How to gain potential students before you publish!

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How to gain potential students before you publish!

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Early on I spent 150 hours to create my first course, recorded, edited, uploaded over days and then 2 days later It was live!  I was so excited and then refreshed, refreshed, refreshed finding the next day I had no students.  Seems silly now 5 years later, but there are ways to build hype, start marketing and gain a following before your course is live with little to no money.

 

Here's my short list of how to have students ready and eager to sign up before it's even live.

 

-Create a website.  There are cheap and even free options through sites such as Wix and Squarespace. Start collecting e-mails from potential students early on.

 

-Grow (or start) your social media following. Create new accounts (not your personal one) for your business; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc.  I even have a Pinterest and Soundcloud!

 

-Use hashtags, if you are not savvy about this a simple idea is to go to your competition and see what they hashtag as a starting point.  I created notes with the list, so I can cut/paste when I post online fast.

 

-Gain Relationships: On social media, begin following those in your field, colleagues, and wherever your potential students are hanging out online. Many people join Facebook groups in their field and find this very helpful

 

-Interact, don't just post your own material. Share other posts, have genuine discussions, post (appropriate) memes and build genuine relationships with both potential students and potential referral sources that are two-way relationships.

 

-Be authentic! No one likes to have someone immediately sell you something or feign conversation to weasel into a sales pitch.  Engage in real conversations, answer questions and be a member of a group long before any sales tactics.

 

-Update your Linkedin and any professional sites with your new business name and plans. Join those groups as well and stay engaged in conversations.

 

-Set a launch date even if it's a few months out.  Build hype by adding to social media posts "5 days to go- home stretch!" Make sure this date is realistic, no one wants to be excited to start something tomorrow to find out it's not ready for 5 weeks. 

 

Interested to hear how others build momentum before launch. There's so much that one can do beyond hitting record to create a successful course. 

 

There are also many Udemty courses on this subject including ones by Phil Ebiner, Louise Croft and others that I have found very useful and some of this information is from.

 

Alicia 

Alicia Paz M.A, QMHP
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Re: How to gain potential students before you publish!

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An idea I learned from Jason Dion is to pre-sell your course to your own contacts a few weeks prior to launching it publicly. You can do this by putting your almost-complete course in "private" status, and distributing a password to your followers on social media / mailing lists / etc. to allow them to buy it before everyone else has access to it.

That way, your course will have some students, and hopefully good reviews from your existing followers, the second it hits the public marketplace! Plus a set of friendly eyes will check the course and let you know of any problems with it before it goes out to the world.

I tried this with one course, and it did help the course hit the ground running.

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Re: How to gain potential students before you publish!

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Is this still possible to do?
Sounds like a great option to me, but how doeas it work actually?
Does it mean we have students going through the course, even leaving reviews, solving quizzes, assignments... BEFORE the course is reviewed by the udemy team?

Or, we submit the course for review to udem team, they publish it live, and THEN we make it private?
If so, what is the process for making a private course go live? Do instructors do it themselves, or does the course go through the review process by udemy team again???
Because if instructors can control the moment a course goes from private to live, that is a huge benefit! Makes a proper launch possible... I'd LOVE that possibility Smiley Happy

Third option of course, is that Jason Dion publishes the course content privately on his web site. Then none of what I just wrote applies, lol ...

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Re: How to gain potential students before you publish!

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Thanks for the great advice!

 

Best,

Sally

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Re: How to gain potential students before you publish!

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How has the free to paid worked for you so far?  I have one free course which in some ways is a smaller intro to a longer course coming and I find it has received more mixed reviews with no feedback beyond stars than my paid course. But I also now have more students, a second live course (others are private,) and an audience that if they like my course hopefully will sign up for paid ones- I did get 3 sales on my paid course of free course students on my first day of the free course!  I am constantly debating moving it to paid and see if it gets paid students and better reviews.  It's a 1.5-hour course where my others are 6+ hours, so it could also be seen as less valuable.  I know the general conscience here is to never have a free course, so wondering how it has worked so far.

Alicia Paz M.A, QMHP

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Hello @AliciaPaz ,

did you experiment your technique ? can you share your result ?

 

In my opinion, I think it's a wast of time for the gain of new student, I think that didn't worth it. Personnally, I create a course with any teasing and when it is just published, I send an email promotion to my list, I send a Udemy promotional annoucement to my students concerned and finally I tweet and post on my facebook page.

Soon, I will try to make a couple of videos on Youtube like "tutorials" and share the course link in the description to learn more (I don't experiment yet, I'll do)

 

Thanks for your sharing Smiley Happy

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Hi Axel,

 

Yes, I had students ready to sign up for my last class after not having made a course for 4 years. How did you gain an email list to send promotions to?  Maybe I should add this is information for brand new instructors with no previous courses or social media presence. 

 

I have a number of YouTube videos that are tutorials as well as the landing page for my course. 

Alicia Paz M.A, QMHP
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Okay, did you sell your course at 10$ or more with your students ready to sign up ?

I gain this mailing by adding a link to my newsletter in all of my youtube videos.

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Good idea with the youtube videos.  I sold my course at I think $39.99 (I since changed the price to higher) to the initial group of students.

Alicia Paz M.A, QMHP
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hi

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You probably already have some mailing list and courses with students where you can make promotiobal posts.

 

It would be much more helpful if you could share:

- how you created your newsletters and how you got students follow you

- what promotional activities you did to your channels(newsletter, YouTube channel, Udemy course landing and etc.)

 

Thanks

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Re: How to gain potential students before you publish!

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An idea I learned from Jason Dion is to pre-sell your course to your own contacts a few weeks prior to launching it publicly. You can do this by putting your almost-complete course in "private" status, and distributing a password to your followers on social media / mailing lists / etc. to allow them to buy it before everyone else has access to it.

That way, your course will have some students, and hopefully good reviews from your existing followers, the second it hits the public marketplace! Plus a set of friendly eyes will check the course and let you know of any problems with it before it goes out to the world.

I tried this with one course, and it did help the course hit the ground running.

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That's a great idea, I never thought but before but makes a lot of sense plus brings in return students likely to give good reviews and feedback before it's public.  For my next course, I will for sure use this tactic with my veteran students. 

 

Thanks.

Alicia Paz M.A, QMHP
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Re: How to gain potential students before you publish!

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Is this still possible to do?
Sounds like a great option to me, but how doeas it work actually?
Does it mean we have students going through the course, even leaving reviews, solving quizzes, assignments... BEFORE the course is reviewed by the udemy team?

Or, we submit the course for review to udem team, they publish it live, and THEN we make it private?
If so, what is the process for making a private course go live? Do instructors do it themselves, or does the course go through the review process by udemy team again???
Because if instructors can control the moment a course goes from private to live, that is a huge benefit! Makes a proper launch possible... I'd LOVE that possibility Smiley Happy

Third option of course, is that Jason Dion publishes the course content privately on his web site. Then none of what I just wrote applies, lol ...

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I have not had a private course in a while, but I think it still needs to be approved by Udemy and then you can have a private course (which you can make public later if you choose to.)  It works similar to how Youtube allows you to post private videos where in order to access you need the link and its not searchable. 

 

Much lower tech, but last year I put my videos on Dropbox ($9.99/month)  and had former students give feedback via a Google form while I tweaked the course and waited for approval on Udemy. 

Alicia Paz M.A, QMHP
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What a wonderful idea! Thank you!

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I once created a google form survey and added an option to be notified of any upcoming courses. I shared that form with a group of forum users and have several uptakes.

 

Although it worked, I am aware that now GDPR has changed and you would need to look into what is considered 'allowed' regarding capturing and storing email addresses.

 

Hope it helps? Thought I would share ;-)

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Re: How to gain potential students before you publish!

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Excellent idea Robin, I like the idea of being notified of upcoming courses. 


Alicia Paz M.A, QMHP
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Re: How to gain potential students before you publish!

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Thanks for sharing such great ideas! I also want to send a google doc survey to my students to see what other courses or topics they would be interested in.
My question:  Would it be allowed to require them to fill in their email address in the Google form?
I image this would be against Udemy's policy.
Thanks!
Loretta

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Okay, Here is what I am currently doing to build an audience for my course.

  1. I have a Private Fb Group that I opened up to potential students.
  2. I started doing Q&A sessions every week to talk about a certain issue or topic they needed to be resolved.
  3. With each Power Hour Q&A, I would give a freebie away as a Bonus.  This gets them to a landing page and the opt-in in for the Bonus.
  4. I make sure I show up for them every week and give great value. (They love that I am there to help and being consistent with this is the key)
  5. Run a simple contest to get emails.  Works like a charm and I built a list from 0 to over 2k for a client in 3 months organically (No ad spend) with this method.
  6. Involve your audience in course creation by asking them what they need. ( I have over 30 testers in Beta right now and they are very excited about getting the course when it's launched.)
  7. I made a teaser vid for my group and we all watched it together during a Q&A session.  The response was incredible and they were very excited for it to be launched.
  8. I personally use a program called ClickFunnels, which I can build my sales funnel for the course, automate emails and also offer an affiliate program to have my students sell for me. 
  9. Most of all be genuine and real with your students and potential students.  They can see right through someone who is in it only to make the money and not for helping others.  When you can get them to Know you, Like you, and trust you, you will see that it doesn't matter what course you make, they will buy it because of you.  The one who helps, the one who cares and the one who solves their problems or issues.  

That's my two cents worth and I hope it will help someone get some great ideas as well with all these other great posts.

 

Jerry

Jerry Martin - Helping aspiring Artists to reach their goals and dreams.
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Wow I almost like your list better than mine!  These are all great ideas both before and after launch.  

 

I had great luck with asking students and former students of other courses for feedback to create my course and then has students lined up awaiting the grand opening. 

 

Great job and keep it up! 

Alicia Paz M.A, QMHP
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Hey Jerry,

 

Great post ...thanks for all the tips. I am curious on one point you mentioned as I am looking at it also, Clickfunnels. How do you plan (if you can share) to use Clickfunnels in coordination with Udemy? Do you already sell something via Clickfunnels and  are just planning on using the list generated from there as a “go-to” when you course is done?

 

Always looking for new ideas on how to create & market oneself; thanks again for the inputs.

 

Todd

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Hi Jerry Thanks for all the tips. You sound really genuine about helping your students and I am so supportive about artists getting all the help they can. Artists make the world a better place, so I think it's awesome to create a community to support them.

 

I feel creatively challenged making my first Udemy course (and have no art skills!) but I'm also super excited about it.

 

Your comment on recruitments to Facebook is also encouraging because I have avoided social media. (I know ... in the end, if you can't beat them join them). But now I am looking forward to using social media because you can make all these new connections out across the world. I hope I can also get some followers and I will be following your suggestions. That's so impressive to get to 2k followers on facebook so quickly. 

 

I was just wondering what your contest involved. But I'll check all the answers in case you already said.

 

Thanks so much!

LL
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Re: How to gain potential students before you publish!

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Do you get your beta testers a free access to the course or a discount ?
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The ClickFunnels one is super interesting, just had a look at that website. It looks kinda expensive though - have you seen results?

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Thanks for all these suggestions, Alicia, really great ideas. For a newbie to social media, I really need these kinds of tips. Smiley Happy

LL
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Thanks for the great advice!

 

Best,

Sally

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Thanks, @AliciaPaz ! That's great advice! 

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My idea is to make the course "FREE" until you get some reviews. The reviews I mean organic only, after that you can switch back to PAID

 

But I think , this can be done only one time

 

 

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How has the free to paid worked for you so far?  I have one free course which in some ways is a smaller intro to a longer course coming and I find it has received more mixed reviews with no feedback beyond stars than my paid course. But I also now have more students, a second live course (others are private,) and an audience that if they like my course hopefully will sign up for paid ones- I did get 3 sales on my paid course of free course students on my first day of the free course!  I am constantly debating moving it to paid and see if it gets paid students and better reviews.  It's a 1.5-hour course where my others are 6+ hours, so it could also be seen as less valuable.  I know the general conscience here is to never have a free course, so wondering how it has worked so far.

Alicia Paz M.A, QMHP

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@AliciaPaz wrote:

How has the free to paid worked for you so far? 

 

I am following your free DBT course and enjoying it. I think you've been generous to share such a detailed course for free, so thank you for making all this information available. You are very likeable on the videos, authentic and clearly spoken. I hope you have great success with your paid courses.


 

LL
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Re: How to gain potential students before you publish!

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Wow thanks @Lizzy  for the compliment it truly both kind and inspiring.  More DBT to come in 2019! 

Alicia Paz M.A, QMHP
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I've registered as an instructor months ago and still can't put myself together those 100 hrs to get it all done and launched. U actually gave me the road map Smiley Happy Startt building the hype then i'll be forced to wrap it all up, thank you Alicia  

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facebook groups are a good option and daily upload some new content

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Excellent tips.

 

Many Thanks

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Nice post! Congrats!!!

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Thanks Alicia. This will help me market my new iOS courses. Smiley Happy

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Re: How to gain potential students before you publish!

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New instructor here. Thank you for sharing your experience. Very helpful to get started!
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Question  re:

 

*  you stated, "Create a website.".  Are you suggesting to create a website specifically for the Udemy courses?  Separate from your existing website?

 

*  you stated, "Grow (or start) your social media following".    Is this a separate set of social media accounts from our existing business social media accounts that only address / relate to the Udemy courses?   

 

I ask because consulting business (and website, SM, etc) have existed since 2014.  But due to the C-Virus, the consulting business is almost non-existing for L&D Trainers.  So I am pivoting the existing skills to create a series of Udemy eLearning courses.   I need to retain the consulting website and social media.  Having both will give me choices when there is a downturn (like now).   

Any thoughts?  

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