I just had my best course launch EVER, and with a much, much smaller audience than I have on this site.
About a month ago, I had a 4-day launch sale for a new course called POD Niche Site Success.
In the first 12 hours, I generated $5,000 profit, which is more than I did for the entire launch of my first course with this site.
The reason why I’m focusing on the initial $5,000 I made in the first 12 hours of launch is I remember that was my goal for my first 2Create course launch, and I didn’t even come close to that.
Let me put this all into perspective with some numbers…
When I launched my first course on this site in 2014, my list had around 30,000 subscribers.
That may sound like a lot, but many of these people on my list were not even engaged anymore and were either not opening my emails or weren’t receiving them (junk/spam filters).
When I launched my latest course for Passive Shirt Profits, my list was at 1400. The difference is this list was much newer/fresher and the audience was more engaged AND niched down.
In other words, most people on the list wanted to learn the same things.
There’s always so much emphasis on “growing a list”, but what’s the point if the people on the list want a dozen different things?
That was always a challenge with this site because I covered so many different topics over the years.
By the time I was ready to sell a course in 2014, I had attracted an audience that wanted to learn everything from WordPress, starting a business, YouTube to affiliate marketing. I also never took advantage of segmenting my list like I should have.
So what else went wrong with my first course launch on this site?
I Was Low-Balling My Products
I thought that offering a very low, affordable product with tons of content would actually make MORE people buy, but I actually think it hurt in some ways.
Not only does it make you LESS motivated to market it (too little profit), but it attracts a lot of people who never even open the course because they didn’t invest a lot.
Super low prices can also send a message of low quality.
I know because some of you flat out told me that.
One subscriber almost didn’t sign up because he assumed it was lacking value due to the very low price.
When he finally did sign up, he was blown away by the amount of content for such a low price.
To this day, I still struggle with what to charge for my courses, but I DO know that it’s NEVER a good idea to sell super low.
It’s better to pack the product with value and charge what it’s worth.
I Didn’t Pay Attention To What People REALLY Needed
This was even more problematic than me low-balling my prices.
I believe this is where most first-time course creators stumble (in addition to not having an eager-to-buy audience.)
Had I really nailed this part with my first 2create courses, my conversions and engagement would have been much better, even at lower prices.
As newbie course creators, we have a tendency to focus on what WE want to sell instead of listening to what people in our audience REALLY need and want.
In 2014 (my first course launch on this site), not many people were asking me to create an affiliate marketing course. The hype for affiliate marketing had cooled off by then, at least for my audience.
But I chose that topic because that’s where I had made most of money, and was still making the majority of my income at that time. I didn’t know what else to do.
And why launch a Photoshop course in addition to the affiliate course? That didn’t even make sense for THIS audience, but it was what I wanted to teach. SMH
Looking back…. it was a such a strange combo of courses to launch to this particular audience.
Again, I was making it about ME and what I wanted to teach. I had learned how to use Photoshop to create images for my sites.
However, learning the program wasn’t really in demand for THIS audience — especially with free products like Canva and Picmonkey on the rise.
I had this big ole’ audience, but didn’t really take the time to utilize it to RESEARCH and ASK what people wanted from me at that current time.
Given the state of my business and the evolving Internet Marketing space in 2014, it would have made more sense to create a course on building authority and credibility for a website.
Looking back at my biz, those are two, foundational things that have served me VERY well amidst the changing times, numerous websites and online evolution. It’s been the BACKBONE of my business, hands down. It’s also something any new website owner or influencer needs, especially when trying to sell products.
Nevertheless, I would have ASKED people on this list what they wanted instead of just hoping people would want to learn what I wanted to teach.
Another disadvantage of not really delivering content people NEED is I never received many questions, comments or interaction on my 2create courses.
Not to mention nearly half of the people who signed up for my courses never even opened them.
I believe a lot of people bought them because they were cheap, but it wasn’t really content they needed or wanted.
So you might say, “So what if half of them didn’t open the course! You still got your money, right?”
If people aren’t even taking the course, they aren’t interacting with you or your content. Interaction is important because it generates feedback on what to improve and clarify.
I learned from my Merch By Amazon course (no longer available) that having specific questions from students helps me learn where the course is lacking and what I need to improve on.
As a result of the many questions, I kept adding to it and improving the course. Consequently, I began hearing success stories from my students on a more regular basis.
When my students get results, that allows me to add testimonials to the landing page, which in turn helps me sell more courses in the long run.
It’s a win for my students and a win for me!
When I added testimonial screenshots from my students in my private group, the sign-up rate tripled for my Merch course.
I Created Buzz For The Course
Because I did a better job of getting in touch with what my potential students struggled with, it gave me a certain confidence with this course that I hadn’t had with previous launches.
As a result, I was more aggressive with promotion.
Before launch, I used my podcast, YouTube, and my list to remind people what was coming.
I also made sure people knew that there will be a limited-time launch discount only, and that I don’t frequently discount my courses.
In the past, I never built much of a buzz before launch. I may mention it in passing on a blog post, but didn’t do a lot of direct marketing prior to launch.
I believe that also made a HUGE difference.
I Was More Strategic About What I Shared for Free
I remember when I thought about launching my first course for this site.
I was so intimidated by the process because I had already shared so much here and on YouTube.
Not that you can’t include info you already have for free, but I always wanted my courses to have so much more valuable than the free content.
That was more difficult to do with 2 Create because of how much free information I already had online AND I waited so long before creating my first product.
You also have to remember, I had a different income model with this site. I was heavily reliant on affiliate marketing and AdSense, so my strategy was to give away tons of free content in exchange for ad / affiliate revenue.
However, when you’re planning to sell courses, your strategy has to change and that was a big adjustment for me.
I didn’t have that much of an issue with PSP because I knew I was creating that site to sell courses, and I didn’t wait years before I launched a product.
Finding The Right Price/Value Balance
I have learned that you should not low-ball your products, but trying to find the happy medium between what it’s worth and making it affordable has been difficult for me.
Nevertheless, it always bothered me when people told me I should charge soooooo much more. Why did that make me so uncomfortable? I wasn’t really sure why until this recent launch.
Just because someone has a large presence on YouTube or social media, doesn’t mean they know how to create products that are worth thousands of dollars.
One thing I KNEW about my courses is I had to improve upon helping people get more RESULTS.
Granted, no course is going to help every single person, but I always wanted to challenge myself in that area. I knew I needed to improve, and I made that my personal mission for my latest course.
I always got “great course” feedback on my courses, but not enough “I’m making money because of your course” kind of feedback until the latter editions of my Merch By Amazon course.
Again, because I got a lot of feedback from students, I continued to add/update the course to reflect any questions/feedback I received.
That was HUGE for me as a course creator. We cannot improve without feedback, and I rarely got constructive feedback on my 2create courses.
Again, that’s a result of the low engagement, and I take FULL responsibility for that.
Within two weeks of launching my latest POD Niche Site Success course I had 4 different people tell me they started making money right away, and a couple of them posted in my private, student group.
Another testimonial came in that same day!
I have blocked their names/faces by request because this is a private, student-only Facebook group.
Yes, within two weeks of launch I’m hearing about success! I’ve never, ever gotten that kind of feedback so quickly.
So with regards to price, I wasn’t all that keen on raising them too much until I got better with helping people GET RESULTS.
As far as the pricing strategy goes, I have yet to test the limited-time enrollment.
I know people are making oodles of money doing this. For some reason, I’m not ready for that just yet. Maybe I’ll test that this year.
The Indirect, Less Obvious Value of YouTube
People always measure one’s success on YouTube by their subscriber numbers.
You know how I feel about the hang up on vanity metrics. [rolls eyes]
Subscribers don’t mean as much if you aren’t using them to help your bottom line, and this time I did a better job of that.
Not just by promoting the upcoming course in my videos, but the comment section was immensely valuable to my course creation process!
I can now say that YouTube was single-handedly my best resource in 2019 when it came to discovering what people in my PSP audience TRULY value.
It all started with my 14-day challenge back in January to get the video momentum going.
I uploaded more videos in 2019 than I have in a very long time, and they were mostly focused on Print on Demand (earning royalties from T-shirt designs).
I hadn’t been doing many videos on the T-shirt biz, so I was out of touch with what people wanted and needed in that space.
I used YouTube to help attract more people to my channel that would be interested in the T-shirt content.
I debated on whether or not I should start another channel. I’m glad I didn’t. Even though the majority of my subscribers subbed for different content and my channel viewing engagement is pretty low, I decided to use the same channel because the newer content is still about earning online.
As a result of uploading more videos, I was rewarded with 10,000 more subscribers this year and finally received the 100K Silver Play Button plaque from YouTube!
Don’t get me wrong. I am proud of that milestone, but what good are new subscribers if you aren’t using them to help your bottom line?
I’ve been on YouTube since 2007, and this was the first time I effectively used my videos to help me grow my product income.
Not just by promoting my upcoming course in the videos, but actually soaking up the comments and using them for inspiration for what to include in a course.
YouTube comments can be one of the best research tools for figuring out what to sell. I took notes on the most common issues with regards to print on demand and used those as a blueprint for my latest course.
It’s a shame people put so much emphasis on subscribers because there’s so many other indirect benefits of being on YouTube.
I wish the mentality of “followers automatically equals success” would die, but I know it never will.
So What Took Me So Long?
I was having brunch with one of my good friends and was telling her about the recent launch. I mentioned how I’ve struggled with selling over the years.
Her response was…
As if to say, “You’ve been out here all this time and you still struggle with that?”
The majority of the money I’ve made online has not been because of selling products to people directly.
It was passive income from ads, YouTube partner income, reselling domains and affiliate links. In fact, I still have some passive income streams that I created over 15 years ago.
So when it came time to actually sell my first course in 2014, I realized I had a lot to learn.
Just because I had a big audience that likes my videos and content, didn’t mean I knew exactly what or how to sell to them.
Passive Shirt Profits has taught me so much and reinforced things I already knew but never really implemented myself…
- It’s not the size of the list but how targeted the audience is.
- People value ACTIONABLE steps with SPECIFIC examples in a course — not just a conglomeration of information crammed into one course.
- It makes a huge difference when you build buzz on multiple platforms before launch.
- Your popularity shouldn’t be the only determining factor when it comes to pricing products. You have to consider the RESULTS the product yields as well.
As far as pricing goes, a lot of you all warned me about low-balling, but sometimes we have to make the mistake and learn things the hard way.
And instead of just focusing on how much you can charge or earn, put as much emphasis on making sure your course generates RESULTS.
Passive Shirt Profits has never gotten close to the traffic or income this site has received.
Not. Even. Close.
But my products/courses have converted far better than any site I’ve ever created because I’m learning to be more results-oriented and my audience is more targeted.
This course launch meant a lot more than the first Passive Shirt Profits course launch in 2017.
It’s hard to know for sure, but I would imagine a lot of those initial customers came from this site because I hadn’t really built much of an audience for the T-shirt space in 2017.
However, this launch was different.
I put 2create on hold last year and directed all my energy and content to the T-shirt space. So the buzz I generated for this recent launch more than likely came from YouTube uploads and podcast content I created in 2019.
It goes to show, that learning to sell online is a process, and don’t expect it to come easy just because you have a large following of people who admire you.
I’ve had to rebuild over the years because a lot of 2create followers are no longer engaged.
Also, earning passively from ads and affiliate links is much, much different than selling a product.
You have to learn how to create products people actually want, need and then you have to generate RESULTS for your customers.
And guess what?
I’m STILL learning to this day!
So the journey continues. Looking forward to growing and helping even more people in 2020!
Thanks, everyone for your support and hanging with me even when I haven’t had much to share here. 🙂
I hope you have a healthy and prosperous 2020!
Daniel Gray says
congratulation, to achieve and success in your goal. But I have a question? can Print on demand market has a potentiation to create an asset with it? can POD still working?
ERP Online says
I loved your course … we always need to find balance …
I’m learning a lot from your blog ..
Thanks for sharing!
Emma Marie says
I want to buy the course. Does the keywords effective on Redbubble only?
Lisa Irby says
You can actually use the tips for any POD, but I use RedBubble as the primary example because that’s the focus for my biggest niche. But what’s great about the course is you can apply the lessons to any POD.
Excellent, Lisa. Even when it’s been a while since you posted, I always look forward to hearing what you have to say because it is always on point!
I have had my main website for going on 7 years now, and while I have no problems creating content and products, I’ve always done poorly with growing my audience and selling what I have. (So maybe I do have problems with some of my past content/products because I may not have created what folks were really looking for…)
Anyhow, I can’t go out like that anymore. I realize that I have to commit myself to principles of success regarding online business, including the type of stuff you post. Thanks as always, and blessings on you for sharing what you know.
Lisa Irby says
Shawn, thanks for stopping by. It’s definitely a journey and that’s why I like to show where I stumbled because everyone goes through that. Wishing you the absolute best in whatever you do!
Hi, Lisa. a very happy new year to you. What a great post. Still getting passive income 15 years after it was first produced is massive. Its a great testerment that this all actually works. If done the right way from the beginning of this
Lisa Irby says
Thank you Richard!
Agus Purnomo says
Good job. Nice web. Thank you.
Mitchell Allen says
Happy New Year, Lisa!
This post was worth the wait. 🙂
While there are many nuggets here, my big takeaway was this:
” In fact, I still have some passive income streams that I created over 15 years ago.”
That is so cool.
Here’s to an epic 2020!
Lisa Irby says
Thank you Mitch! Same to you! Thanks for always supporting my blog!