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In this episode you will learn about finding your niche along with launching and marketing an online course.
Susie Parker is an expert in baby naps.
This is the 87th session of Smart Brand Marketing.
MY BIGGEST TAKEAWAY:
Ask current clients:
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- Susie Parker, Family Success Academy: Baby Naps Made Easy
- Working with a unique niche
- Doing it all yourself
- Failures and succeses
- Million visits per year
- Creating Epic Content
How to Promote Your Online Course
Picture this scene: you have finished your first ever online course and it’s ready for publishing. You have rehearsed your script, your filming equipment is ready, and your content have been sufficiently and edited.
In all cases, you are sufficiently ready to start the course. Here’s the problem, though: how do you get people to become your students? Creation is just the first hurdle you will encounter for your online course, the next step involves building enough interest for it that people will at least give you a chance to explain your ideas.
Basically, the way you promote your course will count in determining whether it becomes this in-demand product online. To do that, there are several aspects that you have to tackle first.
Niching: How to Do it Properly?
Right now, it’s safe to say that you know that your idea, the one that forms the core of your online course, is not for everyone to find some value in. This is why you have to determine for whom you want your online courses to be offered to. To do this, there are a few steps that you have to keep in mind.
- 1. Find the ProblemThis is quite basic but the very first thing that you have to do for your online course is to determine what kind of problem it provides solution for. More often than not, it is at this point that you can identify the kind of people you will be teaching your course to.
For instance, you want to teach photography lessons online but don’t know where to start. To give yourself an idea as to what kind of lessons you want to offer, you might want to take a look at the typical challenges a photographer faces in the field. This might be lining up for the perfect shot, dealing with adverse weather conditions, or even packing up all your equipment for travelling.
The point here is that you have to identify what kind of problem you want to answer to give your course a general, if still a bit too broad, direction. The honing phase comes later.
- 2. Identify The TargetOnce you have identified the kind of problem (or problems) that your course wants to solve, you should make things a bit more specific. You can do this by identifying the kind of people that encounter that problem on a regular basis.
Going back to the Photography example, you can quickly determine that whoever faces problems like lining up a perfect shot or dealing with weather conditions, etc., are photographers by trade. Since you know that your photography course is for photographers, you have effectively narrowed down your target to a rather specific type of people.
But would you believe that you can take that a bit further? For instance, every photographer can be classified further by their skill level, types of subjects covered, and even the type of equipment that they use.
So, for instance, novice photographers often deal with lining up a perfect shot while travel photographers deal with adverse weather conditions regularly. On the flip side, digital camera users have different maintenance concerns as those that still use film for their pictures. It’s up to you how you mix and match problems and demographics but make sure that whatever people you target your courses to will find value in your lessons.
- 3. Find a Unique AngleIt’s always a problem online when you have to make your offer stand out from the rest of the competition. How do you exactly go about if the topic you are covering has been done to death in the past? The best solution here is to give a rather unique angle in tackling a problem.
It all boils down to your skills and expertise, really, as those can help you create a solution that reflects who you are and that might just attract the right kind of people to your course. This might even include targeting an even more specific niche of your niche. For instance, going back to that photography subject, you might offer your course to photographers who are not only new to the field but are on a budget and focus on travel photography. These added qualifiers not only makes your course even more specific but it should stand out from the rest of the courses; especially those generic 101-type programs.
Marketing Your Online Course
Visibility is a major concern when it comes to marketing the online course you have made. This is where strategies would play an important role and, as of now, there are several tricks that you can use to build up interest for your course. Surprisingly, most of them are easy to apply not to mention easy on the budget. They include tactics like:
- 1. Using YouTubeA video promotion on YouTube is a good place to start your promotional campaign for the online course. Why? For the reason that it is the second largest search engine in the world, next to Google, with over 30 million people as average visitors per day. The reason why people open YouTube range from entertaining themselves to learning something new.
There is even the fact that a portion of these visitors are your potential students. They only need to know that you have an existing product to offer that piques their interest.
Creating a video ad for YouTube is not as difficult as you might think. You can even use the recording tools you have for your online course to put up an ad yourself as most promotional ads for online courses involves the creator (that’s you) talking about your course for 30 seconds at least.
Of course, this means that you have to set up a YouTube account yourself but the process should be easy. So as long as you constantly upload promos there, you should have a considerable amount of traffic coming from your page to the course itself.
- 2. Starting a PodcastThere’s this fact that a lot of your students tend to learn things on a largely auditory level. This simply means that their level of commitment to your course will only go so far as to listening to whatever you say.
This is where a bit of repurposing comes into play as you can use a Podcast to not only market your course but also offer them a listen-only teaser of what your course offers. Again, the tools you have for your online course can be used here including your recording equipment and your scripts for each session.
Podcasts also work by helping you establish yourself as an authority in the market as well as setting up a network with other course creators, professionals, and experts in topics you might cover in your courses. Simply put, you’re not only marketing your product. You’re selling yourself to the market.
- 3. An E-BookIf you’ve got people that learn the best while listening, you also got students that tend to absorb more information through a purely visual yet non-interactive medium. This is what is called in the real world as “a book” and the same concept applies online with an E-Book.
Basically, an eBook is your course (or portions of it) in text and visual form which people can purchase in sites like Amazon. You can use this to market your course by offering parts of whatever topics you will cover on your program in it and then prompting the reader to subscribe as a student if yours if they want to learn more. Again, this is where repurposing will become important as you can use the text of your course, and even some mediums in it, as part of the book.
- 4. Building a ListAn e-mail list is perhaps one of the more effective yet terribly underrated marketing methods right now. Why it’s so effective is quite simple. People who are part of your list already know who you are and have, at the very least, had an experience with your products and offerings.
Simply put, you are just marketing to people who already have shown an interest for your business which means convincing them to try out something new from you is not going to be that difficult. Creating an e-mail list should be as simple as asking people to subscribe to you in exchange for discounts like exclusive access to premium parts of the program once it is launched. The more valuable you make your lead magnet, the more people will subscribe to your business.
- 5. The Mini-CourseThis is another simple yet effective way to market your online course as it has been done to death in every other field of business; and has proven to work too. It’s similar to offering a lead magnet for subscribers but, instead of promising them exclusive access to your program, they get to experience a major portion of it first before everybody else.
Your “mini-course” should just be like this trial version of your program where a portion of the subjects will be covered especially those that are in the beginning. This will encourage your audience to stay subscribed for the full version later on while still giving them a clear advantage from the rest of the incoming students.
These people will form the bulk of your “primary” batch of students and their testimonials will be effective in drumming up interest of your business. Just keep in mind how effective testimonials are in convincing other people to try out what you have to offer; perhaps even more so than any other marketing strategy can come up with.
Things to Remember on Launch
This is the phase where the most sellable online courses will be set from the rest. So how do you go about launching your online course?
The first step is to Take Advantage of Your Offer. These people in your email list already know you and your business, as was mentioned before. This means that you don’t have to do much to convince them to try out something of yours. However, what you do need to accomplish is to get these people aware of your launch by notifying them of such. A simple email will do although access codes might become necessary for those that you have promised premium content beforehand.
Next is to Prepare for Your Offer. Things like discounts, access to premium content, and, of course, limited offers can create a sense of urgency for students to get enrolled I your course ASAP. Just keep in mind that a portion of the income you make from your online course will be from “impulse enrolls” i.e. people who never knew that your course existed but enrolled anyway because you gave them an incentive.
The last important phase is to Make a Call to Action. In every session, make it a point to encourage your students to do something for you. This will include subscribing to your website for more information, sharing the course to their friends, or buy a product or service that you might you had your course tied in with.
Whatever that action must, it must be something that allows your brand to reach out to as many people as possible, create a self-sustaining community, and generate other observable results that you will need to refine your future offerings.
Drumming up interest for your online course is not as easy as you think. In fact, a poorly thought of promotional campaign can negatively affect your course no matter how well you think it was made.
However, you have to remember that telling people you have a good offer starts right from the very act of you creating that offer. Once you can make sure that your course offers some value of sorts to your students, getting enough people interested for your course should be straightforward; if not easy.
What other promotional tactics have you used to get students for your online course? What challenges do you think might pop up with certain marketing strategies? The comments section below is always open for discussions!
SUSIE PARKER IN ACTION
THANK YOU FOR LISTENING!
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