The Secrets of Transforming Courses into Unforgettable Learning Experiences with Marisa Murgatroyd

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Have you ever wondered what it takes to not only create an online course that sells but also ensures that your students actually complete it and succeed? Join the conversation with Marisa Murgatroyd, a successful entrepreneur who defied the odds to build a thriving multimillion-dollar business. Plus, don’t miss out on a special offer: the ‘dopamine button’ PDF guide that reveals brain hacks to supercharge course engagement and sales. 

Guest: Marisa Murgatroyd is an artist turned entrepreneur who defied her father’s belief that she had no marketable skills to build a successful multimillion-dollar business. She has empowered over 12,000 students to succeed online, even if they felt similarly unskilled. As the founder of Live Your Message and creator of the Experience Product Masterclass, she aims to revolutionize online education, making exceptional results and engagement the norm. Marisa has personally generated over $40 million in online course sales with success rates far exceeding industry standards. 

[00:00] In this episode, Igor discusses the transformative power of gamification in online education with Marisa Murgatroyd. They delve into Marisa’s ‘experience formula,’ which includes ten core experiences crucial for boosting engagement in online courses. They explore various aspects of this formula, such as the importance of creating a clear “mission” for course participants, structuring programs to keep learners engaged, and the psychology of motivation.

[03:24] The Gamification Technique:

  • It’s not just about persuading people to buy from you; it’s about guiding them to follow through and accomplish what they’ve purchased. This, in turn, leads to a positive cycle of increased sales and referrals, among other things.

[04:03] The Experience Formula:

  • I’ve actually developed a methodology called the “experience formula,” consisting of ten core experiences that you should incorporate into your course and marketing campaigns to boost engagement. However, gamification is just one part of it.
  • Merely adding points or leaderboards with meaningful context could be more effective. That’s why I emphasize the first core experience, which I call “mission.”
  • It involves having a clear, compelling goal or winning state for your course. If people don’t know what success looks like, no amount of points will motivate them. Creating a vivid and specific picture of the finish line is crucial, as it significantly boosts sales and enhances marketing.

[05:45] Don’t Make This Mistake:

  • Many people make a critical mistake when designing courses by organizing them logically, which typically begins with providing context or background information. This inadvertently trains participants to be passive observers rather than active participants.
  • To address this, I recommend structuring programs in a motivational manner, similar to how the best games start with easy levels to boost players’ confidence. Courses should begin with practical, actionable steps that gradually lead to bigger wins.

[06:46] The Flow Channel:

  • Consider the concept of the “flow channel,” where people get in the zone when their skill level matches the challenge level. To get participants into this zone, you must start with achievable wins and gradually increase the challenge. By doing so, you keep learners engaged and motivated throughout the course.
  • A student of mine was creating a course on getting music listed on television shows. Logically, the first step was to become eligible to submit music, which involved tedious paperwork. However, we redesigned the course to begin with the “Dream 50,” a list of TV shows that, if your music featured on them, would make the course investment worthwhile. 

[09:41] Taking The First Step: 

  • Making the first step incredibly easy is crucial. Even if it feels counterintuitive as a program creator, it’s essential. I often use the example of “Dance Dance Revolution,” which starts with simple steps to engage even those who can’t dance.
  • This easy start builds participants’ confidence and sets them on a path of consistent action, ultimately helping them overcome challenging aspects of the course.
  • Combining these elements with wins, peak emotional experiences, animations, celebrations, feedback loops, and personalized messages amplifies your program’s motivation and engagement.

[11:20] The Principle of Consistency:

  • When people identify themselves as someone who takes action, they’re more likely to continue taking action. Building on this, when they encounter challenging or frictional points later in the process, they have the momentum and confidence to overcome them.
  • While there may be difficult parts, boosting participants’ confidence and their sense of skill throughout the journey forms the motivational structure of a successful program.

[18:00] Engaged Student Rescue Campaign:

  • We’ve developed a powerful operation called the “Engaged Student Rescue Campaign,” where we send emails and messages to people who haven’t logged in for two weeks.
  • This approach helps reignite their engagement and participation. I recall one student, Jennifer Holebas, who nearly fell off track but re-engaged thanks to this campaign and ended up making around $150,000. She later invested $60,000 in my company, demonstrating how optimizing the back end can significantly increase lifetime customer value.
  • Additionally, we wrap a robust guarantee around our mission statement. For example, our mission is to design, launch, and profit from an experienced product in 12 weeks or less.
  • If students complete milestones and participate in group coaching calls, they become eligible for our guarantee. We promise they’ll earn back their investment during the program, and if they don’t, we make up the difference. This clear and almost binary mission allows us to track and incentivize progress.
  • We also reward Mission Accomplished states, resulting in a high number of testimonials, further boosting our reputation.
  • In fact, we’ve gamified the testimonial collection process, making it seamless for students to submit their feedback. As a result, 41% of our students have provided testimonials. All of this creates a strong wall of proof for potential new students.
  • Finally, optimizing for the customer experience is crucial, especially in today’s digital world where reputation matters greatly. By focusing on creating a positive learning journey, we not only attract more customers but also build a community that supports and promotes our brand.

[30:00] The Dopamine Button:

  • Once a year, I host a seven-day online course creators workshop series, and if you’re watching this now, it’s live. I’d like to offer you the first part of the series in the form of a PDF guide. This guide is called the “dopamine button,” and it contains three brain hacks that can instantly boost course engagement and sales.
  • To access it, simply visit, and on that page, you’ll also receive an invitation to the actual workshops.


Igor Kheifets is an amazon best-selling author of the List Building Lifestyle: Confessions of an Email Millionaire.

He’s also the host of List Building Lifestyle, the podcast for anyone who wants to make more money and have more freedom by leveraging the power of an email list

He’s widely referred to as the go-to authority on building large responsive email lists in record time.

Igor’s passionate about showing people how to live the List Building Lifestyle.