Ever thought about making money online selling online courses? Or maybe even a webinar or ebook?
If you have, then this blog post is for you.
Getting started in the knowledge industry selling online courses, ebooks, or other digital products is a powerful way to create passive income with knowledge and skills you already have.
Just last week we wrote an extensive blog post about ample ways to monetize your knowledge, skills, and experiences online. In that blog post we help you evaluate which digital knowledge products or services are a good match for your interests and background to make money online.
Today, you get an exact blueprint of what’s important to launch an online course (or digital products in general) that people will happily buy.
Good news is that there is never a bad time to get started selling online courses. Even in times of economical turmoil, the knowledge industry has always remained strong. Did you know that the e-learning market is expected to hit USD $200 bn by 2024.
That’s not surprising because people will always want to learn. They especially want to learn from people who they can relate to.
Today I share with you what I believe to be the key ingredients to being successful in selling online courses. We have learnt these during the launch of our online course about creating passive income and becoming financially free.
While I will speak about selling paid online courses, this blueprint is also relevant for all other digital products and services in the self-learning industry. Think of 1:1 or group coaching programs, e-books, webinars, and mastermind groups.
Want to know how you can launch a successful digital products business and sell online courses with ease?
Since you’re here, you might also like to read:
- How to make money from home using skills you already have
- How to test if your business idea is good in 4 days
- Digital Nomad Guide to make money online
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How we turned our mess into a message & built an online business in the knowledge industry
Before we quit our 9-to-5 jobs and left to travel full-time 18 months, our biggest concern was money.
Of course there was the obvious option of saving up and using our savings as long as they last. That would mean though that at some point money would run out and we would be forced to return home broke, where we would then have to start over from scratch.
Another option was to find some freelance jobs while traveling. In this case we would have to sacrifice travel time and sit in front of our laptops daily.
The cherry on the cake was that at that time I was going through a massive burnout and working on the road would simply be too overwhelming.
It felt like a mess! None of the options seemed right.
So we had to be creative.
That’s when we started to figure out how we could automate our income. That means creating passive income, so that we had a stable source of money coming in monthly while spending as little time as possible working for it.
When talking to fellow travelers and digital nomads about how we finance our travel lifestyle, we noticed that many (aspiring) digital nomads haven’t heard about passive income. They had no clue whether or how it would be possible for them to earn money passively.
We understood that we had knowledge and experiences that were helpful to others.
This was when the idea for our blog was born and when we started working on digital products that would help freedom seekers to get started with passive income.
1. Pick your niche: which skills, knowledge, or experience are you going to sell?
I said it before. People want to learn from people they can relate to.
In other words, they trust to learn from people that have faced a similar challenge as them in the past and have achieved an outcome that they strive to have.
This is good news because that means that you don’t need to be an absolute expert. You don’t even need certificates or diplomas (unless it is required by law of course – not encouraging a movement of amateur doctors or lawyers here!)
Your most valuable knowledge is taught to you by life.
Very often by going through something messy and having fixed it, as in our example of not being able to work while traveling because of a burnout and using this problem as an opportunity to create passive income streams.
To start helping people in a meaningful way, you only need to be one step ahead of your target customer.
- You are now where others want to be.
- You’ve overcome situations that others are struggling with.
- You know something that others don’t know yet.
- You have skills that others want to learn.
There are people out there that are on Day 1 of the journey you have already gone through. Whatever that may be. Those people have questions.
Start thinking about how the skills, experiences, and knowledge you have can make a difference for others.
2. Define your ideal client
Once you have picked your niche and have reflected on which knowledge, skills, and experiences can help others fix their problems, you need to define your ideal client.
Getting to know your ideal client is crucial to creating an offer that sticks. I even dare to say this: The biggest mistake why businesses fail is that they don’t understand what their customers really need.
So, before rushing into creating an amazing product or service that nobody will buy, do your homework.
Clarify the key customer problem you want to address and validate how you can help them to solve their problem.
The starting point should be fairly easy because you were in their shoes one day. Remember what questions you were struggling with back then?
Next, get in touch with people who fit your ideal client profile. Yes, like in talking to them online or offline.
I can’t stress enough how important that is!
Your ideal clients’ problems and needs will be the foundation of your business. If you don’t get the basics right, you will spend a lot of time and effort only to find out that you’ll have to re-do it later.
You want to avoid that, right?
Make sure you feel confident about answering the following questions:
- Which problem(s) are you addressing?
- What transformation do they want to achieve?
- What will create value for them?
3. Create an irresistible offer
The next step is to come up with an irresistible offer. In other words, create a service or product that your ideal client simply can’t refuse, and then overdeliver!
So what makes an offer irresistible?
- Your offer solves the problem of your ideal client.
- It solves their problem in a way that satisfies them.
- It’s unique compared to competitors.
- You have a good price-value ratio.
You might argue that all of the points 1 to 4 are subjective. So one person might think they are true, while others don’t agree.
Let me clarify something. It’s not enough if you think that your offer is right.
You need to be convinced that your future customers love your offer.
That’s why it’s so important that you understand who your ideal client is. Because they are the sole important target group whose opinions matter.
So how do you know if they find your offer irresistible?
You guessed it. You talk to them.
There is one thing I would like to point out that is so important to consider when selling online courses: Point 3 is talking about creating a unique offer.
Now you can argue what unique means. Often the information you will be talking about will not be unique as such because, based on my experience, there will always be somebody who has been talking about a similar topic in a similar way.
How do you bring uniqueness to an offer?
Sometimes it’s sufficient to combine different pieces of information in a unique way, or add your own unique perspective or experience to make content unique.
Lastly, pricing. That can be a tough one!
Our advice is to have a good benchmark of what similar offers as yours are priced at. After that, place yourself into this benchmark. Your benchmark price will be influenced by how much credibility you have in the field, how experienced you are in the knowledge industry or in selling online courses in particular, and how confident you are in your offer.
As mentioned earlier, your goal should be to overdeliver!
This can be by adding extra goodies to your offer. Something that your customer doesn’t expect and that will surprise them in a positive way.
4. Co-create with test users
An amazing way to optimize your offer is to bring in the voice of your customers. Involve them into your product creation process!
Recruit a small group of loyal fans that match your ideal client profile.
Great ways to find them is via social media, for example Instagram hashtags, in Facebook groups, or via LinkedIn. Think about where your ideal clients hang out and look for them in their natural habitat. We have
Tell them what you are working on and ask them if they want to participate.
During the pre-pre-launch of our online course about passive income, we work together with about 15 testers who share their thoughts about our course video demo. This is precious feedback that helps us to refine, add, and improve parts of the course and make it as powerful as possible for our target group.
Interacting with testers before your launch is also a powerful way to test your pricing.
Collecting feedback with a demo before your launch, will also give you the chance to collect valuable customer testimonials.
The benefit for your demo testers is that they can co-create the course exactly to their liking, so that it can be most useful to them. What we like to do is to offer a discount rate on the launch price of the course. This creates a win-win for everybody.
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5. Plan an amazing launch
This is something that is super important and that we did absolutely wrong during our first launch.
We wanted to bring a travel coaching program to the market. So we spent a lot of time and energy to define what this program will look like. We created a flashy sales page and collected a little bit of feedback. Then, when we finished the website copy, we launched the program via a 1 minute story on Instagram. That’s it.
You can imagine how the launch went. Actually I am surprised that despite the lousy launch, we still had 5 people signing up for a discovery call.
Don’t make the same mistake. Aim to launch your offer with a big bang!
For this, I love to recommend you the book Launch by Jeff Walker – the guru of launches of digital products. We have watched many tutorials and read countless blog posts but eventually all suggested strategies come down to Jeff Walker’s proven launch methodology. It has been used by thousands of online entrepreneurs to launch digital products and make six figure numbers in the first days after the launch. Latest customer of Jeff Walker’s launch recipe has been Tony Robbins who had the biggest online launch event in internet history.
My main takeaways from Jeff’s recommendations are:
Plan your launch over a period of 5 to 14 days
Show up regularly during this period of time.
People love stories!
Tell stories of the problems you’re solving, the transformations you make possible, and how your solution will help your ideal client.
Build a responsive (!) email list
An email list of prospects is your most precious asset. This list is your most likely-to-buy customers.
Share behind-the-scenes and create a relationship and trust with your audience before you sell online courses.
Additionally, I would like to add the following advice based on our experience:
Involve others into your launch!
Have friends, experts, and colleagues promote your launch. If necessary, create an affiliate program. Your goal should be to create the biggest reach possible.
Create a clear sales funnel
What’s the journey of a prospect from the moment of finding you to buying your online course of other digital product or service? Use email automation and write powerful emails that convert.
Come up with an outreach plan and be consistent
Decide which platform(s) you will focus on to create leads and be persistent in your promotional activities.
Thinking about launching a paid digital product?
Now that you’ve made it to the end of this blog post, I’m wondering if you read it because you’re curious or if you want to soak up as much know-how as possible to start selling online courses yourself.
I may never find out. But I want to leave you with something special.
If you’re thinking about launching a paid digital product, whether it’s an online course, ebook, or something else, I encourage you to go for it!
Imagine the amazing ways to earn a passive income with your e-learning product. Imagine it will allow you to build an online business and leave your 9-to-5 job one day!
You will never know if you’re going to be successful until you try.
The main mission of our brand is to help people discover that financial freedom is a realistic scenario for them. Our 9-to-5 Escape Plan program does exactly that.
We are showing you that you don’t need to be a business pro to make money passively and reach financial freedom.
Join our waitlist and get notified when we will be open for enrollment again.