December - Ask a Champion Thread!

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Bella
Community Moderator
Community Moderator

December - Ask a Champion Thread!

Happy December Instructors!

 

It’s time for a “Ask a Champion” discussion thread! This month, our thread is hosted by @Salil Dhawan & @Rahul Iyer! Both of these Champions are new to the program (but not to Udemy!) and are ready, willing & able to answer any questions you might have about being a Udemy Instructor.

 

What questions do you have for Salil & Rahul?

20 Replies

Hello @Rahul Iyer  & @Salil Dhawan ,

 

Greetings of the day!

 

I have recently launched my second course on Udemy. I have uploaded my first course as a trial to see how it goes, though it hadn't reached widely to many people, I'm happy with the lesser students and positive reviews that motivated to work on the next one. So, I have published my second course on the same software with a complete new presentation and more details covered.

 

Now I been trying to market my course in 3 social media platforms:

 

1. Facebook :

Most of the facebook groups are controlled by admins and moderators and they are not approving the posts on marketing contents. I have only few groups without any restrictions or admin control and I have been continuously trying to reach people over there. 

 

2. Telegram :

Most of the telegram groups are also being controlled by mods and they continuously reported/ removed my message about the newly launched course . Even, I have been banned from posting to public groups then and currently I am restricted to send messages only to mutual contacts.

 

3. Linkedin :

I am not an active Linkedin user and do not have huge followers/connections. So, I have started targeting groups with varieties of advertisements like creating a new blog and sharing the blog to Linkedin groups with an additional note on "Want to learn more ideas, Why not visit the course?"

 

I shall be able to get 70 enrollments so far from the launching date (15 days+). Though I believe its okay to start slowly to reach wider audience, I'd like to hear from community champions like you on more ideas and strategies that could help me and new instructors who are coming with more hopes to achieve bigger milestones on sales and enrollments.

 

Thank you in advance,

Ranjith

Rahul Iyer
Community Champion Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi @Ranjithvasudev,

 

First of all, hearty congratulations to put out your second course. This is exciting and inspiring! It also shows your grit and attitude towards making it big in this industry. It is also nice to learn the efforts you are putting to market your courses. That's great.

 

I see that you are looking to achieve bigger milestones on sales and enrollments. Hence, I will answer your question in two parts:

  1. What should a new Udemy instructor focus on?
  2. What are the marketing opportunities to promote your existing courses?

 

Let's begin with the first point: What should a new Udemy Instructor focus on?

 

I am sharing this first because as you cater to your existing audience --> they will be highly satisfied --> you will get better reviews --> great reviews will help you with better page ranking --> this will also highlight your course to a larger audience. Although you have not mentioned anything other than marketing, I presume you may be following the below practices to manage your existing audience. If you are following these, you are right on track. If you are not following these, you can start with them:

  1. Course Reviews: Your course reviews are the most critical component of your course. You may focus a lot on marketing, however, if your reviews drop beyond a threshold, your course won't sell. Hence, you must do everything right to ensure you get reviews that are legitimate and represent your course really well.
  2. Respond to Student Queries on the Discussion Board: Students have several queries that they post on the Q&A Discussion board. Please take a few minutes and respond to those queries as promptly as you can. The more you are visible as an involved instructor, the more students love your approach.
  3. Student Feedback: You will get all sorts of feedback - positive, critical, neutral. You must take the necessary and appropriate feedback and have it incorporated in your course as early as possible. This is another indication to students that you are open and listening. They love their voices being heard.

As you take care of your existing customers, you can now focus on external channels to bring more students. You are on the right track by being social, however, I would recommend a few approaches that I have tried and worked. See below:

 

  • Posting on FB Groups: Yes, you will get lashed out or banned if your post appears salesy. Analogy: When you like a girl, you do not ask for a date immediately. You first become friends, develop a rapport, and then may be ask for a date, right? What if you ask her out instantly without investing the time in developing a suitable rapport? She would most likely deny, right? Posting on FB Groups is a similar affair. People don't know you. And suddenly you start posting about your courses, nopes, they won't take it. You will first need to start adding your comments to their existing posts. You can add value by sharing your knowledge for free. By regularly posting, people will start knowing you. As they see regular inflow of valuable information from you, some of them will start to follow you. Even the admins will take note. And may be then you ask the admin if it is ok to post something about your course. Again, it needs to be subtle. Also, if you get banned from several groups, facebook algorithm may take a note of it and may ban your personal account. So, please go slow, build momentum, and then share more about your course.
  • Create Your Own Facebook Group: Although you just have two courses, it is fine to have your own facebook group with a few students in it. Please have this group strictly for educational purpose only as students don't like being bombarded by course coupons or sales messges (unless someone explicitly asks).
  • Business Page on LinkedIn: Create your business page on LinkedIn. It's free and you can start posting content via the business page. You can then repost the content using your personal LinkedIn account. Your connections will get a notification as you repost the messages. Initially, people may NOT notice you or the business page. But again, any social media following needs to be grown organically. This involves building the momentum one step at a time. Review other business pages and replicate the best practices. This works really well.
  • Try Quora: Quora is the most underestimated marketing channel. Over the years, Quora has gained extreme popularity. Quora comments also appear on several google searches. Create an account on Quora --> Participate in discussions as a value enabler (do not bombard your courses in your discussions) --> gain some popularity --> then discuss your offerings
  • YouTube Channel: This would technically be my recommendation # 1. Because we are in the video creation business, YouTube is our biggest ally and the number # 1 marketing channel. Plus, its free. Create a YouTube channel. Post some of your course videos. Post some great value-enabler videos. Add your course links in the description. People will take notice as you grow your channel.
  • Medium/Blogs: Creating a blog is one of the oldest marketing method on the internet. You must try and spend some time creating one blog at a time. The platform, "Medium" has grown exceptionally in the past few years. It has a diverse set of population and is great for written content. My advice will be - either put your blogs on your own website, as a guest on other blogging sites, or on sites such as Medium/Quora. This generally works well as you gain momentum.
  • Your Website/Landing Page: Until a few years ago, a seller was required to have a physical shop. Today, a seller requires a website. Although the requirement is NOT immediate, a website will help your customers view who you are, what content you produce, you can add lead magnets to your site to collect email addresses. If you do not want to invest your energy in building a website, you can have your own landing page. A single page using Google forms or other apps is way better at representing who you are. It is NOT urgent, but essential.
  • Coupon Code Websites: If you wish to share your course coupon codes with others, one of the best ways is to share your codes on coupon code websites. Search for Udemy coupon codes on Google. Find which websites offer them. Reach out to them using your course coupon codes. They will most likely add it to their website and it works.

This is not an all inclusive list. I have personally worked on these over the years and they have great results.

 

At the end, my humble recommendation will be to NOT work on practicing each point immediately.  The ideal way to approach is to pick up a marketing channel, invest your planned efforts, grow in it organically, gain momentum, start yielding results, then move on to the next channel.

 

I hope this is helpful. Feel free to share any additional questions 🙂

Hello @Rahul Iyer ,

 

Wow! Thanks a lot for taking your time in writing up the strategies you have been following these years. I'm highly motivated this morning with your ideas!

I will try each and every point slowly.

Thank you once again for sharing the most valuable ideas.

Rahul Iyer
Community Champion Community Champion
Community Champion

Wish you all the best @Ranjithvasudev 🙂

Salil Dhawan
Community Champion Community Champion
Community Champion

Wish you all the best @Ranjithvasudev 

Thank you @Salil Dhawan Have a nice day!

Thank You for these priceless advices 

Hi @Rahul Iyer
I hope it's ok to ask this when all the question you have been receiving sound way more intelligent than mine. But this is what I still struggle with and where I haven't been able to find out the needed information. 
I have published only one course which is a free course. That is to say that so far I haven't dealt with any help/requirements on taxation. While I know Udemy does not offer advice on taxation (understandably why) there is still something I think Udemy people could help us with. 

I need to know if I understood the following correctly: 

- Only when I publish a paid course will I receive my taxation form (probably W-8BEN, don't know)?

- Do I need to get my taxation documentation in place before proceeding to develop the paid course?

- Will I have to download my taxation form or will it come to Viewmyforms.com?

- Will I issue my bill to Udemy and not a third party? 

 

I will totally understand if you can't answer my questions. I already feel somewhat guilty for asking. I feel like everyone else knows their stuff. The thing is I'm navigating these things alone and I've yet to learn. 
Thank you in advance. 

Rahul Iyer
Community Champion Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi @CristinaChelariu,

 

In my humble opinion, any question is a great question. There is no need to be guilty at all. You have done well by sharing your questions here. Other instructors who have similar questions will definitely benefit from these posts. And you have spotted it right: A local tax expert will be required when it comes to documenting tax forms. I can do my best to answer your questions based on my experience here at Udemy and the availability of information in the support articles.

 

Here we go:

 

- Only when I publish a paid course will I receive my taxation form (probably W-8BEN, don't know)?

That is logically correct. Unless we get paid, we don't get taxed 🙂. If you are non-U.S. citizen and applying as an individual instructor (not a company) - W8BEN is the form to be filled.

 

More details on this tax form are provided here: https://support.udemy.com/hc/en-us/articles/360040101593-Common-Instructor-Questions-About-The-W-8BE...

 

- Do I need to get my taxation documentation in place before proceeding to develop the paid course?

No - not required before proceeding to develop a paid course. When you create a paid course, you need to become a Premium Instructor on Udemy. This support article will provide you a checklist of what needs to be done as you launch your first paid course: https://support.udemy.com/hc/en-us/articles/229604948  

 

- Will I have to download my taxation form or will it come to Viewmyforms.com?

I do not have a specific answer to this question as I am unaware about viewmyforms.com. However, I can point you to the articles on Udemy Support that may lead you to the required inputs:

  1. What forms does Udemy provide: https://support.udemy.com/hc/en-us/articles/115002051247-Instructor-Taxes-What-Forms-Does-Udemy-Pro...
  2. What do Instructors Need to Submit to Udemy: https://support.udemy.com/hc/en-us/articles/360034920394-Taxes-What-do-Instructors-Need-to-Submit-t...

When you review these articles, also lookup the suggested articles on the right of the page. You will find more relevant information as you go through those links.

 

- Will I issue my bill to Udemy and not a third party?

This is managed by Udemy completely. They will take care of the tracking the enrollments, revenue earned, refunds, adjustments, and everything else. You get a real-time report of how much have you earned from course sales on the marketplace, what are the refunds, etc. So, you don't need to issue any bill to Udemy. They will share your estimated earnings in the Revenue report and will also share the estimated date when you will receive the payment.

 

More details are right here: https://support.udemy.com/hc/en-us/articles/229232207-Instructor-Revenue-Report

 

I hope this is helpful. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to post. I will also urge other instructors to share their thoughts on Cristina's questions as they feel appropriate.

 

😊

Hi @Rahul Iyer 

I am so grateful for this answer. It is probably the most elaborate answer! Thank you! 

This community thing is super helpful. 😊

Rahul Iyer
Community Champion Community Champion
Community Champion

My pleasure @CristinaChelariu I am glad the answer was helpful. Feel free to give us a shout whenever needed,

 

I Agree - I have been seeking inputs and help from our community since those days when it was on Facebook. It is definitely super helpful 🙂

Salil Dhawan
Community Champion Community Champion
Community Champion

Thanks for such a great answer @Rahul Iyer, next time at least leave few details so I can add something! 😜

Rahul Iyer
Community Champion Community Champion
Community Champion

Oops 😂

@BellaI love the "ask a Champion" thread. Its a real great way to help us new comers. @Rahul Iyer & @Salil Dhawan @  Your advice is TOP notch. I'm reading through the threads and your responces are impresive. Thanks for the time you taking to do this.

 

@Rahul Iyerit looks like you are  really fast on your replys so give Salil a chance on this one... 😂

My question is: To Caption or NOT to caption?  Does it mater?

 

Is there any measuarable quantifiable positive effect? And if so, by how much? How does it affect student engagement? What about internal Udemy alogarithm ranking... any effects there?

 

Rahul Iyer
Community Champion Community Champion
Community Champion

😂Good one @MarkEmmanuel... @Salil Dhawan here you go! 😁

Salil Dhawan
Community Champion Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear @MarkEmmanuel 
@Rahul Iyer  is one of the best instructors on the platform so love his advice. Please give your opinion as well.

Ideally if you do not have a difficult accent, and you talk slowly, clearly and precisely, captions would not be that important. I also have guides, PDFs, handouts etc so I render the captions almost not necessary to follow along the course.

Think from a students point of view and even ask your friends and family to look at your course and see if they feel the need for captions. I personally try to be as clear as possible but I still add captions as an added bonus, as students do expect them as part of their purchase of the course.

In terms of Udemy algorithm and ranking, I have not heard of any impact, @Bella would be a great resource to clarify official position.

I also want you to think from COST and TIME perspective, if you think it is feasible in terms of money if you are outsourcing or your own time if you are editing, calculate the return on your money and time as well.

Thank You

Salil Dhawan

@Salil Dhawan thanks for your reply... Will be actioning this 

Bella
Community Moderator
Community Moderator

Thanks for tagging me, Salil!

 

That's a great question, @MarkEmmanuel! Captioning your videos can make your course more appealing, as they are an important aspect of the learning process for many students and will be indicated on your course landing page.

 

While captions do not directly affect the rankings in the platform, we strongly recommend adding them to reach a larger audience, as they: make it easier for non-native speakers to comprehend the content, offer more clarity, reinforces learning, and make it more accessible to hearing-impaired students. 

For more information on adding captions to your videos, please click here.

 

One thing you can focus on when it comes to SEO best practices in the marketplace is optimizing your course landing page (improve title, description, add keywords, etc). We have a great article about how to improve your course ranking that you can read here.

 

I hope this helps!

 

Bella Almeida

Udemy Community 

Hi @Bella thanks for the advice and pointing me to the SEO section. AWESOME

Rahul Iyer
Community Champion Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi @MarkEmmanuel,

 

I would fully agree with @Salil Dhawan and @Bella. I will definitely encourage you to add captions for several reasons as outlined below:

 

  1. With the mass usage of streaming platforms such as Amazon Prime, Netflix, etc, captions are considered a bare minimum requirement by most content consumers.
  2. Captions shows the seriousness of the instructor to serve your audience. This may not be a very big tick in the box, but it does positively add to how your audience looks at your course.
  3. As Bella mentioned, it is important for those who have hearing impairment. I have received emails from students thanking me to add captions and enabling them to complete their learning requirement.
  4. If you do not write a script, these captions can be made available as a written manuscript. You can use this to create eBooks and Audiobooks to be published on Amazon, Audible, etc.

Hence, captions have multiple benefits. It may take time, but it is a one-time effort. And it does pay off in the long run.

 

Hope this helps 🙂

 

 

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