What I've learned from $217,316 in Digital Course SalesMay 12, 2021
When I encourage people to start monetizing their knowledge through a digital course, I'm typically met with one question:
"What's your best advice?"
So, here it is, in 5 simple lessons:
Lesson 1: Building in public generates massive attention
When I built my first course, The LinkedIn Playbook, I worked on it quietly at home, and then launched it assuming it would generate massive interest. In the first month it was available, I made $11,781, or about $380 per day.
Contrast that to, Idea.Audience.Proof.Product: The Side Income Playbook. I built my second course completely in public. I shared each day's wins and losses, metrics, revenue, etc. It took me 32 days to build it, and in that time, I made $40,594, or $1,269 per day.
Both products generated roughly the same amount of views, but IAPP converted 2x higher even with 2x the cost, partly because people could see what I was building, and were invested in the journey.
Lesson 2: Accessibility breed word-of-mouth
When I look around the digital course space, I see a lot of people with significantly smaller communities than mine, trying to sell a "masterclass" for $1,499. The amount of trust and nurturing needed to get someone into a high-ticket deal like that is pretty massive, IMO.
I price my products at an affordable rate, make them as valuable as possible (no hidden upsells), and simply ask people to tell their friends if they enjoyed them. The result is an incredible word-of-mouth campaign. This is why I recommend that people price things to be accessible and create a WOM machine.
Lesson 3: Urgency, discounts, and proof drive promotional success
When I promote my products, I always see a spike in sales. But, two promotions have outshined them all.
The first was on March 3rd, 2021, when I announced a 30% discount (my biggest ever) for one day only, on all of my products. That day, I did $5,817 in revenue, all organic.
The second was 10 days later, on March 13th, when I shared a screenshot of the sales notifications from the March 3rd sale above. This proved to people that I'm not just talking the talk. I added a 20% weekend deal (in retrospect, should have done one day only) and did $3,236 in revenue that day.
My other normal promotional days do between $1,200 and $2,000. So remember, use urgency, discounting, and proof to drive great promotions.
Lesson 4: 80/20 give/ask is key
You may have read above and thought that promoting 2x in 10 days is a lot, but it's not in the overall game of content I'm creating. I typically create 22 unique pieces of content per month on LinkedIn and usually promote 2x to 3x out of those. That means, at most, I'm promoting less than 15% of the time.
The golden rule that I've found to be effective is to make sure that you are giving value 80% of the time or more and promoting 20% of the time or less.
Lesson 5: Brevity is your friend
My first course, The LinkedIn Playbook, has a 60% completion rate (quite high for a course) because it's short - only about 75 minutes.
Idea.Audience.Proof.Product: The Side Income Playbook, has closer to a 30% completion rate, because it's much more robust, clocking in at 3.5 hours.
I truly believe the latter is a better, more helpful course, but it doesn't matter if people don't get through it. In hindsight, I would have sold it in 4 different parts.
Teach people what they want to learn in 90 minutes or less, and you'll increase your completion and adoption rate.
Well, there you have it. My 5 best pieces of advice for selling your digital courses online.
- Building in public generates massive attention
- Accessibility breed word-of-mouth
- Urgency, discounts, and proof drive promotional success
- 80/20 give/ask is key
- Brevity is your friend
But, remember: none of these lessons matter if you never get started.
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