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EXECUTION Marketing a Course Before Creating It

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Nick M.

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The premise of this thread is to generate and capture demand for a course before creating the course.

You can think of it as validating the idea without first spending the time/energy/money needed to create a course.

This thread may end up being a dead-end (or a "failure" as some may call it). Maybe no one wants the course. Or it may end up being a huge success. Either way, I'm doing it anyway.

Background

I was a music major in college just graduating last June. When writing music, you often use music notation software. My preferred program of choice is Finale. Finale is one of the industry standards because it produces the best quality results. However, it's very difficult to learn to use, even more difficult to master, and few people know how to be insanely productive with it. It's not the most intuitive to use.

But I'm a believer that you should know and understand the software you use on a daily basis. So in college, most of my classmates would turn to me if they had issues with Finale. So I started a YouTube channel to also help anyone else out who might be watching. Since then, it's grown quite a bit on its own. Here are some current stats:
  • 507 Subscribers
  • 100-250 daily views
  • 2K unique viewers/month
  • 5.5K unique viewers/quarter
  • Growing at around 10% MOM for the last half-year
Aside: I haven't done much to grow the channel, it's mostly happened organically. But looking at the stats, I have some ideas (especially with CTR). Will probably start a different progress thread on that.

Now I've mainly been focused on my business and not the channel, but the business does not cover my day-to-day expenses yet. So, I've been freelancing, mainly with blog-writing but also writing/arranging music. It would be really great if I could separate my income from my time so I can focus more on growing my business. Since there's already a demand for the free Finale tutorials I'm putting out on YT, there might be demand for a paid course.

This thread is to test that hypothesis.

The Plan

So the plan is simple:
  1. Get YouTube viewers onto a very simple landing page
  2. Have them provide their email if they want to know more
  3. Encourage them to share the news with their friends
Using the number of people that sign up, I should have a good idea on the demand. Of course, if 1,000 people sign up, not all of them will buy. But I know there's interest. If there does seem to be interest, I'll likely market the course many other ways to get an even better launch for the course.

Inspiration

As for what's on the landing page, I'm modeling it after Harry's prelaunch landing page.


The Landing Page

So like the Harry's page, the quick site I setup has two pages. The first one just has a headline with an email signup, and the second one has social sharing options. As for the tripwires to encourage people share it, I'm giving away tools I've created for myself to be even more productive in Finale. So theoretically, even just referring their friends/colleagues should provide value.

Now, though the Harry's case study does provide the source code they used, it's out of date with known security issues and I'm not too familiar with Ruby on rails (which is what I think it uses…).

So instead, I coded up a quick site page myself and used Growsurf for the referral automation/validation.

Next Steps

Just shot a video today to upload to my channel. Won't have time to finish editing it today, so perhaps I can edit/post it tomorrow. Then I'll add a link to the description of all 100+ videos.

Updates coming. Feedback always welcome.
 

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lowtek

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My feedback would be this:

Why the landing page? What does it tell you if people don't go there? How will you interpret that data? How will you act on it? What would it tell you if people go to the landing page but don't sign up? How will you act on that data? These aren't questions you can afford to "wing it" on. If you don't have good answers, you're just going to end up spending time on the landing page and get ambiguous data, which will lead to self doubt and inaction.

If you already have 500 subs, then you already have a good chunk of people who are trading their most valuable currency for what you're offering: their time. IMHO, this is a strong indication that a course (at the right price point) would be well received. Instead of going through all that trouble with the landing page, why not just start talking about it in your videos and see how people respond in the comments? This is direct and unambiguous feedback about how the course would be received, and you can keep doing it until you get sufficient feedback to let you know how to proceed.

So you know that I'm not talking from theory, I sell one course through Manning Publications and another through Udemy. I never set up a landing page to capture emails. I started talking about it on video and people would ask when it was coming. I didn't mention specifics, just the overall topic of the course. That let me know it was go time.
 

amp0193

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Former music major here. Finale is super tough. Course definitely needed, especially if there isn't another one out there.
 

Andy Black

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Reminds me of the story of how Graham Cochrane got started with his Recording Revolution YouTube channel.


He also has a channel about how to build a business selling courses.



Offer something to your current audience? People bought my course without signing up to an email list.

If you can sell to people who know, like, and trust you then you “just” have to figure out how to get people who don’t know you to know, like, and trust you. Then present the course to them.

Maybe these might help:

> How to validate and sell a course - my project plan

> AndyTalks with Paloma about Creating Courses & Demystifying AdWords

> EXECUTION - Growing an email list with Google Ads
 

rpeck90

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This adds nothing to what you're attempting to do, HOWEVER, there's a guy I found recently (courtesy of something @Mr.C was showing me) who made money doing something similar:

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80rugVXQzes

This guy is now a doctor in the UK, but had been dabbling online since he was 12. He eventually found applying & progressing through medical school to be extremely difficult (Cambridge), so created a site to help other medical students (UCAT, BMAT, Medicine Interview Preparation Courses | 6med).

I don't know specifics, but he says it generated $1m+ in revenue, and continues to pay for his mortgage etc. Really cool guy and the video above is actually really interesting.

Anyway, the point is that you may be able to glean something from it.
 

Kid

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At "build audience first". There was article about guy that made successful service for newsletters owners that was helping increase their conversions, clicks etc.

Before he opened that service he was writing a blog about newsletter tracking strategies and similar things.
He was educating owners that such thing as analytics and tracking exists and how to use it.
People ware reading it and when he started his service he had "educated" audience and mostly ready for buying service that will simplify it for them.

Suggestion is not to just bring them to landing page but write a blog about Finale, how great it is and leave some info for paid course.
 
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Nick M.

Nick M.

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Thanks all of you, especially @Andy Black , @lowtek , and @amp0193 .

Glad to know I was likely headed in the wrong direction.

Instead of going through all that trouble with the landing page, why not just start talking about it in your videos and see how people respond in the comments? This is direct and unambiguous feedback about how the course would be received, and you can keep doing it until you get sufficient feedback to let you know how to proceed.
Why didn't I think of this?

Just recorded and uploaded a video asking for people's thoughts. I'll probably talk about it in future videos as well to get more feedback.

As I'm writing this post, somone just commented "My answer : excellent idea , i'm sure it will be Incredibly useful ! looking forward !" when posing the idea on my YT channel.

Will update this thread as results come in.
 
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Nick M.

Nick M.

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At "build audience first". There was article about guy that made successful service for newsletters owners that was helping increase their conversions, clicks etc.

Before he opened that service he was writing a blog about newsletter tracking strategies and similar things.
He was educating owners that such thing as analytics and tracking exists and how to use it.
People ware reading it and when he started his service he had "educated" audience and mostly ready for buying service that will simplify it for them.

Suggestion is not to just bring them to landing page but write a blog about Finale, how great it is and leave some info for paid course.
That's basically what I'm already doing. Except instead of a blog I have a YouTube channel.
 
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Nick M.

Nick M.

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Ok. On afterthought, music related content might fit better into video then text.
No worries. The main reason I'm doing it this way is I already have a YouTube channel. I have done guest blog posts (which I'll probably continue doing) as well.
 

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jaminson

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Your business idea is good, I would like to take such a course. By the way, let a link to your youtube channel. Related to the demand for the course and landing page, I would say that is better to put the course on the sites that specialized in the online courses. Moreover, in order to make your business grow, you need to appeal to a company that can do the prospecting. When I set up my business the prospecting methods helped me a lot to identify the customers and to increase sales. Good luck to you.
 
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