDs. They pile all the components on their kitchen table and admire the massive amount of stuff they’ve received from you. And then their reaction is commonly something like this—“Oh my gosh, where do I even start?”
Since it’s not clear to them how they should best start consuming your content they decide to put all the items back into the box thinking they’ll get back to it and sort it all out later. But life gets in the way, later never seems to come and when they realize the time for getting a refund is running out they tape the box back up and return it to you to get their money back.
Obviously, if you can’t even get them started with consuming your content they’ll never finish it. They may well return it for a refund and the chances of them coming back to you to buy other products drops down to nearly zero.
That’s why it is critical for you to have some type of “Read this First” or “Getting Started” guide is printed out and the first thing that they see when they open your home study course box. You need to tell them exactly what to do first, to do second and so on to consume your content as effectively as possible. You can have a “Quick Start” DVD or CD but we really recommend a printed document that they see right away and that doesn’t require they take some additional step in order to use it.
If you want them watch a particular DVD first, tell them. If it’s listen to an audio CD first then tell them. If it’s read a particular part of a manual first, tell them. It is your job to help guide people through your content.
Home study courses often have a higher price point—several hundred to several thousand dollars. We have one client who
sold a home study course in the Forex market for $10,000. And it sold very well.
But with that higher price point comes a bigger hit to your pocketbook if they opt to return your product for a refund. So in addition to the “Read This First” guide you should incorporate as many “Stick Strategies” as time and costs allow to minimize the chances for returns. Be sure you review the section on “Stick Strategies” near the beginning of this book for ideas on what you might use.
One consumption strategy that you’ll definitely want to employ with your home study course is a series of well written follow-up autoresponder messages that go out on some pre-determined schedule. These messages are designed to be sent out via email and drive your customers back into your content. Autoresponders can be used with any type of content delivery but they are particularly important for higher ticket items such as home study courses.
Again, if your home study course includes things such as CDs or DVDs be sure to utilize some of the techniques mentioned for that particular format of content delivery as part of your consumption strategies for your home study course.