Why I Launched A Totally FREE Course KDS: 007July 5, 2018 September 3, 2019 /
It’s been a year of changes for me, all of them good (now that I’m on the other side of things, it’s much easier to see the lessons and blessings).
When I decided to pivot to my personal brand from The WordPress Chick, I knew my focus was going to be on content marketing and pretty much anything relative to content (tools, apps, people… whatever grabs me and is worth sharing).
I had done a few different lead magnets about creating content, but they all felt sort of… forced?
The value was there, but it always felt like it was only a lead magnet. Meaning, I approached it from the position of needing a lead magnet, then finding the problem it could solve. Not a bad approach, but kind of backward. It’s kind of like being thirsty and thinking more about the glass you’re going to use than the beverage that will quench your thirst.
So before jumping in and making another backward decision, I stepped back and really thought about what was working in my business and the direction I was heading.
The things that have invaluable to me are the things that have created a relationship with my audience.
- My podcast
- My emails
- My Facebook Group
So I knew that with the new direction of content marketing, I knew I needed to bring new subscribers into my world in a way that created a connection.[click_to_tweet tweet=”So I knew that with the new direction of content marketing, I knew I needed to bring new subscribers into my world in a way that created a connection.” quote=”So I knew that with the new direction of content marketing, I knew I needed to bring new subscribers into my world in a way that created a connection.” theme=”style6″]
I wanted something that would provide massive value and help my subscribers realize I was “on their side.”
I knew that in order for people to understand I knew where they were coming from, I needed to share my own experiences (good and bad) and give real examples of how I’ve moved through it all.
Having been in this space for 10 years now I have my fair share of war stories. Failed launches, failed products, services I didn’t like, relationships that went sideways, nightmare clients, not-so-smart decisions, thousands of dollars invested (and gone), amazing adventures, phenomenal relationships. lessons learned, and a conviction in myself I didn’t know existed.
If there was one thing I wish I could do for anyone who is struggling at making this online business thing work, it would be this:
Master the fundamentals, do the work, and make the offer.
Back to the free course.
First, I want to explain why I decided to go all in with this free course.
I was talking with my friend Davinder Singh Kainth, who had some great success with his recent free course launch (his course is Start with Beaver Builder, which you can sign up for here). After the success of that course, he received some great feedback from his students and knew that the next logical step was to teach a paid course called ‘Mastering Beaver Builder’… which did really, really well.
After watching the success of that I knew a free course was the right direction for me.
Then something else happened that sealed the deal.
ManyChat released a phenomenal free course on getting up and running with ManyChat, which, if you’re not familiar with, is a platform for building and managing your Facebook Messenger bots. I had looked at a few other tools for creating Messenger bots but really loved the UI of ManyChat. Well, after they released their free course (which I’m about halfway through), I knew it was going to be the only platform I used.
Because they clearly care about my success.
They’ve made it ridiculously easy for me to succeed on their platform, why would I use anything else?
Which is how I want my audience to feel.
That I want them to succeed.
Here’s how I went about planning and creating the course.
I should say that originally I was going to do a 6-part audio course for a lead magnet (and still may do something that is audio only, simply because I love it and it’s a great way for people to feel connected with you. There’s something very intimate about audio… I digress), and I already had that mapped out. So I took that original outline, used a spreadsheet Davinder had shared with me and started mapping out the course.
Once I had the modules mapped out I drilled down and did the lessons under each module.
There are 6 modules, with 5 lessons each (which is way more than I had originally planned). The point was not to overwhelm people with tons of training, but to keep the lessons short and digestible (I don’t know about you, but when I see training with hour-long lessons I tend to put it off because I have to ‘schedule in time’ to consume the content. I know, it’s a little backward, but I’m getting better. Consuming things I’ve signed up for, and then implementing, is now scheduled into my days).
The next step was to hold myself accountable and track my progress. Here’s a screenshot of the Google sheet I created to keep myself on track:
From start to finish this was probably a little over a month.
What got in my way wasn’t the slides, but doing the talking head videos (I’m such a drama queen about getting ‘ready’…).
Needless to say I knew I’d probably never “feel like” getting ready, so I scheduled it in, told a friend I was doing it, and got them done (I even got a couple extra videos done for something else. Why waste a hair and makeup day, right?).
Now the real work begins
Promotion, follow up, finding out what people need more help with, what would be the logical next step… all the things.
Before I get into all of the ‘next steps’, I will tell you something I did while creating this course that I think led to a pretty successful first 24 hours of releasing this (only to my Facebook Group).
I shared my progress along the way.
I announced it in my group (simply using the logo and an image), then shared screenshots of the progress, the platform, the lessons in Google Sheets (not the image above, but a screenshot of all the slide decks I created in Google sheets. Which looked pretty cool if I do say so myself). I posted the images in the group, on Instagram (both feed and stories), and had emailed my list once or twice mentioning it.
I had 130 people sign up for the course in the first 24 hours.
At least 500 in the first 30 days.
Here’s what that looks like:
- Changing out the lead magnet everywhere on my site
- Content upgrades
- Email blast (follow up sequences in place)
- Messenger bot sequence
- Social sharing images
- Schedule social sharing
- Podcast episode (check that one of off)
- FB ads
- … and whatever else I can come up with
I’m treating this free course the same way I would a paid course.
So, what’s the next step for people who take the course?
There will be a few options.
First and foremost is to make sure they’re all members of the Content Creators Facebook group.
This is the community I’m building around everything I’m doing. I’m a firm believer in the power of relationships and connecting to grow your business (and why I will always be a huge proponent of podcasting that includes interviews).
Then there will be a few ways (for now), that people can go further and work with me:
- Creators Nation (coming in early August)
- Focus Sessions (one 90 minute session)
- #JustShowUP Sessions & Creators Elite (private 3 month coaching & mastermind)
So… there you have it!
Be sure to sign up for Content Traffic Kickstarter today!
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