You've done the hard work—you've created an online course that sells, grown to hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue, and built a content engine that brings new customers to your door. But if you’re like most successful course creators, you also know that only a small fraction of your customers purchase multiple courses. And if you could change that, you'd have a simple way to double or triple your income from your online course sales.
One of the simplest ways to get people to purchase multiple courses is to create an alumni community. Inside this community, people who purchase and complete a course meet other members, attend events, and keep mastering topics that interest them. It's an incredibly effective way to build a giant community of people that you can sell courses, advanced coaching programs, and new products to over and over again.
Creating an alumni community for your past students is a great way to increase your online course sales and expand your business in new directions. Ahead, we’re exploring why alumni communities are so effective for selling courses online.
What is an alumni community?
An alumni community is a group of people who have graduated from your online courses or programs. We’ve seen many successful online course creators using this community model as a means for selling more courses that they offer.
Think of your alumni community as a gathering hub for the people who see the value in the content you’re offering. It’s also a place to connect people together who may have taken your courses at different places if you offer them on multiple platforms.
Many of the course creators who use Mighty Probring all of their courses into their branded apps so their courses and alumni communities can all be in the same place.
Why are alumni communities so effective for selling courses?
Alumni communities are effective for selling more courses because you’re creating a network of highly dedicated people that are interested in the same thing. On top of that, alumni communities are different from a regular community membership because they are exclusive, and only for people who’ve done the hard work of mastering the skills, your courses help with.
But there’s more to alumni communities than just that. Think of an alumni community as a place for you to offer your most advanced and specific content. Instead of starting from the beginning of a topic, alumni communities for your online courses can pick up where you left off.
For example, if you primarily sell online courses focused on introductory personal finance topics, consider creating an alumni community for students who graduate from your course and offering a masterclass or intermediate-level course that is exclusive to alumni.
Another example of this is our Mighty Pro customer, Lifebook. Jon and Missy Butcher created their transformational Lifebook program as a way for people to envision, plan, and execute on attaining the lifestyle they want to live.
Lifebook has become a multimillion-dollar program through offering its courses alone. However, it can be hard to re-engage these people who’ve completed the program to buy more courses. The Lifebook team saw an opportunity for selling more online courses by creating an alumni community for graduates and then offering masterclass-level courses and coaching for Lifebook graduates and made an additional $900k last year.
Alumni communities are so effective because it gives you a centralized hub to reinvigorate the conversation around your content with people who already believe in it.
Two ways to structure your alumni community
So you’re down to start an alumni community for your online courses, great, there’s a couple of ways to go about it. The key is that the alumni community should be easy for you to interact with and get the message out about new courses you’re selling that will be of interest to your past cohorts.
Here are a few ideas for structuring the community:
1. Create one alumni community for your course content
A tried and tested way to successfully build an alumni community that will sell more of your online courses is to make one large group for all graduates.
If you build a community on Mighty Pro, you could do what we described above about Lifebook and their “Mastery Membership.” Their network is one large community for any Lifebook graduate to pay to join. Within their Mighty Pro apps members can post, interact with polls, tune in to livestreams, and take online courses and coaching. In this model, the membership includes all of these experiences and is priced at $250/year or $30/month.
Additionally, alumni of their traditional Lifebook Online program can get a special discount to try the alumni members for free. This is a great way to get people funneled into your alumni community and then become paying members.
The important thing to realize is that this form of alumni community reinvents the model of online courses from a one-off purchase into a lives-service membership where you can release course content in a more piecemeal fashion and members pay a monthly or annual fee to keep up to date.
2. Create an online community with alumni groups
A model that you may be using without realizing it already is creating individual groups for graduates of specific online courses you sell.
Online course creators will often begin by using Facebook to create groups for students and graduates to connect with one another. While this is certainly a solution that “works,” it quickly becomes incredibly unruly as your online course business grows. So many successful creators complain about how time-consuming and challenging it is to keep track of all of these different groups and it’s even harder to engage these growing communities to actually buy new online courses you’re offering.
Our customer, Mind Your Mind, found a great solution for this within the branded apps they built on Mighty Pro. They created a central hub network for people who are interested in their online courses to join and connect. Within their Mighty Pro Network, they host their online courses which consist of social learning communities and live online coaching sessions.
For graduates of their three-month programs, Mind Your Mind has created a private alumni community group within their network which functions as a place for people who’ve completed a course to partake in mastermind sessions, live coaching, and more.
This structure is helpful if you like teaching your online course modules to smaller cohorts while still having everything in one place.
Let your alumni help propel your sales
A final thing to consider about the power of alumni communities' ability to increase online course sales is that alumni can be your advocates. There’s nothing more effective in selling online courses than concrete social proof and enthusiasm from real people who’ve seen the changes your expertise has provided them.
There’s a reason that colleges and universities around the globe build prodigious alumni associations, these graduates have the ability to make your business bigger, better, and more widely known. Creating a space that acknowledges their support achievements and provides a gateway to new, deeper insights is a great way to elevate your business and sell more online courses.
With Mighty Pro, you have complete flexibility and can create different communities for each course, free communities for all course graduates, advanced groups for people who purchase both your courses, and high-ticket coaching programs. Plus, all of your courses, communities, livestreams, events, and video content are hosted within your own branded iOS and Android apps.
If you'd like more examples of how course creators are using alumni communities to increase their revenue, reach out and we'll give a tour of our most successful communities.