A very effective marketing strategy is to position yourself as an industry expert. This can be done by writing insightful and entertaining articles, creating tip or behind the scenes videos and sending out genuinely useful email newsletters.
If this has worked for you and your customers are lapping up what you have to say, then there’s a good chance some of those customers will be willing to pay for something more. Some people may automatically think to convert their content into a book, but a potentially easier (and more profitable) option is to create an online course.
No story is better in Australia than Michelle Bridge’s online personal training course ‘12WBT‘ that helped her amass an estimated wealth of $53 million on the BRW rich women list. Michelle perfectly leveraged her position with the Biggest Loser to become an inspiring entrepreneur now commonly seen on the speaking circuit. But not everyone has a TV career as a base to launch their online learning juggernaut.
There are tools to create your online learning empire
The market for online learning is massive. Estimated in the tens of billions of dollars globally, and rising steadily at around 10% annually. Traditional educators have of course adopted online learning platforms, but more and more ‘financially accessible’ options are now available that are hugely popular. On demand, topic specific courses allow users to skill up quickly, affordably and on their terms.
Creating your own course with Udemy
Udemy boasts to have over 40,000 courses. Like anything on the internet there is some very high quality stuff, and some very low quality. Use the review scores and quantity of reviews as a guide. Courses range from $10 to $500, but are of varying length.
They also claim the average instructor makes $8000. The revenue model is dictated by whether you as the instructor generate the sales of your course or Udemy organically generate the sale through their site. You can provide your customers with a coupon code, which identifies them as ‘your sale’ and you will receive up to 97% of the sale price. If Udemy do the work however, they are going to take half.
If you’re interested there’s even a course on creating a course.
Creating your own course with WordPress
If revenue share isn’t your game, and you’re more interested in building up the asset that is your website, then perhaps Sensei for WordPress is for you. This advanced plugin brings all the functionality associated with managing courses, lessons, students, quizzes and payments into your WordPress site. It also ties into WooCommerce which will bring with it all of the marketing/sales functionality the e-commerce platform provides.
To go down this route, there is the obvious initial investment of setting up the site, but also creating your course. It’s important the course looks professional and trustworthy, and if you’re creating video content a professional videographer will make your course seem that much more valuable. Getting yourself a reasonable camera, perhaps some cheap photographers lighting from Ebay and setting up a consistent scene can get you by though.
Beyond the setup and aside from managing customer enquiries in the sales process, you’re set up for a steady stream of the holy grail that is recurring revenue.
Being open source software, you can also easily customise the platform to include any kind of custom functionality such as advanced tools, live webinars, interactive presentations, the options are limitless (if your budget is too). Michelle Bridges does an excellent job of creating communities for her students. Users get a lot more out of sharing their experiences with each other and this can be easily achieved by adding discussion forums to the site.
So which platform should I use?
If you’re just wanting to test the waters with minimal financial outlay, Udemy is an excellent option and has the potential to expose your course and you to a larger audience.
If you’re confident of your following and want to grow your brand, then an integrated course within your site is a worthy investment.
Both options are a great way of generating extra revenue from your industry knowledge, and at the very least position yourself as a strong industry thought leader.
If you’re interested in setting up a course on your site, check out Pixeld’s custom website development.