How to Profit from the Microlearning Boom
Microlearning is a new-ish way of absorbing (and learning) new information. Bite-sized lessons are combined with immediate, actionable steps.
When you take a large idea, break it down, and teach the information in 15 minute sound bites, it’s a lot easier for the student to digest the new information.
We couple these small lessons with an immediate activity to cement the teaching.
Long courses used to mimic physical classrooms, but researchers have found people tend to absorb more information (and complete more courses they buy), when the lessons are given in smaller bites.
We don’t have the time to digest your three-hour video anymore.
But we might invest $25 in your one-day course to help us buy a car effectively, or clean stubborn stains, or make more money by the weekend.
Microlearning offers an unlimited opportunity to grow your side-hustle and scale it as you learn to understand the needs of your audience.
How Can You Build a Side-Hustle with Microlearning?
With this novel teaching method you. Can build laser-focused courses to satisfy the needs of your niche.
Micro-courses are faster to produce, taking days instead of the months it can take with a large-scale course.
The price-point is lower, so these types of courses are within reach of more people.
The barrier to entry is lower, since these little courses can cost less than a hundred bucks. Many cost less than fifty.
You can uncover a new idea, shoot a couple videos on your phone, create a series of PDF worksheets, and a few homework assignments–you’ve got a micro-course. In less than a week you can have your first course on-line.
You Start with a Tribe
These are the people you serve. Others are welcome to consume your content, but you didn’t write it for them.
You choose a niche and you go all-in for the people you serve. This means giving until it hurts, then giving a little more.
As part of your content curation, you include a link to join your email list.
I call this free offer your Easy Invite. The EI is a valuable free offer that solves a specific problem for the reader.
The Easy Invite should be hard to refuse if you’ve matched the content with a member of your tribe.
Don’t ask people to join your newsletter, or ‘click to keep in touch.’ We don’t want to keep in touch with you. We want solutions to our problems.
Find Out What They Don’t Want
Part of our automated welcome sequence is a simple survey. Ask your customer about their biggest pain point regarding your niche. We find out what they don’t want.
This is called the Ask Method, created by Ryan Lavesque (check out his books).
This is the trick to asking people what they do want.
When you ask people what they do want they aren’t always able to tell you. At least, not what they’re willing to purchase.
But we can ask them what they don’t want and draft our micro courses around their answers.
When you ask the question, you’ll get a series of similar responses. Sort these responses in buckets.
You’ll end up with 5-7 buckets of answers. Each bucket becomes at least one micro course.
How to Make a Micro Course
Solve one specific problem in a way that takes about an hour or two to consume the entire course.
Break each step down to 15 minute chunks.
At the end of each chunk, include a hands-on assignment.
This is the foundation of microlearning—short lessons, coupled with actionable exercises to cement the knowledge.
Instead of sitting through a two-hour video, your student might watch a five-minute cell phone video, read a one-page PDF, and get her homework at the end.
The entire step should take 15 minutes or fewer.
Micro courses aren’t fancy.
We want high-quality, but we don’t need Hollywood production. We want the solution to a single, specific problem.
Take the reader from where she is (the escape), to the life she wants (the arrival). Your micro-course is the handful of steps between these two existences.
Segment Your Tribe
Now you’ve got the people you serve, divided into a series of buckets, based on the answers they provide in your automated survey.
Segment these people automatically, in your email list.
Once you do some early testing with your audience, you’ll have your series of buckets.
Have a link to each.
Ask each new subscriber to click the link she most-resonates with.
This link-clicking process will segment your audience automatically as they subscribe to your email list.
Sell The Thing they Asked For
Here’s the best part. Now you’ve got your micro course. Send an automated email launch sequence to the targeted segment of your tribe.
The people with the problem get your solution. The people who don’t have the same problem may not get the launch.
As a new subscriber joins your list, she’ll segment herself and eventually see an offer to solve her problem.
You can always offer the same micro course later, in a broadcast email.
As you work your way through the buckets, you’ll have a series of micro courses on tour digital shelf—each course earning you a semi-automated income stream as you bring new subscribers into your tribe.
Work Your Way Through the Customer Buckets
It may feel like you’ve gotta have everything complete before you launch your business. Nope.
This micro-course method is an evolving process—part of your overall side-hustle.
Make one course at a time and offer it to those who need help.
Maybe create a new micro-course every quarter, completing all the courses over the span of two years.
There will be bumps along the way. The course may need work. There will be questions and room for clarification.
Your tribe will help guide the direction of your work–probably to places you never uncovered on your own. This is the beauty of asking your audience in the right way.
Most people can’t tell you straight-away, but you’ll get there by uncovering what they don’t want. The part of being an entrepreneur is figuring out the answer to help improve their lives.
Ship Your First Micro-Course Fast
Create your first course and get it in front of some early adopters. You’ll have to adjust your sales copy, the course title, content, and even the price.
When you launch quickly you give yourself a ‘control.’ From here, we try to beat our control. The new product becomes the new control.
Adjust the parts that need fixing.
Launch again and watch the data.
I found a simple sentence on my email landing page increased conversion by 10 percent!
I kick myself daily for not testing and re-testing frequently.
You Don’t Need a Huge Email List
If you’ve got a continuous series of both large and small offerings, you don’t need a giant list to feed your family.
Microlearning is a great way to create a significant automated income.
Let’s say you’ve got a $47 micro-course. To earn $100k per year, all you need to do is sell six micro-courses a day. Six!
If you doubled the price and got a similar conversion rate (with testing), you’d only need to sell three per day!
The math increases from there.
Most of the time it takes just as much marketing work to sell a low-cost product as it does a premium product.
When you sell premium, you closing rates are lower, but you don’t need to make as many sales.
I recommend offering both a premium product and micro-courses.
Not everyone is in the same position along the buying ladder. You might have some readers with less income but more time, while you’ve got other readers with no time, but more money.
Again, you don’t (and shouldn’t) need to create all your products at once.
Let Your Tribe Guide Your Work
You will be surprised at the solutions your readers need. Don’t guess your next product. Ask the right questions in the right way and build people what they want.
You’ll have an easier time selling your work.
You send an email that says, “I made this for you, since you said you had tribune with X.”
How do you think your tribe will respond to this more-customized approach?
Everyone is different. Even the people who enjoy the same niche.
Just because someone is a golfer, doesn’t mean they’re a pro or amateur. We need to ask them what they don’t want first.
Let your tribe guide the direction of your side-hustle.
It all Starts with Content
You create specific, free content to gather your tribe. Find the platform where your people congregate most and start by going all-in on a single location.
Become the dominant voice for your niche.
You can grow your tribe and increase your sales, simultaneously.
The content method is slower, but it will help you uncover the perfect combination of product and offer before you waste a bunch of money on social ads.
Advertising is not the place you want to experiment with your micro-course.
Come to the table with all the right answers first, then all you’ll need to do is test a series of ads.
August Birch is an author, email expert, and entrepreneur from Michigan, USA. As a self-appointed guardian of writers and creators, August teaches indies how to make more work that sells and sell that work once it’s made. When he’s not writing or teaching, August carries a pocket knife and shaves his head with a safety razor.