Increase Completion & Engagement Rates of Your Programs

There’s a lot of information out there about how to market and sell your online courses and programs, but what happens after you’ve made the sale? Oftentimes, the focus starts on creating a great, valuable product, and then shifts to selling that program/course. But very little attention is given to making sure the people who purchase your program and course engage with and complete it.

And it shows. Most online courses have a completion rate of anywhere from as low as 1% to an average of 13%. That’s a lot of people buying courses and not getting the full benefit!

Not only is this rate bad for the online course and program industry, it’s not great for your business.

If your customers and clients don’t finish your programs, they aren’t getting all the value available to them. When they don’t get value, they become unsatisfied customers and they definitely don’t become repeat customers.

Increasing your engagement and completion rates benefits everyone, so I’m going to share with you some of the best ways to make that happen.

#1 - Make Your Programs More Engaging

Ok, this is a given, but sometimes the simplest solution is the best one.

If you’ve found that your programs and courses have low completion and engagement rates, it’s possible that they just aren’t that engaging.

Make sure all the information you’re giving out is broken up in to small, digestible pieces. Utilize video, slides, animation and other video/audio elements to make the course more enjoyable.

Remember that everyone learns in different ways, so make sure your programs and courses take into account each style of learning.

#2 - Present a Tangible Goal

We’re more likely to complete anything when we can see the results. That’s why abstract goals or goals set too far in the future are often abandoned.

Even if your course teaches something intangible, or your program is designed to help them work towards a goal with no real physical result, you can still utilize worksheets, progress checklists or even progress reports to help them visualize their success.

The more tangible you can make the end result, and the more you can visualize their progress to that result, the more likely they are to seek the reward of finishing the program.

#3 - Use Rewards

Jumping off of that last point, rewards are a great way to keep up momentum and motivation. They can be given at various progress points designated by you, and they don’t need to be extravagant.

If you find that your students, clients or customers are all jumping off at a similar point, that might be a great place to insert a partial completion award. You can also offer rewards for completing tasks or assignments within the framework of your course or program.

Bonus videos, worksheets, gift certificates, discounts on your other programs, discounts on affiliate programs, certificates of completion, or even badges to display on social media are all great ideas to make your program participants feel accomplished and proud of their work.

#4 - Showcase Successes

Speaking of badges to display on social media, publicity is a great way to encourage participants to finish the program.

You can share pictures of students holding up a certificate of completion, or you can showcase the progress of past program participants on your social media sites.

It may seem simple and understated, but don’t ignore the power of your participants seeing the progress someone else has made.

This technique has 3 powerful attributes built into it:

  • Social Proof - the concept that we trust and want to participate in something that someone else has approved of (even if that person is a total stranger)
  • Reputation Building - as more students and participants complete your program, your reputation will grow, and as it grows, engagement will grow.
  • Fear Of Missing Out - no one wants to be left out, and as the number of people who successfully complete your program grow, the more people will want to be included in it.

#5 - Create a Community

The best way to increase the engagement of your course is to foster a supportive community. Most course creators achieve this with a Facebook group that participants can engage with.

Program participants will enjoy being able to communicate with others who are going through the same program, and those who’ve completed the program will enjoy offering advice and helping new students out.

You could just create a group and let it grow on its own, but it will be much more successful if you actively participate as well.

That doesn’t mean you need to engage every conversation; no one expects that, and you'd get burnt out really quickly. However, popping in occasionally to offer answers or start conversations will motivate participants and help them to feel supported.

#6 - Be Present

Of course, one way decrease completion rates and engagement is to just create a course, release it to the masses, and then just disappear.

Instead, make yourself available to offer support, troubleshoot problems and give encouragement. The smartest way to achieve that is to be available during scheduled times to answer questions via a live feed or chat.

When you do this, you can answer the most common questions people are having that week, showcase participants’ progress, and address specific issues that might be helpful for the whole group.

Scheduling this presence is helpful because it creates trust that you’re going to be there for your program participants, but doesn’t burden you with having to do the impossible. It sets reasonable expectations, and will definitely foster a community that increases engagement and completion.

#7 - Keep it Short

Finally, one of the best ways to increase engagement and completion is to make sure your participants don’t have to sit through hours and hours of information if they don’t want to.

Some people will certainly want to binge, and that might be ok for your particular program, but always break each lesson down into segments that are no longer than 10 minutes.

We learn best in short spurts of concise information. We learn even better if that information is repeated audibly, visually and tangibly (printable worksheets are your friend).

So make sure your lessons and program information don’t drone on forever and ever. Keep it exciting and short.