In a nutshell, the rented, earned, and owned media that collectively account for your marketing strategy all funnel back to meeting a specific goal for your company. That goal could be sales of products or services, or even building an email list. But there’s another concept that’s emerged throughout the course of our work here at Alter Endeavors: owned media as a conversion for your business. That is, unlike a blog post, this owned media doesn’t directly funnel to your product or service, but rather is itself a product.
This can take a variety of forms, but in today’s post we’d like to specifically highlight e-learning—including why you might want an e-learning platform and how you can create your own e-learning platform for your brand. Let’s dive in!
Why create an e-learning platform?
There are a couple major reasons why a learning management system (LMS) might be beneficial to your business and brand. To start, authority and expertise are highly valuable in practically any industry. That’s because these attributes signal trustworthiness, a major virtue for your business, and one that makes customers much more inclined to work with you—not just once, but often.
When you design and sell an e-learning platform, you provide something tangible that users can then use to achieve some sort of goal. An LMS is highly flexible—you can teach users about a core concept, system, or method that you, your business partners, and your team members are uniquely positioned to teach.
E-learning platforms don’t need to be purely outward-facing, either. You can also leverage these platforms internally, training employees on the skills, values, and concepts that are integral to the way your company does business.
So why e-learning compared to something like, say, a webinar? Well, the big difference here is scalability. In a webinar, you may be teaching a class of 30 over and over. This can be an effective way to convey information, certainly, but it also demands a lot of time investment from your team to execute. With an e-learning platform, on the other hand, hundreds of people could complete your course with minimum ongoing involvement from your team. E-learning also presents the opportunity for people to move at their own pace—giving them the flexibility to devour your content in a few weeks or over the course of several months.
But why create your own e-learning platform?
Now that you have a better understanding of why you might want to build an e-learning platform, you may be wondering why you would want to build an e-learning platform. That is, why not use an out of the box solution, like Litmos or Kajabi?
This is an important question—and honestly, there are times where we’ve found a Litmos or a Kajabi works just fine for the needs our clients have. This isn’t the case very often, however, and it all comes down to what you need your e-learning platform to be good at, as well as the ownership of your content.
Each of these packaged e-learning platforms have their strengths—but they also have their clear weaknesses (like limited marketing tools), and you can’t pick and choose parts of each one to design your brand’s new e-learning platform.
When you develop and create your own e-learning platform, however, you don’t need to worry about trying to fit your square-shaped course into the round or triangle holes of these pre-existing platforms. You can outline your goals and content, plan out how to best convey the concepts and systems you need to convey, and then build the platform around that content.
Not only will you be presenting the information in the most effective way possible, but your e-learning platform will be completely under your control and flexible enough to meet your vision and goals—from the content to the design to conversion agendas and everything in between.
How do you build an e-learning platform?
So now you understand the “why.” But how easy is it to create an e-learning platform for your brand? We break down the “how” of building an e-learning platform into 8 clear and simple steps. Let’s take a look!
First, you’ll need to decide on what content you’re putting into your LMS (and for whom). To break these down into “courses” to be completed, first determine what are the “big ideas” of your content. It may help to first define a category for your big ideas. For example, say you want to teach folks about swinging golf clubs. Within that, you may have an entire course on “Mastering the Driver” or “The Perfect Putting Plan.”
There can be multiple “big ideas” or topics; however, if you start with one, that will likely inform the other topics in terms of your approach, your cadence, and how you’d like to distribute information. In the end, we don’t really advise starting with more than 1-3 big ideas.
Once your first big idea is decided on, break it down into 3, 5, 10, or however many key concepts that comprise this big idea. These key concepts will be the modules you develop for the course. Consider whether these key concepts need to be broken down further—that is, will there be multiple videos within the key concepts? Or can each be contained within its own piece of content?
Remember that, since you’re building your platform from scratch, the information doesn’t have to be conveyed in one particular way. How the AE approach differs is in the fact that we allow our clients to look at their own content, figure out the best way to convey that information effectively, and then build around that.
If you aren’t sure about the best way to convey the information you have, that’s okay too! This then becomes our first step—breaking down your topic and figuring out the best way to present the information you have.
Next, decide on how to deploy the information, including what sort of system we need to build to support this structure of information. How will we track progress? How will users be rewarded? If your LMS is external-facing, the reward could be a badge, a certificate, or an exclusive alumni group or club. If it’s internal, maybe the employee gets a bonus or some other tangible benefit.
Now it’s time to build out the content. Will you be creating a video for every concept and subconcept? Or will there be videos for the larger ideas and supplementary PDFs for smaller modules? Will you be developing quizzes and assessments to go along with the material? This also includes deciding on tools that may be necessary, such as a calculator.
Getting all of the videos created and edited, writing all of the content, making all of the graphics, and organizing all of this media before anything is built is typically ideal. Once the content is ready, we can decide on the best box to put it in. As mentioned above, sometimes one of the existing LMS providers will have a box that works for your content—if so, that’s great! If not, you have experts on your side that can customize everything accordingly.
Next, we figure out how to go to market with your LMS. Will we be selling it as a package, or with a subscription model? Will you be creating licenses that can be doled out to your team that you can manage? The go to market strategy will differ based on your audience, how we’re trying to reach them, and what you want them to do.
With all of this decided on, it’s time to deploy your new LMS. On our side, we build out the structure, design, and all the components around that. We’ll get the platform built out and flow in the content, run QA on our side and with the client, make sure everything is working properly, then launch and go to market.
Step 7 is simple: get the word out! This is where we start deploying marketing efforts and outbound strategies. If any of our marketing partners are working with us, we make sure they have everything they need to ensure that your e-learning platform gets in front of as many eyes as possible.
As with anything developed and put on the internet, creating your own e-learning platform isn’t just a “set it and forget it” type of thing. The internet is constantly shifting and changing, meaning eventually things can break down or present new challenges. So after our client’s LMS is launched, we also offer ongoing site management to maintain the platform, including security updates and quality assurance to make sure updates don’t break the system. What’s more, if you ever have an issue, you know exactly who to reach out to!
Alter Endeavors is with you every step of the way!
At Alter Endeavors, we work with our clients to create new and exciting ways to put their brand out there. An e-learning platform presents a new and unique way to share your brand’s “uniquely better” while providing an easily scalable product that you can continue updating and adding to down the line.
What’s more, while we do the building, you have complete ownership of your brand’s LMS—every license, login, and certificate belongs to our clients. If you ever want to migrate your platform, you’re not beholden to the hosting environment you start with, and you truly own the product. Ready to get started? Contact us today and let’s create something together!