The Truth About Online Courses and 5 Tips to Master Passive Revenue
There is a massive myth in the digital marketing space about online courses that you can magically create an online course and generate a 6 figure income. Somehow teaching the basic information that most people put in a blog article is worth $97 bucks.
The “secret formula” looks something like this.
Step 1) Create Online Course
Step 2) Run Facebook Ads
Step 3) ????
Step 4) Profit
The pervasive lie people believe, that creating an online course and running ads will magically make you 6-7 figures in income. This is simply untrue.
The truth about online courses and their implied passive revenue is this: they are a s*** ton of hard work and not passive at all. This isn’t a giant revelation but here are some tips to ease your troubles.
There are Many Terrible Online Courses
One of the biggest objections to people buying your online course is the plethora of terrible other choices. Everyone and their mother has created a “Facebook ads course” or some other type of online course. The objection you’ll hear from potential clients sounds something like: “I have bought courses like this in the past and was disappointed. Do I really want to waste my time and money?”
This of course, is a totally valid concern. I hate spending $450 on an online course only to receive about an hours worth of content where the person describes everything as “magical, awesome,” and “this is your money-maker.” I literally bought a course where the creator used loads of non-descriptive filler words that don’t say anything.
This is the first place you can set yourself apart from competition. Make a great course.
Make a better course, spend the time to plan out your content and really know the subject.
Trust me, if you put the time and energy in to make the best course, the market will respond and making sales will be much easier.
When you make the best course possible, your customers will tell their friends. This is sharable content and gets you massive word of mouth marketing.
Purchase Other Courses to Learn What Makes a Great One
This might not seem like a necessity in the online course world but I feel it is. If you want to create the best course possible you must sit through other creators’ terrible courses, and those that are great too. It is the only way for you to learn what makes a great course and what makes a terrible one.
There are many factors that determine if a course is “good” or not.
- Content: Do you have real meat and potatoes in the course or did you just repackage some free blog articles?
- Confidence: Are you insecure with talking or being on camera? Truthfully you are getting judged at every moment, so your camera presence is important.
- Knowledge: How well do you know the subject? Did you create a Facebook ads course after running only 5k in ads sales? Maybe you just don’t know the content really well— consequently this can make you less confident.
- Attractiveness: Yep, I know I sound like a giant a-hole for saying this. Truthfully, how attractive you are has a major influence on how good your course is. It is scientifically proven that attractive people are deemed more trustworthy. Place additional attention into your appearance on camera. Wear the most flattering clothes you have, and if you’re a lady do a great job with makeup.
- Authority: Do you actually have authority in the niche? If I tried to make a course on “how to triple your restaurant profits,” but never once stepped into a restaurant, people would call BS a mile away.
Learn from Competitive Ecommerce Sites
Your online course is like an ecommerce site. The difference is that you may only have one or two items rather than a stock of inventory. The typical ecommerce site has 10-100+ SKU (products).
Ecommerce site optimization focuses on one thing more than anything else. The use A/B split testing to learn what optimizes revenue. This is done especially when it comes to decreasing abandoned cart rates. A 1% decrease in abandoned carts can equal hundreds to thousands of dollars for an ecommerce site. The same can be said for your online course.
Reducing the drop off rate of your customers and increasing conversions is critical to the success of your online course. Knowing where to spend time optimizing your funnels can be tricky since there are tons of different variables. In any given launch or funnel you have many of these variables: advertisements, landing pages, email marketing sequence, your product, upsells and downsells, and more.
Focus on each element of the funnel independently to test different scenarios. For example, keep the copy the same on your landing page, but duplicate the content and use different imagery. Is there an increase or decrease in conversions? Then find out exactly what this means. There’s tremendous insight to be gained from testing.
All Traffic is Not Created Equal, but All Traffic is Valuable
Not all traffic is created equal. Let’s say that you run two advertisements that resulted in different conversions. One advertisement cost 20 cents per conversion and the other cost $5 per conversion. You would think the 20 cents ad is the clear winner. However, maybe those people coming in at 20 cents never end up making a full purchase, and 3 out of 10 of the $5 conversions make a course sale for $250. In this case the $5 conversions are the clear winners.
This doesn’t mean to discredit the 20 cents per conversion customers either. They increase your email list which can be used to retarget different offers. They help create “lookalike audiences” in Facebook advertising and can become part of your raving fans who share your content.
Not all traffic is created equal, but treat every customer or potential customer as equal.
Explore New Methods
In the online course world and business world, you must be willing to fail. There are no “set it and forget it” aspect to business. True passive revenues don’t exist because someone must be working on your business 24/7. It doesn’t have to be you—and that’s what can make it passive. Either way, there must be someone (a team probably) working on all aspects of your business if you are not.
You always must be exploring new methods, innovating, and pushing the boundaries. For instance, social media best practices change every 6 months. Spend time every month investing in learning and trying new ideas.
Whether it’s learning how to grow your Snapchat audience, trying the new Instagram stories feature, or doing Facebook Lives and Periscope. The key here is to spend some time on the new features, because you never know what is going be the “next big thing.”
If you told me 10 years ago I would be able to walk around with a mini-computer in my pocket, connected to every single human being in the world, and have NASA seriously contemplate putting a man on Mars. I would asked if we were in The Jetsons.
That is the God’s honest truth about online courses and 5 tips to master passive revenue. They are a ton of work and not for the faint of heart. That being said, if you can create a successful course you can build a consistent additional revenue stream.