Will Bachman 00:02
Hello, and welcome to Unleashed the show that explores how to thrive as an independent professional. I’m your host Will Bachman. And I’m excited to be here today with Tom Lee belt, who runs smart brand marketing, a firm where one of their main, one of the main services is helping creators promote online courses. Tom, welcome to the show. Yeah, thanks for having me. So, Tom, it seems like at least my my sense is that online courses have really taken off here during the pandemic, as more and more people are, you know, staying home, not going not going out and to in person events. Is that been your sense?
Tom Libelt 00:50
Well, the industry definitely exploded a couple of years ago, already, right. But around March, April, and may, I would say it grew, at least double again. And now it’s kind of getting back to the stable what we’ve seen before, at the higher levels, though, but it definitely Yeah, we had maybe like, one spurt around three, four years ago. And then around March, April this year. Again, we’d like to doubled everything that we’ve seen in the last three, four or five years.
Will Bachman 01:25
Yeah. So you’ve seen a wide range of online courses, as you know, as as it’s what you do. And a lot of my listeners have asked me about, you know, tips on creating online courses. So I was really looking forward to picking your brain on this, could you first start with maybe kind of an overview of the, the different formats of courses, so if someone has some knowledge that they want to share? What are the different formats of courses to think about choosing from and I imagine it’s anywhere from, you know, a video where you’re talking directly to the camera, a video where you’re showing slides and just doing voiceover, short ones, with just, you know, maybe 15, or 20, or 30 minutes of content versus much longer courses. You know, synchronous or asynchronous talk to us about the landscape and how you think about segmenting the different formats.
Tom Libelt 02:29
Yeah, so I’ve seen this question being asked a lot around the different forums on Facebook, and to myself, I think it’s the wrong question. It’s like when, you know, we go after the wrong problems to solve. So when you have expertise, the main thing that you’re your focus should be first creating something that has an outcome, right? So something for the student, you know, because the only reason someone takes the course is because they want some type of an outcome, whether it’s someone who learned this skill, or I’m gonna build up this thing, and I need to know why. Right? So we need to figure out the outcome. And then the right way is the easiest way for you. Right? And for every niche, it’s a little different. Like if I was working with a Muay Thai champion, well, we had to do videos of the classes, and him explaining it. If you are doing something educational, in the software space, can we just slide right? So it a lot of it depends on information, but you should always think about what’s the easiest thing for you, right? So initially, it could be just a paid webinar, where you just get some people on, I’m gonna, like, take you through this, outline this course, you know, show you how to get to the outcome. Pay me, I don’t need to do anything other than just a live show, get some questions, and then maybe build off of that. Right. So you need to move from simplest to them, you know, more comprehensive, and then, you know, adding bells and whistles. But don’t think about it initially, because it’s the wrong problem to try to solve.
Will Bachman 04:04
Okay, no, that makes sense. You know, so recognizing that it’s the wrong problem. What, what are the different tools to think for that people should be aware of as they’re thinking about creating course, that that are out there. Right? So teachable is one that comes to mind to me, that I’ve seen some people use. I’ve seen a course that was quite good that I took up, I think, all over Canton, on how on how to build a Twitter following I took a course that he had, it was on a mighty networks platform, and I’ll include a link to that one in the show notes. It’s a great course. And then, in some some cases, people might think about just building in building it from scratch on their own website. What, or in some cases, people might put it on Udemy. There’s a asynchronous versus synchronous courses? What are the different tools out there for people to, to be aware of if they want to put their content out there as a course and make it relatively easy to, you know, to monetize it to make it. So there’s a sign in and so forth without having to, to go crazy trying to build all that functionality from scratch.
Tom Libelt 05:25
Yeah, so the first thing to understand is where the different pieces fit, right? Because without that, I see people getting confused all the time about these tools and what they offer, and you know which ones you get. So you have the sales process, right, which you need to have in place to sell the course, lead magnet, email sequence, sales page, then you have the payment system, right? So you need to actually be able to take money from a person to put them in a course. And then the last one is the actual hosting of the course, right? And people usually confuse these, right? So there’ll be like, oh, where do I build this? And I’m like, well, that’s not the place for it. So when we talk about platforms, right, like the first one, which we should kind of mention, the ones where you don’t do any of this stuff, they sell it for you, we get a piece of the pie, and you just host the course, these are the marketplaces, right? Like Udemy, Skillshare. Fiverr, learn Pro, I think it’s called now LinkedIn, learn all marketplaces, right, you don’t own. Anything you don’t own your audience, you don’t have to sell all you do is going to come from then moving on from that as the host that platforms and that’s where you go into like the mighty networks, Thinkific, teachable kajabi. These are platforms that host your course, and they help you with the payment process. They can help you serve a sales page, lead magnets, but they’re not meant for that, you could always control that part, you know, as long as you’re selling it. So we would just use something like WordPress to make sure you have your lead magnet and your sales pages are under your control. And you just use them for the payment process, which they don’t do very well, most of them. But the point is, you want to host your course somewhere and they’re very easy to upload the course and they do a good job of presenting it right these all these platforms. Moving on from that is where you actually self host or customize your own school. Right. So that’s where you’re going into WordPress plugins, such as lifter, LMS, or very custom type options, you know, at the higher end, almost all the people actually make their own school. So that’s, that’s going away. So you kind of start at the marketplaces if you want. I actually don’t like the idea much because it devalue your course. But I’ve seen people have success with it. And then you move into the ones where you know, other people host them for you. I think if it kajabi teachable, and then you kind of move on from that into your self hosted, where you no longer pay a cut to anyone, right? Because we think if it’s teachable, all these platforms, they all still want the fee. You know, you own the audience, but they want to be and you got to pay a monthly usually, to use that service. So at some point, it doesn’t make sense any longer to do that. But it’s the easiest way to start. So I wouldn’t overthink it.
Will Bachman 08:35
So let’s let’s go over these in a little bit more detail for people that are totally new to it. So let’s go back and just go through these marketplaces. And can you first list them out a little slower for me so I can catch them? So you mentioned you to me? You mentioned and let’s talk about each one of them. So, you know, what’s the sort of audience that might be on there? And how does that cut work? How does it work to upload your stuff? So if you want to create a course on Udemy, how would that work?
Tom Libelt 09:09
Well, I always tell people not to go on them. So I’m probably not the best person to talk about marketplaces. All right. All right. But like no, the only thing I can tell you is this look. Udemy is the most known one. So you have the most traffic, right? It’s it’s low value. You’re going to have people from all over the world and get a couple dollars per course. Skill here. similar type thing with horrible customer experience. As a creator, they have zero customer service on your end. So a lot of problems. But same thing, you know, cheap courses, a decent audience LinkedIn learn there’s a little more towards the mid range. But it’s still in that same field where it’s you know, they’re not expensive courses, and then you still don’t own your audience. And you don’t own your audience on any of these, right? They sell it for you. They keep your client names, addresses everything, you just get a cut, you don’t know anything.
Will Bachman 10:16
So you don’t. So you don’t know who’s taking your course, for example?
Tom Libelt 10:21
Well, you might have like a nickname, but you have no way to contact them, other than through the platform. So if you ever want to market anything else to them, or actually have him on your list, you don’t know who these people are.
Will Bachman 10:34
Now LinkedIn learning. So with Udemy, and with Skillshare, can sort of just anybody who wants to upload content there and create a course.
Tom Libelt 10:45
Yeah, yeah, those are the two most common and lower end starting points, right. So anybody, anybody as long as they’re breathing? They can put something up on there. No, with LinkedIn learning,
Will Bachman 10:57
do you have to get invited by them to create it? Or like, I mean, I don’t? Like how does that work? Because that sort of invitation only or how do you? How does a course get on LinkedIn learning?
Tom Libelt 11:12
Um, I have no idea. I’ve never tried, I’ve never cared for it. All I know is that I’ve seen it. And I’ve had a few people who mentioned that. The one that I know because I’ve spoke with the company, personally, is a fiver learn that said, your service, and they use their traffic from the fiber marketplace, the ones where you know, spend 510 dollars to get things done. They created their own platform. But yes, it’s invite only, they actually want to have control over recording of the course they want to have control over the content, they want have control over the customers, you got to cut. So they basically hire you for a small commission to do the content for them.
Will Bachman 11:52
Okay, got it. So it sounds like these, they, they they have an audience. So they bring the audience and you’re more just getting a piece of you’re not building up your brand. When you use one of these marketplaces, you’re not building a customer list, or to market to in the future.
Tom Libelt 12:12
Let’s talk about some of the you don’t build anything. Yeah, it’s just an easy way out for putting your content out. Like if you don’t, you know, don’t actually want to build anything, but just make some quick money, then often, that might work.
Will Bachman 12:24
Yeah, I can imagine that LinkedIn learning might be a good if you’re not trying to make money out of it. But just more to try to build your brand or build awareness of your expertise so that you can monetize it through consulting or some other means that because they have distribution to a lot of business professionals that that could make sense if you’re not trying to make money off the course itself.
Tom Libelt 12:53
Yeah, I mean, they’re worth looking into. Like I said that the only reason I don’t like them, because there’s zero control, you don’t own anything. And most of them devalue your course. So you become a $10. Expert.
Will Bachman 13:06
Yeah, right. Okay. Let’s talk about the hosted one. So you’ve rattled off a few names, but I didn’t catch them. Let’s talk through each of the main hosting platforms in turn.
Tom Libelt 13:18
So the ones that actually hoelscher stuff, the main ones, there’s only really three Thinkific teachable, and kajabi kajabi is my favorite. Just because of all the bells and whistles in the way they work. Thinkific would be the second one, because their customer service is going to be very, very good. And you want that when you’re on a school. And teachable is just really popular. But I’m not a big fan of customer service is horrible. And they do nothing better than any of the other two.
Will Bachman 13:47
Alright, so let’s let’s go through each one. So your favorite is kajabi. And that’s how’s that spelled again? k j, a BI. Okay. So talk to me. Let’s say I know nothing about it. Which is true, actually. So how does it work? Walk me through kajabi. Like, is it? They do it on my website? Or just on their platform? Do I have all let’s wrap to have all everything kind of recorded ahead of time? Do they do video? Do they do quizzes and so forth? Just walk me through the platform for someone who hasn’t seen it?
Tom Libelt 14:30
Sure. So all the content is always created by you. These platforms only host the content, right? So none of them will create anything for you. None of them is going to do any marketing for you. This is all you all you just hosting, right? This is what they’re for. So some of them let’s see you go on kajabi right and this is the same for Thinkific are teachable. There is no difference. You can put up a sales page on their website. You know if they’re going to host it but you can put up your content They will help you with the payment process, which means you can connect with stripe or PayPal or your bank account. And they have a place where you upload your course, your modules, your videos, quizzes, anything you have. And they host all of these things. While you still control the audience, right, you’re paying them to host. And everything else is on you. You control the audience, you have to do the marketing, come up with all the content, they’re just a hosting company. And I see that being confused a lot. When you know, these companies are getting, you know, attacked for like, oh, what kind of marketing are you doing there? They don’t do any of this. They’re just hosting companies.
Will Bachman 15:44
So the URL if you go to it, would it be just my own custom domain? Or would it be sort of, you know, kajabi dot, will Bachmann’s course.com or something?
Tom Libelt 15:56
So most of them initially, when you sign up under the cheaper plans, they will have that you know, kajabi dot will something think if ik dot will teachable dot will, right? Once you pay for the pro versions, and you have your own domain, you can do a redirect. And then everything will go through your own domain, but it’s still hosted on their platform.
Will Bachman 16:18
All right? And then what are some of the different features and functionalities that that they’ll typically have you mentioned that you like kajabi? a lot. So what are some of the the features, the bells and whistles that you can do there? Imagine that there might be things like, the students of the course could maybe see their progress or see which videos they’ve listened to already, or watched already? Things like that, or what are some of the other things?
Tom Libelt 16:46
Okay, so all these platforms pretty much have the same bells and whistles, there’s only one reason why I like kajabi more than both of the other ones and anything else that I’ve seen. One, they make it incredibly easy for someone that doesn’t know what they’re doing to set up the course and a sales page. And the second most important reason is that they don’t go down a lot. So these are hosting companies. And what happens a lot with teachable especially sometimes think if they will go down for many, many hours. Now, can you imagine you’re having a launch and you’re running 1000s of dollars of Facebook ads are traffic to the website, and it’s down. Right? So I look for stability for a website, that’s going to stay up your course needs to stay up at all times. And kajabi does a really really good job at that.
Will Bachman 17:39
Okay, that’s helpful, what are some of the the features are bells and whistles that all that all these course, course hosting sites have?
Tom Libelt 17:50
Well, they all let you put videos up, they’ll let you put up text, you can put up quizzes, PDFs, the students can go in, they can take different classes, they know where they’re at, this is all the same stuff that they have, there’s nothing special about that. What about any of these platforms are interchangeable? When it comes to that, like you’re gonna set up a school, they’re all meant for that, you know, someone joins in, they can see the first module, the second module, they can download this, they can see which video they came off. If you have a certificate, they can give certificates like they all have these options. Do they have the ability for students to kind of chat with each other or to post discussion topics where people can interact with each other? Somewhat somewhat, none of them are really great at that, like usually, what I see creators do was put them in their own like Facebook group, or a place where they can control it. Because they’re not meant for that they’re not meant for community building, you know, unfortunately. So I see people doing that, you know, they’ll they’ll come up with these cohorts where, you know, they’ll throw in like 30 people in on a zoom call at a certain hour, you know, put them in a group. So you kind of want to control it and understand what the pieces are. And don’t try, you know, building up your sales pages on a hosting platform for courses. Don’t try to build a community. In a place where it’s hosting courses, don’t try to put a blog on a place that’s hosting courses. They’re not meant for that. And so you this piece of the puzzle that we’re talking about is only for hosting your course and all the you know other pieces like the community, the blog, they go somewhere else.
Will Bachman 19:32
Okay, so let’s talk a little bit about the sales page and transition a bit to the marketing side of a course your area of expertise. So when you say so we have the let’s say you’re using kajabi to host the course. Talk to me about the sales page would that be a separate page typically,
Tom Libelt 19:52
I would typically say control that completely put it on WordPress then you can make it super fast. I mean, kajabi does an okay job of it. But I think your sales process is something you should really, really control completely. So if anything happens, you can switch between, you know, this platform or that platform. But yeah, you would want to control that WordPress is still the most stable and the fastest. And there is another reason why we move into the WordPress domain is because if you’re doing SEO, and some of the listeners might not know what that is, but it’s if you want to rank your website in Google and some of these search engines, if you are going to go into SEO route, which is a good long term play. Google doesn’t rank these platforms, you will need to be on your own WordPress site or something similar to rank in Google. So by putting your sales page already on that platform on WordPress, you’re a step ahead. Because you’ll never rank on Thinkific teachable or kajabi. It’s not going to happen.
Will Bachman 21:04
Okay. So So let’s say that I’m a course creator, and I have an idea or I’ve created a course already, but I created the content, let’s say, and I come to you. And I say, Tom, I’d like to get your help on marketing this course. Right. So what are the questions you’re going to ask? What are the steps that we’re going to kind of walk through? And what are this zero services you’d be providing to help to help market a court? Right.
Tom Libelt 21:32
So you have an idea, you created the content? And have you sold any of these?
Will Bachman 21:40
Of course, so far?
Tom Libelt 21:44
That would be my first question. Have you sold any of these courses?
Will Bachman 21:46
Yeah. All right. Yeah, I mean, so in my case, we can talk about this course that I did create so. So I created a guide to setting up your own consulting practice. And, you know, it’s currently available on the Umbrex website, we have sold, you know, we have sold multiple of those. So it’s, it’s just hosted by us on our own website right now on. So we didn’t use words, platforms, we kind of just built something where you could have a paywall, we use WooCommerce, on on WordPress for the payment and stripe and then just posted it on our own website.
Tom Libelt 22:31
Yeah, so you’re very simple model two, great. Well, what’s the outcome of this? Like, what’s the valuable part for the student? Because whatever your course, you need something like that. And, you know, I get setting up a consultancy, but what I mean, what’s the point? Really? Why does this course exist?
Will Bachman 22:49
Okay, so many professionals are thinking about leaving a large firm or leaving a company, and they want to become independent consultants, independent professionals. And they know how to kind of deliver the work, but a lot of people have a whole range of questions on how to actually get started, do I have to set up my own LLC? How much? You know? Do I need an employer identification number? What kind of technology do I need? How do I market my practice? How do I find my first clients? So even people who are experienced consultants, maybe they’re at a big firm, where they were even a partner, let’s say at a big firm, they have that whole infrastructure surrounding them, and now they have to build out their whole team, they have to get insurance, health insurance life, and they have to get, you know, accountants and bookkeepers and and so this course, kind of walks through the basics of how to get that done.
Tom Libelt 23:53
Okay, so you’re taking a lot of the pain away, right? Yeah. Because these people are unhappy in their situation, and they want to move something else. That’s fine. You know, you can you can start with the sales methods by just you know, pointing this pain out, how are you going to take it away? But what’s the best case scenario for this course for me? Like, if I take your course, and that’s forget the pain. You know, we already know I don’t like where I’m at, like, after I’m done with the course. What’s the best case scenario for me? Where am I?
Will Bachman 24:21
Okay, so you could be an independent professional making, yeah. Instead of at your corporate job, you could be working for yourself, have more independence, more flexibility, and making significantly more money. It’s a little bit hard to say what you might be earning depends on the person but, you know, maybe they’re charging now 1000 2000 $3,000 a day. You’re making 20 3040 $50,000 a month.
Tom Libelt 24:52
Okay, so you’re not helping me actually get my first clients or help me get this set up in place. It’s So I’ll have the business. And then it’s up to me to figure out the rest. Correct?
Will Bachman 25:05
Yeah, I mean, the course does give some tips on how do you actually go find your first clients? But you have to do it yourself. It’s not going to do it for you.
Tom Libelt 25:13
Right? Right. Okay. So you’re selling these secondary outcomes, because, you know, the main thing is, you know, people want freedom, but to have freedom, you got to make money, they have to learn that. So you’re helping me get the basics done quicker, right. So you’re saving me time. Definitely value to that. You’re teaching me things which, you know, I could learn myself, but it’s going to probably be more expensive. So there’s, you know, a reduction in costs, because it’ll tell me what to do. And these are the things that we would kind of go over a lot more, and make sure that the sales page really explains all of this, right, so we’re taking the pain away from their current situation, we’re showing them the potential outcomes. And as many secondary benefits of this as well, like you said, flexibility, freedom, no more of your own boss, like we’re managing all of this stuff, right? This all goes on the sales page, then it will also tell them who it’s for who it’s not for, right, because of course, that’s for everybody, it’s, of course, for nobody. So we really want to make sure we stress that out. We’ll need some social proof, cell testimonials. Maybe places you’ve been mentioned in just to get a little bit of that, you know, you need to mention also who you are. This is not a big piece, I see creators making a big part of like, you know why they’re important, you’re not really important. They just, you just got to mention who you are, and why people should listen to you. And then make it very, very easy to buy. Along with normal things like a guarantee, and common questions, things that you’ve probably had people ask, after seeing the sales page, and like, you know, Hey, does this work? Does that work? How was that then you just put all that on the sales page so that people see it. But really, someone should be pre sold quite a bit already before seeing the sales page. So there are steps before that.
Will Bachman 27:14
Let’s talk about those.
Tom Libelt 27:18
Well, you need to first grab someone’s attention, right? If someone’s on social media, they’re scrolling, you know, they’re doing the zombie scrolling zombie, you need to interrupt them and move them into your ecosystem, right. So the first step would be some kind of a post or an ad, right an interruption mechanism. The second thing is you need to give them something, get some kind of a bait, if you want their email, right, that’s where the lead magnet, the workshop, the webinar, the opt in page, they’re all the same thing, right? It’s all something in exchange for an email address that they’re going to get. After that, once you get the email address, you usually do a warm up sequence. This is when you you know, tell someone more about these benefits, you know, taking the pain away, how you helped other people, why this method will work, most of your job will be spent on proving to them that the outcome is possible first, because a lot of glitches, years, maybe not as much. But for a lot of niches, people have tried to fix their problem before and failed many, many times. So proving that the outcome is possible is a big step. with yours, it might be proving that going off on your own really is possible and make sense. And they will not be that business that fails. You know, like, people get scared, but the seven out of 10 businesses fail like you will have to poorly kind of sell them on that idea a little bit more. And then you know, same thing and what are you what are you using to
Will Bachman 28:55
send these emails or are you using like ConvertKit or MailChimp or or HubSpot? Or what tool Do you like for sending out this drip of emails?
Tom Libelt 29:05
Um, so like you just mentioned all of them work. MailChimp, I detest ConvertKit I’m a big fan of HubSpot is a bit over complicated. And if you want to go up in price, my second favorite other than ConvertKit would be Infusionsoft. But it’s quite expensive. It’s not for someone that’s starting out.
Will Bachman 29:27
Tom Libelt 29:30
Infusionsoft. Yeah, it’s got all the bells and whistles and things that you know, like anything you can think of, but it’s quite expensive and quite comprehensive. It’s not for someone starting out.
Will Bachman 29:41
Okay, so you like ConvertKit for this kind of drip?
Tom Libelt 29:45
Yeah. Yeah, so the reason why I like ConvertKit is yes, it does automation sequences tagging very, very well. But it does the other thing, which again, most important, just like we talked about the whole thing, the only thing you’re looking for with an email provider is that the emails actually land in an inbox, right? It doesn’t go into spam doesn’t go into promotion folders doesn’t get lost, somewhere converted does that better than almost any other provider, they actually get the emails that you’re sending to the people that you want to get them to? And this is very important. Oh, no kidding, I
Will Bachman 30:23
had no idea that they were different on that dimension.
Tom Libelt 30:27
Very different. I’ve tested all these tools.
Will Bachman 30:29
Okay. Now, you know, a lot of people who are, you know, maybe listening to this show and thinking about creating a course, might be good at creating a course or have the content but, but, you know, maybe I’m speaking for myself now, I would have trouble writing really compelling emails for this drip campaign. Is that something that your firm does? Or do you? Are there writers that you recommend someone work with? Or to, you know, how do you find someone who can write this compelling copy, that’s going to be convincing to people, if that’s not really your specialty?
Tom Libelt 31:12
It’s a part of what we do. So our business kind of falls into two different components, right? The first one is getting the sales process, right. And that’s just what you mentioned, making sure that the sales page makes sense. Then creating the lead magnet, right, which is something that we’re going to interrupt people with and give them an exchange for an email address. And lead magnets can be bad, and then it can’t be good. Some of them will be getting emails, but will not convert. And some of them will get emails and do a really good job selling your course. So you know, getting the right lead magnet in place and interruption mechanism, then we help with the email sequence because that connects the two, right, it connects the email address, or the lead magnet with the sales page. So if someone you know, the whole funnel piece, right, a sales conversation would help with that, then the second piece is actually the traffic, right? Because once you get all these things in place, then you need to get good traffic from the right audience into this funnel, or you’ll be hitting against the wall, right? Like one of the worst things I see course creators zoo, but that’s other course creators about how good their courses, it’s the wrong audience wrong feedback, it’s irrelevant, instead of going for the people that they want to serve. So we help with that part. Because those components are really hard. Creating the sales conversation, which will be now the interruption lead magnet, email sequence sales page, they’re quite hard if you haven’t done it before, and then getting the audience piece. It’s also quite hard if you haven’t done it before. So as with anything, you know, you can learn it, do it on your own. Or you can shave off three, four years and a lot of money for that by hiring someone like us.
Will Bachman 32:58
And how do you go get the audience piece? How does that work?
Tom Libelt 33:04
Well, once I know who this course is for and it’s not for, then I’ll start looking into what we’ve done before and looking at the different platforms. And I’ll be like, Okay, well, the audience is probably among these two platforms. And then once I get on those platforms, then I’ll use their tools to find audience, right. So for example, if we’re looking for, let’s say business owners, that’s quite easy, right? We can look on Facebook and just see whoever the business owner is, and for targeting in on it. So we might, you know, create a very narrow audience, a broad audience, but it really depends on what you’re selling. Like, everything works off of what’s the outcome? Who are we going after? And I’ll get really specific to like, I’ll ask like, okay, so are these business owners who will have experience who don’t have experience? Do they have a big staff, small staff? Are they in this industry or that industry? Like, we’ll go through that in detail once I know what the course is. And based on that, I’ll pretty quickly know where I’m, you know, where I’m going to look for this audience.
Will Bachman 34:08
You mentioned, there’s some good lead magnets and not so good ones. Talk to me a bit about your experience with those and what are some good lead magnets that you’ve seen over time and some, some that you thought might be good, but surprised you by being not not so great? Talk to me about how to create a good lead magnet.
Tom Libelt 34:29
Okay, so none of these are surprising. It’s basically the reason behind why you build them. Okay. So here’s the mistake that most people do with the lead magnets. When they build courses. They try to educate people instead of selling them, right. So for example, you have a course on meditation, right? And it’s a comprehensive course and you’re going to teach Oh, different techniques, show all these different, you know, ways of meditating. And then as a lead magnet, they’ll create a mini course, on meditation, and then the email sequence will talk and teach you about the meditation, and then no one buys. Now. You cannot sell people by educating them on the same thing. If you give someone information, they will not buy more of the same information, then here’s why. If I’m a person looking for a course, on meditation, I think the meditation will sell something for me, right? So that’s the outcome, I want to learn meditation, blah, blah, blah. So if you took me into a mini course, a free lead, magnet and meditation, I might sign up, never look at it in my life. But in the back of my head, I checked it off my list, like this is salt. Now when I need to learn meditation, I got this mini course. And then the email sequence and sales page is irrelevant. I won’t even look at it. I was like, why are you still talking to me about meditational? I already solved this by joining them any course. Right? So that’s the main problem, which almost everyone that they try educating people on the same thing, they’re selling them, and then they’re confused why it doesn’t work. Now, if you want to do it the proper way, right? You need to set up the environment, that will get them excited about actually buying the course. Right, so let’s get back to this meditation example, I might teach you about the importance of the breath. Right? I can, I will convince you in the lead magnet, and this might be a video workshop webinar, I will convince you that the breath is the key that holds the whole puzzle together, I will tell you why it works, I’m going to convince you if you can start controlling your breath, you will get the outcome that you want. I’m not going to teach you meditation, I’m not going to show you how to control it, I’m just going to convince you that the breath and controlling it is the way out. And then anything else I do in the email sequence, for example, I will start talking about you like all the types of pain I will take away from you. If you learn how to control your breath, then I’ll tell you all the best outcomes in your life. And what happens after you learn how to control your breath. I will show you all these other people that have done this, and what it did for them. And they’re just like you, I’ll show you how I developed how I learned this and why I’m the right person with the right method. And then I will sell you the course of meditation.
Will Bachman 37:38
So you’re really showing the benefits of it rather than the how.
Tom Libelt 37:44
Yeah, you never showed it how in the beginning, the moment you do that, and I see a lot of people doing this, the course will not convert well, because people already check this up the list. If you told me how to do this, why am I going to buy your course you gave me that for free. And it’s a thing with humans that you probably know someone everyone listening, you know, someone like this. They have 100 self help and motivational books. And they never read one. But they feel good about themselves. Why? Because they got all these motivational self help books, they’ll get to it eventually. But that problem is solved their life will be great. Eventually, once they read it. But it’s just what people do. Right? So the second you get someone that how on this topic that they’re about to buy, they will no longer buy it.
Will Bachman 38:33
Let’s talk some about the economics of courses. And, you know, how much do you need to charge for a course to actually make money given? How much does it cost to, you know, to build the audience with all the Facebook or LinkedIn or Twitter advertising? Can you can you walk me through a couple of different scenarios for different types of courses, and you know, how much you could realistically think about earning from them, and how much it costs on the advertising to build your funnel.
Tom Libelt 39:10
It really depends on the course. Right? Like the main thing is the value that you’re offering in the course needs to be quite a bit more than what you’re charging it for. And without knowing the course impossible to say. The second thing you know, once you start marketing, you will quickly know how long and how much it takes to convert someone. Well, the price of the course would be a bit more than that too. Right? So you’re looking at Bell you’re looking at data.
Will Bachman 39:37
Maybe you could give me a sanitized like just maybe you could sanitize some examples that you’ve worked on. So you’re not, you know, sharing names of any particular courses, but just to give us an idea, you know, you know, maybe some business topic that you’ve seen before, what was the price of the course and how much did it cost to get, you know, 100 people to to give their email address And how many of those convert and how, how much does it take to convert them just to start giving us a little bit of an idea of what we might be in for here.
Tom Libelt 40:11
So on average, it might take you about $2, a lead mine, for the studio, have 100 people that you get about three to 5% will purchase if everything else is done properly.
Will Bachman 40:28
Okay, so $2, on average, and that, so if we have 100 of those, that’s we spent $200 on the advertising and so forth, then you say three to 5%. So that’s six to 10 of those people might convert, we spent $200. So already, on the low side, that’s what $200 divided by six is around what $35 or so. So, we spent, like we have like a $35 acquisition cost per per cost per student.
Tom Libelt 41:00
Yeah, yeah. And $35 courses don’t look good. They look like they’re not valued at all. Yeah, they’re worthless. So you’d never want to go that low, you don’t want to be in that Walmart shopper crowd. So what I usually find is like in the beginning, when you have no following whatsoever, you can keep it around 100, then as soon as you can, you want to move up to around two or $300. With that, you can still sell to the entire world. Once you get into the five and six $700 flagship models, you will have to start excluding some of the market places like India, China, East Asia, like ones that don’t really have the money for it, because you’re going to run into a lot of problems with them. And it’s also going to take a bit more convincing, right. So rule of thumb, if you keep your course around two to $300, it should be a fairly easy sale. And if you give a payment plan, you’ll still be able to sell anywhere in the world, like places like India, for example. They love studying, they love buying things, but they’re usually get a little less excited if it’s around $100 or more. So if we thinking a $300 course, we give them a payment plan of three or four months, they’re still okay with it. But then you’ve been more and you’re going to start pushing some of those markets away.
Will Bachman 42:30
Okay. So you might think about so if we take an example of a course where you price it at $100, we just talked about how roughly you might think about a typical customer acquisition costs might be around $30 $35. So that that would give you kind of roughly 4045 I’m sorry, $60 or so of, of margin on that, to cover the cost of developing the course and the cost of all the hosting and all the production and all and all that.
Tom Libelt 43:06
Yeah, I mean, that’s the lowest thing, like the $100 courses are not something we touch, usually you got to be in like the two or $300 range. Okay.
Will Bachman 43:15
Can you give me some examples of of courses that you’ve that you’ve worked on? And that and in and like how much a creator can or can earn from these courses.
Tom Libelt 43:31
I mean, we’ve done almost, I think, of course, in almost every niche, there was a course on Instagram that we’ve done, the lady was spending I think around $10,000 per month and making $45,000 per month on that course. We heard one and automation space robotic software. I think the span was around 5000 making around 20,000 recently, we had one and the cosmetics space. This was actually a outlier. It doesn’t happen a lot. But she spent $550 in marketing very small budget but we were able to make $9,000 from that
Will Bachman 44:29
what are the topics that tend to be doing well now in terms of the types of niches that you you know on courses are there some like you mentioned Instagram on courses on like how to use social media those doing well or what are the types of areas that few here have some of course crater has a course on that you’re like, Oh, yeah, that’s probably that’s a good topic or what’s a really bad topic.
Tom Libelt 44:58
So anything that’s like I will show You Instagram or I’ll teach you this or I’ll show you the foundations, I use the poor courses. Like anytime you go into the social media once, for example, the business wants, like, you’ve got to give some good results for that to be a win win. Like, I’ll help you get your first three clients and each one will average $1,000, I will help you like it’s a concise that you’re teaching people about business, they really want to make money. The other types of which are really, really good is when there’s external motivation in place, right. So for example, a lot of industries require exam that you need to pass or an interview that you need to pass to get the job like life insurance, you might have a series six, or life insurance exam. And courses that help people pass these exams quick. Make money, right? Because instead of someone having some crappy trainer and that the business offered and driving two hours to see them, they can do an outline and pass it you know, when there’s extra motivation. They know if they pass this course, are they getting a job making 40,000, like all the values already in there. So those are really good. And the third ones are very obscure niches with excited people in them. So like the knitting industry, or calligraphy or watercolor, like anything, parrot cards, like things where you have these small groups that are very excited. And they cannot find someone that’s really, really good to teach them locally. Right? So if I’m trying to learn Japanese calligraphy, for example, and I’m living in a small town in the UK, or somewhere in Ohio, like I’ll never find an expert on that another great one. So I get to look online. And those do really, really well. Also these these, like, obscure niches that have you CFTC, a forum somewhere from 2002, that’s super active online, and you can find these, that’s a very good niche.
Will Bachman 47:07
What do you talk? What’s your advice for people about once they’ve created a course and they’ve gotten this funnel of leads, maybe they’ve converted some of them into paying customers, of creating sequels or other courses for that same audience? And so then you maybe wouldn’t have to pay quite as much in Facebook advertising, because you’ve already, you know, gotten a bunch of leads that are interested in that topic.
Tom Libelt 47:38
I mean, yeah, if it makes sense in your niche, of course, you know, like, I had a client in the fitness industry. And, you know, he created courses around different outcomes, like I will help you do 30 pull ups, I will help you, you know, lift 200 pounds this way, but that way, so, he separated those into their own classes. And he knew that obviously, some of the people who want to do deadlifts will be into pull ups, and some people who will be into pull ups will be into diet, right? So but these all made sense, right? They all kind of fit around the same area. You know, it’s like with programmers, if someone’s learning Java, maybe they want to learn some other tool I like, depends on your industry. But it needs to make sense, right? It needs to be sort of a similar skill set, but not the same skill set. So once again, if you’re teaching people courses on the meditation, don’t put up another course on meditation, you know, there’s no difference now, just because you’re going to say different things and tell him to count to 10 into 20 it’s the same thing. Those don’t do really well. It needs to be something that’s like all long, what you’re teaching, but it can’t be more of the same thing.
Will Bachman 48:51
thing got it? What would you what what are the other, you know, aspects of the service that you provide? So you talked about helping people build their funnel, helping set up the the Convert Kit, what are what are some of the other aspects of helping to promote a course.
Tom Libelt 49:15
And there are only two getting the sales process right and getting the marketing which is getting the audience into it. That’s really the two parts of it. You know, once you have to, in the beginning, you are working more on the sales process, which is you’re dialing in all of those parts, you know, the lead magnet, the email sequence the sales page based on the marketing test, but once it’s dialed in, then you no longer care about the sales process as much because that’s dialed in. So now you’re looking at marketing, maybe we’re going to expand from Facebook to YouTube, maybe we try a different audiences, maybe we try more remarketing and we’re getting more traffic and like, so those are really only two pieces of but the sales process and then the marketing and then in the beginning you’ll focus on this process. And second, once everything’s working the marketing, so then you want to lower that price, maybe you want to get some SEO and get some free traffic, which is going to be expensive to build, but be free later on. So, you know, you can play with these forever, you know, you’ll never completely get it.
Will Bachman 50:19
You talked about having the payment system. So if you do the system that I think you were recommending of, you know, having, at least for not for the superstar high end, but if you using kajabi, for the hosting, and you create your own sales page in WordPress, what payment system do you recommend people use? Do that you recommend that they built that they have their own payment first on their host on their on their sales page? And then that diverts them to the hosted? Course? How should people set up the payment system?
Tom Libelt 50:55
That would be the second step, initially, just use whatever is on the platform, right? Like you can go on kajabi, Thinkific, or teachable any of these platforms and just set up one price or payment plan. And they’ll either send them on to your PayPal account or stripe account or bank like just just don’t overcomplicate it initially. Once you have enough people going through the course where you know, you want to really control the experience, then yeah, you’ll get your own cart, maybe you’ll buy something like thrive cart, and then you’ll use your own payment system connected to that. So you control the whole payment process, make it exactly how you want it to customize it. And you use something like Zapier to simply zap people into the course. So automatically when they buy it, they get zapped into the enrollment process. But that, you know, there’s a couple of moving pieces in there, I would not touch those until I’m actually making good money.
Will Bachman 51:54
Okay, so start out just using the payment platform at the hosting site.
Tom Libelt 52:00
Yeah, so from your sales page, you just put a button on it and send them straight to the payment page on one of those platforms initially, like don’t overcomplicate it.
Will Bachman 52:09
Great. So Tom, if one of the listeners wants to follow up with you, and talk about getting your help to market a course that they have created, or in the process of creating, where would you point them to?
Tom Libelt 52:23
So initially, I would say go to smart brand marketing.com. And if you click on the podcast, there is a subcategory called online courses. There’s a lot of good info in there. If you go to smart brand marketing, comm slash gifts, you’ll get enrolled into some lessons, just like the ones I’m teaching now, but I’m a little more comprehensive and knows on how to actually make all this work by yourself. And you’ll get some gifts. And if you want to work with us, we market online courses calm.
Will Bachman 52:55
Fantastic. Tom, thank you so much for joining today. I learned a ton and it sounds like if someone is serious about this, then it really makes sense to get help from a professional like you and not to try to just figure it out, in addition to creating the course to try to figure out how to market it. Thanks so much for joining.
Tom Libelt 53:15
Yeah, thanks for having me. You know, it’s it’s a really complicated topic unless you’ve been in it so I get it. It’s overwhelming. But like I do my best to bring some clarity into it.
Will Bachman 53:27
Thanks for joining