How to Speed Up the Launch of Your Academy

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Andrew Brown ·

May 08, 2023

You’ve heard about the benefits of digital customer education. You’ve even seen direct competitors launch academies that help them reduce operational costs, deflect support tickets, and increase product adoption. 

What’s holding everyone else back from doing the same?

More times than not, the hurdle comes in the form of a preconceived notion that launching an academy takes a ton of time and resources. 

It doesn’t. 

In fact, an academy can come together pretty quickly if you set your sights on three steps: 

  1. Identify the essential topics
  2. Browse your content library 
  3. Embrace technology

In this article, we’ll dive into each of these and look at how they can help you launch an academy much quicker than you think.  

Identify the Essential Topics

Your product has a ton of great features and you update it regularly. Of course, you want your academy to cover all the nooks and crannies—at launch and moving forward—but you don’t have to cover it all on day 1. Said another way, you don’t need a course for everything or a learning path that walks through the intricacies of every feature. You’ll get there, but not right now. 

Instead, when you’re getting ready to launch, focus on gathering content that touches on topics absolutely essential for your customers. Think about what your customers need to achieve their goals, but also what’ll put you in the best position to prove the impact of customer training to your leadership team

To get started, your customer success manager (CSM) and their team need to evaluate customer needs based on immediate relevance—running a needs assessment can be a valuable step. 

Once you establish those needs, start compiling a list of the basic information you absolutely need to convey—the details will come later, bandwidth permitting. 

Browse Your Content Library

One of the easiest ways to start publishing content for your academy is to look right at the source: Your content library.  

By using the content you already have, you can quickly launch an academy with pertinent information to get your customers started on their journey toward success.

So, what qualifies? 

Well, just about anything instructional or informative you’ve already created to support your product

  • Product manuals 
  • Training materials
  • Blog posts
  • Videos
  • FAQs
  • Webinars
  • Case studies

The list goes on…

What’s more, you don’t have to use each as a singular piece of content. For example, a product manual says everything all at once, but it’s far too much to put in front of a customer and expect them to read the whole thing. But you can take the pieces of it—the chapters, the sections—and use that to create smaller, more easily digestible lessons. This is called microlearning.

Do you have a webinar on file? Excellent! 

Now edit it into shorter segments and create assessments or quizzes that help your customers test their knowledge. 

Have a blog post about the top five things you can do with your product? Great! 

Each of those five things can be a lesson.

Perhaps you started a podcast to discuss how your product can benefit your customers and walks them through common pain points. Wonderful! 

Splice that into short, easy-to-follow sections to bolster the information you want to provide from the outset.

There’s a lot of information you want to convey to your customers when you launch your academy, but you don’t have to create it from scratch. Just dive into your content library and see what assets you already have. 

Embrace Technology 

When it comes to launching an academy, especially with limited resources, it’s important to remember that you’re not doing this on your own. You have a team in your corner, too. 

You also have a growing list of technology that’s ready to lend a hand (not in a creepy way), e.g., customer training platforms, artificial intelligence, and third-party creation tools.

  • Customer Training Platforms: Start with selecting a customer training platform or learning management system (LMS) purpose-built for customer education and training. That means picking one that comes with templates, pre-built courses, and other tools to simplify the launch process. With the right learning platform, you can easily develop your academy while having quick access to administration, documentation, reporting, programs, and more.
  • Artificial Intelligence: Technology can also be used to create and design your content. For example, ChatGPT can help you craft the copy you need to write your courses and develop your content—and all it takes is entering a simple prompt into either option’s query box.
  • Third-party Creation Tools: Will your academy benefit from the use of video? If so, Tourial is a great place to go to develop smart, easy-to-follow product tours. And then there’s Appcues, which can help you design and produce great onboarding experiences. Not only are these applications easy to use, but they also save you the hassle of having to allocate resources to freelance designers and video editors.
Similarly, do you have video content lying around, but it feels disconnected from your brand? That’s not a problem either, thanks to a wide selection of easy-to-use video-editing software. You can use any number of free and low-cost video-editing products to create smart video content to add greater depth and value to your digital customer academy. Great examples are found on Vimeo, Animoto, and Wistia.

Keep it Simple

For a quick launch of a digital customer academy, one of the best things you can do to achieve low-cost, high-quality efficiency is to keep it simple at the outset. 

Remember: You don’t have to cover every square inch of your product’s potential in the initial launch of your academy. Instead, stick to the basics—what’s the information you need to convey right now to ensure your customers have a working knowledge of your product, and what can be developed later?

Even if all the information isn’t there initially, your customers will appreciate a streamlined, easy-to-use academy that delivers the most pertinent information. 

Once you’ve launched, and while you’re starting to put together the content that rounds out the full scope of your product’s capabilities, your customer-facing teams can work with customers looking for a greater depth of information by providing them the supplemental information and knowledge they need.

About the Author
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Andrew Brown

Andrew is a Content Marketing Manager. When he's not creating, you can find him watching the Buffalo Sabres, obsessing about Scandinavia or exploring NYC.

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