Don’t Make “Courses” Anymore, Make “Programs”

Why we should not be selling courses may seem hypocritical because I’ve made several million dollars selling courses. I’m known for having courses like Personal Branding, One Minute Video, Digital Plumbing, and Content Marketing.

I’ve got courses all over, whether it’s Fiverr, our academy, other sites, Instagram, Google, and more. But there’s been a shift in the last couple of years, and I want to talk about this shift and then what this means for all of us where we all have to publish training.

The XYZ Model: A Framework for Achieving Tangible Results

Courses are just webinars now, and there needs to be more value, arguably in any webinar why anyone would want to spend an hour. The reason why people are willing to do it, to go to a mastermind and fly out there to go to a conference is because they see a specific intended result. How do you rank on Google? How do make sushi or something like that? But what people want is that result. So if you start from that result, then you don’t have a course anymore. How do I start a landscaping company in 30 days? How do I get million-dollar cases as a personal injury attorney? How do I lose 20 pounds in 90 days?

I help X achieve Y via Z

How do I achieve a certain result in X number of days? I help you achieve this result in many days through this particular framework. The XYZ model. That’s the same thing as your LinkedIn bio, your headline, and the title of your blog where you put it everywhere. It’s like your resume. If you’re looking for a job, I help X achieve Y via Z. So I help a certain target audience, not everyone on the planet achieve a measurable, particular result via my program or via a skill that I have. So you could have a course that’s tied to the skill that you have that’s self-serve. It’s to learn how to do what you do to drive this result for this particular user. So if you think about this X, Y, Z model, I help X achieve Y via Z. That’s just goals, content, and targeting. We’re helping people achieve, these people achieve this particular goal through this particular means.

The way you do it is the content and the person you’re doing it for is targeting. So X, Y, and Z is GCT, which is strategy. So when you put a course out there, No one wants to sit through 10 modules of 45 minutes each, no one has time for that unless they’re binging on Netflix, which they keep like some separate exception, but no one wants to sit through all of that.

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The Dollar-a-Day Strategy: Streamlining Learning for Immediate Impact

When it comes to some kind of training, instead of calling it a course, call it a program, and you want to have the program be as simple as possible. As frictionless as possible, yet still able to achieve the core result. So if you look at our training on Dollar-a-Day, I’ve sold this as the Facebook Dollar-a-Day course.

There’s probably 15 or 20 hours of content in there where I’m showing how to do it on Twitter, I’m showing how to set up the tracking, how to do audience targeting, how to make the right videos, it works how to optimize to the right engagement rate. Lots of examples of how we’ve done it, doing it on LinkedIn, doing it on TikTok, doing it on YouTube. but if you think about it, what people want is how do you do that in just a few steps? Can you give it to people in a 15-minute summary so they can get immediate results and get immediate impact to then allow them to go deeper into these particular components? So reframe everything. That’s a course in a program. How do I achieve this result in three steps? If you’re doing it for personal injury attorneys or real estate agents, that’s going to be a lot more credible than doing it for anyone on the planet who has a new business.

Our Customers Want Results, Not More ‘Training’

A program can be a YouTube video, or it can be something on Kajabi or LearnDash, people log in and watch videos and complete exercises, which is like a course.

A course implies that it’s self-paced. A program is ambiguous about whether someone’s involved in helping you get it done. So then from the program, you step into things like group coaching or live webinars, training like this. It could be a course, some kind of accountability, and a community component.

If you think about it, the course is the lowest form of value that you can have in terms of training. And everything else that’s more valuable has some kind of interaction, accountability, and a higher level of engagement than just watching these videos at your own pace, which is why we don’t sell courses anymore.

We sell programs that are tied to very specific results that we can achieve, that we can guarantee because we have enough experience in it. And we know that if someone follows these particular steps, they will achieve this result.

So think about how you can repackage what you’re doing, not as a course, but as a program that achieves a very specific result for a very specific audience. And think about how you can make that as frictionless as possible. How can you remove steps? How can you make it so that someone can get an immediate impact without going through all this stuff?

And then you can upsell them into the more advanced stuff, the coaching, the mastermind, the done-for-you services, the software, whatever it might be.

Guaranteeing Success: Perry Marshall’s “If Then Else” Strategy for Risk-Free Learning

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Perry Marshall’s “if then else” guarantee. This is something he explained over Mexican food, and it wasn’t something I thought I needed to know. It’s the most serendipitous kind of moment when there’s something you didn’t know you needed.

He said the “if then else” guarantee works like this: If you meet certain criteria for being a certain type of business or having a particular problem, and if you complete the items in our program—show up to the training, give us access, run ads, make videos, do the things we prescribe—then we guarantee you’ll achieve a specific measurable business result, else penalty back to us, where we give you a refund or we keep working until you get it done. This is a risk-free guarantee to a potential client because it’s also risk-free for us as the provider, assuming our conditions are met regarding qualifying individuals and their actions. It’s never only on us; there are always things the client has to do. We can guarantee this result if the conditions are met.

For a Dollar-a-Day, if you have a business that’s working, meaning you have happy customers and are doing more than a million dollars a year, with evidence like one-minute videos of happy clients and clear, repeatable products, then you’re in a good position. This doesn’t apply to consulting as much, which is harder to scale without your direct involvement.

For those under $250,000 a year, you can still apply these principles as a one-person business, but the goal is to move beyond that stage. If your offering is something people love, with clear evidence and authority, then you need to create one-minute videos about why, how, and what—covering the importance of your service, how it’s delivered, and specific evidence of success.

This is part of our three-by-three model: top, middle, and bottom of the funnel content. If you take the steps in our program and meet the prerequisites of a well-functioning business, the Dollar-a-Day program will work for you. This strategy is based on the nature of word-of-mouth and has been proven successful in numerous cases.

The future of learning isn’t in traditional courses, but in focused programs that guarantee specific results. Our goal is to provide education that directly leads to real-world success.

Dennis Yu
Dennis Yu
Dennis Yu is co-author of the #1 best-selling book on Amazon in social media, The Definitive Guide to TikTok Ads.  He has spent a billion dollars on Facebook ads across his agencies and agencies he advises. Mr. Yu is the "million jobs" guy-- on a mission to create one million jobs via hands-on social media training, partnering with universities and professional organizations.You can find him quoted in major publications and on television such as CNN, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NPR, and LA Times. Clients have included Nike, Red Bull, the Golden State Warriors, Ashley Furniture, Quiznos-- down to local service businesses like real estate agents and dentists. He's spoken at over 750 conferences in 20 countries, having flown over 6 million miles in the last 30 years to train up young adults and business owners. He speaks for free as long as the organization believes in the job-creation mission and covers business class travel.You can find him hiking tall mountains, eating chicken wings, and taking Kaqun oxygen baths-- likely in a city near you.