Sometime in early 2016 I found Teachable. I had been looking into online course creation, and learned this particular platform was quite popular.
Teachable is a platform for creating and hosting e-courses. It is different from such services as Skillshare and Udemy in that you can create your own "school". This means your courses aren't sold by Teachable, and you have a lot of control over them. Teachable also doesn't set any requirements for the courses. This means you can create a completely text based course if you want, and there are no requirements for course length or other similar limitations. There's a free option, which is good for starting out. It's not a trial, so you can use the free option as long as you like. The paid versions give you more features and are recommended for more serious course creators.
You can create unlimited free and paid courses, with unlimited students, and set your own pricing. Teachable takes a transaction fee, depending on your plan. If you use the custom payment gateways, which are available in the Professional plan, there are no transaction fees. The students can pay for courses using PayPal or credit cards (Stripe). For free courses, there are no transaction fees or other payments.
In February back then I created myself a school, but didn't publish anything. It was free, so there was no pressure. I wasn't ready, not sure what I would teach. The other courses I knew seemed quite video heavy, which at the time wasn't an attractive option for me. I'm a writer girl, not a video and talk girl. What would I say?
It took me this long. Over a year. To talk myself into it. To decide on the topic. To make a sales page to find out if there's any interest for my course.
At first I had to decide which topics I could cover, and which would be interesting and helpful for others. I thought about some more technical or design related courses. As I moved from the design and development to consulting and business coaching, I didn't really want to do course about website creation. It's too wide a subject to try and tackle in one course, and I think there are quite enough superficial WordPress and SquareSpace courses out there.
Eventually I realised there's a need for a course that would benefit people who feel uncomfortable with marketing. My goal is to reach those business owners who are interested in finding new, unconventional ways to market their products and services. The course creation started with the outline for the course. I decided to go with a format of six modules, each including multiple lectures, videos, quizzes, and other materials.
For branding the course sales page I used my general brand colours, fonts, and copy that explains as clearly as possible what this course is and for whom it is. After several course name iterations I went with Marketing For Creatives. Although it's not the most creative name, it gives the most direct description of the course contents without being too long or too complicated.
On top of the sales page I tell for whom the course is and who shouldn't buy it. This is to establish who would benefit the course and for whom I'm aiming its contents. Next I give a short introduction to what this course is, and what you can expect from it. Then I tell what you will learn and how the course is delivered, outlining the six modules and their contents. I created a little section telling how marketing has a bad reputation with creatives, and telling some facts about it. I also added a little personal touch of telling some of my own marketing thoughts. After this there's a simple section which tells who I am and includes some work testimonials. Below the testimonials is a FAQ section, which partially includes the general questions Teachable offers. I also added a little section where I welcome questions through my contact page. Before the last enrollment button there's a simple section telling the course is starting later and why you should still enrol right now. Teachable allows changing the text on some of the buttons, so I changed them to say simply: "Early-Bird Price: $199"
All along the content I mention repeatedly that the actual lectures aren't yet published and that this is a presale for a heavily discounted early-bird pricing. This is to make sure no person will think they should be able to access the lectures right away, and to keep them from being disappointed. Additionally I'm hoping to attract those who aren't willing to invest the full price, by telling how this is a big discount of the "regular" price of $499. The regular price is based on the fact that the course, when it's ready, will feature lots of valuable content and materials.
I opted for making a sales page before creating all the course content. I became convinced about preselling the course, after reading a few articles on why it's a good idea. Preselling a course involves creating and publishing a sales page with compelling copy and other branding. On top of that you use other marketing to get people to actually buy the course. Before it's contents have been published, or even created.
In order to make buying my course before the lectures and other materials are published more intriguing, I set a heavily discounted early-bird price for it. This isn't a presale must, but many do it. And it sounded to me like the fairest way to go. Buy now, and you will get the discount. Buy later, and you'll get the contents immediately, but the price is much, much higher.
The idea of preselling the course is to see if people actually are interested in it. If there's no interest, there's no point in finishing the course materials. The incentive for buying is the lower price. To sweeten the deal, I'm adding very special content available only for those who buy early. For starters, there's a branding cheat sheet and a quick quiz about marketing concepts. These contents will be removed as soon as the course is published.
I also decided to give myself enough time to get the course published. I made a soft launch for the sales page recently, announcing it to my email list and Facebook group. Now I'm slowly getting deeper into marketing the course for a wider audience. My marketing, on top of this blog post, will include utilising Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and webinar creation, and paid advertisement. In case you are interested in hearing more about the upcoming webinars, join my email list.
Meanwhile I'm creating and refining the course contents. This means lots of work before the actual launch, but I'm rather excited. I have wanted to create a course and I know this one will be great.
Have you ever tried preselling your products or services? How did it work out for you?