Introducing Challenges in Heights Platform: (How to Increase Engagement and Boost Online Course Sales)11 minute read
Raising engagement in an online course is not easy.
You could have the best content ever created, but if you don't have an online course platform that is designed to deliver that content in a way that will foster engagement, it can be extremely hard for your online course to be successful.
Heights Platform offers you tools specifically designed to increase engagement in your online course. We built discussion boards where creators can interact with students, a system of points and badges to apply gamification methods to a course, and projects to translate students' knowledge into practice.
Now we decided to further improve students' learning experience in a Heights online course to ensure the maximum level of engagement possible.
In fact, in the world of online learning, the average completion rate is only 13%. Have you ever struggled to keep students engaged with your content?
Do some of your students drop out or lose interest before completing your course? Or maybe you have students who purchase your online course and never even start it?
These situations can happen even if you have the best content ever, which is why at Heights Platform we decided to come up with a solution!
Enter what we call "Challenges".
What Is a Challenge in Heights Platform?
Even though the online education world has been developing exponentially during the past years, the concept of "online courses" has always been the same at its core: a collection of pre-recorded lessons that students can access any time and go through its content at their own pace.
While this flexibility is great as it allows more people all over the world to have access to the same content and consume it on their own rhythm, it also has its downsides.
High flexibility means no urgency. It is in our nature to procrastinate tasks that are not urgent or don't offer us an immediate reward.
In contrast, if you take an in-person course, you are given a time and a place to physically attend each lesson. If you don't show up, you lose the lesson and there is nothing you can do about it. You cannot replay it anytime you want.
The new Challenge feature allows online course creators to offer students the right amount of flexibility and urgency.
So what exactly is a "Challenge" inside Heights Platform?
A Challenge is a type of online course that has a fixed calendar start and end date. What differentiates Challenges from online courses is the way students get access to the lessons.
You can schedule the dates when your Challenge will be available to students, together with a release date for every single lesson in your Challenge.
Unlike a regular online course, each lesson inside a Challenge will disappear or expire for students after a set period of time that you can customize.
Everyone who purchases your Challenge will gain access to the course and new lesson content on the same dates as their peers.
Once a Challenge is completed, creators using Heights Platform have the option to restart it and rerun the challenge again simply with the click of one button. You can decide the launch date for the new challenge, and the system automatically calculates the launch and expiration dates of every single lesson, based on the settings you had in the previous challenge!
The idea of running a challenge for your audience to participate in has been gaining popularity amount creators, but until now, there hasn't been any platform that allowed you to create one in an efficient way.
If you are thinking "I have seen creators running Challenges before, so there has to be an easy way!"
Until now, if you wanted to create a Challenge similar to this one, you would have to manually release content every day and then manually delete it from whatever platform you are using. You would have to then setup a separate email automation software to send emails to your students every day a challenge lesson was released. On top of this, you would not have access to any analytics, messaging tools to interact with students, and all the features that Heights Platform offers creators now.
Trying to put all these pieces together to run a challenge is a hassle.
Fortunately, with Challenges in Heights you can automate this process and seamlessly run multiple Challenges. There is no manual work needed anymore, except for creating the lesson content itself!
The Benefits of Challenges
Challenges are new way for creators structure their content. They share some similarities to online courses, but have many different benefits. Let's learn why Challenges are a great option to sell knowledge online:
Increase Student Engagement and Urgency
Within Challenges, lessons are released only on set dates and are available for students only for a set period of time.
For example, you could set up a 30-day challenge where a lesson will be released each day and available for only 24 hours. This allows creators to break their content into bite-sized pieces that students will be able to consume and better retain, since the Challenge schedule sets a pace for them.
So unlike a traditional online course, students cannot access the lesson anytime they want.
Knowing that a lesson is only available for a small time window creates a feeling of urgency and motivates online course participants. Once each lesson is released, Challenge students are notified with an email in their inbox that creators can write specific to each lesson.
Many times people purchase an online course and start the first few lessons, and then they drop out simply because they are not reminded of it.
An email reminder can make a massive difference in how many people attend each lesson and engage with your Challenge, and this is all possible without any additional email software!
Students Go Through Your Content Together
In a standard online course, students join at different times after the launch, and everyone goes through the content at a different pace. This makes it harder for you to create a feeling of community and to invite students to interact with each other.
With Heights Platform's Challenges, you could pre-sell your challenge before the launch date. Once the Challenge starts, everyone who purchased it gains access at the same time and they go through the content together.
This makes it easier for you to build an online community, where students feel part of a team of like-minded individuals.
On top of this, Heights Platform offers a comment feature under each challenge lesson. So while students have access to the lesson, they can post their comments and thoughts. Since challenge lessons are only available for a set period of time, the comments left by students are more relevant, as they are posted in real-time.
Students going through a challenge together is also beneficial for the creators, especially in terms of customer service requests, which can be handled as a group. It will be much easier for you to assist your students when you know exactly which part of your online course content they are at.
You Can Better Upsell Other Products
A Challenge is not only a great learning tool. It is also a great marketing tool.
As Challenges are mostly short-term online courses, generally lasting a month or less, they are a great tool to introduce new customers to your program.
The end of a challenge is the perfect time for you to offer or upsell other online courses or digital products from your program. With Heights Platform you could customize which products to propose to students finishing a challenge.
The reason why this type of online course can be a useful marketing tool is that students who purchase a Challenge are the perfect audience for you to sell your more expensive products to. A Challenge helps kickstart engagement and brings your students value so when they do purchase your flagship online course or coaching program, they already have a built a habit of going through lessons and using your program.
Students who went through the Challenge - assuming they enjoyed it - are more likely to purchase again from you, as they learned to trust you, they liked your content and they can recognize you as an expert in your niche.
As a Challenge is a shorter and more concise online course, once completed, students who enjoyed it will want to purchase your more detailed and comprehensive online course.
If we had to place a Challenge in the value ladder, it would generally be considered as an "initial offer", meaning that it is a great product to easily gain new customers and guide them through your different value propositions.
For example, it is extremely hard to promote your $500 online course to people who know nothing about you or your brand. But if you promote your $50 Challenge to the same people, they might buy it, and at the end of it, they might be more willing to purchase your $500 course to learn more from you. By comparison, offering a free course to your students as an introduction for the same purpose might not deliver the same value if students put it off and never complete it.
This is just an example of how you could use Challenges as a marketing tool for your main program. Let's see now what other use case scenarios there are.
Improved Learning Experience for Students
Challenges can help you to increase the levels of engagement in your program, but can also provide a better learning experience for your students.
In a classic online course, students can access all of your content at the same time as soon as they purchase it. Unless you are using our drip release feature, where lessons become available to students only after a set amount of days since they first enroll in your online course, it is hard to understand how each student progresses through your online course.
With Challenges, every one of your students goes through your online course at the same time, and they get access to the content only on specific calendar days, and at a specific time.
This gives you the opportunity to better manage their learning experience and set boundaries on the pace at which your students consume the content.
Challenges are the perfect tool to use microlearning techniques. With microlearning, you release short pieces of content at a regular pace. An example of a microlearning course could see students receive a short lesson every day.
As the lessons are short, it is faster and easier for students to consume and retain content for a longer time.Create Your Online Course Today
Examples of Use Case Scenarios for Challenges
Thanks to their settings and flexibility, you can get creative with how you use Challenges inside Heights Platform. Let's see what are the most popular use case scenario to inspire you in your next Challenge!
Marketing Strategy: Introductory Mini-Course to Upsell Other Products
An extremely popular way to use a Challenge type of online course is to introduce new customers to your brand and product offerings.
This strategy works well if you are already selling at least one more online course at a premium price and you want to increase your sales.
You could create a relatively short Challenge and offer it to your audience as a lead magnet for free or at a low price. People who are interested in your niche but have not yet purchased from you will have no problem getting your free or low-priced Challenge.
This way, you manage to get your name out there, connect with many potential customers and introduce them to your brand.
After they complete the Challenge, these customers will be familiar with your products and teaching method, and you'll have a higher chance of selling your premium-priced online course.
Example of Challenge as Introductory Mini-Course
Let's say that your program focuses on teaching Japanese Cooking. You are selling multiple online courses and a membership site.
Sushi online course: $300
Complete Japanese Cooking Course: $900
Membership Site: $30/Month
Your main issue is that it is hard to get new leads for your business and the cost of acquiring a new customer is extremely high.
You could create a Challenge to help you bring in new leads and introduce them to your brand. Let's say you create a Challenge called: 7-Day Challenge for Sushi Lovers and you decide to charge $20 to access it. In the Challenge, you release a small lesson on how to make a simple recipe every day for a week.
You could promote your Challenge among your existing audience and use paid advertising to collect new leads. The cost of promotion will not be too high as your ads should be optimized to collect leads, allowing you to cover your customer acquisition costs by selling the Challenge for $20.
Let's say that you collect 50 leads with this promotion, so 50 students start the 7-Day Challenge altogether. You only need a couple of them to purchase one of your main product offerings in order to make a profit!
So all you need to do is create an awesome Challenge and offer quality content to show potential customers the value of your program and guide them towards the next level.
A Challenge to Complement Your Main Course or Membership
A Challenge does not have to be a limited, short-term online course. It could also work well as an add-on to complement the content of your main online course or membership site.
To make your program more dynamic, you could create a longer Challenge where you release new content weekly or monthly.
Within Heights Platform, you could also group your Challenge with other products and sell them as a whole inside a bundle. Heights Platform allows you to create Challenges that are up to 1 year long.
Example of a Complementary Challenge in Heights Platform
Let's say you are teaching how to speak French. You have a membership site with Heights Platform that offers a complete course for Beginners who want to learn the basics of French grammar.
Your membership site costs $19/Month and it is composed of pre-recorded lessons that are given to students with a drip-release method.
Your content is great and students really love the program. Your only problem here is that you want to engage your students even more and keep them entertained as they learn.
You could create one or more Challenges as you go that you offer for free to students who are enrolled in your membership site. Thanks to Heights Platform, you could insert these Challenges into the same bundle of your main course and invite your students to join.
One of the Challenges could be for example, a 3 month Challenge with new content released weekly, to complement your membership site. As your main membership focuses on teaching French grammar, the Challenge could teach fun French expressions or sayings.
This way you are offering even more value to your students while raising the engagement level in your membership site and creating a feeling of community, as the Challenge lessons are only live for a short time and all of your students go through them together.
Challenge as Your Flagship Course
Challenges are so great they can be used as the only product in your program!
Because of the way Challenges work, they are an excellent tool to offer a clear goal to students and improve their learning experience. Students who take part in a Challenge feel motivated to log in every day as they know that the content will expire soon.
On top of this, seeing that other people are also going through the same learning curve is extremely empowering and motivating for students.
Depending on your niche, topic and audience, a Challenge can be the perfect solution to utilize as a flagship course. Content that can be quickly consumed by students and learned in a non-linear manner works best with Challenges.
Example of a Flagship Challenge Course
Let's say that you are selling courses about fitness and cardio. Especially in the fitness world, it is important for students to work out with a consistent schedule in order to see results.
While online courses are great and offer a lot of flexibility, you need a tool that forces your students to complete their exercises every day and receive the value they paid for.
A Challenge course is the perfect solution. You could run longer Challenges (one or a few months) and release new lessons daily or weekly. This way you manage to create a consistent schedule your students have to stick to if they want to join the lesson! Students also have the added motivation of knowing their peers are going through those exact same fitness lessons at the same time they are.
Since a fitness course does not require a linear learning process, students can join the Challenge at any time without losing important information, which makes it a great fit for the Challenge business model.
Start Your Challenge Course With Heights Platform
Heights Platform allows creators to build awesome online courses, digital products, and membership sites. Now you can also create Challenges to add to your program!
Whether you wish to increase students' engagement, boost your sales, better promote your flagship products or create a feeling of community among your students, Heights Platform's Challenges are the perfect fit for you!
When we built the Challenges, we had our creators' needs in mind. Starting and re-running a Challenge is extremely easy and there is no need for manually uploading content again, deleting your lessons or using external expensive tools to reach your goals.Create Your Online Course Today