This is the time of year where it’s really important to put together new systems and processes for the upcoming school year or academic season.
Here are some tips and strategies for onboarding and offboarding your online students. These students could be taking real time lessons with you, they could be in your course, they could be coming through some of your workshops or master classes or be part of your membership. With any kind of online relationship, you’re going to want to make sure that you have onboarding and offboarding.
Onboarding your online students
If you have been following me for any length of time, you know that I always recommend some kind of welcome sequence that is triggered off a purchase.
- If someone is signing up for your course, there needs to be a welcome sequence.
- If someone signs up for your lessons for the first time, we want to have a welcome sequence.
- If they sign up for a workshop, a welcome sequence.
- If they sign up for your membership, a welcome sequence!
This welcome sequence is part of onboarding, there is more to it though.
Inside your welcome sequence, you will want to help your new student understand the culture, the access points and all the other nitty gritty details of your programs.
We also want there to be reinforcement because it’s not always the case that people are going to read your emails. You don’t know the state of your students’ inboxes, so repeating the information is going to help with initial success.
If you need students to purchase anything additional in order to participate in your lessons or your course or whatever you are offering, be sure to include that in not just one of the emails, but included in pretty much every email because we want to make sure that they really do get it and are going to show up to that first lesson or to the first day of the course or to the first day of the workshop, ready for action, ready to learn.
In addition to emails, you may decide you want to have an onboarding call. If you choose to have an onboarding call then be sure to have a list of things that you want to go over with that student, so that you are running this call and it’s not them asking you a million questions. We want to make sure that this call is really tangible and, it’s going to probably reinforce a lot of what goes into the welcome emails.
The last thing that we want to make sure that we cover is access. Access to you, access to the lessons or course or membership or whatever, access to any additional or supplementary information or resources and an understanding of the flow.
Access is for either live or pre recorded content and especially hybrid. Every student is going to be clicking some link somewhere to access the session with you or the content. This link is probably to a gated portal with an email and password or a username and password. Make sure that everybody gets access to whatever portal it is right away that they test it out!
The second part of access is helping the student understand their access to you in. You may run a slack channel or you may give voxer access, you might have a community or a facebook group, you might allow your students to access you and to communicate with you via text, via email, via DM and, via who knows what! We don’t want to give our students unlimited access to us.
Email is going to be one of the ways that they can communicate with you because we are using email for outbound messaging which means that we should also use it for incoming messages. The rest of their access to you is truly up to you.
This is the process by which we wrap things up with our students.
We make sure to close the loop and wrap up the experience in a really positive way. It’s probably going to be some kind of offboarding email sequence. This might start a week or two before the end of lessons or before the end of the session with a course or a workshop.
Inside the sequence we’re going to be thanking them, praising them for all their progress, asking for a testimonial and so on. Having an experience that helps them wrap things up is also going to clearly list out what they are losing access to and what to do if they want to retain access for longer. That is something that you are going to have to decide for yourself exactly what you want that to look like.
In addition to that off boarding email sequence, we also want to make sure that we clean things up. Make sure that all of the payments are done in full, make sure that any resources or any videos or what have you is passed along., Make sure that you clean up their access. This one’s a really tricky one. Be sure to remove the students access.
Tagging your students
Both during onboarding and offboarding, inside of ConvertKit or whatever email marketing system you have, make sure that you have your clients tagged appropriately.
Set it up so that you know who is a student and who is an expired student inside there with tags or otherwise. This may help you with segmenting down the road. It is just one of those internal tasks that if you set it up once, you never have to think about it again. But that data is going to be there when you want to use it.
As I said at the top of the episode, this is a great time to create new onboarding and offboarding policies, procedures and systems because you are kind of at the point right now where there is turnover and there are new things coming.
Take a little bit of time and map out the beginning and end of your students journey. It is going to make next school year flow that much smoother.
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