5 Symptoms of a Failing Course & What to Do to Turn it Around ASAP

Is your digital course or program experiencing symptoms of failure?

Is something getting in the way of sales and your ability to really make an impact with your work?

I would hope not, but here are 5 symptoms to watch out for, including what you can do to rectify them asap - before your refund rate goes through the roof!

The wrong students signed up.
Yes, there can be a “wrong student”. Typically this is the student who is, for some reason, not fully committed to getting results because they are unsure of what they actually need in their business at that moment. Unfortunately, many of them do not know they are the “wrong student”, hence their confusion and their inability to get results. They simply do not know what they do not know.

Sometimes this is a marketing issue, sometimes it is a confused student issue. Either way, if you use an application or a screening call to help fill seats, then be sure to ask qualifying questions to help these students (and your course) before it is too late. For my clients, I offer consulting services in addition to their regular strategy sessions so that we can remove any foreseeable obstacles before it is too late. I also teach how to maintain students’ motivation throughout the course, as well as modify your live course (without creating chaos) so that you can continue to meet students where they are.

Not enough students signing up, or inconsistent sales.
If seats are not filling there could be a few reasons why. If it’s a marketing problem, you haven’t sufficiently connected with your ideal student, meaning it could be the copy, it could be that you haven’t narrowed down your “ideal student”, and you are communicating with everyone and no one at the same time. It could also mean that your audience was not big enough and with some more exposure, you would be hitting your numbers more consistently. However, there might also be gaps in the launch strategy. In order to fix it, you will need to really look at your data and figure out

Lots of objections and a difficult sales process.
If the objections just keep coming and the student needs more than an invitation to join your digital course, then - are they truly a good fit? If possible, try to ask enough questions to understand the root of the objection, and trust your gut. Your course will not be the “right fit” for everyone, and that is okay. Usually, if you have only 1 objectionable person and not another, then the trigger is their thing. And that occasionally happens. Don’t let it shake you. If you get more than 1, I recommend asking them why they were drawn to your offer in the first place. Also, reviewing your copy and advertising can help to make sure you were not giving prospective students the “wrong impression” about the course in the first place.

Low completion (high drop-out) rates.
When students get in over their heads, don’t feel comfortable asking questions, or they become “too busy” to continue with your course, sometimes this is a sign of life happening. Life happens to all of us. However, you will notice that truly dedicated students will not let a little life shake them. They are resilient to the end.

One solution to this issue is to stay engaged with students and to create a lasting relationship with them so that dropping out is not an option. And if life is happening (or learning is simply not happening) then you can help them figure out a solution. High-touch, student-centered teaching is not always possible, especially with large classes, but thanks to modern communications there is always a way to support your students that may just help you to listen to them, make your course better, and save the day.

Poor results, even if completing course.
If someone does the work and doesn’t get the right results, then there is a disconnect. That disconnect may be due to a lack of understanding on the part of the student, or as a result of certain resources, examples, or expectations lacking clarity. Either way, it is critical for the success of the student and the success of the course to clarify the origin of the disconnect. In academia, I use my office hours and surveys to deconstruct and assist students in better understanding the content.

Because, even if the disconnect is on a student’s part, I will consider it my fault if they reach the end of the course before we discover its existence. As silly as it may sound, you need to always ask students to ask questions and share their thoughts. Teachers possess many skills, but clairvoyance is usually not one of them.

So, there you have it. There are numerous issues that can (and do) come up when teaching a course:

  • Some are marketing problems.

  • Some are course design problems.

  • Some could even be business problems.


But they don´t have to be YOUR problems!When you stay engaged with your students, as well as offer them a high-touch, student-centered learning environment, you can really make an impact on learning. And this is exactly what you need to teach a winning digital course - expertise + communication + integrity!

I sincerely mean this because I help my clients with existing courses to improve their return on investment and get their students better results using these exact techniques.

My Approach
First, we go back to the basics of digital course design - the same ones I teach in my signature 1:1 Program - The Lucrative Digital Course Method.

We revisit your ideal student avatar, get in touch with actual ideal students, and we revalidate your course.
Next, we build a marketing campaign to relaunch and sell your course or program to only the right students. And we add value the entire way so that everyone gets optimal results!

As we go, we track and evaluate every step of the way so we can get you closer to your goals - whether it's raising your prices to get paid fairly, building an audience so you can scale, or automating your content so that you can focus your energies into other aspects of your life and business.

If a freedom lifestyle is your goal, the recurring income generated with digital courses and programs is an excellent next step... but not if it's taking more time and energy than you have, and not if it's got a negative return on investment.

I meet clients where they are. I take into account all the details of your business, from business model and strategic plan to income goals and year to date progress on sales and marketing.

A digital course is more than just an ecom product on your website. And it will not sell itself, not even with big adspend, all the SEO, or the best copy... okay, the copy might help a lot, but unless you really cover your bases and know exactly who you are communicating with as your ideal student - you may be prematurely investing in cool copy.

The first renditions of your course absolutely must be focused on the students, the teaching and the results, which is why your presales process has to be on point.

Discover the Disconnect
To discover the disconnect in your existing course and why it isn’t living up to your sales goals, I am offering a Free Assessment that will help identify the root of the problem, and up to 3 actionable steps you can take to resolve it.

If you’ve been wondering how to increase your business with an online course or program, then this is the perfect opportunity to get all of your questions answered.

By the end of your Free Assessment, you’ll gain clarity on the overall effectiveness of your course with respect to student results, technology, marketing and sales, as well as its automation potential, and true earning potential based on your numbers.

For folks just getting started, the Free Assessment will clarify which type of course to offer,
when to offer it, what to call it, the exact tools you’ll need to get started, and how much to charge. I will even help you crunch the numbers to give you an idea of what your earning potential would be based on your numbers!

Just imagine how *awesome* it would feel to have all your bases covered, so that the only thing left is to say YES to making more money in your business with your online course or program.

Julie Raich Dieme