Here are the reasons why you need to put your prospects in the hero’s journey


Do you know about Joseph Campbell and the hero's journey? Campbell's concept of monomyth (one myth) refers to the theory that sees all mythic narratives as variations of a single great story. The theory is based on the observation that a common pattern exists beneath the narrative elements of most great myths, regardless of their origin or time of creation. The hero's journey derives from these universal myths. It describes the 12 stages our hero needs to go through, the adventures he needs to face to grow. You do know it if you read my blog about being a great storyteller, if you did not, please read that post first.

You learned about the 12 stages...

So, by now you will know the 12 stages and why all the great stories follow the hero's journey principle. It is universal, it is woven in our basic fabric, no matter what place on earth we come from, what culture we grew up in. Why am I bringing this up on a blog about course building? We are going to use this principle and we will base upon it our sales page and our course. I will simplify

When you build your course and you want people to get a different outcome in their life, when you want them to learn something new, you need to drop them in the hero's journey. If they are interested in your course this means that by now they do want to change something in their lives, they are not satisfied at this stage anymore. They need to change something and change is always very difficult. They face novelty, uncertainty and it is scientifically proven that humans rather stay in a situation that is uncomfortable but familiar, then to venture out in the unknown.

hero's journey wheel

We do not face mortal challenges...

It is not that long ago that getting out of our cave because we were hungry or cold, was most likely synonym of getting killed and eaten. It is in our genes to stay put until it is just not possible otherwise anymore. Only the perspective of dying in the cave finally drew our ancestor outside taking their chances venturing on new grounds. There you can see how much it takes for us to accept getting out of our "caves".

Yes, you can argue that we do not face mortal challenges by making certain changes in our lives, try and tell that your genetic programming. That one is running in the back 24/7 and it won't be easily overwritten.

Now there are ways to do it and that is where our universal hero comes in. The hero is the one who gets out of the comfort zone and faces the challenge.

So, consider that with your course you are challenging the hero to come out of the comfort zone. To do so you need to realize what that person will be going through and what you can do to first

  • put him in the hero's journey
  • and then keep him there.

Let me share the picture of the hero's journey again. When people come to your site, they are somewhere above the threshold, in the known world.

cycle of the hero's journey

Hero's Journey: the 12 stages

They believe they are ready...

They believe they are ready to take on the challenge and you will need to help them cross that bridge so they dive into the unknown. That is your very first action. It happens on your sales page, you need to drop your prospects into the journey. They need to understand that they can trust you in order to make that step. Be aware: it is the unknown they are facing. This means that on your sales pitch you need to very clear about your message.

You need to get your audience' trust, you have to build rapport. How do you do that?

  • You state simple, short, universally accepted facts
  • You share real information; give them some valuable tool that they can apply at once
  • Be honest: don't say it because it sounds good, say it only if it is true
  • Be vulnerable: share something personal, a fact, show that you are human
Now here are some very important points:

Authority is important!

You are the expert. Make no mistake. If they do not trust you are they are not going to follow you in the unknown. You can, later on, read here my post about building your authority.

Vulnerability is clue!

Come from the heart. Talk about past failures, they need to identify with you and your journey. You walked the path before and you came out of it a different person.

Release hope!

They need to know that it is possible. Show them by letting them into your experience.

You might think that this is all a bit theatrical to sell an online course. Well, let me remind you that you are talking to a prospects' limbic system, the part of the brain where the emotions sit. Buying anything is always an emotional decision. You buy a product because you need to believe that it is going to make you feel better. Which most of the time it won't, that's why you hop to the next new and shiny thing, and the next. Before you know it your wallet is empty and you still live in an emotional wasteland.

But let's get back to your course and the hero's journey. With your course, you want to give people the chance to learn something new, change something in their lives. You will give them value and you need to know how their mind is working.

On your sales page...

  • 1
    Introduce yourself, establish credibility. Remember, we talked about vulnerability.
  • 2
    State your agenda: Tell the audience what they can expect from your course. You lay the path out that you want them to walk
  • 3
    Create a safe, welcoming environment: Honesty, state universal facts they can relate to
  • 4
    Create interest, capture attention: tell them what the result will be if they do the work
  • 5
    You can help with your course: Give them some tool they can test and get a quick result
  • 6
    Show testimonials: People who followed your advice and had a different outcome
  • 7
    Present your call to action: Ask people to engage with you.

Now just selling the course is obviously not good enough. You want people to also go through it and get to the end.

How do you keep your "heroes" in the course...

How do you keep your "heroes" in the course after they purchased it and the first excitement is over. Let's face it, most people never finish an online course. Some never even get started. They buy a course like they buy a shirt which they may wear once and never wear again. Very soon they are off buying the next one. I mentioned it before, it is all about instant satisfaction that the purchase procures.

Now for those who think that selling it is good enough, think again. If only for that, satisfied customers are your biggest sales force. Remember: what happens when you read a book you like or finish a course you enjoyed. You will talk about it. It is in our nature to do that. We share our experiences. We share the good ones and we share the bad ones. So you better make sure that buying your course is a good, a great experience for your customer. But this is not all: you started people on a journey and you better make sure you help them through it.

You do not sell information, you sell transformation.

For it to be that, you need to keep them in the hero's journey. You promised a better outcome, you offered your skills and knowledge so that the "hero" can evolve, learn something. You need to keep that promise.

Here some tips to keep people from dropping out of your course?

  • 1
    Have a clear goal: Let people know where you want them to end up before you get started
  • 2
    Have a comprehensive outline: Make sure not to leave people in the dark. Let them see the evolution of the course
  • 3
    Only put in the course what belongs in the course: Don't try to show how much you know. Only bring in the course what people need to reach the goal. Remember: This is not about you, it is about them!
  • 4
    Divide your course in small sections: Keep your presentations short. 8-10 minutes max. Share one thing at the time. It is much less overwhelming and more accessible.
  • 5
    Give people a time frame: This will help them stay engaged and finish the course in time.
  • 6
    Make sure they see the change happening along the path: If they see that it works they will be more likely to continue
  • 7
    Create a community: People will feel like they belong which is very important, especially since your course is online and there is no direct contact.
  • 8
    Set small challenges in the group: It will be motivating. Depending on how big you group is you might even be able to offer hands on support.
Odyssey and the sirens

These are ways to help your audience stay engaged and follow the journey. Remember: there are many moments where the hero passes through the unknown. His quest is in danger, he is facing obstacles, he is fighting demons. That's what is going on here too. Now, our demons will not come in form of fire spitting dragons or 7 headed snakes but they are no less dangerous. They usually come through any form of distraction, the next shiny thing that catches our attention and makes us get off the path. Remember Odyssey and the Sirens.

Now following your hero's through their quest is a very rewarding task and finding out that they actually finished your course is a real treat. Do not underestimate that. You did put your sweat, blood and tears in it and seeing people through to the end is an acknowledgement of your work.

If this article got you thinking and interested in getting your course started, you can get your first 3 steps here for free below.

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