How to use storytelling to promote and structure your online course

When customers sign up for your online course, they’re embarking on a journey.

In fact, if you think about it, all our lives are full of millions of journeys – and they go something like this:

* You have a problem. You want to get somewhere, achieve something, be someone. Grow your business, be a confident speaker or get your health back on track. But you don’t know how to do it.

* You go and find someone who can help you. Someone you trust. Someone who understands where you’re at right now, where you’re trying to get to and what’s in the way.

* Then, knowing you have someone to turn to when you need to, you set off on your quest.

* But the road’s not straight. There are crossroads and roadblocks to breakthrough, challenges to overcome and even some villains along the way to reckon with!  Much of which will actually be in your own head, as you question:

“Can I do it?”. “Have I got what it takes?”, “Do I deserve it?”.

Sound familiar??

* And that’s when you need your ‘guide’ (whether it’s a mentor, friend, speaker, online course or even a book) to remind you that you have everything you need to get through this barrier, achieve what you want to achieve and be who you want to be.

* Together, you face the demons and dragons and come out victorious. Heads held high and trumpets blaring, celebrating your moment of glory.

* You’ve won the day. You’re a Hero … and you’re another step further along this journey called “Life”. Right?

So, when your customers are considering buying your online course, what they really, really want to know is:

“Do I trust you and can you get me the great result I want?”

You need to put your customer at the centre of your story. You can do that by focusing on:

Who is your course for?

Who is your ideal client and what is the biggest problem you are going to help them solve?

Where is your ideal client at, right now?

What is their current story and how is having that problem making them feel?

Why are you the perfect person to guide them?

How are you uniquely equipped to help them? Have you been where they are now? Have you helped others who were at the same starting point?

** Include a bit of your own story here – but keep it short, concise and highly relevant. If you want help with that, download my FREE storytelling workbook HERE **

What is their Happy-Ever-After story?

What will success look like for them and how will it make them feel when they no longer have that problem? Remember what you are selling them. No-one wants to buy a course. They want the success that course will bring them.

What’s at stake?

What will it cost them if they don’t solve that problem? We’re not motivated enough to take action until there’s a cost. How high are the stakes?

What’s the plan?

And finally, remember what Glinda, the Good Witch, told Dorothy?

“Just follow the yellow brick road”.

Make it easy for your clients to get started. Keep it super, super simple. Don’t overwhelm. Just lay the path out in front of them, with the first 2 or 3 steps they need to take to start moving towards their Happy-Every-After story – TODAY.

But the storytelling doesn’t have to stop there!

You can use the same story framework to structure your course and even keep the relationship going after the course has finished:

Structuring your course using storytelling:

Set the stage

Set the stage by talking your client through the journey you are about to go on together. Prepare them for the road ahead and show them there is a clear, easy-to-follow plan. Reassure them they are in safe hands and that, whatever happens along the way, you will be there for them.

** Even if it’s a fully-automated course, with no live input from you, you still want them to feel supported, cared for and looked after **

Introduce the characters (and villains!)

Prepare them in advance for the likely hurdles and challenges they may face along the way. You want them to feel confident you already know the pot-holes and pitfalls and that, actually, slaying the dragons is going to be easier that they might think.

If you are bringing in other experts, as part of your course, introduce those characters and explain their role. What part do they play in helping get participants across the finish line.

Keep them engaged

And, remind your customers why they embarked on this journey in the first place, what they’ll have at the end and what you’re helping them avoid (remember that ‘cost’ piece we talked about earlier?). Get them to visualise how their life will be better when they’ve got the great result your course is designed to help them get.

To be continued …

And finally, use storytelling to show how you can stay in your customers’ lives, walking alongside them and helping them as they continue to grow. What is their next chapter? How might you be able to support them as they embark on their next quest?

What’s next? 

Stories are powerful on so many levels. When you tell stories that have your customer at the centre of them, you create storylines that they will want to be a part of.

If you would like more help getting started on your own storytelling journey, download my FREE storytelling workbook HERE and begin telling better stories today.