The Importance Of Feedback

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Feedback is one of the most important facets for any endeavor that requires creative thinking. Many creative types brainstorm with others to come up with the best ideas. Detectives and lawyers discuss aspects of their cases with their colleagues. Even Dr. House (remember him?) had a team of specialists to assist him.

It’s the same way for businesses owners and managers. If you’re engaged in an important creative task like writing a book, creating a video, or making an online course, feedback is absolutely critical.

 

Why is Feedback Important?

The value of feedback is that it provides you with a perspective that’s different from your own. Often you can get stuck on one thing because you keep on thinking about the same issues and the same situation. But when you receive feedback, it can spark new ideas in your mind that you probably know, but may have somehow forgotten or have overlooked. With feedback, you are forced to look at a problem from another angle, enabling you to avoid making the same mistakes again and again.

 

Feedback from an Expert

When you ask for feedback from an expert, you get more than just a comment. You also get advice, support and guidance as well.

This is especially crucial when you’re engaged in a creative assignment. You have to be inspired and focused, but that sort of mental atmosphere can’t be turned on at will all the time. Sometimes you get into a rut and you keep spinning your wheels. You forget to evaluate your goals, strategy, and direction to see if you’re really on the right path.

When you make time to evaluate these things, you are able to make course corrections and improvements. But the problem is that often we forget to make time for it. After all, when you’re done for the day, you just want to relax with friends and family. You probably don’t have the will to block a 3-hour segment for such evaluations

But who says you need to set aside extra time for such things on your own? That’s what a subject matter expert (a mastermind) is for. Join a mastermind group and that period of evaluation will be integrated into your regular schedule. You’ll then have to evaluate your situation on a regular basis. In fact, if you’re in a mastermind group that doesn’t force you to evaluate your situation regularly, you should really think about joining a new one.

 

Getting Feedback from Masterminds

So how do you find these masterminds? One easy way is a simple Google search, but make sure to do your due diligence on the groups, particularly the accomplishments of the group leader. Or you can ask some people in your industry or personal network to see if they have a mastermind they can recommend.

In fact, just associating with smart people can really help with your brainstorming efforts. These people don’t have to be better than you on everything. They can be on the same level, but still offer a different perspective.

Remember, you don’t have to do it alone. Sometimes it takes a team to create success.

 

 

3 Things You’re Doing Wrong When You’re Designing An Online Course

MYE-SAAS (3)

 

On the face of it, an online course seems like a perfectly ideal way to conduct business on the Internet. You can have students from literally anywhere on the planet. They can log in anytime they want, and they can learn at their own pace. But achieving the course’s objectives is only possible if you make sure that you design it correctly. If the design is not good, you end up with dissatisfied students which will be a terrible blow to your reputation.

 

Here are some mistakes you need to avoid:

  1. Not knowing if people actually want to learn the material you want to teach. This is perhaps the most common mistake in online course design.For example, if you design a fantastic course about how to make a video, and it focuses on the technical details such as proper lighting and sound and even teach your students how to use the best video software available. But no matter how comprehensive your course may be, it may not attract a lot of participants because your audience is actually looking for ways to make a video interesting.You’ll need to do a lot of research and even create a survey so you’ll know if you are offering them the right material and the right course.
  2. Not transforming your source material. Some professionals who design their own courses simply tell their students to read certain books and online sources, and prepare for a test. We certainly know of a few college professors who teach this way But if you ask students, they’ll tell you that this is a boring way to learn.So you have to take advantage of other methods of instruction. You can offer videos or slide shows. You can film certain experiments or demonstrations. You can feature interviews of other notable experts in the field. Be imaginative — simply showing a recording of a lecture is not the best way to let your students learn.
  3. You want to cover a lot of ground. This is another mistake that’s often the result of wanting to make sure that you give your students more value for their money. So you create a comprehensive course that covers many areas, thinking that doing so will enable your students to learn more.The problem here is that the scope can become too overwhelming for your students. An online course can be considered work, and there may be too much studying involved.Of course, you can design the perfect online course and you still won’t get a respectable number of enrollees. At this point, it’s no longer about the design, but about the marketing of your online course. When it comes to marketing, it’s no longer about making sure that your program is useful and effective. It’s about making your potential students understand that they need the course and that it will truly help them learn what they need to know.

How to Make an Online Course

HOW TO MAKE AN ONLINE COURSE 1

Traditionally, if you want to capitalize on your expertise using the internet, you need to write. A lot.

You can write articles about the topics you are good at to establish your authority, and then write blog posts and/or product reviews, as the case may be. Or you can even write an ebook and use it for marketing or revenue generation. But my favorite way to monetize your expertise is (drumroll please)… offering online courses!

But exactly how hard is it to create an online course? Here are the basic steps:

  1. Start collecting the material you want your students to learn. If you’re just starting out, this can take a while. It won’t take as much time, however, if you’ve already written a book or numerous articles related to your expertise, it’s only a matter of converting the material into a different presentation.
  2. Find out what makes your course compelling. What would make people want to sign up for your course? This is the question you need to answer, and your online course should be much more interesting than just reading an article or a book.
  3.  Identify the presentation methods you will use. Some online courses simply use ebooks. But the more compelling online courses use videos and whiteboard animations.
  4. Make it look professional. If you’re using ebooks, they will have to be checked and rechecked for misspelling and grammatical errors. Then the facts you present will have to be verified as well. Presenting erroneous or obsolete data can tarnish your authority. With videos, you’ll need to learn how to edit them properly. You’ll have to know proper lighting and sound levels. If you use voiceovers, you must employ voice talents who sound great and are easy to understand by your target students.
  1. Live or recorded? If you’re just starting out, you may want to start with recorded lectures and demos first. That should minimize your mistakes during the presentation. Eventually, you may want to venture to live demos but accidents can still happen. Technical difficulties may come up and students may pose questions you don’t know how to answer. You’ll have to have a plan for every possible contigency.
  2.  Give out quizzes. A test will check whether your students have learned enough to proceed to the next lesson. Your quizzes can also tell you if your methods are actually helping your students learn.

Of course, making an online course can be a very difficult proposition, especially when you want to make sure that it looks professional. And you’ll also need to see it that the marketing strategy for your online course is appropriate and effective.

This is the reason why the help of professional course creators is so invaluable. They can help you design and plan your online course as well as help you create videos and presentations that look professional. They can even guide you on the right marketing strategy to use. With their help, you can avoid making costly mistakes that can have a dire effect on your business and your credibility.

How SaaS Companies Can Use a Free Online Course in Their Onboarding to Reduce Churn

SAASSaaS companies, like other service-based businesses, know the importance of retaining their current customers. And to do that, the company’s churn rate must be kept as low as possible. But how? One effective method is by offering them a free online course.

What is Churn?

Churn refers to the customers you once had but no longer use your services. Churn rate refers to the number of customers (or the percentage of customers) who leave you for any number of reasons.

Often they leave your company right after the initial onboarding, especially with a SaaS product. They sign up get confused about the product, then cancel the subscription. This one of the reasons companies like ClickFunnel and LeadPages create extensive free training (free courses about marketing, facebook ads, webinars, and more) and user guides. The more they reduce the confusion of new users, the more people stick around.

If you want your business to stay afloat, you need to keep track of your churn rate and keep it low. Remember – if your customers are leaving you, then that means you will need to bring in more customers to replace them. Marketing costs are generally more expensive than the cost to retain your current customers.

A simple tweak might be all you need to keep 10% more of your customers every month, meaning your company can grow that much faster.

Reduce Churn Rate with Free Online Courses

As I mentioned, one way of reducing your churn rate is to make sure that your customers remain educated. And that may mean offering them online courses. Making these online courses freely available not only help your existing customers use your product more effectively, but also help new potential customers first find your courses, and then ultimately want to buy your product!

For example, you can offer a free online course on how to use your product properly. Perhaps they quit shortly after onboarding because they found your product too complicated. With an online course, you can explain the proper procedure more clearly so that they will not feel intimidated or frustrated by the product because it didn’t work as promised.

With your free online course, you can also make them understand each feature of your product. You can highlight exactly how your product can solve any specific problem or issue your customer has. You can also demonstrate how they can use it more effectively.

Or maybe the course can even help them get greater results with your product. For example that is why Leadpages offers free marketing courses. They offer a marketing software, so the more their customers know about marketing, the more successful they will be and the longer they will use Leadpages.

By focusing on how your product can actually solve the problems of your customers (instead of creating them), you keep your customers happy and successful – which in turn will keep your churn rate low.

[Case study] How Tung Tran Made $28,329 in 5 Days with his first online course (a step by step guide)

Online course membership area - AMZ Affiliate Bootcamp

Tung Tran launched his first online course ever a few weeks back. The course is called AMZ Affiliate Bootcamp, and it teaches people how to build Amazon Affiliate websites.

He earned just shy of $30,000 in the first 5 days.

UPDATE #1: A couple weeks after this was written, he sold 23 more seats in his course, bringing the total to $42,000 in about the first 6 weeks. He also plans to continue to market it to get more and more students every single month!

Update #2: After checking in with Tung about 10 months later, his course has generated $8,000 – $12,000 / month in income, and between that and the launch will have generated a solid 6 figures in it’s first year. 

In this article you will get all the behind the scenes information on exactly how he did it. The Monetize Your Expertise team worked with him every step of the way, and so we will be showing you exactly what he did, and what we did, that allowed him to achieve these kind of results. It will walk you through the exact method we used to build the course (with templates), his actual launch sequence, and even the hourly journal he kept on the day of the launch.

The goal is to give you everything you need to also be able to wake up and see this in your inbox:

List of course sales from the online course launch


Simply put, we went through 3 essential phases…

1. Validation and pre-selling the course

2. Building a world-class course

3. Executing an online course launch strategy

Normally in case studies there is some kind of a disclaimer stating how the results are not typical. However, in a way these results really ARE typical. How? Because we knew it would succeed from the very beginning based on the plan we created. And as you’ll see below, we run the numbers, and his results (based on industry averages) are not unusual.

Simply put, while of course we can’t guarantee anything, if you do the exact same things that we did, and have a similar starting point, then you should get relatively similar results.

If you want to learn the exact steps that we used to build and launch this course, then invest the time to read closely all the way to the end of this case study.

The Brand Behind AMZ Affiliate Bootcamp

Written by Tung:

“I’ve been building Cloud Living for a while, and currently have built it to about 6k pretty well engaged subscribers.
I started Cloud Living in February 2013 just as a place for me to document my online journey. The blog grew pretty fast in the first year thanks to my public case studies on how I built and grew profitable affiliate sites.
Since then, I let it sit and the growth stalled out. The blog was making only around $1k a month for about 2 years.

I wanted to sell my own products but wasn’t very happy this first attempt. I tried to sell a PDF 3 years ago on the same topic that we ultimately made the course on for $99. I launched that ebook around February 2014 and made $7k in sales in 3 days – around 70 customers.The results were sub-par, and I wasn’t excited about the quality of the product so I discontinued it after 3 months. I didn’t feel it was good enough to charge a premium, so I wanted to build something better.

Last year I decided that I wanted to focus on the blog and grow a business out of it. That’s why I decided to make a course. I know this is something my audience really want so it wasn’t a hard decision to make.

For the course we built this time around, I’m extremely happy with the quality and feel totally confident to sell it at a premium. Without you and your service [having the course built by the MYE team] I wouldn’t be able to create this quality course myself.

This time around, I was committed to make the best training course on the market and that’s why I turned to you [Monetize Your Expertise]”

Course Revenue Results 5 Days After Release

Pre-launch revenue – $3,479 (7 sales)
5 day launch revenue – $24,850 (50 sales)
Total first launch revenue – $28,329 (57 total sales)

We tackled this project in 3 distinct phases

Phase 1 – Pre-selling and validation
Phase 2 – how we built the course
Phase 3 – how we sold the course

Let’s go through each phase one by one.

Phase 1 – Pre-selling and validation

Note: Validation is mostly important if it is your first time creating a product on a particular topic. For example, if you run a blog and you want to create your first product for it. However, a lot of clients come to us who have been giving talks, offering services, workshops, books, on their topic for years. In this case, they already have validation – if you’ve had hundreds of people pay you $5,000 for a workshop, then you can be confident that you can find hundreds of other people who will pay you 1/10th of that for an online course version.

As you read above, Tung’s goal for 2016 was to monetize his blog. He had made some decent passive income,  but nothing to get super excited about. It was time to take things to the next level. How? An online course selling at $497 a pop!

Tung took stock of the things that he knew, and the different types of businesses he had built (for example he was making over $50,000 per month selling t-shirts at one point) and ultimately landed on helping people build Amazon affiliate websites in the same way he had done successfully. This was also a topic that he had written extremely popular case studies about, and had even sold an ebook on, so he suspected a premium course on the same topic would be in high demand.

Now, this sounds like a good IDEA. But in reality, ideas aren’t worth much without validation and execution. The next step was to test the assumption that people would actually pay for a course on this topic. This is something many first time instructors forget to do, and then end up with a course no one wants to buy. If YOU think “it would be so cool to make a course on XYZ” that is a very different thing than your CUSTOMER saying (preferably while drooling) “I would do anything to buy a quality course on XYZ – it would solve my exact problems”.

Using the best practices of online course validation, Tung built a launch sales campaign. His entire blog campaign is included below.

A KEY POINT:

At this point in the process you should have NOT built the course. In fact you should have nothing more than an outline. This is important.

Tung followed this methodology, so at this point he had not built any part of the course. The idea was to write blog posts around the same topic, deliver value, drum up excitement and see if he could get people to buy the course NOW in exchange for early access when he built the course later.

If it failed, then the only resources wasted would be a few hours writing blog posts (versus several months producing a course).

Here is his exact validation pre-sales campaign – it is simply 6 blog posts chronicling an exciting case study example of what he would teach in the course

Tung’s 6-Part Validation Prelaunch

Piece #1 –  The $10k Case Study Challenge

Piece #2 – $10k Challenge Update #1

Piece #3 – $10k Challenge Update #2 <<< He announced the course is coming soon on this article

After post #3 the course was considered to be officially validated and worth building. The reason is based on the way the first 3 posts were received and the conversions up to this point. Posts 4-6 were focused on building anticipation for the future course while it was being built.

Piece #4 – 10k Challenge Update #3 <<< He keeps mentioning it on every new update

Piece #5 – $10k Challenge Update #4 <<< He keeps mentioning it on every new update

Piece #6 – $10k Challenge – Final Update <<< The case study site making $3k per month by this post, and Tung increases the emphasis on the course and urgency with each new update

Results – Pre-sales revenue – $3,479 (7 sales)

Now that it was validated, it was time to build it!

Phase 2 – Building a world-class course

Originally, Tung had known he wanted to make an online course, and had even made some initial steps towards building one. But as many first time course creators find out…it can feel a bit overwhelming at first when you try to take on the whole thing yourself.

Not even taking into account the validation beforehand, or the marketing after…to build a high-quality course you need to….

  1. Be able to translate your idea / concept into a course curriculum
  2. Turn that curriculum into individual lesson plans
  3. Understand instructional design well enough to make your content effective an engaging
  4. Create custom designed slides for your entire course (often 500+ slides)
  5. Design and build workbooks and bonuses for the course
  6. Record the videos with high-quality presentation skills
  7. Edit all the videos to fix mistakes and improve the quality
  8. Project manage the whole process (i.e. do all of the above steps for 40 different lessons, on a clear schedule)
  9. Put up your content on a course platform (Tung used MemberMouse)

Realizing that his time would NOT be well-spent trying to figure out all of this and do it all himself – that’s when Tung came to MYE.

He turned to me and my team of course experts here at Monetize Your Expertise for this project to ensure the final product was worth charging a premium for, and something he could be proud of. We are both extremely proud of the results we achieved together.

Here is the exact process we used to build the course.

Step #1 – We mapped out product based on the goals

There are many ways to build a course. You can build a text-based course, a video-based course that focused on live filming, or on recording your screen while you teach someone to program, or by recording slides as you teach. Usually it’s a mix. You can also have courses 2 hours long, or 20 hours long. With or without PDF handouts. With or without bonus content (such as expert interviews).

Here is what we decided on:
• Ultimately 8 modules, with 8-10 lessons each
• We would launch with 3 modules completely finished, and drip feed the rest (to maximize efficiency)
• The lesson length would average about 8-10 minutes (although it ranges from 5-15)
• The content style would primarily be a mix of recording well-designed slides, mixed with recorded screen walkthroughs

Now at some point you might have wondered…

How do they build a course for someone else? How do they make a course on a content they are not experts in? How do they logistically do it?

Let me explain the process, which also serves to illustrates the workflow of course content creation. Also, you can review our FAQs which explores these and other questions in more detail.

Context: my company builds done-for-you online courses.

Specifically here is how we do it….

Note: you can use a similar workflow to efficiently produce courses yourself.

  1. Organize and go through all starting materials. Usually this is a published book, series of blog posts, or a live workshop that we will be turning into an online course.
  2. We schedule around 4-5 Content Development Calls with you, where we interview you about your course topic and build your entire course curriculum.
    DIY version: outline your course as a whole, and then have a friend interview you, and have that file transcribed.
  3. We take the course curriculum and break it down into lesson plans for every single lesson.
    DIY version: clean up the transcription, break it into lessons, and flesh it out.
  4. We build you custom-designed slides and workbooks for the whole course.
    DIY version: try to use a really nice design template and possibly a design tool like canva.com
  5. Client records the materials from the slide decks and lesson plans we’ve built for them.
  6. We edit your videos, project manage the process, and do internal quality assurance to make sure the final product is world-class
    DIY version: for project management, use Basecamp. For video editing, don’t do this yourself, hire someone from upwork.
  7. The client receives the completed course, and instead of 500-5,000 hours of work, they’ve just had to show up to the content development calls, and take a day to record from the lesson plans.

Keep reading to the end and you’ll get access to a free course tool I built I built for you, and a list of resources to maximize your chances of success with your project.

AN OPTIONAL STRATEGY

It is optional, but highly recommended to use every opportunity to get feedback and continued validation of the course you are producing, particularly by involving your early adopters. During this particular course project. we got a ton of feedback from customers every step of the way to make sure we produced the best product possible.

Here are examples of real life feedback we got from the students
(click on the arrows on the side to slide through them):

Note: the tool we used to do this was intercom.io

Phase 3 – Executing an online course launch

The structure of this launch might surprise you in its simplicity (and efficacy). Course launches don’t have to be sophisticated, especially if you have some kind of audience. You sometimes have to be a bit more crafty if you don’t have much of an audience to work with, however.

The Strategy

A 3-part content series on building a profitable Amazon affiliate site, posted on the blog and blasted out to his email list.

Here is a visual illustration from Digital Marketer that Tung found helpful:

Pre launch content from Digital marketer

Image from Digital Marketer – wwww.inspirechanges.com/portfolio/mini-class-launch-funnel/

Prelaunch Content #1 – Big Idea and Case Study
Prelaunch Content #2 – Step by step teaching
Prelaunch Content #3 – Addressing objections

Now you might be thinking: “Wait. That’s it?! Write 3 blog posts and mail them out?”

I know this is a huge sticking point for a lot of people. When people submitted questions about this case study, it usually involved asking about where exactly the traffic came from, and what was the exact marketing strategy.

Well here is the exact traffic breakdown:

Course Launch Funnel CTR's

 

Breaking down what this means:

  • 2,700 total visitors on the sales page
  • This converted to 50 customers (of the $497 product)
  • 1,300 from mailing the launch content (using Activecampaign)
  • 500 from Tung’s Cloud Living Facebook group
  • 500 from direct links on other places on his site
  • The last couple hundred from random anonymous sources

If you do the math for what this means to you:

  • 1300/6000 = 21.6% click-through from his email list
  • 288/2438 = 11.8% click-through from the Cloud Living Facebook group
  • 235 other visitors from Facebook due to social sharing of the launch content and sales page

These are relatively modest numbers, especially when you consider that these CTR’s are not even on individual emails or links, but just somewhere during the whole campaign. 21.6% of his email list clicked through to the sales page at some point.

That’s what I mean when I said this case study is by no means an unusual result. The metrics are normal. The strategy is simple. Your expected results will just involve doing the math based on the size of your own email list, social media following, etc. Your conversion rates won’t all be the same, but they can be used as a ballpark estimate.

While we kept this first version of the launch pretty simple, Tung already has big plans for the next round of marketing for the course that we are really excited about. JV partnerships, webinar marketing, PPC, etc. There are several great tools we are looking at to scale his marketing and scale his results. We’ve validated the quality, demand and results every step of the way and now it’s time to double down on those results.

The final product

 

Primary sales page – https://www.amzaffiliatebootcamp.com/sales-page/

tung tran amz affiliate bootcamp course sales page

Right click to save this image and view full-size.

Secondary Sales Page / FAQ page combo – https://www.amzaffiliatebootcamp.com/faq/

AMZ Affiliate Bootcamp Course Sales Page

Right click to save this image and view full-size.

Launch day

As you will see. Even though the results were great, there were definitely the inevitable launch obstacles.

Here’s a little mini diary kept by Tung documenting the launch:

“Launch day – I almost messed up the launch by leaving a couple things until the last minute
5pm – I wanted to do these myself, but I just now started working on the sales / checkout page
7pm – Still haven’t finished customizing the check out page. It looked broken. Need to ask for help.
8pm – Sales page took longer than I expected. Decided to just do the bare minimum to launch.
9pm – One hour till launch. Still working on sales page. Check out page was still being worked on
10pm – Launch time. Freaking out. Check out page done. But sales page was still work in progress. Haven’t added the add to cart button.
10:30pm – Ready to launch. Sent the first email.
11pm – Got 1st sale! Woohoo!
1am – Went to bed

Next day
8am – Woke up. Saw only 3 sales. Felt like I screwed up the launch. Was a bit disappointed with the results. But still stayed calm. Maybe people need more time to think because it wasn’t an impulse buy.

Rest of the 5 day launch:
The rest goes well. Last 24 hours brought in enough sales to hit the $25k mark, not even including the prelaunch revenue.”

5 day launch revenue – $24,850 (50 sales)

Total first launch revenue – $28,329 (57 total sales)

Like any major project, we inevitably faced some obstacles. But the results were more than worth it, especially considering this is just the first launch, and every subsequent launch should be bigger and better.

Now It’s Your Turn

If you read ALL the way to this point, then chances are that you have been wanting to do your own online course for a while. Well now it’s your turn.

I built this custom tool just for you – the Course Project Success Calculator

This tool will estimate your chances of success with your course project, and give you a list of selected resources to help you with your project, including interviews, guides, tools, and more.

Even with all the tools and information, remember that is up to YOU to take action on the opportunity provided through what you just learned. If you’ve been wanting to build the next big course on XYZ, now is the time.

Final thoughts from Tung about this project:

“Overall, I believe that we have created an awesome course here.

The final production quality is great. I’m really happy with the videos we created. Your voice is awesome! This project is pretty important for my personal and business growth. Now the course is done, I can experiment with all sort of marketing strategies to sell it. I’ve been doing only SEO and affiliate sites for a while. So learning new things is exciting!

For business, it definitely helps to diversify my revenue sources and help to position myself as an authority in the market. And the course makes good money as well 😀 I definitely see this course generate 6-figures for me by the end of the year!”

One week after this case study was published everyone continues to be happy, including both Tung ad his customers which is always our goal:

Tung: “The course is so amazing! I know I keep saying this over and over again, but I can’t help it! I get really excited when seeing our awesome product. So happy with how this turned out.”

Check out the Course Project Success Calculator, and if you’d like to discuss your course project with us, grab a time here.