3 Critical Success Factors that’ll Make or Break your eCourse

Why do we create online courses?

Aside from the potential for making more money and freeing up our time, the obvious answer is to help people.

Unfortunately, a lot of eCourse creators jump into building their course without really asking themselves: 

“How do I create the ultimate student experience that ensures my participants get the results I’m promising?”

Not exploring these questions is creating an eCourse epidemic where the majority of students who sign up for a course, never complete it.

That’s obviously not what you want, right?

Of course not.

Creating an eCourse is a ton of hours and a lot of work. To put in all that effort and then have most of your students fail would suck!

In this article, we break down three of the most important areas to focus on when building your course.

No matter what your budget is or which platform you use, follow these guidelines, do the journaling questions and you will do your future students a massive service.

Skip the homework and there’s a good chance your students will be another failure statistic in the industry of online learning.

Here is our “I” and two “E”s in the Art of eCourse Creation…

Inclusion. Engagement. Encouragement.

Let’s explore each of them now.


Is to make someone feel welcome, wanted and important.

Many courses are failing to see the importance in doing this. They make their sale, automate the emails, have a comments section under the lessons… but they fail to make participants feel included.

When someone comes to your home for the first time, do you open the door and walk away, leaving them to figure out where to be and what to do? Or do you you welcome them and help them feel comfortable by engaging with them?

Well, many course creators are simply just walking away, leaving their students to fend for themselves.

Or they make the community experience of their course an added upsell, therefore creating exclusivity.

We honestly thought about doing this with the Great eCourse Adventure in the early stages. Having the course be one price and the community and coaching an upsell.

We’re so glad that we included both the coaching and our online community platform in our price, because BOTH have proven to be essential for making our students feel included, as well as for keeping them connected and engaged so they succeed.

Questions worth exploring…

1. How can you create a sense of inclusion for your students, clients and community members in your course and business operations?

2. Where in your current business and operating model are you failing to see the value in growing a community? And I’m not talking about an email list here

3. If you were joining your own eCourse as a student, what would YOU want in order to feel connected and included to your teacher and other students?

Note: Your community is NOT your blog or Youtube channel. Those are mediums for engaging with your community. Your community needs a town hall, a place for everyone to gather, connect and share meaningful conversations.


Without engagement, you don’t actually have an eCourse.

If you want to be successful, then you better do everything in your power and creative mind to ensure your course keeps your students enjoying the learning process from start to finish.

This’ll take thinking outside the blueprint and doing things differently.

Gamification is a huge part of what we’re teaching. We’re not just talking about giving an empty badge for completing a lesson either.

We’re talking about, making your eCourse feel like it’s a game. Creating challenges, rewards and opportunities to apply the lessons in real life and come back to your community to share a video, selfie or written story on their experience.

Inviting participants to go out and do something specific in their life, then come back and share the results or story takes care of both number one and two, inclusion and engagement. Especially if students get rewarded for their efforts.

In the Great eCourse Adventure, we created our own currency called “The Bajillion” through a fantastic WordPress plugin called MyCred.

This increased the fun-factor and levels of engagement to new levels.

Our students earn bajillion by participating in the forum, completing lessons and checkpoints, as well as when they complete special challenges we give them.

With each challenge, they earn “tools (aka: fun badges)” that go in their “backpack”. The tools earned show up on their profile.

They also gain the skills associated with the challenge; such as getting more comfortable in front of the camera, receiving feedback on their sales copy, website,  course idea and much more.

The coolest part about our currency though, is they can spend their bajillion in our “Mountain Shop” on real products, software and services that’ll help them build their dream eCourse.

We are giving real incentive to be engaged and it’s unbelievable how well it’s working!

People are motivated and inspired to push through their resistance to keep taking the next step.

Questions to ponder…

  1. If you were to create the ultimate student experience, what features would be most important for you (as the creator) and for your students?
  1. How can you get creative NOW to begin implementing those ideas and features into your courses?
  1. How can you get creative with the ways you deliver your lessons and facilitate the learning experience for your students (see this article for ideas and inspiration).


Learning a new skill or making changes in our life can be extremely hard.

Remember what it was like when you first got started on your path?

No matter what your course is about, there will be an element of growth required to take your students from where they are to the result you’re intending for them.

If they don’t have the discipline to persevere through that growth curve or the ability to stay focused when “life happens” and they get distracted, then they’ll fail. That’s the bottom line.

The dropout rate of online courses is stupidly high (something like 80 – 97%, depending on who you ask).

This simple idea can be so powerful when done authentically and consistently with your students.

Encouragement means to give someone support, confidence, or hope. In other words, it means to encourage the development of a skill, state, or belief.

This requires planning and being consistent. The occasional post in your Facebook group or community forum is not enough. These students need you, so be present with them. So create a strategy.

Be their biggest cheerleader, at least until your community gets to a critical point that everyone is supporting one-another and your physical presence is less needed.  

You can also encourage through your email automations.

Many great services, like Active Campaign allow you to create if/then email automations.

Meaning, IF someone opens one of your emails and clicks a link, then that triggers a specific email series. Or IF someone does not open one of your emails after “X” days, then that triggers another series of emails to bring them back to the course.

This one tool has been monumental for bringing our wandering students back to the adventure to continue on their course creation journey.

We’ve also made our automations extremely fun to read, keeping our students excited to open their next “Smoke Signal” message.

Here are some questions to contemplate…

  1. How can you be more present and encouraging in your online community?
  1. Are you using the power of If/Then email automations? If not, would you see the value in learning them so you can better support your students? (we teach this)
  2. What is your community encouragement plan to keep your students on track? Everyone has a marketing plan, but few have one of these.

There is so much more that goes into creating a remarkable eCourse. Following the guidance of this post will surely give your students a better chance at completing and achieving the desired results.

Rather than rushing to get your course launched in a frantic frenzy, be methodical and take your time.

Facilitating transformation and building incredible online learning experiences is an artform.

So play, be creative and have fun!

We’d love to hear your thoughts, ideas, questions and experience. Share in the comments below. Let’s talk!

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