Automation Meets Gamification: Maximizing Your Course Engagement

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When your clients make the decision to invest in your online course, it’s because they’re convinced that it can offer personal value to them.

They have a need: your course offers a solution.

But once in, how do you, as the course creator, maintain that personalized experience… especially when you’ve begun to scale your online business through automation?

Your Online Course Automation Might Present a Problem

The problem with automation is that it’s inherently non-personal. You exchange a manual, personal process for an impersonal one. Yeah, it’s the only way to open up your course material to a larger audience without losing your sanity.

But it also carries the risk that your clients, the people who have invested in your online course materials, are going to fall through the cracks.

Actually, we see this a lot: online courses are purchased, then left unfinished. Not only does this hurt your clients (they’re missing out on what you’re offering), but it also hurts your business.

The goal, after all, is to make such an impact that you gain a following of loyal fans. Those guys are the cream of the crop. They’re willing to talk about you on social media and refer you to their friends and family, helping your business grow by leaps and bounds….

…but if people aren’t finishing your courses and experiencing that positive impact, they’re probably not on track to being loyal fans.

Are You Making It Personal When They Need It Most?

That’s why it’s so important for you to keep things personal. Where’s there room for personalized touches in your online course?

Everywhere. (Literally.)

But there are two key areas where you can maximize the impact of a personal message, without sacrificing automation:

  1. When someone loses interest/forgets about your course
  2. When someone has stuck it through and completed your course

In the first situation, you need to offer some quick, motivating encouragement to get them back on track.

In the second situation, you can build on the client’s exhilaration and pride of accomplishment by sending them a big, heartfelt congratulations.

And it can all be automated by using ConvertKit.

How To Automate The Personalization Sequences With ConvertKit

If you’re currently using ConvertKit, you’re already familiar with setting up personalized sequences.  It’s super straightforward.

But the other half of an automated personalization to help your users complete your online course (and celebrate with them when they do) is making sure that ConvertKit knows exactly when to send these emails out to your clients.

To do this, you’ll need an in-website tool that will notify ConvertKit when it’s time to kickstart or end the email series.

The ConvertKit + ProgressAlly Integration

The creators of ProgressAlly, a WordPress gamification plugin, recently crafted a sweet integration with ConvertKit that you can use for this purpose.

Though it offers a variety of gamification features, the portion of ProgressAlly that we want to look at is its progress tracking and completion-based tagging.

With the ProgressAlly plugin, you can opt to add an “Objectives Checklist” to any of your course pages. This checklist not only helps your online members to have a clear idea of what they’re supposed to be learning in each lesson…it’s also a tool for you to keep tabs on who’s finishing (or not finishing) the course material.

Progress Ally + ConvertKit = a match made in heaven
Once a user has marked all the course objectives complete, ProgressAlly can add a unique tag to that user.

It’s this tag that ConvertKit will then pick up for the email automation part.

 

Progress Ally + ConvertKit = a match made in heaven
 

Simple Automation In ConvertKit

For a cheery email that sends as soon as the course objectives have been completed, simply use the completion tag as the trigger for that particular email sequence.

It’s instantaneous. It’s personal. And it’s automatic.

Your course users will appreciate the gesture of support and celebration after they’ve invested their time in your course material.

For the “Encouragement” email automation, you’ll set it up slightly different inside ConvertKit.

This sequence will be set up to automatically send an encouragement/motivation email a certain number of days after the user signs up for the course.  (The span of time between the sign up and the email being sent should depend on how long your course might reasonably take to complete…you don’t want to sent it too soon, in case the user is still working on the material. In the same respect you don’t want to send it too late, or the user might have already lost interest in your message.  Find your sweet spot!)

In the encouragement sequence, the key is adding a rule that specifies: if the Course Completion tag is added, the user should be removed from the sequence.

Done.

Keeping Your Students Involved Longer

The point of all of this isn’t, of course, to add just another shiny object to your online material. Rather, it’s to enhance the overall experience of your students so that they keep coming back for more.

A follow-up typically has the end goal of leading to a sale in the future, but using your follow-up as a sales pitch is not useful. Being pushy won’t get you nearly as far as being friendly. You should be aiming to nurture your lead towards a relationship rather than give a continual pitch. Follow-ups aim to develop a relationship before asking for something from your contact.

It’s the same concept as the emails that are sent when someone abandons an online shopping cart: re-capture their attention while the interest is still there.

So… How Will You Personalize Your Online Course Automation?

The awesome thing about ConvertKit is that it’s already all about making automation work for you.

By finding other tools that integrate nicely with ConvertKit, like ProgressAlly, you’re able to streamline your workflow while ensuring that your clients never lose that personalized feeling.

Bon voyage!


Maria Myre is the word person at AmbitionAlly, where she spends her days sipping on espresso and coming up with intuitive ways to connect entrepreneurs with the tech tools and training that will best fit their businesses. When she’s not writing tech-y business stuff, Maria enjoys horseback riding and the great outdoors.

Val Geisler

Val is a yogi, mom, military wife, and avid podcast fan. She is ridiculously obsessed with sharing and creating content that actually makes a difference in the world, connecting with her fellow bloggers, and doing more with less effort. Val is based on Columbus, Ohio (O-H!) and can often be found oversharing on Instagram at @lovevalgeisler.

  • Heléna Kurçab

    So happy to know this! My biggest fear about automation and the thing that has held me back for so long, is this fear of losing the personal touch with my clients. The thought of them ever feeling like a number, is heart wrenching for me. I am currently in the process of putting together an online course and am relieved that Convertkit understands and has a process in place to cover this.

  • Yes!!

    Adding to a clients membership site right now actually. It’s amazing the increased engagement & open rates when you do this.

    – Kyle, (Chief Experiment Officer)
    digitalconversionlabs.com

  • Joshh

    This is great. Besides the course product here, does the integration with Teachable allow for personalization? Having an automatic email sent out throughout course completion?

    Thanks for the great article Val 🙂

  • Shakti Megan Lazaruk

    if my website is not with wordpress, and my course is with thinkific, can i still use progressAlly?

    • Hey @shaktimeganlazaruk:disqus! You’ll want to check with the ProgressAlly team on those specifics – I’m sure they can help!

  • nice your post, thank you for sharing.

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