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How to create a better online course experience with drip content

Drip course content keeps your students engaged from day one until the end of your course. Learn how, why, and when to drip your course content with Podia.

December 18, 2020 by Rachel Burns

When you create and sell an online course, you have two options for delivering course content to your students:

  1. Give it to them all at once, and leave them to their own devices, hoping that maybe they'll actually get through all the content, although it seems pretty unlikely . . .
  2. Create an immersive, engaging experience that guides your students through your course at a set pace, letting them really take in every lesson and learn from the content you spent all that time perfecting.

That second option is called drip content, and it helps you hook your students from the minute they sign up, taking them on the journey that you envisioned when you put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and dreamt up your course in the first place.

When you drip content, more students will stick with your course until the end -- and you'll know that you're having a real impact. They'll tell their friends about your course, and even more students will go through that same learning experience (and love it).

Keep reading to learn how Podia makes it easy to drip online course content -- plus why to drip your online course content to create those awesome learning experiences that your customers love. 

How to set up your drip course in Podia

Podia lets you create, host, and sell your online courses -- and all of your digital products -- from one platform, for one flat fee. The drip feature in Podia's online course builder delivers your course content to your students section-by-section over time.

When a student purchases your online course, they'll be able to preview the title of all of the content within the “Upcoming” section. They can also keep track of the delivery schedule via the countdown above each section.

Here's what that looks like in Mackenzie Childs' Design for Developers course:

This structure is a great way for your students to focus on one course module at a time while still building excitement and planning for what’s to come. 

Here's how you can use Podia to set up drip course content.

(Want to follow along, but don't have a Podia account? Sign up for a free 14-day trial.)

Step 1: Create a new product

In your Podia dashboard, navigate to the "Products" tab.

Click "Create product," then select "Online course". Name your course and click "Create product".

Step 2: Add sections to your course

Click "Add section" to add a new section to your course. This will be your first course module or lesson.

Give your new section a name, like "Week 1: [Topic of Week 1]". Then, add a description. Let your students know what the module's content will focus on and what outcomes they can expect. 

You'll probably want the content in this section to be available to your students right away, so you don't need to turn the drip schedule on just yet. Just click "Save".

Step 3: Set your content drip schedule

Next, create your second section by clicking "Add content," then "Add section".

After you name your second section, click "Drip settings" to set up the drip content for your course.

Click "Turn on Drips for this section". 

Choose when you want customers to get access to this section (based on the number of days after purchase). If you're not sure how to pace your course, one lesson per week is a good drip schedule to start with. 

(Quick note: If you're editing an existing course, the new drip settings will only affect future customers.)

Step 4: Write your drip emails

When a new section unlocks, your customers will automatically receive an email notification with a link to the section.

What you include in your email for each section is up to you. Give your students a quick overview of the newly unlocked content, and get them excited to start the next section of your course.

Write your drip email, then click "Save".

Repeat this process for each section of your course.

Step 5: Add content to each section

Once you've created each section, add content by clicking "Add content," then selecting the type of content you want to include.

We recommend including a mix of content types, such as videos, workbooks, tutorials, quizzes, and more. 

If you want to dive deeper into course content, here are some great resources to help you out:

Step 6: Set an (optional) start date

Once all of your content has been added and your drip schedule is set, go to the "Settings" tab:

In "Settings," you can change your course name and URL. You can also add a start date to your course if you want all of your students to start on a specific date.

If live training is a part of your course, having a set start date ensures that your students are all on the same page when it's time for a live training session. 

Step 7: Price your course

Next, click over to the "Pricing" tab. 

If you haven't already set up payments in Podia, click "Accept online payments" and connect your Stripe or PayPal account by following the steps in this guide

Next, set the price for your course. You can also set up payment plans that allow your customers to pay in installments over time. (Check out this article on pricing online courses for pricing guidance, plus this guide to pricing and packaging for online courses.)

Step 8: Preview your course

Once your online course pricing is set, it's time to preview your course. Use the "Preview" dropdown to see what your course will look like as an enrolled customer and as a visitor. 

Step 9: Publish

If you're satisfied that your course looks good to go, click "Draft," then select "Published".

And voila: Your drip course is live!

See why Podia is the best platform for selling online courses

Join a live demo to see how Podia's all-in-one platform can help you grow your business. Every Tuesday at 4PM ET.

Why should you drip your online course content?

Drip-feeding course content keeps your students engaged and motivated, which drives higher completion rates for your courses.

Instead of facing a flood of content all at once, students can work through the course at a set, manageable pace, with each week's content building on the previous week's module.

Brand strategy coach Rachel Shillcock uses drip-fed course content to keep her students engaged rather than overwhelmed:

"Dripping course content is so useful for setting the pace in your course and getting your course members engaged each time you introduce new content.

It helps keep momentum up, and keeps everyone on a level pace and focused on that particular part of the course . . . And when it comes to content, if you have a huge course with tons of modules, it can feel overwhelming for new course-takers who have no idea where to start. 

Dripping the content to them in batches ensures they keep going at the course without feeling overwhelmed."

For some students, drip content also takes away the temptation to procrastinate."I took one of Ramit Sethi’s courses and loved the daily drip for the first week and a half," developer Chris Oliver told us

"The drip got me scheduling my time around the course, and I actually went through it, versus telling myself I would later when I'had time.' In a way, it makes you feel like you're in an actual course and have to show up."

And Chris knows a thing or two about online learning-- he's the founder of GoRails, where he offers over 80 hours of Ruby on Rails training content to a community of over 39k developers. 

Trainers like Chris know that when you capture your students' attention throughout the course, it creates a better experience. In turn, that means you can have a bigger impact on your students, and they'll be more likely to tell others about your course.

That's a win-win -- especially when you consider that recommendations from friends and family are the number one way that American consumers discover new products.

Creator Reuven Lerner has seen first-hand the power of creating an engaging online course. He transformed his in-person training business into a collection of Python online courses that his students love.

“People who finish your course get really jazzed about it," Reuven told us. "They really like what you did, and they're probably going to come back for more." 

Podia makes it easy for creators like Reuven to create those engaging e-learning experiences with drip content. See for yourself -- get started with a free 14-day trial.

See why Podia is the best platform for selling online courses

Join a live demo to see how Podia's all-in-one platform can help you grow your business. Every Tuesday at 4PM ET.

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