You may be rocking your website and building your email list but still wondering why you’re not reaching more people and reaching your financial goals for your business. There are a couple of marketing strategies that could be key to you taking your business to the next level this year and beyond.
Podcasting is a growing trend, as people desire to publish their own online radio shows on topics they’re passionate about. Content is free, but it’s a good way to build a platform and grow your mailing list so you can then offer premium services and products. There is not as much competition in the podcasting arena, making it easier to find loyal listeners. For podcasting basics, you can watch this free tutorial Learn How To Podcast.
Online learning is another growing trend that will not go away anytime soon as the knowledge industry continues to gather momentum. Using a combination of audio, video and pdf worksheets, you can teach an online course on any topic people are interested in. You can offer an at-home study course delivered by email or a group coaching experience with weekly drip-fed content released one week at a time, allowing people to consume your content, interacting with other students and you throughout the process. Online group coaching courses sell for between $497 and $1999 on average, depending on what is involved and how much content and interaction are provided. If you’re doing a home study course, you can charge $47, $97, $197, $297 or $397. You can set this up as a regularly scheduled email. See below for more details on how to set up an online course or group coaching course.
Online Courses – What You Will Need:
1. The first step to creating an online course is to create your outline. For example, a 4-6 week program should consist of one hour of teaching each week, drip-fed (audio and/or screencast lessons or modules created as a new post in WordPress and scheduled for release one at a time on the Monday of each week). You may already have a series of teachings that can be adapted into a course without much modification. At any rate, expect to invest an estimated 40-100 hours to put together a decent course. An important note: your course does not have to be perfect, especially the first time around. This is where many, including myself, have gotten stuck. You want feedback from your participants and can use that feedback to improve on the course over time. So go ahead and release the course even though it may not be what it will become in time. It’s better to start helping people now than to have it sit on a shelf gathering dust and helping no one.
2. Once your course is written, prepare to record your audio and/or screencast lessons or modules using a standard mic and creating a simple mp3 or use Screenflow to record the screen along with a Powerpoint or Keynote presentation to create a professional screencast. You can add the audio later or record it all at once using Screenflow. There are many tutorials on YouTube to show you how to do this, so just Google it, as versions are updated often.
3. Next, create and upload a simple (one-page if possible) Word and/or pdf worksheet for each lesson or module that can be downloaded by the viewer. You can save your Word doc as a pdf worksheet or create a fillable pdf using PDF Escape, a free program which allows you to create your own forms. You can use DropBox or Google Drive as a place for people to upload their homework if you want to, or allow the individual to remain on the self-study track and do it privately if you don’t want or have time to check their homework.
4. Schedule a weekly conference call using www.freeconferencecall.com or another conference call service of your choice. Wednesdays or Thursdays are good days or evenings for the weekly call, as it gives people a chance to go through each week’s lesson and come up with any questions they may have.
5. For marketing your course, your mailing list is of utmost importance. You will want to inform your list first and foremost of your launch, rather than promoting your course on your website. People respond to exclusive offers and you are already building the know, like and trust factor with them by communicating on a weekly basis with a short email, short video or short audio teaching and a personal note. For email marketing, MailChimp is free for a list of up to 500 people and Aweber is approximately $15-30/month with a signficant discount for non-profits or charitable organizations such as churches and ministries. Remember – sell to your list, not on your website. People will rarely come to your site and purchase something without that know, like and trust factor I keep talking about. People want relationship, so give it to them in the form of a weekly email. You can post a link in the email, sending your list back to your website to read the content, view the video or listen to the audio, increasing traffic to your site, which helps with search engine ranking.
6 For sales processing, Wishlist Member is a simple solution that allows you to integrate Paypal, Clickbank or a number of other payment processing features to your website and enables login pages to give access to paid members.
7. People who pay premium prices for a course do not appreciate you using a private YouTube page for video. YouTube is great for short videos, but for your course, you want to go a step up from that and use something like Vimeo Plus at a nominal fee of $9.95/month. You would create a private page and add the link to your weekly scheduled lesson page on your website, saving bandwidth usage charges with your web host. There are other providers like Wistia, but at premium prices.
8. You may want to create a private Facebook group for people in your online course. Cost is $0 and it’s a great way for people in the course to connect with you and others so they can take this journey together.
9. Google Drive is a free tool that allows people in your course to share their work with you. Dropbox also allows members to upload or download files. You can also store your conference call mp3’s here. Amazon S3 is another place to store files at a very minimal cost.
Here is a tutorial to create and sell a simple email course. And here is a short tutorial on how to set it up using AWeber.
Be confident that you have something of value to share with the world. As you take action on these steps and strategies, know that you can build long-term relationships with the people you serve, and serve them well.