End of 2023 Insights on the Digital Course Industry

Jan 08, 2024

Every year, I like to share insights on what we are seeing in the digital course industry across hundreds of our students and clients, because in case you haven’t noticed, things shift FAST.

Let’s dive straight into it.

What we saw this year:

ChatGPT became everyone’s frenemy.

Remember when we all woke up one day and started using ChatGPT? Honestly, I don’t know how I functioned before it. Well here’s the thing: it is solid as an assistant, brainstorming partner, etc. But we have seen a lot of people lean heavily on it for course creation (in not-so-good ways).

Relying on ChatGPT to create your course content for you firstly, can create legal issues for you.

Secondly, and most importantly, it’s not going to provide your learners with what they want. They want your perspective, your frameworks, your tried-and-true methods, your spice - not some fluffy, weirdly professionally boring blog-looking lesson that leaves you still confused. Information is everywhere. Learners buy courses for curated, expert-led experiences.


A surge in hybrid learning experiences.

Still coming out of post-pandemonian times, people are craving a mix of both digital and in-person experiences. I know we like to think of about how we can get our courses out to the masses for maximum visibility through social media, but also consider how you can incorporate some local opportunities into your marketing plan - especially because meeting in person will also enhance your connections & relationships.

Big businesses are also continuing to seek out niche creators and educators to provide their staff with learning experiences that they don’t have the time or resources to build in-house (That is why we created the Enterprise Edge!).


Big-ass, super-high investment courses are out.

A few years ago, year-long, five-figure coaching experiences were the creme de la creme. But just like your ex, buyers don’t want long-term commitments. And we don’t like them either.

The longer your program, the more likely your students will begin to drop off as time goes on… and this happens for many reasons (their circumstances change, they make progress at a different rate, lack of incentive to continue, etc.).

More focused short-term commitments are more appealing, easier to make the sale, AND buyers will likely spend more with you over their lifetime if you continue to provide valueable opportunities for them to do so.


A shift in valuing money over time.

As our economy has found it’s new home seemingly in the gutter, consumers are being more careful with how they spend their money. The scales are tipping towards saving money over their time.

We are seeing price reductions across the board (which honestly, isn’t a bad thing, because some of those $5K courses were not worth a couple of mortgage payments IMO). This doesn’t mean you should dramatically drop your prices, but as a good marketing practice, stay abreast with what’s going on in your industry.

This also means your marketing strategy needs to shift to be more relevant to how people are making their buying decisions.


The ads game is shifting.

Our favorite Ads Strategist Daniela Justus dropped some of her insights further down in this newsletter, but here are a few takeaways:

Ad costs are higher than they were years ago, and your 2019-2021 strategies aren’t going to make the cut. Buyers are savvy, value transparency, and don’t want the BS. Authentic and value-based content and offers will trump 2-hour sales webinars. Create holistic marketing strategies and consistent brand messages.


Targeted micro-learning experiences are easier to sell.

I will say this until I am blue in the face. People don’t want information overload. They want curated, niche learning experiences. It is important now more than ever to lean into what makes your digital product unique. This is the first thing we focus on when we kick off with a new agency client - making sure their unique differentiator is clear.


Those who adapt will win. There’s no such thing as “set it and forget it”.

Courses are becoming outdated as quickly as the world changes. I cannot stress the importance of having digital products that are always up-to-date. Sadly, this alone can make you stand out in the market because most people don’t do this. Think about how changes in your industry impact your digital products and move swiftly.

For example, in our latest update of Dreampro Course Camp, we incorporated content and resources on how to leverage AI during every part of the course creation process, because we know our students are probably asking themselves how they can work smarter. Lean into how the world is shifting!


Online education is just getting started.

More celebrities and influencers are trickling into the online education space and using their influence to not only place products but also share knowledge. College enrollments are down, and people are looking for new ways to learn skills in a quicker, more cost-effective way (and from people who know wtf they’re talking about).

If you’re reading this, you probably know digital courses aren’t new but for most of the world, they still are. For example, my family and friends still have no clue wtf Dreampro actually does. My mom definitely still doesn’t.


Here are some more insights from our team of course geniuses:

Daniela Justus (Ads Strategist with Dreampro since 2020)

I think the biggest misconception is that your sales page will sell the course for you… you have to do more in terms of marketing and actively selling the course in order to make sales (it’s not a “build it and they will come” situation).

Definitely seeing a lot more movement with lower-ticker offers on the front end and multiple high-value aligned lead magnets (freebies or paid entry offers) are more likely to turn into high ticket sales. Approaching your product suite development through the lens of a marketing funnel.

For marketing - videos are so powerful (on every page/step of the funnel). We find that the more direct transparency (less gatekeeping), the better conversion rates. So really showing exactly what is included (a screenshare video on the checkout page) so people know exactly what they’re signing up for!


Anita Pravitasari (Tech Genius with Dreampro since 2020)


Community-powered courses

Course-only option with the ability to book 1:1 support when you need it

Coaching programs that actually let you have access to the curriculum even after the program is over.

Not working:

Peer-to-peer only community support (sorry, no. I have that, it's called Reddit.)

Coaching programs that don't let you keep your curriculum access. At least give me the option to renew curriculum-only access.

Drip content by date because of cohort or whatever. I'm an adult; let me set my own pace


We are excited to see what this year brings and if you're looking for a sign to create your digital course, now is the time to start! 

Let us show you the focused path to course creation.

Dreampro Course Camp™ is your map through the course creation wilderness, showing you the easier path to creating innovative courses that get s’more results for your students
(and for your bank account).