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Super Powers & Niches
How to find your unique value & market niche
Today, I’m going to help you to achieve Course Market Fit by sharing a tried a tested two-step process for finding a high-yield niche for you & your course.
Course Market Fit: A course which learners are buying, benefitting from & telling others about in numbers large enough to drive growth & profitability.
Last week, I wrote a post about how achieving Course Market Fit (CMF) is hard.
Only ~3% of online courses deliver levels of sustained growth & impact that indicate the achievement of CMF.
A staggering ~97% of course creators spend hours, days, weeks building courses which sit gathering dust, to a soundtrack of crickets & tumbleweed.
So, what’s the secret of the 3% of course creators who are winning?
They identify a niche: find your niche, locate a underserved need within your niche & design a course that meets the need.
They build the right thing: create a course that delivers a “beyond YouTube” experience.
Today, I’m going to deep-dive #1 and help you to achieve Course Market Fit by sharing a tried a tested two-step process for finding a high-yield niche.
Step 1: Find Your Super Power
Everyone has a unique insight - a set of knowledge, skills & experiences that they have gained on their inevitably-unique journey.
Your superpower is the thing that only you have but other people want because it helps them to hit a personal or professional goal. It’s usually related to thing you’re most passionate about, have dedicated most energy to and as a result have unique insights and hacks to share.
Example: there are hundreds course design experts and hundreds of courses about online course design out in the world, but my 20+ year obsession with how to design online courses led me on unique journey of academic research, ed-tech leadership & practical experimentation.
As a result, I have a set of insights, skills & experiences which I can translate into valuable, practical knowledge for others- things like Course Market Fit, Learner Transformation, Minimal Viable Content etc.
Nobody can compete with my offer, simply because it’s unique.
To find your superpower, ask yourself:
What’s the unique journey I have been on?
What unique insights have I picked up along the way?
How could I translate this into practical insights, e.g. frameworks, for others to apply quickly and easily?
Step 2: Define Your [Sub] Niche
One of the big reasons that course creators don’t get traction with their online course & achieve CMF is they aren’t focused on a specific-enough learner.
The trick here is to find a broad audience, pick a niche within it and then if possible, find a sub niche within that group.
Example 1: Athletics 101 > Women Ultra Marathon Runners
Imagine you’re personal trainer who wants to build an online coaching course.
Rather than targeting athletes (broad audience), or runners (niche), you could focus specifically on marathon runners (sub-niche).
If you’re a woman & an ultra marathon athlete, you might go deeper again and focus specifically on women marathon runners (sub-sub niche).
Example 2: Coaching 101 > Coaching Skills for Ed tech Leaders
Now imagine you're a successful leadership coach.
Rather than offering a generic course on coaching (low USP in a saturated market), or a sub-niche course on leadership coaching (another saturated market), focus specifically on leadership coaching for Ed tech leaders (an under served sub-sub niche).
If you’re someone who transitioned into ed tech from another industry, focus specifically on helping people to transition into ed tech leadership roles (an under served sub-sub niche).
The Result? Once you narrow down to a sub-niche:
your learner is more likely to have the same the same wants & needs as you, which gives you a deep insight into how to serve their pain & deliver delight;
you can learn more about them - where they hang out online, what they talk and care about most, where they are served and underserved by existing content & courses.
To find your niche, ask yourself:
Who would benefit in some [ideally materially] way from my unique journey?
Within that group, is there an underserved sub niche for whom I offer most value?
Happy Designing 👋
One more thing…. You can apply for a place on the Course Design Accelerator here. It’s a four week, hands-on, cohort-based design sprint where we work together to achieve Course Market Fit by designing or redesign a course of your choice using the science of product + learning.
If you’re a fan of learning science, you may also want to subscribe to the Learning Science Digest, a monthly summary of peer reviewed research on learning science, translated into course design practices - check it out!
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