Before you market your online course there are a few things you need to consider to put yourself in the best position to develop a highly profitable business. According to a recent report by Global Market Insights, the eLearning market size is predicted to exceed $375 billion USD by 2026.
With the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic many tradition offline learning avenues have been pushed online. Furthermore with systematic business and schools closures, mandatory quarantine periods and social distancing practises people are actively seeking online learning opportunities for personal development. Now more than ever is the best time to leverage your knowledge, and build a profile online course. Knowledge is the new currency of 2021, and by following these 3 steps to take before you market your online course you can ensure you are set up for success!
To help you with your course once you are ready to go you can also check out my 9 step guide to creating a highly profitable online course! So lets dive in.
Step 1. Establish Credibility - Position Yourself As An Authority & Expert
Just like many other online industries that have the potential “work from home, quit your day job” potential, online courses and the knowledge industry are full of people selling what they have learnt. Just like any service or product you need to stand out in the crowd, if you want to have any chance of success. All the successful entrepreneurs that successfully sell programs and courses did not just wake up one day and start a course with no background.
People want to buy from an expert or authority of the industry. Even before you start to pen your course you need to start to establish yourself in your field. Consider this pre selling your online course, similar to the buzz and hype marketers create with product launches.
- Build an audience – A big mistake a lot of beginning course creators make is selling cold. I know some entrepreneurs who spend 5+ years developing social media audiences and groups before selling their course. Choose your medium, a blog, youtube, facebook – any channel where you can develop a following and publish everything you can to them. Be unabashedly honest and personable.
- Show them how its done – depending on your industry and what you are selling, one of the best ways to build credibility is to succeed at what you are selling. Whether its a course on building a successful blog, launching and ecommerce business, or selling cosmetics document your success and shout it from the roof tops. Here is how I did it, you can do it to.
- Develop your resume – Just like applying for a job, you need to develop a list of accomplishments and achievements to impress your potential customers. Strategically enter competitions, guest write on blogs, attend events and get photographs with industry leaders. List it all, publish it and advocate it at every opportunity.
- Expand your knowledge – seems like a pretty straight forward and obvious statement, but invest in your personal development. Take industry leading courses, read literature and create as much content as your can. The more you can consume, and then intern craft to publish to your audience, the further you can develop yourself as an expert.
- Join the online community – Consider joining Quora, Yahoo! Answers or Reddit. Participate in online discussions within your industry and become vocal. Share your knowledge and develop our online profile – this can quickly begin to develop credibility.
Step 2. Know Your Audience - Who Are You Selling To?
The most successfully marketers run highly targeted campaigns, crafted specifically for their target market. Massive brand campaigns will often have slightly different variants of their ads for specific demographics for example homeowners 25-35, stay at home mums 25-45 etc. They do this because each group is looking for something slight different. It may all end with the same product but they want it for a different reason, and evaluate the product using different criteria.
Now imagine selling blindly. To an audience you know nothing about, who potentially has no interest in your product, would you be successful? More than likely you would quit after having spent countless hours, and money on advertising resulting in few sales. You would be wasting your time, money and your customers as well.
Knowledge is power and it is especially true in any business. Once you begin to understand exactly what your customers want, you can then build the perfect solution for them. You can market better to them, and ensure your online course provides everything they are looking for. There is ideally two things we are trying to find out here:
- Who is your ideal customer – countless entrepreneurs spend years marketing to who they think should use or want their product. You need to make sure you are certain who your ideal customer is, so you can then get your messaging right for them. In some industries and niches it is very straight forward, but if you are building an offering that is very unique it may not be so obvious.
- What do they want to hear – once you know who your ideal customer is, the group that is most likely to buy you product, you then need to understand what they want to hear. What drives them? What is their needs and desires? What do they fear, and what would compel them to buy?
The more you research, the easier you can target the RIGHT people, and ultimately get better conversions. Which equals more sales and less acquisition costs. In the process of establishing your credibility and building an audience, you can also start to data mine. Collect as much information as you can and start to build your ideal customer profile. You can do this in many ways
- Social media is an incredible tool for gaining insights into your audience. Most social media platforms offer analytic tools that let you drill down the demographics of your followers. In most cases you need to have a business profile so make sure to establish a professional profile for your business.
- Website analytics can also give you valuable insights into your visitors. Using tools like google analytics, you can develop a profile of what your visitors are searching, and what their demographics are.
Ultimately once you have finished you will able to answer the following questions about your audience:
- How old are they?
- Where do they live?
- What is their socio economic status? (this is important for product pricing and positioning)
- What are their influential motivators for making buying decisions?
- What underlying problem are they trying to solve with your product?
- What do they fear?
Once you can answer these questions, and have established your credibility you can then move on to the final step before you begin building and selling your course.
Step 3. Identify The Problem - What Are You Selling To Your Audience?
The final step may seem like the simplest, but is often one of the hardest for online course creators to get their head around. You have obviously identified a unique skill or knowledge that you possess, and decided to leverage this to make money online. But an online course wont just sell because you are an expert, and its on a popular topic. You need to give your audience a reason to buy, especially when there are numerous courses similar to yours.
One of the mistakes people often make is focusing on the content, rather than the problem their course solves, and consequential the solution they are selling. Let’s say for instance the target audience is middle aged men, in corporate high paying jobs who want to lose weight. You know they are time poor, have little spare time to spend on working out, and even when they do, they are stressed and not motivated.
Now you need to give them a solution. The outcome is to lose weight, this is the end goal. The solution is perhaps, a easy to prepare meal plan, with healthy whole foods coupled with a short high intensity workout program. Your solution, is focusing more on the reason they want your help:
- They want to loose weight, but are time poor.
- They want to loose weight, but are unmotivated.
- They want to loose weight but are stressed.
The solution focuses on easy to prepare meals and short sharp workouts. You are breaking down the barriers as to why they haven’t lost weight to begin with.
You can do this exercise with any topic. Pick your target audience, then figure out how to address a pain point or solve a pressing problem with an online course. Use the solution you’ve identified as the driving force behind your marketing campaign, and you’ll be able to capture the demand of your most valuable customer base.
Now you have laid the ground work you can start to build the perfect course! A course builder is a must for anyone wanting to enter the online course industry. Kajabi is arguably one of, if not the leading all-in-one software for building and running your online courses or membership site business. It is used by over 25,000 entrepreneurs including big names such as Amy Porterfield (online marketing expert), Brendan Burchard (personal development coach) and Billy Gene (social media marketing guru).
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