Over the past 7 years, I have been venturing into the world of online courses and programmes.
It’s been an interesting journey, frustrating at times but most enlightening and I have learned a ton. I am still ploughing on and applying all I am learning to more effectively engage with my target audience.
The pandemic has exploded the growth of the online course/programme world as more and more people get used to learning from a screen and remote working. So in case you are thinking about venturing into the world of online sales and courses, here are my 6 top learnings, that I thought I would share with you…
6 key learnings
1. There is no such thing as passive income
“Earn 6-figure sums in your sleep” they claimed. The allure of earning passive income (i.e. income that isn’t earned by selling your time) is very tempting but the truth is that for every £ you earn you will be initially spending £££. The stories you read about people making a lot of money are either the 0.01% or a lot of rubbish!
2. There is a lot of rubbish and overhyped promises made online
Following on from point 1 – the online world is full of a lot of hype and people claiming they have made a fortune and they can teach you how to. Don’t believe a word of it. At times it reads like pyramid selling. Any promise that seems too good to be true – almost always is (too good to be true)! The truth is you have to work super hard, and those that are successful have a team of people supporting them and are consistently working at it.
3. Facebook is potentially a great business tool
Whether you like it or not, Facebook is a great tool to reach your target audience (2.27 billion active users). I worked with a coach this summer and he was keen for me to use Facebook as my main channel to market. At first, I was very resistant (after all I use Facebook to stay in touch with friends and watch videos of people’s pets doing silly things!) but I slowly came around to the idea of Facebook as a business tool and found many groups that contain my target audience. I even created my own closed group (you can join here).
YouTube and LinkedIn are 2 other very important platforms when it comes to promotion and advertising but be careful because it’s very easy to spend/waste lots of money!
4. Facebook advertising is expensive!
Once you get your head around using Facebook as a business development tool you will then start considering how to use Facebook advertising. My caution here though is that you need to know what you are doing if you are going to start advertising. It is super sophisticated and can easily suck up a lot of money. There are 2 things you need to get right:
- Your offer and ad need to be spot-on: are you going to use a video or static image? If you use video, make sure you add subtitles (rev.com is great and cheap for this) because many of your audience will view your ad on mobile with no volume. What are you offering? Is it unique? Remember running an ad the first thing you need to offer some value before you try and sell something (a key mistake many make – selling online follows the traditional sales funnel: build awareness, build empathy, build credibility, build trust and then sell)
- Point 2 is that unless you know how to monitor your ad (using Facebook ad manager) and identify your target audiences then you will spend a lot of money researching what doesn’t work in order to find out what does. So, hang out in target groups and find out what your audiences pain points are before you start advertising. Or better still hire someone to do this for you!
5. The online World is crowded!
So, I admit it, I am fairly late to the game with marketing online and the truth is there are a million and one people already doing it (well actually more!) so you have to find a way to cut through the hype and noise. The best way to do this is to be clear about your niche and the value you are offering that niche. Try and be different and not look like everyone else (and that can be hard) and truly offer some value to your audience – that way they will want to follow you and as you build your audience you can then offer more value and ultimately sell to them. This is a long game and not a ‘get rich quick’ scheme. So, if you venture into it, then be prepared to stick at it!
6. Validate FIRST
This is really the best advice I can give you and I wished it hadn’t taken me 4-5 failed courses before I figured this out!
To help you with this I have put together a validation guide that shows you the EXACT steps you need to take to research and validate and PRESELL your ideas BEFORE you start fully developing them. It is the only way to go and a lesson I wish I had learned earlier. Check it out here.
I hope this doesn’t paint too bleak a picture after all there has never been a better time to get into the online course, programme or membership world. I wanted to share a candid view of my experiences thus far. All these learnings have not deterred me from continuing on. On the contrary – I am just focused on doing it better.
In fact, I now have 3 signature programmes and 2 courses. Check them out here:
- The Self-Running Agency Implementation Group
- The Agency Selling System
- The Build, Nurture, Convert Blueprint
- Client & Account Management Mastery
- Value Pricing and Selling
I know this is a topic that many are interested in, so if you want to have a chat then get in touch.