A few years ago I was introduced to an awesome woman, Marie Forleo, whose online program, B-School, aimed to help women grow their own businesses.
Many of you probably know of Marie’s program—or have even taken part in it yourselves. When I discovered Marie, I also discovered that online education for business owners was a potential avenue for my own business. The idea caught my attention.
I let the concept float around in my head for a while, and it wasn’t until October 2013 that I decided to embark on a six-month research expedition to learn from the best of the best when it came to creating and selling an online product.
I soaked up the information, taking what I needed and discarding what I didn’t, and gave myself a 90-day challenge: to Develop, Create, and Launch an online program.
If you’ve been receiving my emails for a while now, you know I’m a fan of 90-day goals. Do I always achieve them within the given time frame? No, certainly not. But in this case, I was determined.
My first step was to decide which of my private mentoring programs I was going to transition into an online program. As you may know, my programs include Client Attraction Formula (for service-based business owners who want to attract, convert, and retain more customers), Undiscovered 2 Authority (for coaches, mentors, and consultants who want to grow their businesses) and Studio Success Formula (for dance studio owners who want to create a more profitable business through business systems and marketing).
The decision was an easy one. In my six months of research (and $15k investment in learning) I’d seen niche offerings work extremely well—so I decided to go with the Studio Success Formula. I already had two dance studio clients, both of whom I’d worked with for years to help grow their businesses. The stars aligned, and my gut told me it was the right decision (first tip: always listen to your gut).
As I continued to run my business, I got to work immersing myself in producing a high-quality education platform for dance studio owners (second tip: only allow yourself to work on your program outside of normal working hours—you still need to secure real, active income during your program’s build phase).
Fast forward 90 days, and I launched my program. In the first five weeks, it generated over five figures in revenue with just a $500 marketing spend. Over the last month, I’ve received emails from people who have seen my Studio Success Formula platform and want to know how I did it. Today, I want to share with you four key lessons from the process in order to help you transition your business into a more leveraged, successful model.
1. Know Your Niche and Your Customer. The biggest mistake I’ve seen from people who come to me after creating an unsuccessful online program was that they tried to be all things to all people. Although it might seem like a good idea, setting such a broad target means your program isn’t tailored or entirely relevant to anyone. Dig deep and select your niche—and then speak with your ideal customer within that niche about his or her dreams and fears. What solutions are they looking for in an online product? Don’t create your product from what you think they need; they’ll only buy what they want.
2. Be World Class. Have you ever purchased an online product or program only to find yourself deeply disappointed with the content? I have: I’ll never forget paying almost $400 for an education product that was no more than a 150-page PDF emailed to me. It was a book—not a program or a system. If you want to create a sustainable online product that will continue to grow in order to serve more people across the globe, deliver the best content possible—without the fluff. But don’t let your inner perfectionist stand in your way: Give yourself a deadline and get your content out there. You can always tweak it as you go.
3. Make It Easy to Use. The delivery method of your information is an important element of your platform. Does your ideal customer like video, audio, text, or a mixture? How do they want to receive the information? After you make these decisions, you’ll need to take a good look at the platform where you’ll house your information. Most people drop the ball a bit here—but don’t forget how important the look and feel of a platform is.
4. Have A Marketing Plan. I worked with a client in August who had a terrific online program—world class, certainly, but it was generating very low sales. Marketing is your online product’s oxygen; without it, it’s impossible to increase sales. I created a marketing plan for Studio Success Formula by day 30, leaving 60 days to implement it. You don’t need a huge budget, but you do need a plan to get your product out there and engage people.
My last word on the matter: If you’re thinking about creating and launching an online program, go for it! It’s certainly changed my business for the better, and I’ve seen it do the same for others. Once you have the right foundation, great content, and an effective, relevant marketing plan, you’re ready to go.
P.S. On Monday I opened up enrolments into my new program Earn Online Elite where I show you exactly how to develop, create and launch your online program. Email me for the details.
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