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076: How to Sell Online Courses with Amy Porterfield

Ready to learn how to sell online courses so you can turn your expertise into a profitable asset? We’re sharing all the details of what separates successful, repeatable, and scalable marketing and launching from the rest!

Welcome to our Course Creation mini-series! From August 26, 2021 – September 23, 2021, we’re bringing back a mix of fan favorites episodes from 2020 all about digital courses, plus a brand new interview with course creation queen Amy Porterfield herself! If you want to create an online course, this series is for you.

How to Sell Online Courses

So you’ve created an online course you want to sell–now what?!

It can be overwhelming thinking about the marketing and all that goes into selling and launching your online course.

Where do you start? What should you do if your launch ‘flops’? What team and systems do you need in place? Should you live launch or evergreen? Should you work with affiliates?

The list of questions about how to sell online courses goes on and on, but fortunately today, we’ve got answers!

(If you’re brand new to digital course creation, be sure to listen to part one of this conversation where we talk all about how to create an online course!)

How to sell and market online courses in 2021 with Amy Porterfield

My incredible guest today is Amy Porterfield, an online marketing expert and the host of the top-ranked podcast, Online Marketing Made Easy. Before building a multi-million dollar digital course business, Amy worked with mega brands like Harley-Davidson and Peak Performance Coach, Tony Robbins, where she oversaw the content team and collaborated on ground-breaking online marketing campaigns.

Through her bestselling courses and popular podcast, Amy’s action-by-action approach proves that even the newest online entrepreneurs can bypass the overwhelm, and instead generate exciting momentum as they build a business they love. Her Digital Course Academy opens for enrollment for a limited-time on September 21st, 2021!

What you’ll learn in this episode:

  • The first thing you need to have in order to have a successful course launch
  • When to start with paid ads
  • How to troubleshoot when you have an ‘unsuccessful’ launch
  • When to use live launches vs. evergreen launches
  • How to stop plateauing and scale your launches over time
  • When and who to hire to help your launches grow, plus how to create systems
  • When should you use affiliates to help promote your course, and how can you best support their success?

Subscribe and Review

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for The Success with Soul Podcast on Apple Podcasts so we can improve and better serve you in the future. Plus, you could be featured on a future episode during our listener spotlights. Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and I read each and every one of them.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts to get automatic updates. My goal for this podcast is to inspire those who seek flexibility and freedom in their lives by making something happen with holistic, soulful, step-by-step strategies from me and other experts.

Links + Resources Mentioned in this Episode: 

Related Episodes:

More Ways to Enjoy Success with Soul

FAQs About How to Sell Online Courses

How do you create an online course to sell?

It doesn’t need to be overwhelming to create an online course–you just need to offer a proven system or roadmap that works. For an introduction to creating digital courses, listen to this interview about how to create an online course with course creation expert, Amy Porterfield.

What’s the first step to having a successful digital course launch?

Ideally, you’ll need an email list of at least 250 subscribers before launching your course for the first time.

Is Amy Porterfield’s Digital Course Academy worth it?

Yes! Digital Course Academy gave me the roadmap I needed to earn multiple six-figures in my business–and you can do it too! It’s only open for a limited time, so be sure to enroll here before the doors close!

Kate Kordsmeier 0:00

Welcome, welcome, welcome. We are back with the Success with Soul podcast. I'm your host, Kate Kordsmeier. And Amy Porterfield is back in the house. Our returning guest is here today, we are kind of picking up where we left off last year. So Amy joined us back in 2024, Episode 21 of the Success with Soul podcast and we talked all about how to transition from a nine to five job and start a side hustle by creating a digital course business. So that was part one right how to create a digital course what even is an online course? What does this look like? What do you need to get started getting over the imposter syndrome feelings, learning how to teach all of the setup. That episode was the one on one on digital courses. Today, Amy's here giving us lesson 102 on digital courses. We're talking all about how to actually sell and market your digital course today. So in case you missed it Amy Porterfield is an online marketing expert. She's host of the top ranked podcast online marketing made easy and one of my personal faves, and she runs a multiple multiple million dollar digital course business. Amy is the creator of two online courses that I love list builder society and the Digital Course Academy which is actually open for enrollment as we speak. As a proud student and graduate of digital course Academy and now a proud affiliate of digital course Academy I can safely say that my business would not be what it is today without Amy's help. So if you are thinking about starting a digital course or maybe you are already a course creator who is struggling to market and sell that course, this episode is for you. And I cannot wait to dive in. Amy let's do it. You're listening to the Success with Soul podcast with Kate Kordsmeier x journalists turn see CEO of a multi six figure blog in online business. But it wasn't that long ago that Kate was a struggling entrepreneur who lacked confidence, clarity, and let's be honest money. But all those failures, experiments and lessons learned helped Kate create a thriving business that impacts 1000s and brings freedom, flexibility and fulfillment to her life. If you're ready to do the same and make something happen with holistic, soulful, step by step strategies from Kate and other experts, you're in the right place. Here's your host writer, educator, Mom, recovering perfectionist, bookworm and sushi connoisseur, Kate Kordsmeier. Amy Welcome back to Success with Soul.

Amy Porterfield 2:34

Well, hello there, I'm so glad to be here.

Kate Kordsmeier 2:37

You are our first guest to come on twice. So welcome return, repeat fav I felt very special. Awesome. And last time, we talked all about how to create a course who create you know who courses are right for. And this time I want to go like, let's go level two. Let's talk about I've got my course now, how do I sell and market this thing?

Amy Porterfield 3:00

Yes, I think this is a great topic to get into. It's like the next level. Yeah.

Kate Kordsmeier 3:05

So excited. Alright, so some people may have a digital course created, what happens next? Where does someone actually get started with marketing their course or promoting it? Like, what's one of your, like, let's get started actually selling this

Amy Porterfield 3:21

thing. Okay, so the first thing is you need an audience to sell to, and social media is good, it's a good place to start for sure. But I also say don't build your business on rented land and social media is very much rented, meaning the algorithm can change at any time, you can't control it, and boom, things change for how you're building your business. So first things first, start building an audience using social media. But also it's that very important asset, your email list. And I really do believe in email list is the foundation of building an online business. It's so incredibly important. And the great news is you do not need a huge email list to be successful. I have story after story of my course creators who have sold their digital course with success with the smallest like, let me tell you one, one of my favorites is Rob green, and he's a photographer. And during COVID, he decided I'm going to finally create this course that I've been thinking about, and he created a course on flash photography. So his type of course, I would call a spotlight course he took one area that he knows a lot about, and he went deep with it. So he created this spotlight course all about flash photography. And he sold it and made it $12,000 on his first launch with a list of less than 100 people. They got a list of less than 100 people made $12,000 so I have story after story after story of students who did not have huge email list, but were able to launch their course but most of them did have a small email list and I think it's important so that's truly like the number one place you want to start.

Kate Kordsmeier 5:00

So people love to have hard and fast rules. And I know you and I both know, that's not how it all works. But if you had to say, Don't launch your course until you have X number of subscribers, what's your number?

Amy Porterfield 5:13

Okay, so my numbers 250 250 subscribers. Now, here's the great thing. You can be building your email list while you create your course. I have taught this for so many years, I know my students are hungry to get it out there. So I said, okay, as long as you're building your email list, well, you're slowly but surely creating your digital course, totally fine. But make it your goal. 250 people on your email list and then launch.

Kate Kordsmeier 5:38

Okay, and what have you found to be the fastest way to grow your email list?

Amy Porterfield 5:43

Ooh, I love this question. So the fastest way? Well, the simplest way is with a lead magnet, like a PDF, or a guide of some guide, a cheat sheet, a checklist. But I also love a challenge, like doing a three to five day challenge. I also love doing just a really simple workshop for free and then having them join your email list in exchange for the workshop. I like like the Quick Hits as well, because they tend to attract an audience that's like, let's do this now. So they're a little bit different than the regular lead magnet, which they work really well.

Kate Kordsmeier 6:20

And if you're creating a lead magnet, are you a fan? You know, I'm a big blogging fan. So I'm like, you have your blog, you've got a lead magnet and your blog posts. If you do you like that method, do you have a different method? Where are you putting this lead magnet,

Amy Porterfield 6:33

I love your method a lot. Like I love the idea of writing a great blog post, and then embedding it in the blog post even two, three times or a pop up box on that blog post and that the freebie relates to the blog post. I love that. I love the idea if you have a podcast mentioning at the top of the podcast, possibly at the end as well, I think that's incredibly valuable. And then definitely you're mentioning it in social. And I think the important part about list building is if you have some kind of freebie you're mentioning it more than once you're mentioning it regularly, like once a week at least. And linking to it in your bio on social media is an important place. So you want multiple ways for people to find it.

Kate Kordsmeier 7:18

Yes, I think that's so important. With everything I feel like people are so quick to be like I posted about it once didn't get the results I want. So it didn't work over and over and over again, consistency, and you think that you're repeating yourself, but I think it's also like an ego thing where we want to thank everybody is paying such close attention to everything that we're doing. It's like most people probably missed it the first time that you posted it. So, so true. Yes. What about paid ads? Like when do you suggest someone get started without using ads to grow their list?

Amy Porterfield 7:51

Okay, so I love this question, I always tell my students second launch. So here's the thing with a digital course, I encourage my students to create a digital course and then launch it over and over and over again. So when you're an entrepreneur, one of the most efficient things you can do is keep yourself from reinventing the wheel every single time you start somebody new, or every single time you want to promote something. So I love the idea of promoting the same thing over and over again. And so because of that, I think it's important that you think about this idea that you create it once and then you launch it over and over again. Oh, my gosh, I forgot the question, literally.

Kate Kordsmeier 8:34

This is how you know like you have a lot going on. I do this all the time. Like as it's coming out of my mouth, I've lost my train of thought, What am I saying? The question was, when do you suggest someone start with paid

Amy Porterfield 8:45

paid ads? Thank you saying launch. So if you're going to launch over and over again, I like the idea that you do not use ads the first launch because number one, most people don't have the money to run Facebook ads on a first launch. So I love the idea of reinvest investing in your business with the second launch. And also, there's so many moving parts, like ads can be complicated. So let's keep that complication out of the mix till you're a little bit more competent on your feet in terms of launching a course for the very first

Kate Kordsmeier 9:15

time. Right? Okay, love it. Now, would you suggest somebody who's like I do actually have a little bit of money to invest? I'm not like that. Maybe they're not going to use ads for their first launch, but they're going to use ads just to grow their list before they launch. Do you feel like that's never a good idea? Yes, I actually love that. So if you can invest a little bit of money on Facebook ads, using ads to grow your email list is a brilliant way in order to get people in your funnel early so you can nurture them over time. So I'm all for spending money on building your email list like that. Yeah, I asked because when you were on here last year, we talked about how I had a very failed launch after doing you know some bad Facebook ads investments but then I followed your pre launch runway. And during that time I ran ads to grow my list. And so I think I started, you know, maybe with like, 1000 people. And then I grew my list to like 10,000 people, and then I launched. But during that time, I was nurturing them. So it wasn't like I got them on my list. And then they didn't hear from me for a couple months. Yeah, all of a sudden, it's like, buy my thing.

Amy Porterfield 10:23

Yes, I absolutely love that. It's that idea that building relationship over time, you know, it made me think of something, a lot of people will talk about launching their course. And they'll say, but, Amy, everything I'm going to teach, you could find it for free on YouTube. So what the heck, you know, why would I create this course and spend all this effort launching if you can find it on youtube for free. And when I always say is people want to buy from people, they have a relationship with that they're really, they're, they're gravitating toward that person that gets them they resonate with. And so relationships matter in selling online. And so that's another reason why it matters. And then also, just to answer that question a little bit deeper, even though you didn't even ask me the question, but I'm gonna answer it for myself. I love it. Buy your course, even though they can find some of the answers online on youtube for free, because they want a roadmap, they want the fastest way from point A to point B, with out a lot of fluff are hunting, hunting and pecking all over the web. Right? So that's another reason why they pay for it.

Kate Kordsmeier 11:25

Yeah, totally. I mean, I hear that all the time. When I first created my very first course, I basically was like 10, blog posts that were already in existence. And I turned them into a course and added, you know, a couple extras and was like, This is the course. But if anybody was paying super close attention, they'd be I already have all this information.

Amy Porterfield 11:45

But the way you put it together made it so easy for them. And I mean for Yes,

Kate Kordsmeier 11:50

yeah, totally. So you said that you recommend people launching their same course over and over and over again? Yeah. So I want to talk a little bit about live launching versus evergreen and things like that. But before we get there, how do you know like, let's say you launch once or twice, and you don't get the results you were looking for? How do you know that? It's not like my course sucks, or I suck? Or Yeah, you know that it's like you maybe need to try something different in the launch strategy?

Amy Porterfield 12:21

Oh, my gosh, I get this question a lot. And in my program, digital course Academy, probably one of the most popular resources I have is this troubleshooting guide, where if a launch doesn't go as planned, instead of thinking, I'm not a good entrepreneur, I don't know how to market online, my course is crap. Because I know 99.9% of the time, that is never the answer. There's different things that you can do to look at how it went. And usually, the number one thing is your messaging for your webinar. So I teach people how to launch courses with webinars. And because webinars are such a new thing to most people in the course, I teach them slide by slide by slide like this is exactly what you do all the way through the slide deck. But if someone's never done a webinar before, sometimes they don't hit it out of the park the first time out, I sure as heck didn't hit it out of the park, it takes a few. And so I always have them go back to Okay, let's look at the messaging around what you're offering in the webinar, the messaging of how you're talking about your course, the words you're using, how you're positioning your solution to their problem. So that tends to be messaging. Also, sometimes it's that people kind of missed the mark on what people are actually wanting. So you look at your expertise, what can you teach? What do you know, what can you put out there in terms of here's how to get results? But what solutions? Are they actually looking for meaning their challenges? Have you made a really good connection between the challenges they have, and the solution you have? Again, sometimes that's just messaging. So that's the first place I always have my students look

Kate Kordsmeier 13:56

so smart. And one thing that I will all say is just like you get better with practice, too, especially like webinars and stuff, the first webinar is going to be really awkward, probably, especially if you're not used to like speaking in public. And even I was watching this, somebody who I have hired, she's a coach that I use, and she's launched a Patreon channel. Yeah, for some of her like one on one services. And I was watching one of her videos, and when she gets to the pitch, she was like, all bubbly and excited and, you know, happy to be sharing the free information she was and she gets to the pitch and she kind of starts looking down. She's looking over here. And it's like, you can tell that she's like, Oh, I don't like doing this and but if you do it enough times, you'll get better and better at it. And you know, you can go back and watch yourself and see if it's painful, but like

Amy Porterfield 14:44

it's been Yeah, but I'm glad you brought this up. That's probably the number one challenge for people on webinars, they get to the pitch in their voice kind of cracks, like you said, they look down and the energy shifts. And so there's one there's a little strategies you can do. So that doesn't happen, but two, I think the most Important practice, like you said is you just got to do a lot. I've done hundreds of webinars, so I'm totally comfortable on them. But let me tell you the first webinar was a disaster. Second one wasn't that much better either. Just get better.

Kate Kordsmeier 15:12

Yeah, everything is like, go back to anybody who's super successful and go back, like in their history. I mean, with the internet. Now, this is actually so easy to do. And you can be like, Oh, wow. So Amy wasn't always this.

Amy Porterfield 15:27

back and look at any advice.

Kate Kordsmeier 15:30

I know me tell. Yeah. When I Same thing with bloggers all the time, too, are like, Oh, my first post has to be perfect. And like, if you just accept that your first post is going to be crap, you'll move on and get better and better with the next post. If you wait to publish until you're perfect. Like it'll never happen. So true. Okay, so live launching versus evergreen. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, you have list builder society, which you sell on evergreen? Yeah. And you have digital course Academy, which you sell through live launches, right? Yes. Okay. So why for each?

Amy Porterfield 16:06

Okay, great question. So I believe that it's important to have both in your business, a product that you live launch maybe once, twice, three times a year, and then also an evergreen product. So an evergreen product is, is the truth of you make money while you sleep, which genuinely does happen when you set it up, right. And so that is important, because that's the really consistent revenue once you start seeing what can come in on a weekly basis. And if you really look at your numbers, we can predict what we're going to make week after week within evergreen, once you get it dialed in, it's not ever one and done. Don't let anyone ever tell you that. evergreen is like you do it once and you leave it for years doesn't work that way. No, but it is something that you tinker with, but you don't have to start over with at all. And it can be really profitable. Okay, so evergreen very valuable in the business. But here's the truth. Live launching is important because there's a higher perceived value with something that is live versus pre recorded. I can't even tell you how often I get on a live webinar. And the number one question in the comments. Is this live? Is this live? Is this live? Like, even if I did the exact same thing pre recorded? They just love that I'm there live, even if I'm not doing q&a? Yeah, it's a aired. So weird. But that is there's a higher value. Yeah, so so likely more people will buy on a live webinar than something that's pre recorded. So we see a smaller conversion with our evergreen versus live, but it's more consistent. So it starts to add up right when I'm live, I could do a 1012 15% conversion rate on a live webinar, where evergreen gets you to 3% a week. So it's very, very different. And I also believe that live allows you to understand what your clients want more of what they don't like, what they need, where they're struggling, they tell you in the moment. And with a live launch, you can pivot you could change things evergreen, you're not really sure what's going on, you have to really dig for some answers for that. So there's pros and cons of both. I like having both in my business.

Kate Kordsmeier 18:19

Yeah, I love it. So when you say live launching, do you mean that just the webinar is live, but the course is all pre recorded or that everything in the delivery is live?

Amy Porterfield 18:30

Great question. In my case, I'm just talking about the the webinars and just the 10 days of cart open. I'm live so I'm doing more Facebook Lives. I'm doing all my webinars live. I'm in live chat, like I'm very present, and so is my team. But my course is pre recorded, that thing is ready to go. And when when I teach brand new students though, I have them create the course once they sell it, so their course isn't even ready. But they still pre recorded on the back end.

Kate Kordsmeier 19:02

Okay, gotcha. And if you go the live launch method, how many times do you recommend live launching in a

Amy Porterfield 19:08

year. So I live launch twice a year, but with my beginner students, I because I have evergreen that does really well, I am able to make a really great revenue just launching twice as my launches are big. So I've been doing this 12 years, most of my students will launch two to three times a year with the same course.

Kate Kordsmeier 19:28

Okay, two to three times. Okay, so and I feel like there's also kind of this like light version of live launching, which would maybe be like you could do a live webinar, but the rest is all automated. So maybe you don't have to show up on social and do all the Facebook Lives and the other pieces like that. There's all these different variations and you got to figure out like which one works for you and which one feels good and I agree

Amy Porterfield 19:55

you make a great point. A lot of my students they'll follow my model but this They'll tweak it to make it their own. Right. Maybe they're busy moms, and they don't have time to do like these full on live launches in two days of their life. Right? They do hybrids, and I'm all for it.

Kate Kordsmeier 20:10

Yeah, I think I mean, with everything, it's just like, you got to figure out what works for you. And I'm a big fan of taking courses or joining masterminds and programs and like, I'm going to follow their advice, because I paid them for it. Like, let me do it their way. And then I'll tweak and I'll figure out okay, I like this. I didn't like that this worked, you know, figure out what's right for you. Okay, so then let's switch gears, some evergreen questions for you know, when your evergreen does this, we've talked about this on the podcast before, we've had a couple of different guests talking about evergreen and I have dubbed myself the Evergreen Queen, because I hate launching, and so I only do evergreen now. Okay. And so, I am curious, is the course always available? Somebody could go to your website and buy the course at any time. Is there some sort of entry point like, how do people get into the funnel?

Amy Porterfield 21:04

Okay, so yes, the course is available at any time. So if you go to the website of my evergreen course, you can buy it at any time. However, the only way for you to get specific bonuses is if you get into the funnel. So the funnel would be let's say, a Facebook ad or a mention on a Facebook Live that I do, or I mentioned it on my podcast, and it sends you to a page to sign up for my free masterclass all about how to get started, in this case with list building. And so you start with an ad or a mention that takes you to a webinar registration page.

Kate Kordsmeier 21:42

Okay. And then they register for the webinar. It's pre recorded because it's evergreen, right. And so then what happens after they register,

Amy Porterfield 21:52

okay, so I take anyone who registered through an eight day cycle. And basically with these eight days, you have these opportunities to get these special bonuses if you enroll in the course. So you're going to go watch the webinar. And then you're going to hear about the course here about the bonuses. And if you don't buy, you're going to get emails about the course and about the bonuses knowing that it is going to expire. So here's what's really cool when you use specific webinar software that I'll tell you what software I use. But what's so great about certain evergreen webinar software, or just software in general for evergreen is that everybody has a unique link. And that link expires when you tell it to meaning that if on day nine, someone were to click the link to buy my course, they would go to a sales page with all my course details, and they can still buy, but they'll see a notification saying so sorry, the bonuses expired. And to me, that's how I stay in integrity to say you only have, let's say eight days to get these bonuses, and then they really do expire. So to me that part's important.

Kate Kordsmeier 22:58

Yeah, I totally agree. Because, you know, urgency and scarcity. And those things can work in marketing, but only if they're actually real. And you know, it's like if you tell somebody, the course is going away, or the bonuses are expiring, and they get to your page, and they're like I can still purchase, then you've totally lost all of the trust that you may have had, you know, building up and it just doesn't it's a bad taste. I think in everybody's mouth. I think so too. Yeah. So we use deadline funnel for this. Is that what you use as well,

Amy Porterfield 23:29

we use easy webinar, but I love deadline funnel, and I've used deadline funnel in the past.

Kate Kordsmeier 23:35

Okay, yeah, so we used to use deadline funnel, then we switched to everything over into kartra. And then kartra had their own features that you could do this with. But what we found is that kartra uses cookies to do their tracking and deadline funnel uses like the IP address. So like if I register for your webinar on my phone, but then I click a link in my email on my computer. Using cookies, it's not going to register that I'm the same person. And so that was an issue that came up. And then because of all the third party cookie stuff that's been going on the last year, it became even harder. So we had to go back to deadline funnel, which I love and only stopped using because it was you know, a cost savings if we didn't have to use it. And we already had a tool,

Amy Porterfield 24:21

right? But deadline funnel is so easy to use. they've improved their software over the last few years to make it even more user friendly. And again, just to be clear, deadline funnel allows you to do the things that I was talking about earlier, which is expire links so that you can stay in integrity. And also we do things like because we have a funnel that's eight days, we do something where in the middle of it we offer a mid cart bonus Yeah, for like 24 hours we've added an extra bonus if you purchase. So those kinds of things. The scarcity and urgency of a funnel is important because it's human. In nature for people to procrastinate, and we give them eight days, so we don't rush them to make a decision. But we do want to encourage them to decide. And so having something like deadline funnel is so incredibly important.

Kate Kordsmeier 25:14

Yeah. And this would mean for anybody listening is like, wait, I still don't understand. If I register for Amy's webinar on a Monday, and Susie, registered for Amy's webinar on a Thursday, are we each have our own unique eight day windows? So yes, yes. So with that, I find that we get a lot of questions. Now, the way that we set up our evergreen is that the course goes away. So you can't enrollment is closed until you get into our funnel, then you have the ability to purchase and then the course goes away. And so we'll get questions like, when does your course open? And the answer is always and never because we don't like we don't live lunch. So there's not like we can't tell you a date. I mean, we can go into the specific person's like contact record and say, well, the last time we opened it for you is this date, we know your unique funnel will start again. Do you deal with any kind of customer service issues like that?

Amy Porterfield 26:10

Yes, I think that's probably it's been a while but I think that was one of the reasons why we went ahead and kept it open all the time. Just the bonuses went away. Because people would come in and say I missed it. Can I still buy it? Yeah, this is where it gets a little awkward. evergreen is not perfect. So there's always Little things like this. It got a little awkward to say okay, you have to go through the webinar again. Yeah. So for because of that, we would say you can go purchase right here, but if you want the bonuses use this link to go through the funnel again. I mean, it's kind of awkward, but yeah, works.

Kate Kordsmeier 26:45

Yeah. Okay. Interesting. Yeah, there. I mean, there's no perfect system for for any of it. So sometimes you just got to figure out like, what feels good to and, and we've tried different things. Like when I first went evergreen, we thought well, let's do the bonuses or actually no, we did a discount. So it was like if you buy in the funnel, you save 300 bucks. And then then we found that was like creating way too many customer service tickets and people being like, but you said the price was this and now the price is okay. Yeah. Alright friends coming in for a quick break here because I've got a secret to share with you about something that literally nearly tanked my business last year. So here's the story. After I figured out the formula on how to create a profitable blog and business doing what I loved, I knew I wanted to teach others how to do the same. And what was now my course the six figure blog Academy. After all, not only do I love teaching and helping people, but I knew it would be a lucrative way to monetize my blog beyond ad sponsors and affiliate marketing. So after my first soft launch was successful, and brought in nearly $20,000, I naively went into my second launch, and spent a ton of money on Facebook ads. Once I accounted for all of that ad spend. I ended up actually losing money and was in the red for the first time in my life. Oh my god, it was so stressful. And pretty much every day I wanted to throw in the towel and just quit and be a stay at home mom. So at first I didn't know what I did wrong. I was just so upset. But it wasn't until I went to Amy Porterfield entrepreneur experience event that October that I learned how to launch from the queen of digital courses herself. Amy Porterfield, I realized it takes a ton of intentional planning to launch the right way. And I'm so glad I took her advice particularly for the pre launch runway. So in my second official launch, I increased my revenue by 7.5 times and I actually made over $100,000 from that launch in January 2020. I could not have done this without Amy's course the Digital Course Academy. So if you are thinking about launching a course someday, do yourself a favor and save some major headaches and expensive trial and errors by taking Amy's free quiz to discover your personal path to creating a profitable digital course. You can do that at Katekordsmeier.com/coursequiz. You might as well make sure that every action step along the way is your next best move so you don't waste valuable time and resources. In less than two minutes. You'll figure out action by action what steps you should take based on your goals audience and business level. Again, head to Katekordsmeier.com/coursequiz and get your results today. It's free.

Alright, so you've got a course you decide whether live launching or ever Or both is right for you. And then what happens when people are ready to start scaling the results that they are getting? So what do entrepreneurs need to have in place before they start scaling?

Amy Porterfield 30:12

Okay, so when you ask this question, I love this question, but I want to dissect it a little. Are you saying they're already launching their course? But they want to scale it?

Kate Kordsmeier 30:21

Yes. Like they like say they've already launched a couple times. It's working. And they're like, Alright, now what's step three?

Amy Porterfield 30:28

Okay. So you've launched a few times, and you've gotten pretty good results. But let's say like, you're really going for something big. Maybe you made $50,000. On the first launch $75,000 on the second. And again, $75,000. On the third, like, a lot of my students will say, I made the same amount, but I thought that I was be making more from my third launch. And so when we want to scale, you have to look at a few things. Number one, look at your offer. And what we did in order to scale in order to and to me scaling is you're doing the same amount of work, but you're actually reaching a bigger audience or making more money. So you're at you're bringing not actually you are bringing in more revenue, but you're not doing a bunch of new work to make it happen. Right. And so for us to scale, we did need to just at the base level, tweak a few things when we kind of hit a what's the word where I tell? Yes, plateau? Yeah, that's gonna say threshold. And I was like, that's not the right word. When you hit a plateau. We went back and re surveyed our audience. And one of the things we did we actually recently did this. We said, what was the bonus that really moved the needle for you, if you were on the fence to buy? What was the one thing we didn't say bonus, what was the one thing that really moved the needle, and most people were mentioning different bonuses. So most people mentioned the fact that I'm in the group Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, four days a week for 10 weeks doing q&a. They loved my presence there, that was a big one for them. And then and they mentioned a few other things that just really worked. And then they we had them rate all of our bonuses, so we knew which ones were most attractive and least attractive. So we did an audit of the bonuses that we offer for our course, we actually took a few away to make it a little bit more simpler, and then really highlighted the ones that worked. And so that was one thing that move the needle for us. Another thing is if you're going to so getting your offer, right will help you scale, meaning there is a little work up front, but not a lot of work in order to bring in more money, right, the offer is one thing, you typically can't get it right until you ask. And then the second thing is you do have to grow your audience. And so here's what I tell my students, the most important thing to do when you are not launching is grow your email list. It's like your number one priority. When you're not in launch mode, you are growing your email list, whether that be through consistent PDFs and guides that you embed in your blog. Or if you do what I call list building Blitz, where you do something very concentrated for a short period of time, like a five day challenge, and you make a big deal of it in order to get that blast of new leads. But where most people hit that plateau is that they're not they're not growing their email list. And so it's the same people they're marketing to. And although that works to some extent, because some people don't by the first or second time, but they're ready the third time, you need to be breathing new life into your email list. So always be list building, because truly it is a secret to scaling. Yeah,

Kate Kordsmeier 33:39

100%. That was the biggest difference for me between first launch was great second launch, not so great. And it was like okay, what do I need to change? And it was like, Oh, I'm just launching to the same small group of people that I launched to the first couple times like, I gotta get some fresh blood in here. Yes. How about in terms of hiring? Do you feel like there's like, what are some of the first hires you like to make when you get to the scaling phase?

Amy Porterfield 34:04

Yes, hiring. I'm glad you brought this up. Hiring is a really great topic around scaling. So I believe that once you start making money with your launches, one of the most important hires is a project manager. And in some circles, even an integrator, you know, rocket fuel talks about this role as an integrator. But it's such an important role because in many ways with small businesses, that role becomes your sidekick. And so they become somebody who knows the business just as much as you do, especially when you're a small team. They are fully invested in the business they often treat it as though they're it's their own because they know it so well. And they get to have such a say in it. A project manager allows you as the owner of the business and the creator of your course to step back a little and not have to have your hands in everything. When you get to step back a little you tend to do your best work. You have new ideas for marketing. You tend to show up in a bigger way you have more energy, you're not bogged down by all the things. So to me when you are scaling hiring is something to think about. And a project manager is a very important role.

Kate Kordsmeier 35:12

Yeah. I love that you said that because I feel like most people are like, oh, a va and not that there's not a good place for VA is, but I feel like the launches and live launching is there are so many moving parts and so many things to be thinking about. And now of course, there's like, literally people have dedicated their entire careers to being like, course launch managers. And yes, there are people that are like, this is all they do all day long, and you can hire them, and they can come in and take all this off your plate and just tell you, Amy, you got to show up at this date and time to do these things. And like I've got the rest.

Amy Porterfield 35:45

Yes, it's so true. It's such a freeing. I used to tell my integrator boss me around tell me what to do. Because I was tired of running the whole show. I know, it makes a difference.

Kate Kordsmeier 35:56

Yeah, it's funny. I was just had a call with one of my coaches a couple of weeks ago, and she was saying, you need to hire bossier people, like you really need people to boss you around like we think but I'm the boss, but it's like, no, I need somebody to tell me what to do.

Amy Porterfield 36:10

Oh, amen. Me too.

Kate Kordsmeier 36:14

Okay, how about systems? Any systems you need to have in place in order to scale your course business?

Amy Porterfield 36:20

Yes. Okay. So when you have a digital course that you have launched, you have a proven roadmap, if you're looking to scaling, then what you're doing is already working, that proven roadmap for launching, not how you teach your course. But I'm talking launching specifically, it should be in a project management tool. This is something you could do for your first launch, but it's definitely something necessary to scale. And what I mean by that, is everything you do I'm talking every action item should be categorized probably three to six different categories or more in something like Asana as a na, Asana or Trello. Or what do you use? We use clickup. Oh, clickup. I don't even know that when there's so many out there. Okay, yeah, click up. So using a project management tool to dial in who's doing what, because by now, you likely do have a VA and maybe even thinking about a project manager. And it's so nice to assign them the different tasks they're going to do and the due dates and communicate in one place. When I say in categories, I mean, you have email marketing, you have the webinar, you have pre launch, these are all that you have the sales page, and then there's a bunch of tasks that fall underneath that, for my students who join me in digital course Academy. Literally, I give you all the action items that you can put in a project management tool, because I know it's a lot and the first kind of time you do it, you're like what the heck. But if you're scaling you, you have your own proven roadmap. Now you've maybe taken my model, but made it your own. Yeah. So project management tool is a must, in my opinion, for scaling, you've got to get organized, and people need to know when they're doing it and what they're doing.

Kate Kordsmeier 38:03

Yes. And I think something that comes up too, is like courses I love are just naturally like self study courses are naturally scalable, because in theory, no matter how many, whether you have one person or a million people in there, like the courses pre recorded, you know, but is there any pieces of the student experience or deliverability that you feel like are maybe not scalable? Or things that are helpful to put in place before you start that process?

Amy Porterfield 38:31

Ooh, that's a good question. So any pieces that are important to put before what

Kate Kordsmeier 38:36

before like of the student experience? So like you when you live launch? Now you have all like you just said Monday through Thursday, you're in the Facebook group doing live things like does that is that affected by how many students you have? Like, as you're scaling? And you're going from me? Oh, yeah, well, dozen to a couple 100? Or a couple 1000?

Amy Porterfield 38:56

Yes. So that's such a great point. So when you're always kind of guessing, but your guesses become more educated each time your your goal of how many people you're going to put in the course. But let's say it's your first course and you want 20 people in, you might offer something like one on one coaching to coaching sessions as part of your digital course. And that's very doable with 20 people. But yes, and that's something you can you need to decide before you actually launch. But as your numbers get bigger, that that what you give away? What part of you shows up live, if any, you don't have to, but that is determined by how many people are in the course. So for me, I do live q&a four days a week, but one thing we do is we say I can't guarantee I'm going to answer your question, but I can promise you I'm going to get to hundreds and hundreds of questions by the time this is over. But so yeah, there's some of those things you want to think of in advance.

Kate Kordsmeier 39:52

Yeah, okay. Such a good point. Now, I'm curious you have done DCA now with affiliates, and yeah, affiliates. Can we talk about it?

Amy Porterfield 40:01

Yeah, you and I have even talked about this like offline. Yes, I've done affiliates from the get go like from the I've done this for many years now. And just this year, I decided to do one launch without affiliates. And the reason for that is that affiliates, when you do it, right, and you do a lot of affiliates, like I have 200 affiliates, that is a lot of affiliate. So for the record, I do not do that alone, nor could I ever, I've been in business 12 years, I have an affiliate manager as a full time employee on my team, that makes a very big difference. Most people aren't doing 200 affiliates. So let's say that you include affiliates, one of the things you got to do is get really organized to make sure that those affiliates, whether use five affiliates, or 100 affiliates, they know where to get their links, they know how to market your product, they know who to market it to they know when things are going to unfold. And one of the things we've learned over time is that that all needs to be done in advance before we ever invite an affiliate in. Because I feel like it's our responsibility to really make sure you have everything you need. Yeah, that's a lot of work. And so I thought, what would it look like if I did a launch without affiliates, even though I love affiliates, I just thought I needed a break, I need to see what it would be like without affiliates. And so this March, we did a launch without affiliates. But then we also broke the cardinal rule of marketing, where we changed like 10 things at one time. So we didn't do one of my most popular things I do and that we're doing this time we didn't do a boot camp a 30, free day boot camp, free day, 30 day free boot camp, how to get started with your

Kate Kordsmeier 41:40

digital course I didn't even catch it. I was like free day. Yeah, that's good. We

Amy Porterfield 41:42

did a free day. We didn't do that we didn't do affiliates. We did a very short pre launch. And pre launch is something I teach in my program, which is kind of getting your audience ready for your course once you open the door. So we changed all of this stuff. And although it was still a multimillion dollar launch, what was really apparent to me is the energy of it wasn't there just wasn't quite there. I'm always used to affiliates. Yeah. So when to not have affiliates. And I've been doing interviews like this for the last few days. And I was telling my affiliate manager, I love these because I learned about like I learned more about Kate, we got to catch up, see what she's doing with their kids and how life is. And then I get to learn a little bit more about people's businesses. The questions asked make me think of things like I love this, I love this interaction. And there was none of that. And it felt the energy felt so low that I thought this isn't even fun. And when your launch isn't fun, there's a problem we've got, we got to make these launches fun, because there are a lot of work. So I prefer affiliates. But I wouldn't have known if I didn't take a step back and do a launch without.

Kate Kordsmeier 42:51

Well, I love that you are always leading by example. And then I let you do all the testing and then come back and say, Alright, here's what I learned.

Amy Porterfield 43:00

I say don't do it. Okay, if you miss affiliates, I would just keep use Do you use affiliates?

Kate Kordsmeier 43:04

Yes, we do. But it is a very different experience having affiliates for an evergreen course than it is for live launching. Very Yeah. And so what we've come up with is that we do partner only affiliate launches for our evergreen course. So we'll have we'll do a live webinar. And this is sort of that kind of hybrid thing we talked about before. Like, what we found is our affiliates weren't going to promote the Evergreen course, even though it meant they could be making sales every single day. Okay, I couldn't get them motivated to actually invite people to the webinar unless they were going to be live co hosting it with me.

Unknown Speaker 43:43

Wow. Okay, I get it. I Yeah.

Kate Kordsmeier 43:46

Are they needed that maybe it's not even the live co hosting part. It's like they needed the deadline. Right. Again, human nature is like I will procrastinate unless I had to do it by this date. So so we thought, Okay, well, we were doing really great with live launching with affiliates, they were making up like 50% of our sales when I was live launchings for like, that was working. Now we're not getting any sales. So we started this thing where they invite their audience to a live webinar, and then we co host it together, we put them into our funnel, and then the rest is automated. So all I have to do is show up for the live part. Yeah. And it works really well. And then there is that deadline for them. Because it's live that at least that one piece is. And so that's kind of been how we've managed it. And who knows well, we're I'm always trying to think of other ways to do things and see what's working and what's not. But it's good to know that. I know last year you were like, I don't know if I can do it without affiliates, but we're gonna see.

Amy Porterfield 44:47

And we did. I'm glad we did I love I can have a team that we're not afraid to try things. But I'm also not afraid to say like, Oh, I didn't like that. Yeah, it didn't work as well. I can't imagine I told my team, I said, Would we launch again, without affiliates? And they said, if we do small launches, sure. But if we want to go all out, let's get the energy up. And let's

Kate Kordsmeier 45:07

Yeah, so yeah. So for course creators who are like, I'm interested in trying out affiliates, what do you recommend, like getting started? What do you need to have in place? I mean, I know that's a big question. But any kind of quick tip.

Amy Porterfield 45:22

So first of all, get I think it's important to use a software that allows you to manage your affiliates, like what do you use in terms of managing the links and such?

Kate Kordsmeier 45:32

So when we switched to Karcher, because it really was this like, all in one platform? And so we use kartra. To manage our affiliates, I would say, it does leave a little bit to be desired, in terms of like, at least just what's the word I'm looking for, like user intuitive? Like, it's not very intuitive about it, where you find things, but it does, you know, it gets the job, right. Yeah, I've used other things in the past. But that's what we're using right now to I

Amy Porterfield 46:00

think there's a lot, Okay, so first, find a software that you can use, because you need to actually have the software to manage the affiliates manage the links, give you the links, and all of that I and I say that where some people are like dub, but some people don't know that, like you actually have to you have a software? Yeah, fusion soft is my system that I use for my CRM, way bigger than what most people need when they're just starting out. But it has an affiliate system with it. So I just use that. Yeah. Now, the other thing is, the most important thing I believe, of being an affiliate is having a really simple guide. Now it doesn't have to be super elaborate. You can create it in Google Docs. But I really do believe you want to explain what your program is all about who your program is for break down your program in terms of modules and lessons, they need the information. They can't market it if they don't know what the program is. Yeah. And then the same thing for the webinar. If you have a webinar, like Kate does, or like I do, what's the webinar title? What are they going to learn in the webinar so that they can properly market it? Also, if you can include an email or two that you wrote for them, and they can tweak that's called swipe? copy? That's always helpful as well. And then also important, where did they get the links? Where do they get the link to send people to the webinar? Where do they get the link to the sales page? Like, like Kate says, You got to really tell them where exactly to go to get this stuff. So it's really sitting down and saying, if I were an affiliate, what do I need to know to do a really good job for somebody else? put that together so they can do a good job for you?

Kate Kordsmeier 47:29

Yeah, I love all that. And do your point to swipe copy too, is like how can you make it as easy as possible for them to promote? Because if you're like, Hey, here's the what link to the webinar, go ahead and promote it. How much more likely are they going to and you're like, here's the template like, just say this. And you know, they can tweak it if they want to, but it's like it's already done for them. All they have to do is schedule it so much easier. You're sure, yeah. Tech question for you. Now, I know you said you're with Infusionsoft. If you have not always kind of been with Infusionsoft. If you were starting over, would you go with them? If you knew that, eventually your business would be what it is today.

Amy Porterfield 48:08

Ooh, great question. You know, if I was starting over now, I think there's a lot of other great solutions out there that might be a little bit easier. Jasmine stars, a dear friend of mine, and she just moved from Infusionsoft to and for the life of me. I can't remember and she was saying it's been really, really good. You probably know who it is. It's one of the main contenders out there. But I guess,

Kate Kordsmeier 48:32

yeah, I would say it's not ontraport Okay, it's another all in one system. Now. Yes,

Amy Porterfield 48:39

you would totally know now it's gonna kill me that No, no, but I would recommend HubSpot. I've heard a lot of good things about HubSpot. My friends are on HubSpot, and they love it. So I do think you should do your research. If you are starting out looking for a CRM that does more than just email, like I love ConvertKit for email service provider, but if you're looking for it to do even more, and run your affiliate system and all of that, do your homework and really ask around what other people are using. Because the great thing is you can always grow into something if you buy something that's a little bit more robust than what you need. You can always grow into it. where it gets a little tough is having to move over like I haven't moved over to anything because holy cow it's gonna it's gonna be a lot of work.

Kate Kordsmeier 49:25

So horrible. Yes. Yeah. Even just my little business like trying to move us last year from Active Campaign. Active Oh, Active Campaign. Okay. Yeah. And I love Active Campaign, but they were not all in one. I had to have like 20 other tools. And so I like I need consolidation streamline, you know, and so I love Active Campaign for and maybe they've added some features since I left I don't know. But yeah, that's what I always say to people is like, act as if your business is going to be the business you want. To be and what decisions would you make then? Because if you start I mean I it's balancing that with like, I'm brand new. I can't afford all the bells and whistles, but migration is a huge pain in the butt. So, yeah, totally agree. Okay, we're coming up on the end. This has been so great. Anything we didn't I know we have your episode from last year. We're gonna it's republishing around this same time. And so everybody who's like, Well, wait, you just skipped right to selling the course we have all the beginning of the beginning pieces and the other episode, which will link to anything I didn't ask you that you feel like people just need to know about courses, especially what's changed in the last year?

Amy Porterfield 50:38

Well, one thing you didn't ask me is why I look practically blue. When you look beautiful on your video. Now all of a sudden, I might look a little bit more normal. I don't know what's going on. But after 12 years, when you show up on video, and you look blue, you just got to be like, it's not always gonna be great all of a sudden, when I said that, I think I look a little bit more like my color that I look literally like a ghost that

Kate Kordsmeier 51:04

coming in. I didn't notice that. It's coming and going. It's something

Amy Porterfield 51:08

like it just so you all know, I were doing construction at my house. Amy Porterfield has tech issue, I have issues like more often than I'd like to admit, and I can still keep going. And I think that actually I didn't even mean to segue so good. But it is. The last thing I think I'll say with launching in general is that there's always hiccups to launching. And a lot of people don't get started because they'll say, What if my webinar goes down my webinars guy? Well, yes. Right? What if this technology doesn't work? Or what if that link doesn't work? Or what if I can't figure this out, you will always be able to figure it out. Even with Kate Nye, who have been doing this for a while we still run into challenges with launching. It still is incredibly rewarding. We just roll with it. Someone once told me that being an entrepreneur is literally a full time job of troubleshooting. And I hate hearing that like, oh no. And then when I embraced it, every time a challenge comes up, I'm like, Oh, this is my job. This is I'm I'm a natural troubleshooter. I'm a master at this. So I guess I just say that if you're worried about it, not working out. If you're worried about things not working technology wise or just you're not sure you you're cut out to do this. All you have to do is start I was telling one of my copywriters on my team, she was asking me some story that she wanted to write about. And I remembered this story about starting my very first course. And I've talked about this before that the first course is a huge flop. But in that story, I realized, but it got me here, it got me here talking right now about how digital courses give you immense freedom in your business, when you really buckle down and get started. And that's what I think my message is. Let's just get started. Let's just start moving forward because I know so many people listening want more financial freedom, and I do believe Of course does that for you.

Kate Kordsmeier 52:57

I love it. What a good note to end on. Thanks for being here. Amy.

Amy Porterfield 53:00

Thank you so very much.

Kate Kordsmeier 53:07

Hey, y'all, Kate and Amy here wanted to jump in and tell you all about digital course Academy which is open for enrollment now.

Amy Porterfield 53:15

Hey there, Amy here. So digital course Academy helps online business owners and entrepreneurs turn their knowledge and know how into a digital course that will generate consistent revenue for their business. So the program provides a step by step strategy for the entire course creation journey, from strategy to planning to creation to launching, with no fluff and no stone left unturned. So here's the thing. And then that shell dcaa teaches you how to make the ultimate shift from struggling to make money online, feeling stretched too thin, and feeling uncertain about what they should be doing to create a profitable asset in their business, a digital course that they can launch over and over again. And the most amazing thing about creating a digital course is that it will give you more freedom, whether that be time freedom, financial freedom, creativity, freedom, the ability to work when you want, where you want, how you want to work, I got into digital courses because I was looking for more freedom and so many of my students have done the same. So if you're looking to have more freedom in your personal life and in your business, definitely think about creating a digital course.

Kate Kordsmeier 54:28

I am one of those students that learn from Amy and got those same results that she's sharing here. Having a digital course has brought me multiple six figures in my business and I couldn't have done it without Amy's digital course Academy, which as we mentioned is open for enrollment now head to Katekordsmeier.com/DCA to learn more now

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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