Also known as e-Coaching, e-Learning, e-Training, online or digital learning, online teaching can be in the form of eBooks, special reports, whitepapers, podcasting, video, and/or private membership sites. These digital knowledge products can be sold individually or be combined into complete online courses.
Online teaching can be:
- A business on its own, featuring your expertise (Infopreneur)
- Used to compliment an existing online or offline business (bringing in clients or sales)
- Deployed for personal or corporate branding
- Developed to generate multiple streams of income.
The Business of Online Knowledge
There are some very successful “infopreneurs” out there and a lot of them make a very comfortable living with downloadable learning products. Many successful online businesses also use digital products as effective lead magnets for list building and lead generation.
More recently, businesses have been forced to pivot, adapt and prepare for an uncertain future. They’ve had a chance to give their emergency plan a run and realized it comes up short, if there aren’t multiple revenue streams. They need a backup plan that lets them reach consumers and generate sales.
“We are seeing a dramatic increase in online course creation across every single industry right now – everything from business and marketing to personal development and fitness,” says Andrea Merson, the director of marketing at Thinkific.
E-learning products provide ongoing revenue and add another revenue stream in good times too.
There are plenty of benefits to offering your own information products that extend well beyond a nice revenue stream:
- Online learning is a hot market. People are paying for information at an incredible rate of $355 million dollars/day. That’s expected to triple within the next five years, according to Forbes. We’re in a new era of teaching and you & I are the teachers.
- Digital products are inexpensive to create, requiring little more than your time.
- Canada Post won’t impact your sales with their outrageous prices because all products are downloaded.
- Info-products and eBooks are an amazing way to score clients, no matter what business you’re in.
- Digital products are a source of recurring revenue, along with endless up-selling opportunities via sales funnels.
- Your info-products are the perfect place for affiliate marketing, creating yet another revenue stream.
- Unlike hard products like books or DVD’s, online training products can be easily updated, expanded, or repurposed.
- Digital Info-products make an excellent branding tool.
- You can establish and prove your expertise, which increases sales and invites opportunities like interviews, speaking engagements or book deals.
- If you don’t already offer private coaching, consulting or public speaking services, your info-product will provide a springboard into the coaching industry.
- Share your message with a wider audience and make a difference in the world while growing your personal brand.
- Choose a topic with which you are very familiar and have advanced knowledge in.
- Write your course outline, including the topics you’ll be covering and the order you’ll teach them in.
- Decide what delivery methods you’ll use (written, video, audio, printable, etc). This step may necessitate learning how to use new tools and possibly equipment purchases. It’s important to use as many delivery methods as you’re comfortable with so you will appeal to all learning styles.
- Make a conscious choice about which method of instructional content delivery will make each module easier and/or faster to learn. For example, if you’re a Canadian home-based business coach using primarily text, you may want to add a video to demonstrate home office organization. If you use a lot of video, consider using a transcription service for your students who prefer text. Also consider going mobile for some of your coaching by providing podcasts.
- Start a text file with basic information as a reference for updates, including fonts, colour scheme hex codes, settings, etc.
- Gather any existing material you’ll use, such as your past webinars or blog posts, interviews, Private Label Rights (PLR) content, royalty-free products, and so on.
- Gather all of your reference materials, including books, guides, studies, or affiliate copy.
- As you begin to develop your course, save templates of both your written work and visuals so your course is consistent. It’s a real time saver too! Remember to add your company, website and copyright information to each document page, slide, video and other course materials.
- If you don’t already have a website, you’re going to need one with shopping cart integration for automated downloads. Read the Top 8 Ecommerce Platforms for Digital Product Downloads for more tips and suggestions.
- Many online coaches sell their digital courses or ebooks through affiliates. You can opt for an in-house affiliate program or go through a third-party affiliate network like Clickbank.
One of the most important things to do in the beginning is to build an email list, but building a digital sales funnel is where the money is. Virtually all creators who have found notable success with digital learning products use sales funnels to optimize upsells and seriously increase profits. Thrive Themes Funnels offers lots of funnel functionality for small businesses on a tight budget. The Systeme suite of tools has a free level that includes a website builder, funnels, email list, affiliate program management, memberships & more.
Online Coaching Content Shortcuts
You can round out your product line or beef up your eCourse with ghost writers & other freelancers, royalty-free eCoaching products, Private Label Rights (PLR) content and other rebrandable content.
If you don’t have the time or creativity to write or produce your own course content, hire the talent you need to help you bring it all together. That may include writing, video content, transcription, production management, or anything else you don’t have the time or expertise to do yourself.
In fact, there is a whole business model revolving around the production of short ebooks for Kindle, where many ‘infopreneurs’ outsource everything… including the writing of the ebooks!
??? Do you plan to get into the knowledge business? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below or discuss this and other online business topics in the Online Business Canada Facebook group.
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Melody McKinnon's formal education is in business management, which she enhanced with more than 60 certifications revolving around business, marketing, health, general sciences and writing. In 25 years of working online, she has owned or managed both educational and ecommerce websites. Her book, 7 Recession Proof Online Businesses to Start From Home, is available on Amazon.
Melody has worked with many businesses & brands in a multitude of capacities. She can often be found on CanadiansInternet.com, CanadianFamily.net and AllNaturalPetCare.com, as well as other quality digital publications. Her content has earned reference links from highly-respected websites, magazines and university textbooks.