TECH GUIDE TO RUNNING AN ONLINE GROUP PROGRAMME
Running an online group programme is a very popular way for coaches and experts to scale their business.
After all what's not to like? You take groups of people (small or large) through the same process as you would 1-2-1 all at the same time.
You can save a lot of time and make more money! Talk about a great way to scale a business!
How do you do it though? What tools do you need? How do you actually run an online program? How does it all work? How do you give your students a great experience? What do you need set up by when?
These are just a few of the questions I will be covering for you in this guide.
Before I go any further though, please note, this guide is NOT about getting people signed up for your programme. This guide is about how to make all the behind the scenes of your programme work and what you need to do to make your programme run smoothly.
BASIC FEATURES OF A GROUP PROGRAMME
There are endless ways you could set up a group programme, to keep things simple I will look at the most common way which includes:
- Set number of weeks the programme is delivered over (often 4-12)
- Resources (videos, PDFs, swipe files, workbooks etc) released each week
- Weekly group calls answering questions from that weeks topics
- Facebook Group where more questions can be answered + members can support one another
It's important to know there is no one best way to deliver a group programme. There is only what works for the problem you're solving and the way you want to set it all up. Use everything I share in this guide and test it for yourself, keep what works change what doesn't.
For the purpose of this tutorial I will be explaining how to set up and run an 8 week group programme with videos released on a weekly basis, weekly group calls plus a Facebook Group.
TOOLS YOU'LL NEED TO RUN AN ONLINE GROUP PROGRAMME
Okay so let's look at the tools that you're going to need to run the programme...
Members Area (I recommend using Kajabi) this is where you upload all the resources you make available such as videos, PDF's workbooks and templates.
Community Area (I recommend using a Facebook Group) a place where students can ask questions, share progress and get help from others in the programme.
Group Calls (I recommend using Zoom) a place where you can run the weekly interactive group coaching call. You can share extra help, take questions and do mini coaching sessions in a group format.
With Kajabi, Zoom and a Facebook Group you can run a very professional group programme for a growing number of people.
Now down to business, how to actually make it happen and what you need to be doing during the programme.
TYPICAL SCHEDULE FOR AN 8 WEEK GROUP PROGRAMME
Outlined below is the general structure to follow for running an 8 week programme including the weeks leading up to the start date.
2-6 Weeks Before Start Date - you're in launch mode marketing your programme to fill up the spots or sell as many as possible.
1 Week Before Start Date - start onboarding everyone reminding them about the start and building excitement
Weeks 1 to 8 - each week you'll release the relevant resources and then do a group call 2-3 days after those resources are released. You'll also be engaging in the Facebook Group.
Week 9 - let everyone know the programme has ended and what help they will continue to access. Throw a closing party and celebrate your students wins.
Week 10 - Close down the group and ensure everyone knows how to get access to any resources you've given ongoing access to.
TECH SET UP FOR YOUR ONLINE GROUP PROGRAMME
Now you know the general set up, tools required and a general timelines let's get to some specifics.
Outlined below are a series of checklists that you can use to make sure that you're as prepared as possible prior to your programme starting.
MEMBERS AREA - keep this as simple as possible, your resources should be the main focus - if you're using Kajabi this is really easy to do. Within this members area I recommend having the following:
- Welcome Post - have a welcome post or video... welcoming them to the programme, remind them of what they're getting and why this programme is going to help them
- Onboarding Post - have a post where you include all the key links and information about the programme. Facebook Group link, Zoom link / password, times of calls and times of resources being released.
- Training Section - have all the resources pre loaded to your members area, each week you can then simply publish the next weeks trainings
- Recordings Section - have a section where you will upload the weekly recordings of the group calls, at the top of this section include a post where you tell people how to access the call
- Questions or Tech Help - have a post where it tells people who have questions about the programme, billing issues, refunds or tech help what they should do.
- Facebook Group Links - make sure this is posted in key areas of the members area so that people know where to go for help
- Announcements - in Kajabi you can send your members announcements, these are really useful as you can use them to let members know when new resources are released and when the calls are.
- Release Resources Each Week - whether you choose Sunday evening or Monday morning or another time pop into your members area and publish the section for the relevant week you're on.
Watch my full step by step video to setting up your members area in the video below...
Focus on making your members are simple and clear - you want students to be able to login easily and find the resources they're looking for.
Also, don't forget to include all the onboarding information and FAQ's as you can. Then more information you include the fewer emails or messages you will receive about things like "where is the Zoom link?".
FACEBOOK GROUP - this is the community area where your members can ask questions, share insights and get to know one another. This is a really valuable part of your programme and can be set up well before the programme starts. Here's a checklist of key things to get set up for your group:
- Name & Description - make sure people know they're joining the right group with a clear name and state in the description that the group is only for people who've signed up for you programme - it's a good idea to include a link to your sales page in this description.
- Cover Image - use Canva and self the Facebook Page header template and you can create a great looking cover image in no time at all.
- Type of Group - Make the group PRIVATE not secret. This ensures no one can see discussions but people can still find it when they sign up.
- Filter Question - when people join verify they have joined by asking a filter question "Please enter the email address you used to purchase the programme so I can give you access to the group"
- Welcome Post - give all new members a warm welcome, share your onboarding information again and invite them to introduce themselves to the group.
- Plan Pre Start Posts - plan out the posts your going to share in the week leading up to the start, you can even schedule these if you want to be extra prepared.
- Announcements - draft out the templates for the recurring posts you'll be sharing through the programme (these include Resources Being Released, Call Reminders & Group Call Recordings available)
Watch my full run through of setting up a Facebook Group for an online course or group programme below...
Get your group set up well before the start date and make sure to include the join link in multiples places as part of your onboarding process.
ANNOUNCEMENTS - to save you getting lots of questions and people asking the same things communication is key. Here's a list of things that you should be keeping them informed about (because they will ask if you don't):
- Reminders When New Training Resources Are Available
- Reminders About Group Calls Including Zoom Link & Password
- Reminders When Group Call Recordings Are Available
I recommend doing these via your Facebook Group and your Members area, Kajabi allows you to send announcements to everyone signed up to your programme.
GROUP CALLS - each week of the programme you will host a group call where you can answer questions from your students. I suggest using Zoom to run these, it's user friendly and makes it easy for people to access.
In the video below I walk you through how to set up a Zoom group call - learn what settings are best and how to create the links and passwords to share with your students.meeting before watch the video below to see how to set up the links and passwords to share with your students.
When it comes to the calls themselves you will find a natural way to run these that works best for you, but to start with I suggest creating a bit of structure as follows:
- Admit Everyone From The Waiting Room At The Start Time
- Welcome Everyone & Say Hello To People ( get started don't wait for people to join)
- Quickly Recap What The Purpose Of That Week Within The Context Of The Programme
- 10-15 Mins Sharing Your Thoughts - add some extra value relevant to that weeks part of the programme or address some key themes that you saw happening or going on within the group that week
- Open Up For Q&A - invite people to ask questions, share where they're stuck, celebrate wins and ask for help.
- Closing - wrap it up on time or at least within 15 mins of advertised closing time. Remind people about the next videos and when they'll be available and any actions you'd like them to take following the call - it could be something as simple as sharing something in the Facebook Group.
In addition to this structure there are some other key things I would suggest:
- Make it the same time every week
- Use The Same Zoom Link Each Week
- Set A Password For The Calls
- Have A Practice If Before The First Call
- Have A Few Common FAQ For Each Call In Case People Are A Bit Quiet
To help you get ready for your call I've put together a video walking you through the checklist I use.
Here's that final run through checklist to make sure you're ready for the call:
- Check The Call Is Being Recorded
- Check Your Audio Is Working
- Mute Participants On Entry
- Disable Unmuting By Participants
- Disable Participant Screen Sharing (should be off by default)
- Use Speaker View - this is better for recordings
- Double Check The Call Is Being Recorded
After the calls Zoom will convert the files giving you audio, video and the chat files. You can then upload the video to your members area where people can watch it again.
ONBOARDING - as you start to promote your programme you'll get people signing up, at this stage you will want to onboard them - this is the process of getting people into your programme and up to speed on everything they need to know.
Listed below are the key points at which you can add onboarding information:
- Payment Page - make sure it's very clear what people are signing up for, include the information in the T&C's too
- Post Payment Page - After people make payment send them to a thank you page with the key next step information. Congratulate people for joining the programme and give them 3 things to do - join the Facebook Group, access the members area and add key dates to their diary.
- Members Area - in the members area make sure all the important information is clear and easy to access. More on this in the members area section.
- Facebook Group - once again make sure to include all the onboarding information within the welcome post of your group. More on this in the community section.
- Announcements - in those first few announcements or reminders you send include the key information again, you will feel like you're repeating yourself but trust me you need to.
During onboarding here are the key things you need to be telling them...
- Start Date (tell them to add it to their calendar)
- Dates, Times, Location & Access For The Weekly Calls
- How To Access The Members Area (what to do if they experience problems)
- How To Access The Facebook Group
- What To Expect Next (overview of how the programme runs)
- How & Where To Ask For Help
The key with onboarding people is to tell them the information multiple times. You'd be surprised how many people will miss things if it's not repeated.
There you have it your tech guide to running an online group programme.
Have I missed something? Still have questions? Click here and share them in my Facebook Group.
SCALE YOUR BUSINESS WITH ONLINE OFFERS
Whether it's an online group programme, course or bootcamp this concept of helping multiple people at the same time is a game changer.
This guide will help you get the set up right and give your students a great experience as they go through your programme.
Use what I've shared as a framework and don't be afraid to tweak your programme for what works best for you and your students.
The more you can get set up before the programme starts the better, but if you do end up doing things last minute don't worry, this guide will remind of the key things you need to be doing.
Thanks so much for reading this guide, I'd love to hear your thought, was it useful? Please do share with me in my Tech Tutorials With Paul Facebook Group.
TOOLS I MENTIONED IN THIS GUIDE
- Kajabi - give your students the best experience accessing all your resources with ease (Kajabi can also help you market and sell your programme to)
- Facebook Group - make it easy for people to get involved in your community by using a Facebook Group.
- Zoom - easy set up, reliable group calls and great recordings make it a no brainer to use Zoom.
- Canva - create images for your Facebook Group and programme lessons easily with this simple design tool (the templates make it fast and easy)