11 Ways To Grow Your Business and Sell more Online Courses in 2019
Can you believe that it’s 1st July already?!
Here we are at the half-way mark of 2019 and time for us all to check in on where we are at with our targets for the year.
For me, success comes when I have one clear objective (yes, just ONE), and then use a multitude of marketing, promotional and growth strategies which have the function of only meeting that one single target.
This keeps things simple, allows you to focus on ONE lead page, ONE target customer group, ONE message, ONE call to action, ONE massive driving, motivational force that you can later replicate with a new goal once you achieve this one.
The one goal you choose will be unique to you, but I don’t mind sharing with you what mine is.
After over a decade of being a hardcore, highly driven workaholic; in 2016 I became a first time mum. Obviously, this changed a lot for me and how I ran my business. No more living on planes and cocktail-party vol-au-vents!
Certainly no more 24 hour client consultations and Course Creation Bootcamps running back-to-back across the globe.
I had to change my business model to better suit night-feeds and day-naps! With the plan set to eventually have a second baby, I decided that I had to switch from offering predominantly hands-on, face-to-face services, to digitised and automated products if I was going to continue to service my industry and have a sustainable business.
So I filmed all of the advice I gave in consultations, and content I had been delivering in my workshops and put it all into an online school – thus, the Edupreneur Academy was born.
And so, with a rapidly expanding belly bump, I set myself one clear goal: Get 10,000 members in my online school.
Continuing to grow my online academy membership is still my one focus 3 years later.
From there, my marketing plans and objectives became simple, because everything had a clear purpose with a measurable outcome. eg:
- Social media: Purpose > connect with audience, build relationships > become members
- Website: Purpose > credibility, information, join email community > sign up to membership
- Emails to list: Purpose > build familiarity/trust > become members
- YouTube: Purpose > give tasters of content > become members
- Books: Purpose > credibility, get targeted customers > become members
There are many more techniques I used to achieve this goal and in this article, I will share some of my favourites.
If you want to sell more online courses, books, eBooks, consultations, workshops or other products and services before 2019 is out, then 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, and that I will most definitely be continuing to implement throughout the rest of 2019 to keep growing my business and my bottom line.
Maybe they can do the same for you too!
- List all of your marketing methods, and state what the one single purpose of each one is.
- What is the ultimate (income generating) action you want your prospective customers to take?
10 Ways To Grow Your Business and Sell more Online Courses in 2019
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.
When I did a re-launch of my ‘Edupreneur Academy’ in October 2017 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, giving my members access to over $10,000 worth of training and books for less than the price of lunch with a friend (and all of it for FREE in the 30 day free trial).
Because lots of small sales, make a big income; and customers who can see 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.
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 2019?
**Note: I am not saying your membership should be this price – it’s just what I’ve chosen to offer my content at and I wanted to show you how small = big.
The concept of the short, sharp ‘challenge’, with it’s promise of practical implementation and a quick result, has proven to be a highly successful strategy for me in previous years; 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.
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 challenge participants 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 this half of 2019.
Simply break down some of your top tips, that together will attain a specific result for your participants, 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 to engage, educate and help your clients get a much desired result for themselves?
If you need some help, why not join my FREE 5 day challenge which will teach you how to create an educational challenge of your own?!
3. Video and livestreaming
According to recent research by CISCO, video content is and will remain the number 1 form of consumed content on the internet.
The report states that videos “will continue to be in the range of 80-90% of total IP traffic. Globally, IP video traffic will account for 82 percent of traffic by 2022”.
This is absolutely huge and backs up the point that I have been hammering into edupreneurs for years – YOU MUST be creating and publishing videos if you want to have any influence or impact in your market.
To take it up one notch further – there has also been published research stating that people watch live videos for over 3 times longer than they watch a pre-recorded video. With live streaming capability now available on YouTube (once you hit 1,000 subscribers), LinkedIn, Facebook and more, it’s easier than ever to reach huge numbers of people from your mobile phone to theirs, with the click of a single button.
But it’s not just any old videos that are trending. The past few years have 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 and into my academy.
Don’t just take my word for it though. Research by Curata, sited in this Forbes article shows that tutorial videos and demonstration videos account for the most popular videos on the internet! Edupreneurs delight!
Before my temporary ‘pause’, I posted at least 1 video a week, every week and although I hardly went viral, I proved to YouTube that I was a regular contributor, which increased my views, increased my subscribers and certainly won me some business. I will certainly be replicating that strategy now that my public profiles are back on.
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.
If you need help coming up with video ideas, join my free 5 day challenge where we cover some content ideas – alternatively join the Edupreneur Academy where I share lots of ways to find the top questions your audience are asking, providing you with years worth of informative and highly searched for content ideas!
4. Strategic collaboration
Despite the horror stories of affiliations and partnerships going wrong (i’ve got a stonker of my own!), not everybody is a dysfunctional maniac and the majority of the time collaboration is extremely powerful and profitable for all involved when done well.
Just make sure your partnership responsibilities and expectations are explicitly clear, in writing, before you commence any business arrangements with others.
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.
Another partnering strategy that has worked well for me has been to offer one of my online courses free of charge to paying customers of other companies. Eg, when they buy a high tier product from another company, they get my online course for free, and the company actually promote that as a benefit or bonus of their package offering. Lots of new prospective clients without any effort!
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 2019-2020 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 for 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.
I go into much more detail on how to do this in my book “Edupreneur: How To Monetise Your Expertise and Profitably Educate Your Market”.
7. Digitising traditional products and services
Going online means going from a local market to a global one, instantly.
I used to limit my face to face workshops to 20 students in a classroom at a time; now I have over 12,000 students enrolled in over 30 of my courses in 146+ 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 predefined 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 automation funnels. You can change what is sent based on certain actions the reader takes and even the 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 accidently hide your message from your subscribers and it pops-up real time in their hand held 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 increased my Facebook following.
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.
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Ensure that your blog titles are the questions your target audience are 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 the rest of 2019 and beyond 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 without any real marketing (other than an email to my list and some posts on Facebook) I have sold more than 12,000 copies of my books on Amazon Kindle alone. That doesn’t even count any of my hard copy sales at all.
In the front pages of all of my books, I include a link to a free online course which many of my readers take up – thus growing a targeted email list of people who often later invest in my full Edupreneur Academy.
Book sales won’t necessarily make you a millionaire on their own, but they have certainly worked for me in affirming extra credibility, harvesting thousands of targeted customers from one of the biggest marketplaces in the world, and subsequently have them invest in my other products and services.
Imagine getting over 12,000 new eager clients? 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’ (which you can get for free in the 30 day free trial) if you’re thinking about tapping into this massive platform of business growth too.
I could write a whole other book just on business growth strategies that have worked well for me, but hopefully these 11 will be enough to get your brain ticking and your to-do list growing.
Remember that there is no single method to attract leads and grow your business – you need to be using a mixture of methods to get the best reach. It is also important to remember that what works for one business may not work for another – trial and error is the only real way to find out what works best for you.
Challenge yourself to try something new and make the second half of 2019 a total winner!
If you need some guidance, consider grabbing a 30 day free trial of the Edupreneur Academy where you can access over 30 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 keep growing through 2019 too!
Author: Sarah Cordiner