EPISODE 94

3 Business Models for Online Course Entrepreneurship for WordPress and Other Technologists

As a digital technology professional there are many opportunities open to you, including online course development. In this LMScast Chris Badgett describes 3 business models for online course entrepreneurship for WordPress and other technologists like you.

Technology, coding, and programming courses were among the first to be offered online. Languages and technologies such as WordPress, PHP, Python, or Ruby on Rails change constantly. The only way for students and technicians to stay current is to either learn on their own or find online courses, because traditional college computer science programs simply can’t keep up.

You may have seen or taken courses through Codecademy or Treehouse. If you’re a good teacher and you know your subject, there’s no reason why you can’t teach the latest technologies, too. All you need is a desire to become an online course entrepreneur and an idea of where to start. We’re going to give you 3 business models to help you decide.

The first model is the simplest: Teach a course on the language or technology you know best. Even if your market is already saturated, you can outshine the competition and present a fresh approach to an existing market. You can design and build your own course environment from scratch using a course development platform like our LifterLMS, or hire a service like our Boost service to build it for you quickly and professionally.

The second business model is to create a platform for others to publish their own courses. You would charge a fee or commission to support courses at WordPress, WooCommerce, Yoast SEO, and others. You could also offer your own courses on advanced WordPress, custom theme creation, and building plugins on that platform. A great example is WP101, which is powered by LifterLMS.

Your third business model option is to create online courses and learning management systems for other people who want to teach online courses, but don’t want to build it themselves. All they have to create is the core instructional design and content. You can provide this service for any industry such as fitness, business, languages, music, or technology.

If you’re looking for a fresh approach to doing what you do best and an opportunity to scale your business globally, then these 3 business models for online course entrepreneurship for WordPress and other technologists can get you started. And if you want someone else to set up your learning management platform so you can get busy teaching, we offer that service as well. You can find out more at our LifterLMS WordPress Courses page.

Post comments and subscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. Thank you for joining us.

Chris: Hello and welcome back to another episode of LMScast. My name is Chris Badgett, and in this episode we’re going to be talking about three business models for online course entrepreneurship for WordPress and other technologists. What are we talking about here? We’re talking about experts in technology, be that WordPress or other types of digital technology. There’s a big opportunity in the online course space. Just to paint the landscape, a lot of history and eLearning actually began with technology courses as kind of a beachhead market. It’s no secret that a lot of college computer science programs and things like that have had a really hard time keeping up with the rapid pace of change and introduction of new technology.

What ends up happening is if you want to learn a technology like WordPress, or PHP, or Python, or Ruby on Rails there’s really two ways to go about it. One way is to do it yourself and just start messing around with it, and literally teaching yourself. The other way is to try to find a course. What’s happening more and more is that with these … These technologies are changing so rapidly and just new ones are appearing so quickly that the traditional school system can’t keep up with those. That’s why there’s been this proliferation of online courses in the technology, or programming, or coding space to meet that very heavy demand. You may have heard of online course platforms for technology like Codecademy, Team Treehouse. There’s courses on Udemy and so on about WordPress and all these technologies, so if you’re a technologist there’s a really big opportunity with online courses that’s probably not new to you.

You got to make the decision to move forward if you want to pursue that as another business model. If you are a technologist you might be just trading your time for money doing technology as a service, either as a freelancer or somebody who executes inside of another business. If you’re interested in pursuing creating some online courses and you’re a good teacher, you have the raw ingredients to make the course there’s really three business models I want to draw your attention to if you’re interested in online course entrepreneurship.

The first is simply just your technology courses. That’s where you teach. You put up a website, a platform where you teach courses. Whether that’s WordPress or specific parts of the WordPress ecosystem, or eCommerce, or whatever it is. How to build membership sites, whatever your niche is, you put up your courses. You can do that on a hosted solution somewhere else. You may end up in a very crowded marketplace which can be good if your course is really good and there’s already people over there. You can start from scratch and build your own platform and your own courses. That’s your technology courses.

The second model is your technology course publishing platform. Now, there’s a lot of opportunity here. This is where you take a step back from being the expert and putting your courses out there, and perhaps you’ll still do that but, what you’re also going to do is you’re going to create a platform where other people are going to also publish their courses on your platform so that you create more of a publishing model. Kind of like the way the book industry works where you’re the publisher, you have some kind of royalty or commission structure with your other instructors courses and you put that out there. An example of that would be if you have a WordPress course or you’re in the WordPress niche you could have courses on basic WordPress. You could have courses of WooCommerce. You could have courses at Yoast SEO. You could have courses on more advanced WordPress programming and dealing with custom post types, and building themes, building plugins. Getting into all kind of the nooks and crannies of what makes WordPress wonderful with all these different kind of ecosystems and niches that surround it as a tool. You could create a platform like that.

If you want to see a great example of an online course platform for WordPress, check out WP101. That’s wp101.com which is actually powered by LifterLMS. That platform is starting to have more as a publisher business model where besides the owner there’s other courses coming on their taught by other people and so on.

Now, the third business model that you can do is you can create online courses or learning management systems for other people as a service business. There’s lot of experts out there who are not interested in becoming masters of technology. We do that at LifterLMS. If you go to lifterlms.com/my-wp-courses. If there’s a technologist out there who’s interested in having us get the platform up in five days so that all they have to do is record their screen capture videos and teach the content … Do that instructional design and collect all the expert material. We can get that platform up and running super fast in five days, so that that person is then ready to roll. You could also do that. There’s so many industries out there, even outside of technology whether that’s health and fitness, think about yoga classes, or some kind of marketing course, or a language learning course, or music course. There’s a lot of experts out there who need a technology partner to help bring them into the modern opportunity, the modern online course opportunity, and get their courses on the web. You can do that as a service business for other people.

That’s three quick business models for online course entrepreneurship for the WordPress community. Really any technologist out there who has some kind of technology, there’s an opportunity to scale that and teach that at global scale on the web. If you are interested … If you’re a technologist and you have your programming language or whatever your technology is, whether it’s WordPress or not, and you’re interested in having somebody else set up the actual learning platform, the online course platform, I’d encourage you to find out more at lifterlms.com/my-wp-courses. We can continue the conversation over there. Again, that’s lifterlms.com/my-wp-courses. All right.

Well, just because the online course ecosystem is full of a lot of technology courses it doesn’t mean that the opportunity is over there and whoever taught the first course on WordPress, or PHP, or Ruby on Rails, or what have you is done. Because these technologies are changing so rapidly and new one are coming to market there’s always more opportunity, especially today, to use one of these business models and develop a solid business around that.

All right. Well, thank you for listening to this episode of LMScast, and we’ll catch you in the next one.

EPISODE 93

The Top 3 Online Courses Residential Real Estate Brokers and Agency Owners Use For Business Growth

If you’re a real estate professional, you can teach real estate courses online. In today’s LMScast Chris Badgett will help you get started with an overview of the top 3 online courses residential real estate brokers and agency owners use for business growth.

People are changing the way they buy and sell properties, and the internet is driving that change. If you understand the importance of the internet, social media, and web presence you can help other agents and brokers catch up.

Offering online real estate courses will generate leads, build relationships, and establish you as a market leader. You can offer free courses or charge a fee. Your first step is to decide which sales activity you want to focus on. Inbound activity involves creating content, while outbound is about prospecting and gathering contacts, and relationship activity involves scaling those vital connections.

You can create a course for people selling their own home without an agent. A for sale by owner (FSBO) course will establish you as an expert who is willing to share your knowledge. You’ll also gain clients who decide not to sell their home themselves once they see what’s involved in the sales process. They’re likely to hire you because they took your course and that connection is made.

First time buyers also need guidance through what will likely be the most expensive purchase of their lives. By offering a course to help them you aren’t directly soliciting their business, but you may gain it anyway through sharing your real estate buying wisdom.

A third approach could be an in-depth course on selling for maximum profit, covering staging, repairs, marketing, presentation, and everything else they need to do to aggressively sell for the highest possible return.

These courses don’t need to be large-scale projects or take forever to put together. The main thing is to get it done and available. You’ll help other people by teaching them some of what you know, and you’ll sharpen your own skills in the process. Plus, creating your courses with the beginner in mind will help you better communicate with your clients on every level. Your courses can even be a teaching tool for your own organization.

Finally, you’ll need a delivery system for your courses known as a learning management system (LMS). Our LifterLMS course development platform is a great choice, and our Boost service will get your courses online in as little as five days. Go to LifterLMS Real Estate Courses for more information on the top 3 online courses residential real estate brokers and agency owners use for business growth.

Post comments and subscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. Thank you for joining us.

Chris: Hello, and welcome back to another episode of LMScast. My name is Chris Badgett, and in this episode, we’re going to be talking about how you can use online courses to grow a real estate business. If you’re a real estate broker, an agency owner, or entrepreneur-minded real estate sales professional, you can use online courses to help grow and survive in this day and age, where the consumer buying behavior of property and how people approach sales and purchase real estate is rapidly changing with the internet.

I think it’s important to note that there’s a lot of real estate players who are kind of old-school in how they operate. They may not be leveraging the power of the internet, social media, having a web property that is desirable and attractive to their market, and they may be resting on their laurels of past relationships that they’ve had with their market and their established market share. But it’s important if you’re up and coming or looking at long-term survival in real estate business to look at new and interesting ways to grow, generate new leads, secure your position in the market, and so on.

In this episode, we’re going to talk about how you can use online courses as a method to generate more leads, to position you as a market leader, to build relationships. In sales, as we know, there’s three types of sales activity or marketing. There’s inbound, where we create content. Creating an online course is definitely about creating content and attracting leads. Then there’s prospecting or outbound, where we go out and we try to elicit relationships in business and that sort of thing. If you’re going to prospect, it’s nice to have something to point them to besides raising your hand and just making a direct offer to work together. The other one, of course, is relationships. We all only have so many hours in the day, so if we’re going to … And you can only scale your time so much, so if you want to scale your relationships, it’s important to look at ways to use technology and things like online courses to do that.

I’m going to give three examples of online courses that you could use to grow a real estate business, and it really checks all the boxes of that inbound, outbound, and relationships methodology for sales. The first course I want to talk about is a course for for sale by owners, or FSBOs, as we call them. Why would you ever want to make a course for someone who’s thinking, “Hey, I don’t need a real estate company or a agent or a professional. I’m just going to sell it myself.” Well, the answer is simple. You really want to give before you take, so giving back to your community by taking your time to help educate people who are trying to sell property by themselves is an important step. It can build relationships. You’re creating content.

You can reach out to people who are obviously trying to sell by themselves and prospect to them and be like, “Hey, I don’t want to try to convince you to hire me to have my company represent you. I just want you to know about this great, free resource. Check out my online course, For Sale by Owner: How to do it successfully.” What that does, a lot of things. Maybe if someone’s new to the for sale by owner activity, they’ll realize, “Oh, this is actually a little more complicated. Maybe I need to hire a professional.” Who’s that going to be? Well, maybe it’s the guy who helped me understand, or educate me, on the process. It’s a positioning tool in that way.

It also just builds goodwill and relationship in the community. It also really helps you, as a business owner, sharper your saw in what it takes to sell property because when you’re teaching, basically, a non-professional, someone who doesn’t have their realtor license or has gone through specific real estate sales training, you really have to start with the beginner’s mind and teach that person how to sell property, all the steps, soup to nuts, A to Z.

That’s why a for sale by owner … Those are just some reasons why that course is one that you should make. You don’t have to take forever to do that. You could create the video content for that course on your iPhone while you’re sitting at an open house, just as an example, or if you’re a little more moneyed up or have resources, you could bring in a film crew and really create a nice, polished video course, and create PDF documents and downloads to aid that for sale by owner.

The next one is a first time home buyer course. This is where you’re educating the newbie, “This is my first time buying a house.” People are often a little overwhelmed; they’re stressed. We’re talking big dollar amounts. Obviously, the purchase of real estate is usually the most expensive purchase of somebody’s life. There’s a lot to learn about the industry with mortgages and inspections and what to expect working with realtors, and so on, that just like the for sale by owner, when you educate the first-time home buyer in a way that you’re not just pitching your services, but really trying to help them understand the process and what it takes to buy the home and things to watch out for, things to do to position yourself in a good position for the negotiation.

These things are really important, and when you do that and really give your all to helping that first-time home buyer, you’re positioning yourself as the expert. You’re building goodwill. You’re creating some nice marketing content. Then the really cool thing about the first-time home buyer, as well, is they’re often younger, which means they’ve got a lot of life ahead of them. They’ve got friends who are just coming to their first-time home buying situation, usually. There’s a lot of potential for future referrals of not necessarily directly to your business to represent that buyer, but just to your brand for the go-to source to understand the home buying process, which then positions you for the future, where you may or may not get the client, but it’s a great way to get back to your market and become top of mind when someone is considering hiring a buyer’s agent to represent them.

The third one is just to jump over to the other side of the real estate equation. I’m just talking in terms of residential real estate, here. How to sell for maximum profit, sort of like a first-time “how to sell your house” course with a focus on getting it done, getting it done effectively, and for the best potential profit outcome for the seller. There’s a lot of things, as we know as professionals, that go into selling property. There’s concepts around staging. There’s some repairs that we may want to do before we put it on the market. There’s some repairs we may not want to do before we put it on the market. Creating good description, the importance of photography and video tours, and all these things to help educate that seller about what needs to happen to sell that property.

Just like for all the others, we’re creating good content that educates our market. It helps us be top of mind. It helps us, as sales professionals, position ourselves as experts, sharpen our saw on what it takes to sell a home, and it could even be a teaching tool for other agents in our office, like, “This is how you can help your selling clients get the best value for their property,” and so on.

Just to recap, if you’re a real estate business owner, a real estate broker, or a real estate agency owner, as they like to say in Australia, there’s there online courses that you should consider making. There’s more, but if you’re in the residential real estate market, the first one is a for sale by owner course, a first-time home buyer course, and a how to sell for maximum profit course. Like I mentioned, you can create video lessons around this. Break it down. Build a real process; don’t just do an information dump and like a two-hour video or something like that. Really build an online course with multimedia content, PDFs, text, images, audios, downloadable things to help them, and package that … That’s the raw materials you need for an online course.

Then what you need, is you need an online course delivery system, or a learning management system, as it’s known. That’s one of the things we did, is we help people who, they’re the experts, and they’ve got their course materials together, but they really need help with that whole piece of getting it online either as a paid course or as a free course, as a web property that people can go to to get that course. It’s not about just slapping a bunch of stuff on YouTube. You really want a true online course delivery system.

If you’re interested in having a professional like us help you with that, I’d encourage you to check out LifterLMS.com/real-estate-courses. That’s LifterLMS.com/real-estate-courses. That’s going to enable you to … We could launch your site within five days. That’s what we do, and if you go check out that page there, I’ve got some more information for you about how all that works. Yeah, just go to LifterLMS.com/real-estate-courses if you’re interested in finding out more. I do wish you the best in your real estate business. As the internet continues to evolve …

EPISODE 92

3 Ways SaaS Product Companies Win with an Online Course Strategy

Online courses are a great way to grow your SaaS business. In this LMScast Chris Badgett will show you 3 ways SaaS product companies win with an online course strategy for customers, employees, and overall business success.

Software as a service is delivered online, usually by subscription. Support courses delivered online are a natural fit for SaaS as there’s a learning curve for new users, plus software upgrades and added features your customers will need to get up to speed with. Websites, blog posts and YouTube videos may be helpful on the surface, but a course will take your clients in-depth to really understand how to get the most out of your tools, and can serve as a sales incentive as well.

Everybody gets too much email, but if you offer something of real value like a free introductory course you’re going to get customers to opt-in and create an account. Then you can follow up with offers that build from there. The same course can serve as customer onboarding when they purchase your software. Always be improving that course, and provide the other support and resources your customers need to fully benefit from your products. Otherwise they’ll simply drop their subscription and go elsewhere.

The very same course can serve as your employee onboarding tool to bring new employees up to speed with your products and services. You can then create other internal courses for tasks like providing support, outbound sales, and prospecting for customers. Plus the teacher who builds the course will know more about your core processes and be better at what they do after documenting these steps for beginners.

Online courses help you grow your company by consistently providing customers with the tools and information they require for real success with your software. This generates leads, reduces churn, and solidifies customer loyalty. It also represents an investment in your employees who then deliver exceptional customer experience, steadily improve your products, and help build your company the way you want it to grow.

Even if your business is not SaaS you will find that online courses help customers and employees learn about your products and services for a better user experience. Our LifterLMS course development platform is a great choice, and our professional team can get your courses online in as little as five days with our Boost service. Go to LifterLMS.com’s SaaS Customer Onboarding Courses page for more on the 3 ways SaaS product companies win with an online course strategy.

Post comments and subscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. Thank you for joining us.

Chris: Hello and welcome back to another episode of LMScast. My name is Christ Badgett. This episode, we’re going to be talk about three ways SaaS product companies win with an online course strategy. SaaS stands for software as a service. These are like those monthly applications and things that you subscribe to on a monthly basis, companies like that. We’re going to be talking about how they can benefit by integrating online courses into their business growth strategy. Now, it’s really important to note too that if you are a different type of product company, maybe a physical product or even a brick and mortar business, you can still use a lot of the same concepts we’re going to talk about here. But for all intents and purposes, we’re going to be talking about using online courses with a SaaS company.

One of the biggest opportunities with an online course for a SaaS company is for inbound marketing. That’s content marketing. It’s content that helps drive leads which drives sales. A lot of companies are creating YouTube videos. They’re making blog posts. They might have a podcast. But when you create an online course, you give your potential perspective user or customer an opportunity to experience or learn in depth about the product and how it works and what it can do for them in a way that just a sales page on the website just cannot really give the full experience, it more hints at it.

The website is going to have like features and benefits and things but it’s not going to show you like fro the beginning, you got it, here’s how you install it, here’s how you set everything up, here’s how to use it, here’s how to get the most out of it. A lot of that stuff is highly underrated as a sales tool and what people end up looking at often times, perspective customers is documentation especially in a software community is know to be of not the best quality for a lot of reasons.

One, it’s not necessarily that fun to create. Number two technology is always changing and evolving fast so it’s hard to keep the documentation current and that sort of thing. But if you slow down, you take a step back, you really focus on wanting to get those greater leads and sales and really invest in creating an online course around your product, it can be highly beneficial as a sales tool. Of course, in that scenario, I would recommend making that online course free and not like a paid product if your goal is to get more perspective leads and sales.

When you make that course, if you’re using a tool like LifterLMS, you can … you’re also capturing an email address when someone creates their user. Not only will the perspective customer have the opportunity to go see all the content and experience what it’s like, what it would hypothetically be like to be using the product but also you have the email so that you can now have a follow up campaign if you want to see if you can nurture that sale that way. You kind of get the two wins. A lot of people collect email with some kind of opt-in bribe or content upgrade, download this free report or just subscribe to the mailing list. There’s no real strong reason for the people to give up their email address which they’re historically becoming more and more tight with giving that out because we’re all getting overwhelmed with too much email.

But when you offer an online course, you’re really justifying and giving them a reason to give you that email to create that user account to invest that little step of trust in you and your company. Then if your online course is good, it’s really going to help nurture that sale. That’s using online courses and SaaS companies as form of inbound marketing. The other piece is you can use that exact same course of how to use my product as also customer on-boarding. Even after the sale, the same course is still available, still free and it walks people through how to set up, use and get the most out of your product.

Again, if you take the time and you really get into the mind of instructional design and really help approach your student with beginner’s mind of like, “This is one, A to Z, we’re not going to skip any steps. This is how to best use our course or our product,” and continually improve that course over time, you’re going to develop a really strong customer on-boarding asset that’s a lot more powerful than just documentation that’s a little stodgy and dry and you’re just kind of really help those customers succeed because a lot of people, especially in the software as a service world, people sign up for something or try not to use it, if they’re not like getting the support and the resources they need, they’re going to drop it and refund or just stay on for a month or two and then they’re gone.

That’s not what you want to see happen. Really focusing on that customer on-boarding. That’s really great when you can do the two birds in one stone there of creating an in-bound marketing asset and also a customer on-boarding asset with the exact, same free online course.

Now the next benefit is employee on-boarding, if you’re running that software company and let’s say are bringing in new level one support people to man the chat or the support email, you can use that exact same course, again, the free course as a tool to help your new people get up to speed without necessarily needing a mentor to step in and walk them one on one through everything when you have this online course as a way to help them get up to speed and be able to best help your customers. Again, there’s that same course for another use, for employee on-boarding. It’s also cool too because it forces you in the employee on-boarding sense. You can create other courses about this is our outbound sales process. You’re training a new prospect in your company like how do we prospect.

Now, this isn’t a course that you would necessarily make public but you would use internally but when you create that course, it forces the teacher to have to really document the process which is not necessarily a fun thing to do but once people people slow down and actually create a process that can be put or designed into an online learning experience, you’ve not only made that teacher better at what they do because they had to really focus and figure out what it is they actually do that works but you’ve also created an asset that can used over and over and over again unlimited scale. That’s the power of online courses for employee on-boarding.

Now, the big thing with SaaS companies is so how does this actually help the company grow? Well, you’re going to get more leads if you have an online course in your in-bound marketing and you’re going to give customers what they want which is the ability to kind of window show without having to get on the phone with you or send emails asking questions because it wasn’t clear exactly what your product does. Then you’re also creating a tool that’s going to help on-board those customers. You’re getting more customers when you actually on-board your customer instead of just walking away after the sale and just having email conversations with them if they need a customer.

If you have a true customer on-boarding sequence, what you’re doing is you’re reducing churn which is where people, the lifetime value of the of the customer, where do they fall off, where do they turn out of the business, what is the average churn. Let’s say you have a churn of 16 months or 8 months. After your customer on-boarding, I would hypothesize that you would be extending the lifetime value of your customer and they would churn further and further in the future because you gave they tools they needed to be successful with your product.

Then of course investing in your team and your employees is a really powerful way to just build a company and improve your product and improve the customer experience. If those people are trained in, I think we’ve all worked at a company and know people who worked at a company where there is no real training. You just got thrown into the wolves and there’s no real process in place. While that’s good and that forces people to either grow or fail quickly, it’s not really the professional way of doing things if you care about success and efficiency.

Well, that is it for this episode of LMScast. That was three ways SaaS product companies can win with online course strategy. Even if you’re not in the software business but you’re in business, period, you can still take some … the same concepts and run with them and use online courses. Unless it’s like its own product that you’re going to use to try to grow a new revenue stream but rather to support your existing business because online education isn’t just about making new products, it’s also about helping people better use the products that are already out there.

If you would like to find out more about all this, I’m going to give you a link here. We have a service at LifterLMS where we set up an online course platform for you in just five days with or without your content and if you’re interested in discussing that, we can absolutely go down that road. What that’s all about is you as a software product owner, you may not be the … you have have technology and be into technology but you may not want to invest in learning the new skill or making mistakes while building an online course delivery system or learning management system.

If you want to work with professionals who do this sort of thing, check us out at LifterLMS.com/my-saas-customer-onboarding-courses and we can go into more detail about what it would be like to work together and you can hear a little bit more about the opportunity with all the stuff. But again, thank you for listening to this episode of LMScast. I wish you all the best success in getting your product company going and successful. If you like to connect at a deeper level again, you can check us out at LifterLMS.com/my-saas-customer-onboarding-courses. All right. Thank you and have an awesome day.

EPISODE 91

How to Grow Your Online Course Business with Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a great way to boost your business if you offer courses online. In today’s LMScast Chris Badgett tells how to grow your online course business with affiliate marketing.

If you’re not familiar with it, affiliate marketing is a system that allows other entities to earn a commission by funneling paying customers your way. An affiliate receives a unique link that identifies them. It feeds into a tracking system so that customers who visit your site via that link and pay for your product generate a reward for that affiliate.

Incentivizing others to do marketing for you expands the reach of your marketing and increases your income. They share their link through a variety of channels including email, social media and blog comments. Your result is an average revenue increase of 15% to 40% depending on your model.

Our LifterLMS course development platform integrates with two affiliate management systems: AffiliateWP and iDevAffiliate. AffiliateWP is a plugin that resides on your WordPress website and ties into your checkout. You set up affiliate commission structures and accounts, and they get their own dashboard. In contrast, iDevAffiliate is a hosted solution that remotely serves your website, handles your affiliate accounts, tracks customer activity, and processes commissions.

Before beginning affiliate marketing you should know there’s no guarantee it will significantly boost your traffic and conversion rates. However, if you invest time and recruit a diverse group of good affiliates your results will be greater – especially if you can attract super affiliates.

Super affiliates are seasoned experts who know what they’re doing and have a track record to prove it. You’ll want to look for the ones working in your niche and reward them well with up to a 50% share of the revenue they bring you. If you consider that’s revenue you wouldn’t otherwise have, then they’re worth the commission.

You may also join with businesses that serve your same target market but offer a different service or product from yours. They become your affiliate, and you become theirs. You can also achieve a triple win if they provide quality and incentives, you provide quality and incentives, and the end customer is happy with both of you. This way you collaborate without being in competition.

You’re more likely to be successful with affiliate marketing if you’re already active and teaching students. Knowing how to grow your online course business with affiliate marketing can really help you promote and expand your current eLearning business.

Post comments and subscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. Thank you for joining us.

Hello, welcome back to another episode of LMScast. My name is Chris Badgett, and in this episode we’re going to be talking about how to grow an online courses business through affiliate marketing.

Now, if you’re new to affiliate marketing all it is it’s a system and a way of rewarding affiliates with your other people or businesses that promote your courses or your memberships with some commission based reward that only happens when those people actually do some marketing that creates a sale. Now, what kind of marketing are we talking about?

Well, when you become an affiliate you get a unique link that ties into some tracking mechanism. Then somebody clicks on that link and then goes buys a product it’s recorded that that course purchase was generated to this link or from this affiliate. At LifterLMS we’re an affiliate ready platform – we integrate with AffiliateWP. Then there’s another third party platform that built an integration with us called, iDevAffiliate. Go check those out if you’re a LifterLMS user and using that to sell online courses, and you want to add your affiliate program.

Essentially, just to tie it all together, affiliate marketing it’s just another way to grow your income and to get other people marketing on your behalf so it grows your marketing effort. You’re incentivizing other people to market on your behalf through posting their affiliate links through your courses in their emails. Let’s say they have a mailing list, or in social media like on Facebook or Twitter, or in a comment on whatever social network. Those are all different channels for affiliate marketing.

One of the questions that people often ask when they’re just getting started is, “How much more income can I expect to get as a percentage of overall revenue if I commit to and explore affiliate marketing?” Well, there’s not a one-size-fits-all answer to that question. The answer truly is that it depends on … You could get affiliate as a percentage of total revenue could go from 0% to 100% of your revenue it just depends on your model. In a lot of cases that I’ve seen people grow their revenue in the neighborhood at somewhere on average between 15% and 40% of their sales or through an affiliate channel. That’s just what I’ve seen loosely by looking at a lot of people doing affiliate marketing. A lot of the affiliate marketing I’ve done myself with all my courses and that sort of thing.

How do you get started in affiliate marketing? Well, the first thing you need to do is: If you want to attract affiliates you need to get an affiliate management system. If you’re using LifterLMS you should check out our AffiliateWP integration so that’s one thing. Then there’s the iDevAffiliate integration and just come on over to LMS Cast and we’ll have links to those so you can find out more information about that. AffiliateWP is a WordPress plugin that gives you an affiliate management system so it brings an affiliate system right on to your WordPress website right there.

It’s another plugin that sits in there besides LifterLMS and ties into the LifterLMS checkout. That you can create affiliate counts and users can have a dashboard. You as the owner of your site can define different affiliate percentages or commission structures like, “I want to offer affiliates 50% revenue share or a 30% revenue share.” Those affiliates need a way to log in to their affiliate account and see how they’re doing. That’s how AffiliateWP works which is made by Pippins Plugins. It is a great well respected WordPress plugin in development business.

iDevAffiliate is a little different. It’s more of a hosted solution that lives somewhere else. You create an affiliate system over there, you send your affiliates there to log in and create user accounts and get their affiliate links and download various creative that you put there for them to use like banner ads and things like that. Check out iDevAffiliate they do have an option where you can host it on your own server instead of getting into their monthly recurring fee for a higher one-time fee. Again, it’s still a separate place to manage affiliates.

If you want to become an affiliate and promote the LifterLMS products that are paid, you can do that on our site and you’ll notice that we do that currently through a third party called ShareASale. If I was running an online courses website, I would seriously check out AffiliateWP so I could have that all in one place. Affiliates would just be another user on my website that can manage all that affiliate stuff. Just wanted to walk you through the user experience of how an affiliate works and how if you really want to grow your revenue through the affiliate channel, there’s a bunch of things you need to consider. I wanted to spell some common misconceptions upfront that you need to address head on.

That first one is: If you build it they will come. Just because you’re creating an affiliate system it doesn’t mean people are going to magically find your affiliate program and start signing up and your sales are just going to blossom from there. You need to invest time, you need to recruit affiliates. I recommend actively recruiting affiliates. You can write a blog post about your affiliate program. You can reach out to your existing user base see if any of them are interested in becoming affiliates. Most importantly what you want to do is you want to reach out and recruit what are known as super affiliates.

A super affiliate is someone who’s experienced in affiliate marketing hopefully in your niche. They just know what to do, they have a track record, they’re full-time affiliates, that’s how they make majority of their income. They may have a team with them to help with whatever affiliate campaign they’re going to do around your courses and memberships. You want to find those super affiliates these are people who are not new to affiliate marketing and are already showing success in your niche and your industry. I would encourage you to avoid the, “If you build it they will come.”

The other thing I recommend is especially in the digital world, it’s important to really reward affiliates. If your course is a digital course and even if it includes some live components and it’s going to include your time, I recommend that you be very generous with affiliates. It’s not uncommon to have a 50% revenue share where you’re giving away half of the income to the affiliate for bringing that customer to you. Now, in a lot of cases that’s the customer you would have never seen anyways. What’s wrong with losing out on half of the income there?

It’s really important and you want to really incentivize those affiliates. When you offer 50% on an expensive course, say you have a $100 or a $500 or even a $1,000 course, that’s a lot of money. The affiliates would be really interested in earning an extra $250 to $500 for getting an extra conversion for you. Think about attracting those super affiliates, think about rewarding them handsomely and just being open to having an affiliate program as a way to grow your base.

The other important thing about affiliate marketing is that you want to have a diverse group of affiliates. When you’re promoting your affiliate program you really want to keep reaching out and seeing who you can find in your industry and have an open mind. I always try to steer the conversation away from competition to collaboration. You don’t necessary want to go after someone who’s a competitor to a direct competitor of yours and invite them to your affiliate program.

Let’s say you have a course on starting a business like a business or entrepreneurship course. You might want to reach out to somebody who’s also serving the new business owner niche. For example, let’s say a company that provides legal help with forming an LLC or an S Corporation. They might be interested in becoming affiliate to share your course. You share the same customer but you’re not necessarily direct competitors to each other. It’s important to look at other businesses that are serving your same customer so that there’s just a natural win-win situation there.

Just to talk a little bit more about affiliate marketing in creating what I call ‘The Triple Win’. A really great strategy is when you’re doing affiliate marketing in creating systems and programs, you want to make it so that everybody wins that’s what it’s all about. Let me give you an example: Whenever you’re building an online course or looking into affiliate program, you want to always make sure that the end user, the end learner, is winning. It’s the most important thing. The best marketing is a really happy customer or a student.

When you’re doing that you want to … If you’re just giving your course … If you’re course is just good that through affiliates you’re able to reach more people and change more lives, that by itself it’s a wonderful thing. That’s a win there. You can also do a coupon so that’s tied a specific affiliate like you can do that with the LifterLMS AffiliateWP integration. What you do is let’s say there’s an affiliate who has an email list with the type of people who are your ideal students. This person with this email list puts on a webinar, invites you to speak. You come there and you do a presentation about something in your niche or giving away value for free which again makes the potential customer gives them a win. It makes the affiliate look good because you’re providing free value.

Then at the end of that webinar presentation, you offer people a 25% discount on your course. You give them a coupon code. That coupon code is tied directly to reward that affiliate who invited you on the show. You can see all the different ways that the end user is winning even they clicked it, you see affiliate coupon and go through the transaction. They’re getting a discount, they’re getting free information. The affiliate is winning because you’re bringing value to his platform and to his audience and you’re also creating a new revenue stream. People start converting on your offer for your course, your membership. There’s affiliate income for that affiliate. Then you of course win because you’re getting more people on your platform, getting more revenue and just really expanding in that way.

That’s a little bit more of an advance take on affiliate marketing but affiliate is a really important marketing strategy for promoting your online course platform. I recommend that you don’t start with affiliate marketing as your way to build your initial student base. Affiliates are going to want to know, especially the good ones, that you’re already have some success through your own marketing and promotion efforts and your platform is already active and has students. Once you get rolling and you’re starting to get sales and you’re looking to grow your online course business platform, the affiliate channel is a great avenue to look into as way to grow your base.

That’s it for this episode of LMScast. You can reach me on Twitter, @ChrisBadgett. Again, head on over to lmscast.com and find this episode about affiliate marketing and we’ll have links to some systems that you can check out that also happen to work with LifterLMS. All right, thank you.

EPISODE 90

3 Business Models for Online Language Learning Course Creators

If you know more than one language, you can teach it to others online. In this LMScast Chris Badgett will show you 3 business models for online language learning course creators to help you get started.

Language learning is in great demand for the global community. For jobs, travel, and social interaction, knowing multiple languages is a greater advantage than ever before. We’re going to show you 3 business models you can build on if you know more than one language well enough to teach it.

The first step is to find a niche. Think about who you want to teach and build your course for them, such as tourists, business executives, or trekkers. Get specific, like business English, English for Japanese travelers, or Nepali for mountain climbers. You could offer a traveler’s survival guide, like Thai for digital nomads, or English for people in the hospitality industry.

The first course model is a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). It’s massive, because it’s open to anyone who wants to register, pay, and take the course, so you may have thousands of students at a time. And it’s online, so it’s available worldwide.

The blended model combines online coursework with in-person teaching and support. This is a good model for instructors who already traveled to other countries to teach, do classroom instruction, or conduct private lessons, but who want to expand their reach and depth. Online content provides most of the core learning with face-to-face sessions for support.

Finally, the flipped classroom puts students in control of their learning process and progress. The instructor provides content, materials, and support in an online classroom environment. Then at scheduled intervals they can meet in a virtual hangout like Skype, Zoom, or Google Hangouts for more personalized support.

If you’re a great teacher and these 3 business models for online language learning course creators resonates with you but you don’t have technological skills, our Boost service is here to build your course and get you started quickly. For more information on language learning courses, go to our LifterLMS language learning courses page.

Post comments and subscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. Thank you for joining us.

Chris: Hello, and welcome back to another episode of LMScast. My name is Chris Badgett, and in this episode we’re going to be talking about 3 business models for people who make online courses in the language learning niche. Language learning is a massive industry. I don’t know the statistics, but there is a lot of language learning happening all over the world. People learning their own language, people learning other languages, and for a variety of different reasons. Today I wanted to talk about the online course opportunity if you are a language learning professional, or you’re bilingual, trilingual, or you’re looking to build some kind of product or course in the language learning niche.

I wanted to go over three possible business models you could use to create a potentially hugely successful online course in the language learning niche. The first one I’m going to talk about is what’s known as a niche MOOC. What am I talking about here? What is a MOOC? MOOC is M-O-O-C, and it stands for Massive Open Online Course, that’s what a MOOC is. Essentially what that means is if you have a MOOC, you create a course, it’s available, there’s no limit. It’s available around the world. It could have 5 students in it, it could have 500,000 students in it. That’s the massive part, and it’s open. Anybody who finds it, signs up for it, pays for it, can take the course.

I recommend doing a niche MOOC, so what I’m talking about here is developing some kind of unique online course in a language learning niche that’s very niche. An example would be a business English course. You could create a course designed to help people who are learning English, it’s not their first language, become capable and adapt in business. It’s very different from just learning English, and learning how to talk to people on the street, and order food in a restaurant.

A Business English course would be more focused on the types of terminology, and the words that come up in business settings, and meetings, and business transactions, and banking, counting, all those kinds of things. Of course, you could have very beginner basic Business English, and you could have highly advanced Business English.

You could also have Business Japanese, where people who, let’s say executives from the U.S. are going over to Japan, and they want to put on a good impression, and try really hard to communicate in the native language where they are in Japanese, in my example. It’s not just all about learning English, it could be about learning anything.

Another example of a niche MOOC that you could be a traveler’s survival guide. Let’s say you want to go after the younger, work from anywhere, digital nomad, location independent traveler, that are going to Thailand in droves. You want to give them a Thai language crash course, tourists, travelers, location independent digital nomad survival guide course. That’s a very specific niche that you could do. You could also do that for people traveling to Spain, or Brazil, or any country, Russia.

You can create these niche online courses that are designed to teach people exactly what they need. Like our business example, which type of traveler are you catering to? I would not recommend a general language learning guide to Nepal in Nepali. I would not necessarily recommend that, I would go after people who are going to Nepal to climb mountains, so they’re mountaineering people, or trekkers. They’re going to be in the back country, they’re going to be with Sherpas, or passing through the villages, and stuff. They’re going to need to know certain words about mountains, and trails, and paths, and routes, and rocks, and weather. These are the kind of words that are important.

I encourage you to think in terms of niches. Don’t necessarily make an online course about learning Nepali, make it about here’s a crash course for mountain climbers traveling to Nepal, who want to speak Nepali when they go there.

To give you a third example, you can think in terms of economics if you’re trying to find a niche. What I mean by that is let’s say in developing parts of the world people can get better paying, or better condition jobs, if they speak English well in the hospitality niche. Maybe you want to develop a niche course designed to help people get better employment by learning English as it pertains to hospitality. You can see that’s a very specific niche, a very certain type of language learning that could be used in any country. You could focus on the country, or you could focus on the type of resort job seekers. You could focus on a niche like the area of conversation, whether it’s business, tourism, or hospitality.

The other thing you can do with online language learning courses is what I call a blended model. This is where people who are already, let’s say they have an degree in ESL, or teaching English as a second language. They go to places like Korea, they teach English to Koreans, but they’re trying to figure out how to make more money, make things more profitable.

What you can do is you can blend that in-person learning with online training, so that let’s say you need less in-person time, because a lot of your online, your video courses, are really where the content’s happening. You don’t necessarily have to be in that private tutoring session, or in that classroom to deliver the educational content. Though you do get together in-person, and you review the material, you talk about it, you reinforce it, you figure out where people are stuck, and you continue there.

The third model I want to tell you about today is what’s called the Flipped Classroom. I’m going to do an all virtual flipped classroom example for you. There’s no physical tutoring session one-on-one, or classroom where people go and sit inside the same room. Most of the learning is going to be passive, so the online course, whether it be videos, worksheets, exercises, and so on, audios, a lot of that happens in the online course.

Then, let’s say once a week, or once a month, or a small portion of the day, you get together with the teacher, either in a group or one-on-one scenario via technology like Skype, or Zoom, virtually. You have a Google hangout, you have a get together, like I said one-on-one, or as a group. In that case the teacher acts more as a resource to support the students where they’re stuck. The onus of learning is more on the learner, and not necessarily on the teacher to deliver.

It’s a very empowering thing, this concept of Flipped Classroom, where you give the student the control, and it’s up to them and their determination, and they get to set the pace, especially if it’s an asynchronous online course. Then you have that virtual hangout to clarify things, to help remove roadblocks, and that sort of thing. It’s taking the power away from the teachers, and giving it more to the students, and let them be the leader of their own learning journey.

In summary, we talked about three business models that are ways to approach creating online courses around language learning. We talked about the niche MOOC. We gave you an example of Business English, a traveler’s survival guide in a new language, and then a course or platform of courses, for people who are trying to get better, or desirable jobs in the hospitality industry serving English speakers.

The second model we looked at was a blended approach. Where you take your in-person class, or tutoring time, and you add in an online component, which frees up more of your time, or allows you to serve more people at once.

Then we also talked about the Flipped Classroom approach in a virtual setting where a lot of the learning happens in a passive online course. Then on some kind of schedule, or as part of the curriculum, or whatever, the group, or one-on-one meetings happen to reinforce the learning, or provide an opportunity for feedback, and that sort of thing.

If you are wanting to find out more about what this is all about, and explore the language learning opportunity with online courses, and you may be a good teacher, but maybe you’re not a technologist, or website builder, or learning management system person, or online course person. I want to encourage you to check out a service we offer where we help people like you who are interested in language learning, we deliver the technology piece to create that online platform for you.

I’d encourage you to go to LifterLMS.com/language-learning-courses. I’ve got more information, and discussion around this sort of thing. There’s a way to contact me if you’re interested in discussing that. Again, go to LifterLMS.com/language-learning-courses, and I can show you more about that technology piece. Tell you about if you are interested in having someone else do the technology piece, so that you have the platform that you can step into, go check that out. Thank you for listening to this episode of LMScast, and we’ll catch you in the next one.