May 23, 2019

Course Creators Unite: What's worked? What hasn't?

Janice @Janice

#ask-ih

I'm presently beta testing my first online course and so far, so good. (Pulled in $6291, which is a respectable start.)

Before going full Monty, I'd like to ensure I deliver results for my students. But I can't help looking ahead to July and thinking about a proper launch. For those that have gone through a thoughtful launch, what worked, what didn't?

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    Where do you sell courses? Can you recommend any platforms or are you using custom built solutions? Do you sell on different platforms depending on the course/target audience?

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      (Laughing!) Hell no to custom solutions! (Ain't nobody got time for dat!) I chose Teachable and although still new to the platform, I'm really happy with the decision, thus far.

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        Good stuff. I am a part-time college teacher IRL and monetizing what I have learned in the classroom would be awesome. Teachable platform looks really promising.

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          I was up and running within a day! Go for it!

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    Just been through the launch of my first 'real' course (after the beta) and still learning so much. Have a lot of thoughts I'd be happy to share, but no time to write them down!

    Will try and come back and answer properly later today - please ping me if I don't!

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      I am waiting for this

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        Same!

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      Consider this your nudge!

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    Awesome question!

    I have 3 courses in career development--DIY English resumes, Outstanding LinkedIn Profiles, Polished Interviewing Skills. Think 1-2 week drip email courses with regular daily lessons and an occasional bonus lesson. Target market is global job seekers around 21 to 35 years old.

    I am pretty rigorous and thought I had the kinks worked out but still I launched the 1st two for free until I could gather enough feedback to feel they were worthy of charging for. As you can imagine, due to the subject matter, the free course sign-ups were flooded and then when I added a fee, I am down to normal conversion rates, maybe 1%. This surprised me a bit.

    I give the first lesson away for free (course outline) and market on LinkedIn and Chinese platforms like Wechat since our firm is based in Shanghai but serves clients all over the globe. I am almost finished with a gatsby landing page which I will put on our domestic and foreign websites in June.

    It's important to collect a sufficient number of improvements/observations before spending time making changes. I have had a few people ask for audio or short video but to-date, hard to justify time involved to create the additional formats.

    Although I am American with a long business background, the issue in my home market (China) is that there are a ton of cut-rate videos/courses with questionable authors selling for the equivalent of $5-$20. I sell my courses for $40 each or all 3 for $90. Still, an excellent ROI for users but getting the messaging right has been tough esp. in a poor economic climate (you would think it was the opposite). Also some inquirers can not afford my premium editing/coaching services, so I use these to still serve the mid-market.

    In summer, I will develop one or two courses on the OpenEdx platform as a trial.

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      Awesome feedback! Thanks for taking the time to respond!

      Interesting. At that price point, you need lots of sign ups to generate meaningful income. Have you thought about adding audio/video to your curriculum and charging a higher price point? Why or why not?

      What tools, if any, do you use for your drip content?

      (Smiling) I definitely went the opposite route and charged a good chunk of change ($699) before I had even a curriculum. I'll admit that I while I did think about how much value the course would create for students, I also thought about what would make it worth my time. I don't regret the decision as I'm pretty disciplined. But I underestimated the amount of work and I can imagine for some, the obligation would prove smothering.

      My primary concern is that I leveraged an already existing mailing list and I'm not certain how many times I can go back to that well. Before I know this is sustainable, I'll need to do a proper launch. Any tips?

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        Yes, you are absolutely right about the price point. My initial end goal was to provide some middle ground between not converting inquiries and those willing to pay for premium editing services. It's also another way to be able to talk about our firm on an ongoing basis. My thinking has been to try a video course on a similar topic first and see what the response is but I appreciate your idea.

        I use Mailchimp and got started after buying Paul Jarvis' video course on it. Love the guy and really admire his work ethic and productivity but I thought the course was only fairly priced/valued relative to what I got out of it. Sorry if I am knocking one of the site's luminaries but that's my opinion. I will revisit it again this summer for a refresher. Also mailchimp feels like it is getting over-engineered relative to my modest needs and I may look elsewhere soon too.

        I agree with you about returning to the well too often. I have had only 2 unsubscribes to date but for some reason they still hurt since I am trying to deliver as much value as possible. The response rate is really low on follow-on courses and bonuses I send. I wish I had more wisdom for you here but I am a blind truffle pig at the moment.

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          Thanks again for the insight! I, too, feel MailChimp is a bit heavy. I plan to look into ConvertKit. I'll let you know how it goes!

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