Knowledge commerce is a new term used to describe a business that is created for the purpose of selling knowledge, i.e. online courses.
Since there is a demand for knowledge nowadays, many entrepreneurs are creating online courses as a business model, and some are using digital content for the purpose of upselling, and to attract new business.
To give you an idea of the potential, Rob Percival, for instance, was a high school Math teacher who developed a comprehensive 30-hour web development course and in the first month, racked up a whopping $15 000.
The good news is that it’s not rocket science, but the bad news is that there are certain things that need to be done in order to succeed…
And that’s what this article is about:
#1: Choose your delivery method
In order to get your courses “out there”, you need a delivery method. Choose between these options:
- Knowledge commerce platform
- Course marketplace
- WordPress plugins
Option 1: Knowledge commerce platform
If you’re serious about starting an online course business, take the bull by the horns and go pro with a complete knowledge commerce platform like Kajabi.
Knowledge commerce platforms offer a complete solution all the way from setting up courses to delivering them and even marketing them, eliminating the need to pay for other tools to generate a digital presence.
While there are other options for setting up online courses, this method, although sometimes more costly than others, is the easiest, offering features like:
- Course builder together with interactive tools like surveys and quizzes
- A complete website
- A blog
- Landing pages
- Email marketing software
- Online store
- Shopping cart
- Marketing automation
All you need to start is:
- The knowledge commerce platform of your choice
- A smartphone and
- A microphone.
Option 2: Course marketplace
Probably the fastest way to get content into the right format is with a course marketplace like Udemy. It is usually free to set up, but the marketplace takes a small percentage of each sale.
Although you own your content, you have to follow their quality guidelines, which is not a bad thing.
You decide on the pricing of the course, as well as when to set up promotions, but the marketplace can also offer promotions at any time, and you have to comply to that when they do.
The cons about this option are that you don’t have a direct contractual relationship with your students; they belong to the marketplace, and you have no rights to privacy or publicity over your content. You may delete your account, but if you have already enrolled students on your course, the content has to remain accessible to them forever.
Option 3: WordPress plugins
If you already have a WordPress website, you can add membership or learning management system plugins to enable course building and to collect payments.
Out of the three options, this one is the hardest to set up, because you have to set it all up from scratch, without guidance (although the plugin makers will offer support).
If you are familiar with working with WordPress, that will make it easier, but if not, this option is not recommended unless you don’t mind taking the time to learn how it all works.
#2: Compile course content
The content is obviously the meat of your online course business. It should consist of modules that are no less than 15 minutes in duration (if they are videos), but no longer than 30 minutes a module.
How to find course content? Here are some unique ideas:
- Repurpose the content you’ve already published.
- Interview experts who are masters of the topic, compile it into a course and split the profits.
- Get topic experts to provide the content while you focus on building the course, technically speaking. Split the profits.
Now, you may have heard course pros say that you should just “get your stuff out there”, and not focus too much on getting it perfect before you start selling, and this is good because you have to start somewhere.
However…statistics show that the majority of course participants never actually complete digital courses, and this is bad for business.
- Depending on the topic, these students may tell others that the course “didn’t work” for them, and this will give your business a bad reputation.
- If those same students don’t complete the first course, it’s not likely you’re going to be able to upsell them to another course, and this detracts from your profits
So…do your homework on the psychology of goal achieving – for instance, people need small wins in order to keep motivated, and the journey of the course content needs to be interesting or fun and definitely not boring.
It is recommended that you start off with a plain text course if you must, but then be sure to add interactive elements to it. Once you do, you should start seeing an upsurge in course completion rates.
#3: Promote your course
You can have the most life-changing course in the world, but if no one knows about it, you won’t make money.
Marketing is key in order to secure as many registrants as possible = more money made. Here’s what marketing looks like on the 3 delivery methods mentioned above:
- If you opt to use a knowledge commerce platform that includes marketing tools, promoting your courses will be a piece of cake compared to other mediums, because the software includes guides to help you.
- Course marketplaces like Udemy provide promotional guides and just being listed on the marketplace, where thousands of visitors land on a daily basis, is helpful to getting people to find your course. The con is that depending on your niche, you’re bound to face stiff competition, and you will also need to drive initiatives.
- WordPress plugins don’t offer any marketing tools, so you will need to do your homework about how to do online marketing.
Selling knowledge in the form of a course is a good business idea, or you could develop them to enhance your current business model in order to boost sales.
There are three primary steps to getting set up and succeeding:
- Select out of 3 options, how you will deliver your course content.
- Develop the content of the course, making sure its as engaging as possible.
- Market your course so that people know about it.
Lastly, if at first you fail, try, try again.