Online Business – Part 6 – Scaling Your Business
Online vs Offline
When it comes to scaling your business, you should not just think about Online but also Offline sales.
The key here is to try to broaden your audience for your product and services by repurposing the marketing and lead generation strategies on other platforms, market places and in “offline” environments, such as conferences and seminars.
When constructing your product/service offering “Pyramid” ensure that you have a range of offerings at different prices but at the same time, make sure that as you prices increase, you are offering increasing access to your most valuable asset, your own personal time.
By looking at your business as a range of product offerings which are passive, semi-passive and hands on, you can easily construct a range of products and services to address your target market of customers.
Online Market Places
This is the market leading B2C market place for online courses and a great place to start. The team at Udemy are really proactive at making sure that your courses are of sufficient quality and giving you advice on how to improve your courses as you go.
The latest price changes on 22nd August appear (at least initially) to have reversed the decline in sales following the 4th April pricing policies which are now seen to have been a retrograde step.
This increasingly popular courses market place operates on a subscription basis and tends to offer shorter courses which include a class project. When designing your courses, it is useful to consider a Skillshare Course as possibly a section of one of your long Udemy courses and by including an “Activity” or Project your course material can be freely transposed to both platforms
Key Tip: NEVER ever mention (as I have done in some of my earlier courses) the names of any of the course platforms which means you are always free to publish them on new platforms when the opportunity arises.
This is a new market place which is owned by the Economist and, for that reason, I believe it has real potential. It is always a smart move if you can identify a future market leader and get your courses on to the platform and establish your student body there at an early stage. This is the case, in my view, with Learning.ly
Anything that Amazon decides to do should be taken very seriously. Its decision to move into distribution of user generated video content, both courses and films, will in time be seen as an important step in the evolution of the Online Courses industry.
So far, progress has been slow and Amazon insists (at the moment) on the inclusion of “close captions” or subtitles. While these are technically easy to include, creating the CC file is tricky, particularly ensuring that the captions are accurate.
One of the major drawbacks of online market places, is that you are not in control. When they make changes, these may not suit you and indeed, can adversely affect your online courses business.
The solution is to host your courses on a Course Platform where you pay a monthly fee in return for the course video hosting as well as continually improving functionality. The two platforms (and there are many) that I use are Thinkific and Teachable.
I use both by the way because I keep my low and mid priced courses separate from my premium course content. Premium on Thinkific and Mid/Low on Teachable. You could do this the other way around too or not at all.
Thinkific – this link will take you to the main Thinkific site.
Teachable – follow this link to the main Teachable Website.
Media Repurposing Strategy
Repurposing is one of the most important strategies in developing your online business.
Think how you can reuse content in different forms and in different places.
Take this blog series for instance.
I could reuse this by:
- Turning it into an ebook
- Recording it as a short audio book
- Creating a series of training videos which in turn
- Could be offered as a lead magnet
- Could be published as a course on Skillshare
- Could be included as an update to to an existing Udemy or Teachable Course
- Publish the videos on Youtube to drive traffic to my site
- Include the videos or one of them on my Facebook page or Linkedin Pulse.
Consider how you can use different media types to repurpose your existing content.
- Video – Youtube
- Audio – Podcasts
- Text – Kindle Books
- Presentations – Skillshare
The Product Pyramid
I have mentioned the Product Pyramid above but it is worth spending a little time explaining what this is all about.
You should have different pricing tiers for your products:
When you are building a relationship with a potential customer, it is most unlikely that you will see them your premium or high priced products first. Instead, you need to build the relationship and the trust by bring them through your free and low priced products first.
Price vs Accessibility
There is another axis on the Product Pyramid to consider that I have also already aluded to. This is the axis that reflects Price to Access to you. The lower the price, the more passive the income for you and the lower the level of client access to you.
Your time is your most valuable asset and personal one on one time should be regarded as the most valuable product/service you can provide. Its important to ensure this is the case.
If you do not do this you can find your time being completely filled by very low priced products and services which will consequently reduce your income and profitability.
An online business should only be part of your business strategy and once its established you should turn your attention to how you can leverage your content and expertise to the offline world.
Delivering presentations and speeches or teaching seminars are the two options which are most easy to exploit. Develop your network of contacts and find people who are running events that you can contribute to. Expect to start doing these for free until you develop your expertise and reputation in this area.
Offering 1:1 products and services should be at the very peak of your Product Service Pyramid. Consider how you can provide value to your community by offering direct access to you. They benefit from sharing from your knowledge and expertise and you can benefit from the premium you can charge for direct access to you.
- 1:1 Coaching