10 Business Growth Strategies For Edupreneurs and Course Creators in 2018
If you want to sell more online courses, books, eBooks, consultations, workshops or other products and services in 2018, your sales success will be directly proportionate to the amount of work that you put in. There’s no shortcut to success.
Effective marketing requires a carefully crafted combination of strategies, that consistently disseminate across various platforms, in a variety of mediums, and that all have a clear pathway to a profitable call to action.
But the number of lead generation strategies and methodologies you could be using are endless, leaving most course creators and edupreneurs asking ‘which ones should I be using?!’.
Of course, there is no single answer to this.
All of our businesses are different, as are our customers and our products and services. As such, not one of our marketing plans can possibly be the same.
However, as somebody who employs a huge range of business growth strategies, I thought I would share some of the ones that have given me exceptional results in leads and sales in 2017, and that I will most definitely be continuing to implement throughout 2018 to keep growing my business and my bottom line.
Maybe they can do the same for you too!
1. Subscriptions and Memberships
Predictable, regular and consistent cash flow is critical for sustainable business and should be a priority for all edupreneurs.
Selling online courses is a great way to earn a good income, however, your sales can be unpredictable from month to month.
A trend that grew exponentially in 2017 and that really improved my cash flow, was shifting from selling courses individually to creating a subscription-based business model.
In October this year, I relaunched my ‘Edupreneur Academy’ with a bunch of new courses, a new landing page and a never offered before ‘30 day free trial’. I got 100 new subscribers within the first 30 days and only 3 people cancelled their subscription on the 30th day. By the end of November, another 49 people had joined and only 7 people unsubscribed after their free trial.
I made the slightly crazy decision to make my membership academy a no-brainer at just $47 a month for over $10,000 worth of training and books in it. Why?
Because lots of small sales, make a big income; and customers who are totally convinced that they are getting insane amounts of value for money become your raving fans, stick around for ages and tell their friends to join too.
Not convinced? Look how easy it is to earn $10,000 per MONTH in residual income from a simple $47 a month online academy…..
10 students = $470 per month
50 students = $2,350 per month
100 students = $4,700 per month
150 students = $7,050 per month
250 students = $11,750 per month
750 students = $35,250 per month
1,000 students = $47,000 per month
1,500 students = $70,500 per month
2,500 students = $117,500 per month
5,000 students = $235,000 per month
10,000 students = $470,000 per month
How many subscribers would you need to achieve your personal passive income goal for 2018?
The concept of the short, sharp ‘challenge’, with its promise of practical implementation and a quick result, has proven to be a highly successful strategy for me in 2017; and has attracted thousands of new leads and customers into my business.
I would even go as far as saying that consumers this year have been more attracted to ‘challenges’ than ‘courses’, and testing this out with some course name changes has also backed this up for me.
In July this year, I launched my free ‘5 Day Create Your Course Plan Challenge’ which helps people get their first online course fully mapped out into a course outline ready to go and film.
I simply filmed 5 tutorial videos (one for each day), developed a practical task for the learners to complete each day, added a couple of downloadable templates; then made it available by email, messenger robot and as a free online course (a delivery style to suit different preferences).
It doesn’t matter what your topic is, you too could create your own ‘challenge’ to grow your business in 2018.
Simply break down some of your top tips, that together will attain a specific result for your learner, and deliver them one day at a time with a practical activity to help them get there. It doesn’t have to be 5 days like mine, it could be any number of days; free or paid.
What challenge could you create in 2018?
3. Video and live streaming
According to the Huffington Post, video and live streaming accounted for over 75% of internet traffic in 2016 and people watch live streams for over 3 times longer than they watch a pre-recorded video. That’s massive.
But it’s not just any old videos that are trending. 2017 has been insanely hot for educational, information and how-to videos – and this has been how I’ve managed to get a consistent stream of people discovering my work in 2017.
My Google Analytics show that along with people finding my blogs through organic search, that my YouTube channel was responsible for bringing thousands of people to my site in 2017.
This year I posted at least 1 video a week, every week and although I hardly went viral, I’ve proved to YouTube that I’m a regular contributor, which has increased my views, increased my subscribers and certainly won me some business.
Find at least 52 questions that your audience are asking, and answer each one in individual videos. Record them all in a couple of days worth of filming, then mass upload them to YouTube using the ‘scheduled publish’ option.
With only a couple of days worth of work, you’ll have a video preloaded to release on YouTube every single week for an entire year.
4. Strategic collaboration
This one comes with bitter-sweet experience for me in 2017. The year started with a terrible partnership that ended with my ‘partner’ stealing my entire suite of course creation IP, selling over $65,000 worth of my services behind my back and keeping all of the money whilst simultaneously poo-pooing me online, presumably to try to ensure that he looked less bad for what he’d done.
Regardless, I vowed to not let this awful experience put me off working with others. Despite the horror stories of affiliations and partnerships going wrong, not everybody is a dysfunctional maniac and the majority of the time collaboration is extremely powerful and profitable for all involved when done well.
One of the simplest collaborative strategies I used was to create a gift package for my audience which basically was a PDF that contained the links to a huge list of ‘free stuff’ offered by everybody and anybody that had something my audience would like. I did a few call-outs in the Facebook groups I’m in, and to my email list, and soon enough I had hundreds of links to ‘free things’ such as eBooks, online courses and free samples.
I compiled the PDF and then every contributor shared and promoted it – resulting in many of us getting thousands of new leads.
Another method is to think of all of the people, products and services that your ideal customer engages with personally or professionally before or after they engage with you. Then find a way of working with those people or providers to get in front of that audience in the most mutually beneficial way.
5. Retargeting (Pixel Power!)
We all know that ‘warm’ leads (people who already know you), are far more likely to convert into a paying customer than ‘cold’ leads (people who have never come across you before).
Retargeting is when you direct specific adverts for your products and services based on certain interactions that people have already had with your content; thus increasing your conversions with ‘warm’ traffic.
As an example, you can get a ‘pixel’ (which is a piece of code) from your Facebook ads manager, and add that pixel code to your website. This will ethically collect data about the people who visit your website.
Then, when you create your next Facebook ad, you can tell Facebook to ONLY deliver your advert to people who have visited your website, or even to people who have only read very specific blog posts.
I used this method to sell one of my online courses by publishing a blog post called ‘11 Ways To Make Your Online Course Go Global’. The very title of this blog post is likely to only attract people who already have a course and want to sell more of it. This told me that the people reading this blog post would be the perfect type of potential customer for my online course called ‘How To Market, Promote and Sell Your Online Course’
So I later delivered a Facebook advert for that online course to issue ONLY to the people who had read that specific blog post; and a second Facebook ad that went out to a generic target audience.
The results were that the ‘retargeted’ ads sold far more online courses than the ones that went out to a ‘cold’ audience.
Ensure that you have a very specific objective for every piece of content you produce and that you know what product or service of yours that it is ultimately nurturing customers for. This will help you make the most of retargeting as a growth strategy in 2018 too.
6. Sell packages instead of individual items
People want more for their money, and you probably want more money for your time.
By shifting from an hourly rate service, or a single product sale, instead, move to selling packages that include numerous offerings.
Bundle your online courses together to increase your transaction value, add eBooks to your course packages, add a consult to the bundle, templates, checklists and even discount vouchers for other people’s products and services and more.
There is no limit to how creative you can be about what you add in, but increasing the value of your packages does NOT have to mean adding more of your time to it.
Stop working at an hourly rate and instead work for a value transaction that maximises your profit and increases your customer satisfaction.
Even better, create 3 different packages that your customers could choose from (think baby bear, mummy bear and daddy bear, or bronze, silver, gold).
One of my clients managed to increase her hourly rate from $250, to over $1,500 per transaction without increasing her input by a single second, by simply packaging a number of her digital offerings together.
List all of your products and services and work out what you can offer together in a bundle instead of selling everything individually.
7. Digitising traditional products and services
Going online means going from a local market to a global one instantly.
I used to be able to fit up to 20 students in a classroom at a time, now I have over 11,000 students enrolled in over 50 of my courses in 143 countries at any one time (and growing every day) – all because I went ‘digital’.
Instead of traditional face to face based offerings, can you create an online course, write an eBook, provide e-consults, offer pre-defined services for a fixed price, deliver webinars, produce audio files, create an instruction manual, produce tutorial videos and much more.
Going digital with your offerings will never replace your face to face offerings, meaning that those face to face ones actually go up in price; and simultaneously allow you to scale your customer base to unlimited numbers, along with your bank balance.
8. Messenger Bots
Messenger bots are basically automatically delivered private Facebook messages. You can manipulate what messages are sent in the same way that you’d design email marketing funnels. You can change what is sent based on certain actions the reader takes and even replies they type back to you.
When I did my 5 day challenge by Facebook messenger bot, my open rates were 300% higher than my email open rate.
There are no junk mail filters that accidentally hide your message from your subscribers and it pops-up real time in their handheld devices, usually with a vibrating ‘ding’ and illuminated screen for good measure.
I use the paid version of ‘ManyChat’ for my Facebook bot communication which was super easy to set up and certainly has increased my Facebook following since.
Blogging is still one of my favourite ways to invest my time to create evergreen marketing collateral and I will definitely be continuing to use blogging as a growth strategy in 2018.
Every time you publish a blog post you are putting out a signpost to the world that points back to your website and ensures that your customers can find you in Google search results for all of time to come.
I always liken blog posts and other ‘content’ such as videos, to the silky rings of a spiders web. Every time you publish a blog, you add another ring to your web. Your web gets bigger and bigger with every new blog, more people can find you and the wider area of ‘capture’ you have.
And they never stop working for you and they simultaneously demonstrate your expertise.
Ensure that your blog titles are the questions your target audience is typing into Google, then your blog will come up in their search results.
Blogging is a free and easy, lifelong marketing strategy. I still get business today from posts I published years ago and without fail, I make some kind of sale from every post I put out each week.
I always have a post scheduled to release at minimum once a week, it goes live on my site and auto-emails to my mailing list – and I always get a couple of new subscribers in my Edupreneur Academy, sell a book or two, book in another one-day edupreneur set up client or sell another Course Creation Bootcamp ticket.
Without fail, I’ll be taking blogging with me into 2018 as it’s been one of the best investments of my time for the most sustainable and consistent rewards.
10. Authoring Print Books and eBooks
According to Author Earnings, over $1 million eBooks are sold every day on Amazon alone.
Short of gaining exposure to millions of people by having your knowledge and education on the pages of a book, you also gain exceptional industry credibility when you have published work.
I have published 7 books, and just one of them alone gained over 10,000 free downloads in May 2017 on Amazon Kindle, sending me an exponential surge in business in the following months. Imagine getting 10,000 new prospects next month? What would that do for your business?
The best bit is that becoming a published author is nowhere near as hard as you may imagine – and in fact, I have an online course in my Edupreneur Academy on ‘How To Write and Self-Publish Your Own Print Book and eBook’ if you’re thinking about tapping into this massive platform of business growth in 2018 too.
I could write a whole other book just on business growth strategies that worked well for me in 2017, but hopefully, these 10 will be enough to get your brain ticking.
Remember that there is no single method to attract leads and grow your business, and trial and error is the only real way to find out what works best for you.
Challenge yourself to try something new in 2018, and if you need some guidance, consider grabbing a 30 day free trial of the Edupreneur Academy where you can access over 50 online courses and books from me that all aim to help you grow your business whilst making a positive contribution to the world.
Do share this article with your connections if you know anybody who wants to grow in 2018 too!