How do you decide if you need to create an ebook, an online course, a monthly subscription or a full-blown membership site?
Well, it depends.
It depends on the outcome you want for your customers.
You’ve got to ask yourself:
- What is the problem you want to solve for your audience?
- How big is this problem? Is there a long journey to the solution?
- Do you need to give one specific outcome? or
- Could this be an ongoing learning experience?
Here’s what I mean.
An ebook is where you cover one very linear problem. It’s very focused and streamlined to give one solution.
I’m thinking of around the 50-100 page mark at the most. This should be enough to cover and provide the solution to one specific problem which is bothering your target audience.
If your ebook needs more than 100 pages then think of your reader. How long do they have to scroll and scroll and scroll through loads of pages to find the solution to their problem?
And what if they want to go back and forth from one chapter to another on any given day? It’s doable, but not a great experience.
I’ve got ebooks on my PC now which I still like to refer back to because I want to go over a particular chapter or a few paragraphs again, but I have to scroll through the pages to find them.
This actually puts me off wanting to find the information because unless I’ve written down the exact page number in the PDF document, I have to scroll and search for the information I want.
Example: An ebook on ‘How to Cure Acne with Food’ will give you an exact solution, under 80 pages, to clear acne with food and diet only.
Conclusion: Create an ebook to solve one specific problem, and for the book to be preferably no more than 80 pages long.
This leads on nicely from the ebook format and comes from a recent personal experience.
I’ve written twelve ebooks over the years with the maximum number of pages in each book ranging from 25-60, until recently.
I decided to write another book, The Passive Income Blueprint, and it ended up being over 100 pages long (it had screenshots in it) and came with bonus handouts.
To cut a long story short, I wanted to update the Blueprint and realized it would not be a great experience for my readers in the standard ebook format.
I also realized that it was becoming a bit of a nightmare to try and find exactly what I needed and wanted to update by scrolling through my 100+ page Word Document (the format which it was originally typed in).
Around the same time I bought a course on a specific subject (Pinterest) and it was on the Thinkific course platform, but it was all text based.
Aha, light bulb moment!
I thought to myself; why couldn’t I put my Passive Income Blueprint into a course platform but as text too?
I could literally copy and paste from the ebook (Word document) into the ‘lessons pages’ inside the course.
Which is what I’ve done, but I’m still updating it and it isn’t ready yet as I type this.
Moral of the Story
So the moral of the story is, if your ebook is going to be over 100 pages long, why not put it into a course platform as text only?
- Your readers can read with greater ease as they go through the ‘lessons’.
- They can easily go back and forth to ‘lessons’ they want to read again.
- No more scrolling and scrolling for both you and your readers.
- It will be much easier for you to update and manage.
- Simply find the lesson where you want to make the changes and click ‘Save’.
Voila! All done.
- No need to re-save as a PDF document.
- No need to re-upload it into your Digital Delivery Service.
And… yes there’s more, you can charge more for a text-based course because it has a higher perceived value than a simple PDF ebook.
Conclusion: Create a text-based course if the problem you want to solve doesn’t fit below 80 pages of an ebook.
You can also create a text-based course if you don’t want to create an video-based course…
Online Video Course
An online video course has a clearly defined start and end point to the solution of a larger subject area than that of an ebook.
I’ll repeat the purpose of an online course:
- To offer a solution to a larger subject area than that of an ebook
Now in hindsight, for my Passive Income Blueprint course, an online video course such as this would have been the best solution.
Why haven’t I done the Blueprint as an online video course?
For several reasons:
- I just wanted to transfer it over from my ebook format.
- It would have taken me MONTHS to create all the video tutorials needed.
- I felt too overwhelmed and intimidated to do all the videos, of which I’m not used to doing.
- So in fact, the Blueprint as a video course would never have happened at all.
So if you feel the same as me and want to create something larger than an ebook but don’t want to do a whole video online course, then do a text-based course instead.
Just make sure you clearly state on your sales page that it’s a text-only based course and not the usual video course.
But, if you’re good at videos and PowerPoint presentations with voice-over, then an online video course is a great fit for you.
You can also charge anywhere from $197 -$997 for this type of course, depending how in-depth it is.
Example: An online course on Facebook Ads taking you through the whole process, step-by-step, with the outcome being you creating your own Ad campaigns.
Conclusion: Create a video-based course to cover a larger solution to that of an ebook and you’re okay with the technology of videos and slide presentations.
Monthly Membership Subscription
A monthly subscription is where you provide a specific solution to a problem on an ongoing basis and receive little monthly payments from subscribers.
It has a very linear subject matter and has a very linear approach as to how you deliver the solution.
For example, the delivery of the solution could be as simple as sending PDF documents to subscribers via email each month.
So if you think that you can deliver something on an ongoing monthly basis where there is no need to write an ebook or create a course, then this might be best suited to you.
Example: A monthly subscription for daily meal plans, shopping lists and recipes via PDFs.
Conclusion: A monthly subscription membership is ideal when it doesn’t necessarily have an ‘end’ but also doesn’t warrant a full-blown membership site
Monthly Membership Site
And lastly, the full-blown membership site.
By ‘full-blown’ I mean that it normally consists of a variety of content forms such as:
- Guest Master Classes
- Guest Interviews
- Small ‘bite-sized’ video tutorials
- PDF checklists, cheat sheets
- A Facebook community and/or a Forum
As with the monthly subscription, there’s no set endpoint. A membership is an ongoing teaching and learning experience for as long as the member wants to stay.
Example: Carrie Green’s Female Entrepreneur Association Members’ Club is a great example.
Conclusion: A monthly membership club is ideal if you want to cover a whole niche and is larger than one specific online course. You’re never under-pressure to actually put a ‘finish’ date on your content.
So there you have it, my take on the different digital product modalities and how & why you should create content for any specific one.
I hope you found this helpful!