Creating and selling an online course can be a great way for you to pack your knowledge into a medium that can reach thousands of people and potentially help you achieve a very scalable long-term passive income source if done properly.
Coming up with original expert content for an e-book or a digital course can turn out as a not-so-hard task for anyone who wants to achieve digital publishing success, as most people have some skill or talent they’re very good at and that others like them are interested in. When this happens, and this happens often, it means all these people that want to be at your level on a certain skill, will likely be interested in your course.
With this said, most people without internet marketing experience may find it quite difficult to make their courses a success especially at that point where they want to start selling their digital course or e-book.
Many writers and digital publishers are not online marketing specialists and more often than not it is easy for them to get frustrated when they have good content waiting to be read, but just are not able to reach a wider audience.
There are a number of steps an online publisher can use to hack their way up in the digital course publishing world. The hacks are strategies and steps that you can follow to boost your sales and they are briefly but clearly outlined below.
We will approach these strategies in two ways; one way being what you will do to create an outstanding course that will sell big time, and another being sales hacks that will help you sell your e-book effectively and successfully.
Creating an Outstanding Digital Course
One core step to take when you want to achieve creating an outstanding digital course is deciding on the course you are going to write.
How to Choose a Course to Write On
There are a number of ways you can go about with this but the two most recommended are:
1) Visit Clickbank Marketplace and have a good look at the products that have the most gravity or in other words the products that are trending.
2) Visit Udemy.com and check the programs that have the highest rating.
Once you are aware of the most popular products, you will get a glimpse of the markets with the most potential in terms of revenue and sales. At this stage, you will need to create a list of ideas for the theme of your product that revolves around the most popular products you found. However, try to come up with a new angle on the popular topic to ensure they are not entirely similar. You will then decide how to add value to it.
The trick while choosing a course for your e-book is, whilst it is easier selling courses in a single transaction, you can decide to turn your course into something that you can deliver updated content periodically. That way, it is much more profitable. In other words, come up with a course that will get your audience engaged in a monthly subscription, which with enough content and updates, will extend the life of your course—and that means more profit for you year after year.
There are additional options, such as turning your document into a video course & a beautiful e-book, and creating a video sales letter that can fine tune your e-book into a product that can beat all odds to succeed on the market. But that is a whole other post which you can read here: how to launch a $100k+/year digital course or e-book.
Traffic and Sales Hacks for Your Digital Product
There are many ways you can hack your digital product sales. While some of the hacks may seem too obvious, some involve finer details that many online entrepreneurs tend to overlook or forget.
We can now quickly dive into discussing my most recommended strategies:
Publishing Your E-book or Digital Course in as Many Platforms as Possible
Publishing your course in as many platforms as you can help you achieve maximum exposure, but you should most importantly focus on a platform that has the greatest potential for automated sales. Platforms with the greatest potential can attract affiliate partners to your product and are the easiest to drive their own traffic.
Affiliates are partners, generally marketers, who have access to sources of traffic and audiences that may be interested in your product. They present your product to their audiences and get a percentage of the sales they generate for you, which for digital products tends to be from 50 to 75% of the front-end sale as a standard.
Affiliate partners are very crucial in the digital publishing world, and that makes affiliate friendly platforms like JVZoo and Clickbank the main hub in which you can focus to make your sales.
Most people these days prefer video courses over e-books.
Therefore, write a course in a way that it can be used as an e-book and later convert it to a video course. When that is done, it will be easy to publish your video course on Udemy or Clickbank and at the same time publish the written version as an e-book on Amazon KDP – all under different names.
If you are wondering why all the 3 are recommended for use at the same time, here is the reason. Clickbank attracts a number of affiliates that can sell the product on your behalf, without you having to do anything. On the other hand, Amazon and Udemy generate sales for you through Autopilot without having to worry about doing much marketing.
These are only 3 examples of platforms. The bottom line remains that, once you are done creating your course, publish it in as many platforms as you can to stretch out to a larger audience as long as you are not prompted to sign exclusivity agreements.
Building an Email List With a Powerful Free Offer
If you want to create a profitable lead nurturing system, you will need to have powerful targeted leads to enter it. You can do this by doing research on your target audience and discover their most recurring problem.
Once you can define the problem and know what solutions they require, you will be able to create powerful leads. Many online digital publishers out there tend to overwhelm people with a free book in exchange for their email address without having to think how essential the e-book is going to turn out for them. Most of those publishers think that people are just ready to accept such offers.
Good online digital publishers will make sure their e-book makes sense to their targeted audience before they offer it. You can use the formula of: “you have this problem? If so, get my free e-book and see the results” if you are finding problems with how much sense your e-book is to your targeted audience.
You may want to check out LeadPages as a stress free service that provides exactly the type of landing page that allows you to quickly build an email list with a free offer.
Writing an Email Autoresponder Sequence
Now that you have a list of leads who have already shown interest in your product, the next step is to try and convert them into paying customers.
There are a number of ways to go about this, but I have outlined what I think is the best way: the highly converting email autoresponder sequence.
An autoresponder sequence is one of the most powerful tools that an entrepreneur can use to make online sales. It is a sequence of emails that are automatically sent to your list within a certain timeframe such as daily, or that can be sent to just a certain segment of people on your mailing list, usually triggered by a specific event like browsing behaviors or downloading a PDF etc.
The tool not only helps you to engage your mailing list but will also build strong relationships and turn potential customers into buyers.
Usually the email autoresponder is created in advance and is set up to send emails at specified intervals using an email marketing software.
How to Create an Effective Email Autoresponder Series
1) Define a goal for your email autoresponder
You will create an email responder regarding with what you want of your potential customers. In most cases email autoresponder series are used:
- To send new subscribers a welcome sequence
- As a lead magnet/free mini course
- To make sales on autopilot
- To promote cross-sells/up-sells
2) Segment your list
It is a process of breaking down your list of emails into smaller groups based on specific criteria like interests, stage in sales cycle, and demographics among many others.
This will enable you to send more relevant targeted autoresponders to each segment to get better results.
3) Choose a suitable email marketing software
An email marketing software is an email automation tool that will help you schedule your autoresponder sequence. There are many of them like Mailchimp, Hubspot and Infusionsoft among others.
4) Map out your entire sequence
Here, you will need to create a draft of an outline for your sequence. Find out how long your sequence will be, the number of days it will take and the number of emails you will use.
5) Write an autoresponder sequence that converts
This could be the hardest part as it involves you sending actual mails to your potential customers. The main thing at this stage is to focus on your customers – the people who will be reading the emails. Make sure the messages address their needs.
6) Monitor and improve
To get the best out of the email autoresponder series, you need to monitor the performance of your emails and improve the areas you think will be good for you and your potential customers.
Attracting Affiliates to Sell Your Product
Most successful digital sources highly depend on affiliates. We can describe affiliates as the digital distributors of your course or commission salespeople who will go any lengths to make sure that your product course is known across the web and reaches your target audience.There are various stages that you will have to follow if you want to successfully gather the affiliates.
You will have to create an affiliate page – it should look as good as the main landing page for your customers. It is a place where your affiliates will be able to access resources that will help them in the promotion of your product. You can find out examples of good affiliate pages by checking out the top products for your niche in the Clickbank marketplace. There will be a link to the affiliate page on each of the listings of major products.
Reach the affiliates – once you have an affiliate page, you can try to find affiliates. These are people are all over the internet and they run successful YouTube channels, blogs or large social media accounts. Most of these people are already working as affiliates for other products and you probably have to give them reasons why they should jump onto your product’s bandwagon.
Have a prospect for the affiliates –make (or have a virtual assistant do it) a spreadsheet with a list of blogs, forums and main sites where your prospect affiliates may be hanging out. Be extensive at this stage to make sure you do not miss any relevant web properties that may comprise your target audience.
Get in touch with possible affiliates – write a short but nice message telling them about your product and yourself as well. Additionally, you can tell them why the product may be good for their audiences and that might prompt them to check out your affiliate page. Build a good relationship with your affiliates and to some extent, even treat them better than you treat your customers, as they are very important.
You can get them directly through Skype and offer them free values and privileges plus offering to write free content for them. At the end of it all, a good relationship with your affiliate means your product is going to do well on the market, as they will strive to get you an audience.
Run a Contest or Giveaway in a Platform in Exchange for Social Shares
Running a contest or giveaway on a special platforms like Gleam.io in exchange for social shares will earn you more potential customers for your online course. In fact, Gleam.io integrates with most popular social networks like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Google Plus and Pinterest and can be a great booster. Aside from that they also integrate with most popular email software, such as Mailchimp, Hubspot, and Klaviyo, among others.
You can do this by the following steps:
1) Make an entry into gleam.io’s website where you will be prompted to sign up by creating an account.
2) Choose a plan. There are 3 of them; a free plan, and 2 paid plans – Pro Plan and Business Plan.
3) Start your contest and choose the day when it will start and end.
4) Define your giveaway or prizes.
5) Choose a social networks to run your contest. Regardless of the social network you choose, Gleam.io will allow your target audience all over the chosen network to play your contest. The people who will be interested in playing the contest, will be asked to sign up and share your contest for them to win the giveaway/prize you defined.
6) Choose the winner, award them the prize and then follow up with them (the winner and the contestants) through email and try selling them your online course.
This strategy works well, especially if you use giveaways in the name of incentives that draws the attention of most people. That means you will get more leads as people share your contest through Facebook, Twitter, and blogs, etc.
There is a good chance that you will also get a number of people buying your online course through the contests.
Create a Related Blog to Get Some Search Engine Traffic
Filling your target funnel with targeted leads involves getting qualified traffic to visit your landing page. Most online entrepreneurs find it hard at this stage. Many get stuck and eventually give up on what had initially seemed like an online breakthrough.
However, you can achieve it in the following way:
- Begin by creating a blog in a subpage of your site such as http://yoursite.com/blog that your target audience or market will love – a blog will help share a broader knowledge about your product to your audience. Apart from that, it will also help you build a relationship with your target audience.
A well designed blog, with great original branded content will build an audience for you. However, as it is one way of pure content marketing it could be slow in terms of your audience growth and probably it won’t fit you if you want to grow faster. That means after you have successfully created a blog, you will have to move to the next step, which is:
- Publishing the blog, then sharing it on Facebook and through Facebook marketing strategies boost your blog posts. Sharing your blog on Facebook helps you garner more audience that may be on Facebook but do not know about your product. When that is done, you can move onto the next step.
- Create a call-to-action at the end of your post. A call-to-action will enable the customers who are interested in your product to sign up right there.
- In the last stage of filling your funnel with the target leads, you can now run a retargeting ad that will send anyone who clicked on your blog (and did not take your free content upgrade) to your landing page, once you feel you’ve had enough people that have engaged with your blog post.
This should work for you, the strategies are seemingly as simple, but they will work magic once you master how to use them.
To wrap it up, the digital publishing game is a tough one. You will need to understand your target market and come up with a product in the name of a solution to the problem they already have. All that can be achieved through the digital product sales hacks outlined in this article. Once you follow those strategies closely, you will be left to sit back, relax and watch your digital publishing game rise to completely new level.