Highly-targeted traffic to your blog: Ever thought about e-courses?
Connecting an already interested, highly-targeted pool of potential customers with one’s website and email list? This would be the dream of many an author. However, in our constant search for novel methods to publicize our writing achievements, we sometimes overlook traffic sources that do not seem so obvious at first glance.
Take, for example, online courses that are hosted on e-learning platforms like Udemy, SkillShare, or CourseCraft, to name just a few. You might be thinking that this is indeed a popular source of income for instructors and experts, but they don’t have much utility for writers. If these are your thoughts, you may just be missing on an outstanding promotional tool for your work, blog, and products.
And, while you can give away e-courses as a promotional tool, you can also charge for them!
Why not look at e-courses, free or paid, as entry points for prospective clients who are already buying in or, at least committing, to deepen their knowledge on your niche?
Let’s say you’re a Historical Fiction writer interested in Renaissance Italy. Assuming you’ve already done your research on the era (and good luck with your novel!), you could create a course on historical facts, on costumes, society, or art – in short, on stuff relating to the period in question that might interest your readers. Or, you may be a Non-Fiction writer on topics related to parenting. Perfect! Your e-course could be about effective ways to help children with concentration issues, or how to handle toddler tantrums, or health and hygiene in ages 3-6, or even homeschooling: just about anything can be fodder for online education.
The best thing about these courses is that, once they’re set up and uploaded, you don’t have to spend much time on the course itself. You only need to promote it effectively (or let the e-learning site do this for you), and drop in from time to time to see questions that your students may be posting, or to direct them to resources, guides, and other related items and resources.
What’s really important is to make your course closely related to the topics you’re currently writing about or promoting on your website. Also, have it create a reasonable need for the product or service you’re offering. You are essentially creating a marketing funnel that leads your audience from the e-course to your key offer(s). Harmonization is the key concept here.
If your book, for example, is entitled “Creating Compelling Characters” and it’s a tool for fiction writers, your course may explore a few aspects of how to build characters, like, showing emotion, or characterization through action, or how to write revealing dialogue. You can use a chapter or section of your book, developed just enough to make for a stand-alone course, but not really all-inclusive. At the end of the course, your students will have obtained valuable knowledge, but they may still need some guidance on the subject if they are interested in other topics discussed in your book.
Your students will already consider you an expert on the subject matter, and will be more likely to purchase your book.
So, how can you reach students, and promote your other product(s) and service(s) to them?
The first point of contact is the instructor’s Profile page itself, where you can usually place links to your writer’s website and social media profiles. It is one of the most important pages, too, for it will be visited both by your own students and by those who are on a course selection process. So, pump up your bio writing skills, and make sure your landing pages look attractive to your audience!
Once students are signed up for the course, prompting a visit to your online home will be easier still.
Within the Lectures, instructors can provide their students with downloadable supplementary material in the form of handouts, checklists, and the like. Various formats are supported, depending on each e-learning site: pdfs, text or sound files, related links to external platforms, etc. The material can be hosted on your own website, on file-sharing or curation sites, on image depositories, and more. However, it should absolutely bear, at the very least, your logo and website url. Give your students plenty of opportunities to know where to find your work, and to connect further with you!
An advanced tip: most e-learning platforms have a Bulletin Board or Announcements tab that is immediately visible to students who sign in for your course. While, of course, direct linking to a selling page is usually prohibited, you can nonetheless direct them to a questionnaire or cheat-sheet (with your brand on it) that you have uploaded on “Lecture 12,” for example. Or, you can inform your students about an exciting update of your free guide on “Lecture 17,” about a live streaming session on the 28th of the month. Give them compelling reasons to dig into the separate lectures and discover what you’re offering. Renew your offers at regular intervals, either by adding content or by updating your already existing material.
Here are a few more places you can invite people to:
- Google Plus, where you can host Hangouts on set dates: it’s an excellent tool for creating and deepening connections since you’re interacting live with your audience. If client acquisition (for other courses, or for writing services) is on your professional menu, this can also serve as a preliminary ‘screening’ of leads.
- Pinterest boards: given that “pinsî can be linked to (your) blog posts and pages, you get the double advantage of expanding your social media reach and of boosting your blog traffic. Think also infographics; they’re attention-grabbing, they’re seen as valuable, and they are often clicked through.
- Your podcast: after video marketing, podcasting is trending as an easily manageable file format that can be used on the go, on every type of device. You can direct students to your iTunes channel or to your own website, offer complimentary show notes, let people hear your voice, etc.
The options are countless, limited only by your imagination and technical know-how. After all, current technology makes the creation of e-courses pretty simple, even for non-techie persons. A writer can select and work with the tools that feel more convenient, thus setting up a very unique mini-experience for her audience.
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Helene Pulacu has been translating books, articles, websites, and more since the turn of the millennium. She speaks Greek, English, French, and a little Spanish; she’s a dedicated life learner and, as of lately, she’s also trying her hand in fiction writing.
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