In an entertaining video I watched this morning titled 5 Common Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make When Creating, Launching and Selling Online Courses, Entrepreneur Network partner Greg Rollett taped a sheet of paper onto a board that read:
A member site
A 30-day buy-back guarantee
"Most people's offers look like this," he said. "That's not sexy." Then he started taping up pages with longer messages:
Over 4 videos, he posted, "4 modules perfectly engineered to help you grow bigger tomatoes in less than 30 days." (That was the topic he chose.) "That's a benefit, not a feature."
Instead of pdfs, he suggested, "Complete with step-by-step, dummy-proof checklists to put in your pocket when you're out in the garden..."
Instead of a "member site," he posted "24/7 access via an online member's area that you can even watch on your phone as you plant your seeds..."
And over "a 30-day, buy-back guarantee," he wrote, "All backed by our 90-day you're either eating and enjoying your tomatoes or get 100% of your money back, no questions asked."
Rollett's advice can work for launching and selling more than online courses. Here are the five "mistakes" that he talks about:
1. Creating the course for yourself and not for your market. "This happens before you get to the conceptual or launch stage," Rollett said. He agrees with Bethany Chambers, director of audience engagement for North Coast Media, not to think, "Build it and they will come." "You're saying, 'I want to create this kind of course' but you don't know if anyone is really hungry or would pay for it. It's not about you. It's about the person who's going to buy it. What is the problem that your course is going to solve?" Or, as Chambers said, "You want to identify your audience first, then go where they are."
2. Your offer isn't very sexy (and you know it). Use actionable language. Be specific. Being part of a member site is fine but "having 24/7 access via an online member's area that you can watch on your phone..." is much better. Bonuses help make a sale, he said, so he adds: "I'll also throw in my favorite 20 easy-to-cook recipes that my wife cooks..." And think benefits! "A benefit has to have one of two elements," Jim Sinkinson of Fired Up Marketing has often reminded us, "an emotional reward that makes you feel great or a tangible reward... I'm not going to buy a product unless it [makes a difference in] my life.")
3. Sending people directly to your sales page. SIPA people know this but it's a good reminder. Get customers engaged first; see who's interested, then get their information so you can contact them again. (Elizabeth Green of Brief Media said life changed for her company when they took the leap and asked for a lot of information in exchange for viewing their content.) Rollett also mentioned the opportunity of a downsell if the courses are too big of an ask.
4. You have no traffic strategy. Rollett talked about three ways to drive traffic.
- buy it on Facebook or Google or YouTube...;
- earn it through SEO, keywords, blogging, video, social media—"build a following," he said;
- seek referral traffic. Find affiliate partners.
In all cases, you need a good converting funnel.
5. You're stalling due to overwhelm. "You're Matthew McConnaughey and you have a failure to launch," Rollett said. There's overwhelm, anxiety, fear. There's too much to do and so many moving parts... But you've been given a gift. You know what should scare you more—the people who aren't getting your message."
Then he offered the first two people who wanted his further help in their endeavor a free "Ambition Is Oxygen" coffee mug. Remember, people like bonuses. Watch the video here on the Entrepreneur site.