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Ucourse

Contribution: Team member, Lean UX
Employee at: Sanoma Lab


[Blog, Originally from Sanoma Lab website, read original article here]

How it started: Sanoma Mobile Accelerator

In April 2013, Ucourse was one out of the three first internal ventures that came out of the Sanoma Mobile Accelerator Program. Through a competitive and intensive program involving 150 entrepreneurial talents with 1.500 ideas in total, Sanoma tapped into the ideas and knowledge of its own people on a cross-departmental and international scale.

‘UCourse is developing a mobile site and app to create and follow an e-course on leisure subjects.’

The first quickpitch for Ucourse
UCourse is developing a mobile site and app to create and follow an e-course on leisure subjects to help women with a desire for learning follow an e-course. And to help experts build their e-course, reach an audience and monetize on their skills and knowledge. Our user needs to select an e-course, register and pay to follow. The expert needs to import his files and video/audio content into our application. Tailor make the content to specific users and create an e-course. Which will bring them the course in our branded format and get in touch with the audience/instructor.

Using the Lean method
Ucourse started with a small team: Marie Louise Kok (founder), Leonie van de Laar (UX Designer), our Hungarian friend Gabor Horvarth (developer) and some interns. With this team Ucourse was ready to start designing and testing the first riskiest assumptions.

The first test: What topics are visitors interested in?

The goal of our first test was to find out what topics visitors are interested in. We came up with the idea of launching a landing page and offered 40 fake courses. Fake, because we were testing the customers needs before actually building the whole website. We added a crazy egg analysis code, so we could track the topics our visitors are interested in.

1st pivot
From this landing page test we learned that visitors are mostly interested in professional courses like ‘How to build an app’, ‘How to blog’. We also learned from this MVP that customers really wanted to know the content of the course in detail, before they purchased a e-course. To tackle this, we decided to build a webshop using open source software: Prestashop. This time faked 350 professional courses but with detailed text and pictures. A perfect way to attract traffic and learn about the e-commerce funnel. This site is still live at www.ucourse.nl

The biggest learning: cost of acquisition
The riskest assumption was that Ucourse could attract buying customers and earn money by keeping a commission of 30% on each sale (iTunes model).

Validated amongst trainers – they adopted this iTunes model. However, putting in a lot of marketing effort, the cost of acquisition are too high to make this model work. The Sanoma reach in professional markets is not that high; so SEA costs would be expensive. And even if we ‘get’ the customer; ‘keeping and growing’ seemed to be a huge challenge.

Validate the riskiest assumption
Putting out banners, a small SEA campaign, testing with Zanox affiliated partners and blog articles in Sanoma brands newsletters, we could easily and quickly test our riskest assumption: the cost of acquisition. Hettestpanel.nl was very helpful!

2nd pivot
What if Ucourse sells courses to companies and employees. Let’s go B2B? Ucourse now is in proces of validating this opportunity.

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Preview of the B2B Ucourse demo

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