It seems like you’re just not running an online business if you’re not creating, delivering or planning a passive income course or leveraged group program. Have you noticed? It’s the holy grail of scaling your business, having more impact and making more money.
We’re all buying more courses and creating them. But what I’m noticing is that completion rates are lower than a winter sunrise in Sweden. That’s if you can get people to buy in the first place. And look, maybe you don’t care about completion rates, maybe you’re just looking to close the deal. But if that’s the case, I’d hazard a guess you’re not hanging on my website and reading this post.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that courses make easy money and easy business. Courses are a game-changing way to scale your business, true, but they’re not easy to get right, they’re hard as hell to sell, and even harder to get results. I’ve worked with all types, from global corporates to solopreneurs designing, developing and selling courses in all shapes and sizes. And these are the key mistakes I think you could be making if you’re not seeing the pay off you’ve been hoping for…
Creating something people don’t want.
Well that sure sounds like a silly thing to do, doesn’t it? But it happens. There are two different traps I see people fall into here. One is Reformed Smoker Syndrome, when you have done or learned something that has changed your life and now you want to teach everyone else. The second trap is the Easy Money E-Course trap, where you read the Four Hour Workweek and you’re rolling out any old thing thinking it’s going to make you a mozza.
Technically there’s nothing really wrong with being in either of those camps, but what they’re ignoring is the customer – you know, that person who is going to give you their money for your course? You need to satisfy yourself that there is market demand. You can do this in a heap of different ways including: selling the same service in a different format (ie. 1:1 coaching, a live workshop) so you can see how customers respond, interviewing your target customer to find out if what they’re struggling with can be fixed with your course looking at what the market is already paying for, using tools like Google Keyword Finder to see if people are searching for what you sell, checking out whether people are paying for courses on your topic in Udemy, etc.
Expecting immediate payoff - momentum takes time
Most entrepreneurs suffer from a habitual need to compare themselves to other entrepreneurs who are much further progressed on their journey than they are. Think the brand new life coach, hot out of the gates with their qualification certificate in hand, comparing their first e-course to Marie Forleo’s B-School. That’s a recipe for disaster right there.
Sure there might be some entrepreneurs who sell out big time with their first ever launch of an online program, but it’s the exception not the rule. More likely, they’ve spent years and lots and lots of dollars building a tribe and email list before launching. Most entrepreneurs will launch, and launch again, and launch again before they start to think, okay I might be getting some momentum up now. As long as you’re on an upward trend and you can see other metrics growing in each launch, this is all okay, exactly what’s meant to happen, and you need to give yourself – and your poor course – the time!
I had a client who wanted to give up two days working in her business before she’d even developed the course because she expected the course revenues to fill that income hole. It’s not going to happen, please, for the love of e-courses, give yourself time to grow your course.
Building and expecting them to come
We’ve talked about building a course that people want – designing with a face to the market. Next you need to give your course the very best launch and marketing strategy you can. Like an author on a book tour, or Matt Damon promoting the 55th instalment of the Bourne series, you have to get out there and talk about your product. Look at Marie Forleo’s B-School launches. Although most entrepreneurs know what B-School is unless they live under an internet rock, every year Marie and her affiliates blitz the internet with their talk about the product.
Give yourself at least 6 solid weeks of ramp time to launch your course, and fill that six weeks with consistent, valuable content creation that gets people onto your list and loving your vibe, and then nurtured into the selling cycle. But hear this. In my experience of my two launches, almost everyone who has bought from me I already ‘knew’, because they’d either bought from me before, or they were in my Facebook group, or I had interacted with them in some other way. Where people bought who I didn’t know I could fairly quickly track them back to a referral from a current client. What does this mean? It means that you always need to be visible, and adding value, and getting known for what you do. So that when you are selling, you’re just helping those people decide if now is their time to buy.
If you are marketing your first ever course, you may also want to consider running a pilot first, so that you can charge less, get feedback and get the all-important testimonials.
Not delivering on your promise or delivering on the wrong promise.
If I had a dollar for every time I had a conversation with an entrepreneur who wanted to include too much in their e-course, or who weren’t really clear on the purpose of their course, well, I would probably be an eleventy-billionaire. It’s easy to make the mistake. Especially female entrepreneurs who tend to live to serve and doubt their own value – the instinct is to pack in as much value and knowledge as possible into an e-course. But the fact is, niche and specific and targeted sells.
Every course needs to make a promise for a transformative experience – a participant must be different at the end than at the beginning. Even if the transformation seems as simple as learning to make green smoothies. What transformation are you promising? To lose ten kilos? To run four kilometres? To eat raw for thirty days without losing the plot?
There are no sure things, easy rides or silver bullets when it comes to e-courses (although I’m sure someone’s selling one!). But if you avoid these mistakes, I have big belief that your e-course will sell, flourish, fly and change lives.
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