Seven Fatal Mistakes With Adding E-Learning To Your Business

Many presenters are excited about the opportunities available to infopreneurs who add on-line learning - or "e-learning" - to their service mix. They want to deliver their material on-line, but don't know how to do it effectively. Let's look at some of the most common mistakes speakers, trainers and other infopreneurs make when they start thinking about e-learning.

Mistake #1. Trying to sell to strangers.

If you're a successful speaker or trainer, it's tempting to think it will be easy to translate that success into on-line success. After all, your face-to-face audiences love you, so why shouldn't you expect a flood of sales on your Web site?

Well, it's just not that easy. Your audiences know you, like you and trust you. Internet users don't. Yes, it's as simple as that.

Mistake #2. Casting your net too wide.

As a rule, the more narrowly you define your market, the more valuable your e-learning programs will be. Unfortunately, it's tempting to do the exact opposite, and create something that "everybody needs". The trouble is, when it's aimed at everybody, it's valuable to nobody.

So aim for a niche market, and make that niche as small as possible. I'm not saying you should define your market as, say, German popes of the 21st century. But if you're not sure, it's better to err on the side of a narrower niche than a larger market.

Mistake #3. Not doing enough.

A few years ago, e-learning programs were new and novel, and just having an e-learning program was a significant selling point. In those days, you could get away with just sending an on-line course by e-mail with just plain text.

Now, clients and participants expect much more. A single e-course, webinar or e-book doesn't give you "an e-learning program". You need more - much more.

Mistake #4. Too much sizzle, not enough steak.

People take part in e-learning programs to learn.

Sounds obvious, right? Not so fast! This isn't always the case in face-to-face presentations. For example, a keynote might be just to entertain, inspire or energize.

This isn't true for e-learning programs. You can't get by with just pretty pictures and low-value content.

Mistake #5. Not taking it seriously enough.

It's difficult to create an effective e-learning program on weekends, tea breaks and while waiting for taxis. You really do need to plan it out carefully. One of my clients even took three full months away from his business to develop his e-learning programs. This move paid dividends, though - it's clearly the best in his target market.

Mistake #6. Not having a clear strategy.

This follows from the previous point. It's not enough to just spend time on it; it's also about planning it appropriately. And the strategy that works for your face-to-face presentations doesn't necessarily work for e-learning.

Mistake #7. Not doing it!

Finally, the biggest mistake that most speakers and trainers make is that they don't have any e-learning programs at all. This is a serious mistake.

There was a time not so long ago that it didn't matter, but that's no longer the case. Modern clients, audiences and Internet users expect you to include technology - including e-learning - in your delivery. Just as they expect you to use leading-edge presentation technology, they expect you to use leading-edge e-learning tools as well.

So are you making any of these mistakes? Use this as a checklist to assess your readiness for e-learning.


I'm an Internet coach for speakers, trainers, thought leaders and other business professionals. Business owners often ask me what to do about the Internet. They know it's important, they know it's affecting their business, but they don't know how - and they don't know what to do about it. I'm an author, speaker, trainer and consultant. Since 1997, I've worked with leading thought leaders, change agents and entrepreneurs, helping them reach more people and leverage their expertise, on and off t...

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