Signature Program vs Online Courses | What’s The Difference?

Signature Programs and online courses, while similar, have different functions in a coaching business model.


That’s why today we're talking about the difference between a signature coaching program and an evergreen online course to see which might be the right fit for you in your current season of business.


➡️ And don’t forget to stick around until the end because I have a signature program and online course resource that you won't want to miss!


Let's start with a few of the similarities so you know what to expect. 


Both Signature Programs and Online Courses begin with building out a detailed structure called a framework. The process is the same for outlining both frameworks and includes: 

  • Beginning with the course outcome or intended end result
  • Then working backwards by mapping out the steps 
  • After that you’ll give your tips, techniques and methods a unique name 
  • Then you’ll add stories, examples and testimonials 
  • Next, you’ll create implementation materials like workbooks, checklists, and/or templates
  • And finally you’ll end with some sort of bonuses


The next similarity between the two is researching the viability of your offer. This includes:

  • surveying your current audience
  • doing simple SEO research to see how many people are searching your topic per month


Another similarity is determining your ideal client and/or student for your offer.  


And the final similarity is how to title your offer so that it speaks directly to your ideal client or student.  


This is when we start getting into four key differences between signature coaching programs and online courses. So, let’s get to it… 



Signature Program vs Online Course Difference #1- Packaging 


➡️ A signature coaching program is typically packaged as a high-touch, one-on-one container, group coaching program, and/or mastermind experience. These offers can range anywhere from 6 weeks to 12 months. 


Your high touch signature program might include meeting with clients weekly, bi weekly, or monthly for a coaching call.


It also may even provide additional support and feedback via:

  • email
  • a private online community
  • a private tele-coaching thread on platforms like Voxer, Telegram, or WhatsApp


➡️ On the other hand, an evergreen online course is packaged into a self-paced, pre-recorded program that's available for purchase and enrollment at any time.


The online course typically includes a series of video lessons, worksheets, templates and other resources that guide students through a specific and niched topic or set of topics.


The content is usually organized into modules or sections, and students can work through the material at their own pace without any additional support from you.



Signature Program vs Online Course Difference #2- Pricing 


When pricing your signature program and online courses, we take a look at the full scope of all you provide that supports your clients and students in getting results and individually price each asset. So, you’re pricing out: 

  • Specific and unique step by steps that save your clients & students time
  • Implementation materials like templates, checklists, swipe files, and workbooks that give them exactly what they need to implement and apply what they’re learning 
  • Easily accessible resources like tutorials, guides, planners, etc that allows them to feel supported and take action without you physically needing to be there
  • Bonuses that allow your clients/students to easily move to the next level beyond your offer.
  • Time with you! This can include official coaching hours, zoom calls, email support, chat forum, comment box coaching, Q&A’s, or Facebook group support.


Signature coaching programs will typically be priced much higher than online courses due to that last asset… time with you! 


Just remember, there’s nothing more valuable than your time (because you can’t get time back), so if you’re offering this in your Signature Program and/or online course, be sure to set your prices accordingly.


Signature Program vs Online Course Difference #3- Marketing 


When it comes to marketing, there are some key differences between a signature program and an evergreen online course.


➡️ Marketing an evergreen online course is a more scalable and automated process. There’s no limit to how many people can find and enroll in your online course because:

  1. You’re not trading your time for money, so you can enroll thousands if you’d like
  2. Your sales page will answer all the questions potential students may have about if they’re the right fit, what they’re going to receive, how much it is, and what the refund policy is
  3. The price point is typically low enough where people feel comfortable purchasing on the spot without needing a conversation


When marketing an online course, you can start by solidifying a simple sales funnel. 


And if you’re not sure what a sales funnel is or which is the right fit for you, go ahead and click on this blog and I’ll walk you though it!


RELATED BLOG: Sales Funnel Strategy To Convert Your Sales Page | Sales Funnels For Beginners

To give you an example, a simple sales funnel I use is a tiny offer funnel. Here’s what I do:

  • I pull a piece of content from my online course and make it into a tiny offer (which is an offer between $17-$47). In my case, I created a Signature Program Trello Board.
  • Once someone purchases my trello board for $37 they then become part of an email campaign that sells the evergreen online course that aligns with both the tiny offer and email campaign.


So the funnel looks like:

-Tiny Offer Sales Page

-Email Campaign

-Sales Page

-Checkout Page


Once this funnel is set up, my only job is to drive traffic to the Tiny Offer Sales Page!


You can do this by running ads, doing email marketing campaigns to your list, and sharing content on a blog, youtube channel, podcast or social media platforms. The focus then is on creating compelling content and optimizing your sales funnel to attract and convert customers on an ongoing basis.


➡️ When marketing a signature coaching program, you’ll still have a sales funnel, however, it’s typically a funnel that includes deeper levels of value and education… and the reason for this is because you’re charging a premium price point, so we want your ideal clients to see you as THEIR coach before they even enroll. 


So, perhaps your funnel looks like doing a blog series on your signature program topic, and each blog includes a “Join the waitlist” button for an upcoming group coaching experience. Then, when you launch you’ll have a full email list to launch to!


Or perhaps your funnel looks like you creating a super high value FREE 3 Part Masterclass series that leads to an application for a 12 week 1:1 coaching package.


Or maybe you run ads to a free workshop that leads to a discovery call for a high touch 6 month mastermind. 


The point is, when marketing your premium priced Signature Coaching Program you’ll want to build relationships with your potential clients by giving away high value, free content so they see you as their coach and they know you’re the one who can support them in getting where they desire to be.


Signature Program vs Online Course Difference #4- Enrollment 


The enrollment process for a signature coaching program and an evergreen online course also differs.


For a signature program, enrollment often involves a consultation or discovery call with potential clients.

This allows you to:

  • assess their needs
  • answer any questions 
  • determine if they’re the right fit for both your program and YOU as their coach.

Since signature programs are typically high ticket, the enrollment process may also involve sending an agreement for them to review and sign.


➡️ However, enrolling in an evergreen online course is typically a self-serve process.

Potential students can:

  • visit your sales page
  • review the course details
  • make a purchase or enroll directly on your website


This enrollment process is more streamlined and doesn’t require direct interaction with each individual student… which is good for you because that means that hundreds or thousands of students can enroll every month without any extra use of your time!


By understanding these differences in packaging, pricing, marketing, and enrolling, you can make an informed decision about whether a signature coaching program or an evergreen online course is the right fit for your coaching business model. 


And whichever option you choose, I have a great resource for you! Both Signature Program That Sells and Online Course Simplified will walk you through the process of creating, packaging, marketing and selling either a signature coaching program or an evergreen online course!




So, go ahead and click the pictures above to learn more about those now.

📣 And, if this blog was just what you needed in your coaching business, please let me know by sharing it with your coach friends.


Until next time, Coach… keep building your empire!


XO, KellyAnne





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