Running and selling courses probably seems like an easy thing to do. Put together a course, offer it for sale, and do it all over again. But, the reality is, there are a lot of moving parts involved when running courses.
Everything from how you communicate information about the course to how people pay for the course needs to be considered. These aren’t the hardest things to do manually for a little while, but when you start offering multiple courses in multiple locations for multiple clients, trying to keep everything straight using a spreadsheet quickly becomes overwhelming.
This is where a course management system (CMS) comes into play. A CMS helps you manage the various aspects of running and selling courses by removing the manual work. They provide you with a way to streamline the parts of your job that take up the most time allowing you to focus on offering great courses.
If you’re wondering why you may need a course management system, read on. We’ve got a list of six things that you shouldn’t have to deal with (and that a CMS can remove from your life).
6 reasons you need a course management system
1. Your current tech stack doesn’t talk with each other
The data a course produces is important for helping you grow your business. If your systems aren’t talking to each other in a meaningful way, finding a single source of truth for that data can be next to impossible.
It involves manually digging through the various systems that are being used to deliver the course to find what you’re looking for. Say, for instance, you want to send out some marketing emails to past participants of a course. When you’re working with several independent systems, you’d have to first go into your registration system and manually export that data. From there, you’d have to import (again, manually) it into your marketing software. The whole process ends up being needlessly complicated (and time-consuming).
With a course management system, everything is integrated.
This integration allows data to pass seamlessly from program to program, without manual intervention. The scenario described above would transform from being, say, an hour or two of work, into something is set up and ready to go in 2 minutes.
A good CMS integrates with:
- Payment gateways
- Marketing software
- Accounting software
- And more…
All the integrations help ensure that your data is easy to find, consistent, and trustworthy, while reducing the amount of manual work you have to do to manage it.
2. There’s no integration between your website and back-end management tool
We’ve talked about how important your website is to selling courses before. In short, your website needs to be an efficient course-selling system that helps your customers find the course they’re looking for.
But, if one change to a course results in several hours of updating things on your website, something needs to change. This could be anything from the course being canceled, a change in time (or location or presenter), or even if the course sells out. Having to go through your site manually eats up a lot of time.
A course management software takes care of those details for you. Simply make the change inside the CMS and everything updates automatically across your website. You never have to spend time digging through HTML again (unless that’s your job).
3. You can’t process online payments
If you’ve got a website that allows people to find courses and even register for them, but payment requires a phone call you’re leaving a lot of money on the table. At this stage in the game, people don’t want to stop what they’re doing on a website to call in and complete the sale.
It’s not a huge inconvenience, really, but it’s enough of an interruption to the process that it causes people to abandon cart.
With Arlo, that’s not a problem. We integrate fully with payment gateways to allow you to place customizable registration forms on your website. These remove all barriers to payment by allowing you to take credit card payments right online or allow you to provide invoicing options for your customers.
Orders are then processed on the back-end on the CMS, so you can track sales in real-time.
4. You’re using manual email communication
Think of all the time you spend sending out emails. All the invoices, updates, changes, cancelations, even the recaps that you send out about the courses you offer. Then think about how much work you could get done if you never had to send those emails again (or at least you didn’t have to do each and every one of them manually).
These emails are a necessary part of the business, but they really cut into the time you could spend doing more productive tasks. With a CMS, manually sending emails becomes a thing of the past.
Not only does a CMS remove the manual aspects of sending out emails. It also allows you to remove human error from the process. This is things like errors on invoices or updates to start times, important details that can cause big problems if handled incorrectly.
Arlo can automate emails around tasks like:
- Changes to the event.
- Course information and confirmation.
- Post-course feedback.
5. It’s hard to report on your business’s progress
We’ve already touched on how tricky it can be when you’re using different systems that don’t talk to each other, but along with it being difficult when it comes to finding your data, it also makes reporting a hugely time-consuming task.
To get an accurate report of how your business is doing, you’d have to manually go into each program find the important data, export it into another program, and then start generating the report.
A CMS makes this a thing of the past. When all your systems are either connected or being run by the CMS itself, accessing and displaying your data becomes an effortless task. Arlo helps you really drill down into your data to the point where you can access information like registration numbers or even which presenters brought in the most students.
We go further by allowing you to integrate with other software platforms you use to access information like which social media campaigns generated the most sales (as an example). You can also use the Arlo dashboard to get a quick snapshot of how your training business is tracking and get your favorite reports automatically sent directly to your inbox. This all helps you to make better informed decisions.
6. You’ve got paper records
If you’ve been in business for any length of time, chances are you’ve got some paper records. These could be things like attendance records, grading sheets, or surveys, anything, really, that could be used while running a course. The problem with these is they’re hard to track and easy to lose, which opens you up for all kinds of privacy-related problems.
Arlo lets you take all those paper records and digitize them with our mobile app. This helps eliminate the risk of losing sensitive information and reduces the amount of physical clutter your course produces.
Do I need a course management system?
Chances are if you’re asking yourself this question, you definitely need a course management system. From the elimination of manual labor to streamlining processes to ensuring that human error gets removed from the equation, a CMS (like Arlo) can change the way you run your business and increase profits.