Use 3rd Party Marketplaces as just a Marketing Tool – To get new leads and customers – not to build your long-term business
In the last episode, I talked about Hosting your membership site on a third-party marketplace – like Udemy.com and SkillShare.com
Today’s episode is part 2 of that show – a continuation. So if you haven’t listened to that one, check out Episode #16 first. In fact, start from episode 15 if you’re new to this show, so that you can catch up to what’s going on in this mini series. For the shownotes of today’s episode, go to subscribeme.fm/17/ . It’s the same pattern for all episodes – subscribeme.fm/ and then the number of the episode.
In the last episode, towards the end, I was talking about the reasons why you should NOT make a 3rd party platform like Udemy your main course delivery platform.
I talked about the first 3 reasons. Now here’s reason #4 why you should NOT make a 3rd party marketplace your main course delivery platform.
They have restrictions on what kind of emails you can send to your buyers. From what I’ve read, most of these marketplace platforms will not allow you to send your buyers links via email that lead back to your site. You cannot send out other offers of your own or affiliate links. Your access to your buyer’s list is very restricted, and your email list that you build on such a platform cannot be downloaded, imported into another system, it cannot be sold as part of your company if you end up selling your company. So this rented list is not a true asset for your business.
Reason #5: Instead of building your own business, you are essentially building THEIR business. They are the ones really getting a paying customer. They’re just paying you a small commission, for all practical purposes. They are the ones who can continue to market other courses to your buyer. For LIFE. They are building an asset off of YOUR back. It’s their lifetime customer value that keeps going up, not yours.
#6 why you should NOT make a 3rd party platform like Udemy your main course delivery platform: A lot of the stuff on Udemy is coupon-driven. Udemy frequently offers up 100 or 200 or even 300 dollar courses, for just 10 dollars. And it feels like this “buy any course for 10 bucks” promo happens like almost once every couple of weeks. Of course, as a seller, you would need to opt in for this promotion. So you basically have to tell Udemy that it’s ok for them to promote your 300 dollar course for 10 dollars. And then they practically spam the heck out of all their buyers – which, remember, includes your buyers as well. I won’t lie to you – I myself have purchased a couple of courses on Udemy after they dropped from a few hundred bucks to just 10 bucks. And as a seller, it’s tempting to opt in to this promo, because you know Udemy is marketing the heck out of these 10 dollar courses, and you certainly don’t want to be left out. But guess what? If the course sells for 10 bucks, then you’re probably going to get paid 1/2 of that, because remember, it’s not your promotional effort – the 10 dollar promo is their promotion. And you can’t maximize the transaction by upselling them or add them to your list and market them other stuff. Guess who gets to do all of that? Udemy, of course!
Finally, reason #7 to not use a marketplace platform to build your long-term business: They don’t allow you to sell recurring subscription products. Not as far as I can tell. Just 1-time products.
So this whole miniseries is not really about picking on Udemy. In fact, if were to ever use a third-party marketplace, I would pick udemy over all other solutions out there.
What I’m talking about is strictly about not focusing on a third-party marketplace to build your entire membership business. Basically, I’m telling you to stop renting and buy a house. That’s all. So you could technically replace everything I said about Udemy and replace it with any of the other 50 course-creation web sites that are out there. I just use Udemy in my examples beacause it is the most popular one.
There are so many out there, that I found an article online that lists all of them. And I will link to it in my show notes. It is on a web site called learningrevolution.net
Some of the names are: Ruzuku, Teachable, Skillshare, Digital Chalk, Mindbites, Mindflash, WizIq and on and on and on.
Now, let’s flip the coin and see what’s on the other side…
You can use Udemy and other such online course creation platforms as a marketing tool – maybe repurpose some old content, old videos, and see if you can leverage that massive organic traffic that you can get from them. And you can try to fly under the radar and using bonus lessons and other tricks, see if you can get them over to your web site.
If you have to tiptoe around too much, then I don’t know if it’s worth it. Because for all that time and effort, you would be better off creating maybe a podcast, or creating any number of courses within your own content library, where even if you sell it for 5 bucks, you get to keep the entire 5 bucks. And if you used a membership plugin like DAP, then you can make each buyer into your own affiliate, and you can offer THEM commissions to help you promote your product. Every member becomes an affiliate, they promote it, bring in more buyers, then each one of THOSE people becomes an affiliate and brings in more members, and so on. A massively viral marketing opportunity using an affiliate program. And you can use all of that to build YOUR own business, and not the business of somebody else.
So before I conclude, let me talk about WHEN and WHY it is a great thing to use Udemy.com
#1) Marketplaces like Udemy are great if you’re just getting started, don’t have an established name or brand. And you’re trying to build a name for yourself. And you want maximum exposure for your brand. In that case, create a free course. And then create a more expensive course, make it worth a lot – like 100 or 300 bucks. And then participate in all of their promotions, because at this point, making money or building a successful business should not be your goal. Your goal is to get your name and your brand out there in front of as many people as you can.
And #2) Getting that kind of exposure will help you get noticed, help you build authority, if your course gets thousands of students, you can leverage that exposure into becoming a mini celebrity. Use that as a testimonial – 5,000 students on Udemy with high ratings – and you can go as a guest on other podcasts, write a book about how you created it, create an online course about how you did all of this, then use that in order to help others with their marketing, and so on. So if you don’t have your own web site, then marketplaces like Udemy can be a great starting point to go where there’s already traffic, and create your presence. Just like renting a store at the mall, where there are already so many buyers. Like selling on Amazon. Like putting you podcast on iTunes. Like writing a blog post on Medium.com, rather than on your own blog. So to leverage a large, built-in audience, that’s where Udemy and other marketplaces are priceless. But you have to know where to draw the line when it comes to renting versus owning. And unless you bring it all back to your web site, you don’t have a successful, long-term business. And you sure as heck cannot sell recurring subscriptions on most of these marketplaces.
So remember, out of the 3 ways to host your membership site…
1) A Self-Hosted WordPress Site
2) A fully-hosted membership site
And 3) A third-party marketplace like Skillshare and Udemy
The absolute best option, in my humble yet spectacularly wise and intelligent opinion, is to have your own WordPress-based site running on your own hosting account, running a membership plugin like DAP, where you OWN and have full control over your content, your members, your affiliates, your emails, the payments… basically everything. And THAT is how you build a successful, long-term profitable online business.
Whether you are a new listener or a returning friend – thank you so much for letting me into your world, and for listening to my show.
And don’t forget to check out my new book at SubscribeMeBook.com, and my book is also about membership sites and online courses.
And if you want to offer me any kind of feedback, or if you forgot any of the links I mentioned here, then go to the show notes for this episode at subscribeme.fm/17/
Cheers and talk to you on the next episode.
Friends don’t let friends go without telling them about SubscribeMe.fm. So please let a friend know about this – the link you can share, is http://SubscribeMe.fm.
If you want future episodes to be automatically downloaded to your device as soon as they’re available, then subscribe to the show on iTunes at SubscribeMe.fm/itunes/ , or on Android at SubscribeMe.fm/android/ .
Thanks for listening.
– Ravi Jayagopal
PS: The audio players above and below are powered by CoolCastPlayer 🙂
Check out the full podcast below…