7 Considerations for Choosing a Program Platform
When it comes to offering a program and content to your clients, there are SO many ways you can do it. Today, I want to help you break it down and get clear on how to choose a platform that is right for you.
What is a platform?
The word ‘platform’ refers to the online space that hosts the content for your program for both you and your clients to access.
In this episode, I’ll talk about
* What is a platform and its main functions?
* What your audience wants?
* What doesn’t the platform do?
Ideally, a platform provides content in a way that is easily accessible, visually appealing and in a logical order/layout.
Platforms are many and varied. They perform different functions and have different levels of complexity.
Here are seven main considerations for choosing a platform for YOUR program.
What is the main function of the platform?
Is it primarily for delivering content, or creating a community, or facilitating communication between you and your clients – or a mix of these?
This is a huge consideration when picking a platform. It needs to be fit-for-purpose.
What does your audience want?
Do they prefer to go to a platform they’re familiar with, or something else?
This is the second biggest consideration. If they don’t like the platform you’re using, or if it’s hard to use, they won’t use it.
How user-friendly/intuitive is it?
Trialing a platform before you buy/sign up is important.
If it’s not intuitive or doesn’t quite fit the structure you want, then it will be hard for you and your niche clients to use it.
You can ask focus group members to test it for you during the trial phase (screen share on Zoom, or send them a test link) and again once you start building it out.
How secure is it?
Platforms have varying levels of security and this is a key consideration, especially with regard to national Privacy Acts, GDPR, etc – AND your intellectual property.
Example: when you load content onto a WordPress website on a ‘hidden page’, it may be discoverable by random keyword searches. Make sure you choose a system that doesn’t expose your IP or the confidentiality of your members.
Also, ensure you have clear disclaimers and policies about privacy, use of personal information and precautions taken (including liability).
What DOESN’T the platform do?
If you like a platform but it doesn’t cover all the functions you need, look at what it integrates with, and/or what you might need to set up as a separate system.
Examples include Zoom meetings, payment gateways, landing pages, email functionality, automation, booking links.
This will help you decide whether you need to switch platforms, and/or set up associated systems to deliver your pilot.
How tech savvy are you and your audience?
Simpler platforms (even the more manual sharing of a Google Drive folder, or printing worksheets) might suit some demographics and live audiences better. In this case, YOU will still need a digital platform to store and create files in a logical, sequential order.
If your audience is familiar with tech, they may be interested in something more complex.
How long will it take to set up? Do you have the knowledge? These are two important questions to ask yourself.
You can always pay someone to set up a platform for you – but this is a cost and, I think if you need to pay someone to set it up, that’s an indication that it’s too complex or big for your needs right now.
How much do your niche want, and in what format?
If your audience wants a lot of content, consider what the platform allows in terms of storage, and if web-based, how it might affect speed.
Example: website membership plug-ins are great, but a lot of video files loaded onto a website take up space and slow site loading. In this case, you’d be better to host videos externally (e.g. Vimeo) and simply provide links within the platform.
Some platforms allow hosting of a variety of content while some are restricted.
Example: Facebook groups allow live videos, uploaded videos, written content etc).
Example: you can’t upload audio files to Mighty Networks directly, you have to use a third party program like Soundcloud to store the file.
This is an overview of considerations when choosing a platform to host a coaching program.
There may be other considerations not listed here.
The message is – don’t jump in too quickly. Think about how it will actually work when you are ready to use it. Test it. Get your clients to test it.
Pick something that is the best fit, and then, start building it out in collaboration with your focus group clients.
Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?
Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.
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