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Offer An Online Course To Grow Your Opt-In List


Ok one way to really start to build your list and get increased traffic (as a bi product of the activity) is to offer up a online course as a really good ‘sign up’ incentive to get people to part with their details, name and email address etc.

Consider All The Opportunities First

There is obviously another opportunity as well from this kind of activity by effectively creating a membership site or certainly a part of your site that is only available to ‘members’ therefore creating exclusivity and preferential treatment for those that agree to singing up.

Also the longer-term opportunity is that by building trust with your subscribers/your list you could then offer ‘paid for’ online courses at a special subscriber price etc so just try and think through these various opportunities and what you might be able to utilise

How To Use An Online Course Effectively

Online courses have become a ‘big thing’ in Internet marketing circles these days and as already identified can be offered through email or membership sites. 

These courses offer short presentations containing useful information on a given topic.  They’re broken down into easily digestible segments, which are often short.  This keeps people interested and allows those with busy schedules to stay on the course without too much demand on their time.  Although the purpose of online courses can be to promote a product or service ultimately, the format is information so most people don’t feel like they’re being “marketed to.”  In this article, we’ll look at how to create and distribute your online course.

First Steps

First, start by considering your target audience and the issues or problems that concern them.  Your course should be based around helping them with those problems, questions or issues that they are actively searching for answers to – by supplying solutions in a step by step ‘how to’ format you will quickly build loyalty and credibility.

It could be as simple as ‘The Ultimate 10 Step Guide to Training Your Dog’ if obviously that’s assuming you’re in a dog niche. So Day 1 could be ‘getting started’, Day 2 choosing the right environment for training, etc I’m sure you get my point here, now here’s the important bit …

Choose Your Topic With Care

The topic of the course is the most important consideration.  Make it something that will help people who are visiting your site because of the subject matter.  For example, if you’re selling running shoes, you may want to offer a course on training for a marathon, or how to increase your running speed.  To do this, they can use the running shoes that you sell.  But this isn’t the point of the course; you should focus it on providing helpful information as your number one priority and getting them to take your desired action – i.e. joining your list. Naturally however the information should also be of interest to those visitors who are going to buy your product or service at some stage into the future. But don’t lose sight of what your primary objective is and for most of us it’s joining the list and building trust and loyalty – it’s the long game we’re interested in remember.

As another example, a real estate agent might offer information on looking for houses, understanding how mortgages work or how to find a lender.

How To Deliver It

You could offer the course as a download from a website in one hit but I wouldn’t do that through choice because you miss the opportunity of interacting with those visitors over a period of time and that’s useful.

The best way to offer it is as an incentive for visitors to join your opt-in list. So they can sign up to receive the information by email.  You’ll then be sending the course to them week by week directly to their inbox.

Consider this if the end game is building trust (which it should be) then the more you are able to communicate with those visitors over an extended period of time the better – makes sense I hope?

Don’t DIY – Outsource It

You may not want to create your course by yourself.  Lots of people hire ghostwriters to do it for them. This is really straightforward and I’m going to tell you how.

Supply a writer with the specific idea broken down into daily (say 10 if that’s the length of the course) segments and be specific on what should be covered. Most good writers are skilled at creating content that is well written, informative and interesting

They can also write content in layman’s terms so that both beginners and more informed readers can understand it and get value. Give them whatever information they need to help them create the content you want and keep in regular touch with them.  Be sure to review the content before the course goes live to make sure it’s what you wanted.

My Top Tip

If you’re struggling to cap off the 10 elements of the subject go online, post on relevant forums, ask for feedback – you’ll find if you’ve asked the right questions people within your niche will very quickly identify what they’re searching for and need – there’s your categories wow how tricky or time consuming was that???

How To Find The Right Ghost-writer

Finally go online find a ghostwriter – Google it and you’ll find loads, check out some of my other posts for a complete how to guide to choosing the right outsourcer

The Final But Vital Ingredient

Then there’s one final step that is essential in doing any online courses, and it’s getting customer feedback.  At the end of the course, ask them to tell you what you thought about it.  Don’t require them to do this, but simply ask.  Many will be happy to tell you what they think about it.  The information they give you will be very valuable in improving the quality of your next online course. 

This is the essence of marketing – understanding what people want and don’t want This might guide some of your future decisions when you’re actually creating the course’s content. Use this information effectively and your next course will be even more successful.

Toby Russell

Ok so now please leave a comment, let us know what you think, was the post helpful? Did you get something out of it? Do get involved & let us know.


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