Promoting an online course takes a lot of time. First, there is the building of the course. Next, you have the building of the platform. Lastly, you have the task of both promoting your online course and doing the administrative work that comes along with running your own eLearning company. A daunting task to say the least and far too much for most people to handle… which is a good thing. Let me explain why.
MOUNTAINS ARE GOOD. IT KEEPS THE UN-FIT AT THE BASE…. LOOKING UP…. WISHING
Building an online course is like climbing a mountain. However, when you’re building an online course you can’t see the submit. It’s hidden behind the clouds. You have your expectations of course… but how high can you go? How long will it take you to get there? And lastly… will it be worth the journey?
Those are all good questions to ask. However, it’s the fact that it’s hard, time consuming and intimidating that stops most people from trying in the first place. So at Academy of Mine we see this barrier to entry as a gatekeeper. Or a sort of… how should I put it… “competitor control manager”. The fact that you can’t see the summit is a good thing. It means there is inherent risk involved which will keep those lacking in entrepreneurial spirt on the sidelines. This leaves plenty of climbing room for the risk-ready edupreneur! After all, if it was easy, everyone would do it and the market would be flooded with competitors right?
So don’t think of the challenge as a bad thing. For eCourse vendors with patience and tenacity to follow through on their project, the unknown elements and the challenge of doing it make your life easier in the long run since you’ll be one of the brave few to give it a shot.
A 6 MONTH CASE STUDY
Before we go any further I want you to look at the traffic graph below which shows the growth of one of our member’s eCourse sites over the course of 6 months. Notice they started from scratch with zero visitors their first month.
YOU’RE NOT WORKING HARDER MONTH 6… IT’S JUST THAT YOUR WORK FROM MONTH 1 IS STARTING TO PAY OFF… FINALLY.
In the 6 month chart seen above our member went from zero to around 3500 views / month (and generated about $3000 in sales in June alone). This member’s site is run by one person and they offer 1 course online. They are a bootstrapped company and have no outside investment. Everything they do, they do by themselves with the limited resources they have access to. They also have a full time job and therefore they can only contribute part of their time to building, promoting and running their online course.
We’ve used this case study as an example because many of you will find yourself in a similar situation. You might have a limited budget, a family or a job that you need to take into consideration. This of course will likely slow your growth rate down. We could have used a more impressive growth chart for this case study (people with larger budgets, larger teams, more experience, no full time jobs etc), but this growth chart represents what’s possible for the average person starting from scratch who will be doing most things on their own.
Even though it’s a modest growth chart, it’s important to note that in their second month when they only had 128 visitors to their eCourse site they were working their butts off. In fact, our member told us that their first three months were the hardest and most time consuming of all of their months.
However, 5 months later they weren’t working any harder but their traffic continued to jumped steadily. Their month 6 numbers are their new “plateau numbers” (meaning that if the eCourse seller stopped promoting their eCourse right now they would still hover around this point). This is because the work they did in their first month is still paying off now. For example, maybe they wrote a blog post in their first month that is only starting tho show up high in search results now. Once you secure a position, it’s much easier to maintain it.
DELAYED GRATIFICATION: IT FEELS GOOD AND BAD AT THE SAME TIME
Every entrepreneur knows the benefits of not trading time for money. The chart above is testament to benefits of having a solid long term vision for your eCourse company. But imagine if things were different. Imagine if in their second month, this eCourse seller threw in the towel and gave up. And why shouldn’t they? They stayed up until 2Am working on their audio lectures, creating blog posts, formatting their content, designing the website and so on… and all for what? 128 visitors (none of whom purchased their eCourse).
But if they threw in the towel at this point they would have missed out on the opportunity to earn over $3000 / month which they will now probably make from this point forward. It wasn’t easy and it required a lot of work, but it’s not magic and it shouldn’t be mystified. It’s a rhythm that most experienced entrepreneurs are very familiar with so they’ve learnt how to enjoy the ride.
Creating an eCourse from scratch is a lot of work for no immediate payoff (or very little payoff). In the example above the first month of traffic saw 128 visitors, the next month saw a jump to 552. Still, a very small amount of traffic, but it’s a 331% increase in traffic. Which, if you look at it that way, is a huge jump! And the next month we’re over 1000 visitors and shortly after that we’re just under 4000 / month.
So if you’re just getting started out and you’re still hovering around the 128 visitors / month mark, don’t be discouraged. We’ve all been there (including us). Just make sure you keep climbing upwards slowly but surely. Small gains in momentum quickly start to add up. If you’re looking for a a few tips on how to market your eCourse you might want to check out this blog post on data hacks for long tail marketing or this post on how eCourse sellers can improve their organic search engine ranking.