1. Launch the MVP (minimum viable product) version of your course.
If you want to test out a course/training idea before building the full thing, then creating a landing page and minimum viable product version of your course is your new best friend.
Check out the checklist below for an idea of what goes on your MVP course landing page, but also check out the video directly below (ignore my voice that sounds like I’m fighting allergies—I was) that reviews some of my favorite MVP landing pages people made (some, in just one weekend) during a challenge I hosted.
The MVP Course Landing Page Checklist
Here’s what you’ll want to have on hand or do:
- working title for your course
- URL for your landing page
- rough outline of course content
- optional: hashtag for your course
- trademark check and Google check (this is a good idea because you will be using this course name and brand in commerce)
- bonus freebie related to your course topic (think: checklist, tutorial, workshop, challenge, mini-course, or other resource you can send via email to interested audience members in exchange for their email address)
- mockup of your bonus freebie
- professional email address (this can be at your main business domain or your new course domain)
- marketing email delivery platform (such as: ConvertKit, ActiveCampaign, or MailChimp)
- high-quality photo of a scene related to your course topic or of you to use on your MVP course landing page and/or in your marketing emails
- content idea list related to your course topic (you can use this to send out engaging resources and keep your audience members engaged before your course launches)
- optional: info packet about your course
- optional: link and payment method to reserve a spot
2. Make a plan to crowdfund something.
Crowdfunding is kinda what it sounds like—a crowd (whether 10 people or 10,000) funding your idea. You can use sites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter to run your own crowdfunding campaign (which usually includes “prizes” for people who fund you, since the money is not a loan, you don’t have to pay it back).
Crowdfunding campaigns are not just good for the $$, but also the exposure. Several products have become somewhat to all the way “Internet famous” after a crowdfunding campaign.
Why? Friends, and even people who don’t know you, are motivated to share your brand and your campaign if they connect with something about it. You can use one of these sites to launch/re-launch a business, a book, a product, a product line, a creative project, really almost anything. 90% of the projects that I’ve supported are by people I don’t know at all.
Crowdfunding even allows you to get out there and start providing consulting services if you want to. Two examples for you: (1) A woman I know in real life “sold” $1000 consulting packages as some of the prizes for supporting her book release. No seriously, look at this thing. She raised almost $12,000. (2) A couple who wrote a children’s book also listed $1000 consultations, among other prizes, for the release of their book and raised over $10,000.
3. Create an online quiz with helpful results or a “prescription” of sorts.
One of the most irresistible types of audience magnets or freebie opt-ins (translation: something people will give you their email address to access) is an online quiz people can take to get some clarity in a field/goal they’re interested in.
- Discover Your Brand Tone: Are you a Serious Sally or a Irreverent Irene?
- Take the Content Prescription Quiz—Know What to Send to Your Audience via Email and Why
- What’s Your Dating Style? Take This Quiz to Find Out Why You’re Getting Bored So Fast
Why are quizzes so powerful though?
Well, not only do they appeal to the thing most humans have where we like to talk about ourselves and understand ourselves better, but they also provide you as the brand owner a unique opportunity that few other “opt-in magnets” offer: you can easily create some “next steps” prescriptions or recommendations based on the results people get from your quiz.
One thing I highly recommend, always, is to know where your customer is in their journey of whatever it is you help with. Let’s take a slide from one of my recent presentations to illustrate this point and tie it into the power of quizzes.
Let’s say you’re a personal trainer or a nutritionist (or both) who is specifically helping people with weight loss. Your clients may be at many points on the “Interest to Action Spectrum” . . . and keep in mind, there may be even more points/stops than the illustration below, this is something each brand owner must logically imagine, experience, and build for themselves.
Can you imagine how the free content, and perhaps even the paid product or service, you’d want to serve to a person in Position A (truly making up their mind to lose weight) should be different than the content and product you present to someone in Position C (already committed, already on some sort of program)?
To A, you might want to create a series that helps them envision the benefits of weight loss then talks about the healthiest ways to go about it. You might pitch a low-cost eBook or consultation session. To C, you might want to create a series that helps your audience see the benefits of the methods you teach and builds on their spirit of commitment that is already present. You might pitch a free coaching call or 3-month online program to this person who has already shown the ability and desire to act.
See what I mean?
And guess what?
With a quiz, you can use your magical genius mind and ask questions that help you see which place on the “Interest to Action Spectrum” your new audience member is, and you can create multiple different follow-up sequences (via email, for example) and content pieces to meet them where they are and move them towards where you are.
Awesome, right? I like to use Typeform for quizzes, but you might also try Interact. And psst—if you are a part of PublishYourThing.com, one of the first lessons inside Audience Magnet Arsenal contains two tutorial videos that show you exactly how I designed my popular quiz with 16 different results paths.
4. Create some standard reply emails that you can quickly personalize whenever a potential client emails you.
I use the Gmail extension/app called “Canned Responses” to have some pre-loaded emails ready to go that I can customize for the person/situation I’m responding to. This saves me (or perhaps even a virtual assistant you hire to help you) a ton of time in my inbox.
Think of creating standard responses for:
- someone asking you if you have any openings in your coaching/freelance schedule
- someone asking for recommendations for _____ (whatever question you get frequently)
- someone who wants more information about your _____ (most popular product or service)
- times when you’re not taking on new clients and want to direct people to other options or to your waitlist
- emails in which someone is thanking you for your work/articles/resources/etc. and you want to respond graciously
- emails in which you need to urge your client to get back to you in a more timely manner for a project you’re trying to complete for them—drafting this beforehand will make it not as painful/hard when you have to actually customize and send it
- when you are a bit overloaded but want to acknowledge that you got the person’s email
- any other situations/needs you run into frequently with your particular brand and audience members
5. Take an online class this weekend to learn a new helpful/creative skill.
Skillshare is highly recommended for online classes. You can also find amazing things on Udemy and through a general YouTube search.
You can even Start Your Book This Weekend with moi, or go for something not directly related to what you do that will help spark some new creativity. Think about:
- hand-lettering courses
- graphic design courses
- speed reading courses
- meditation courses
- dating or self-love courses
6. Volunteer some pro bono work to a charity, business, or other organization.
Now only will it be good for the world and good for your portfolio, but a little free work for an organization can:
- offer you further experience in something you want to do more of
- get you some referral clients from the client you do pro bono for
- allow you to possibly offer the free work as a giveaway that people can nominate their organization or that of a friend for
In these ways above ^^, you can use pro bono work to grow your business, even if it just expands your portfolio or the roster of client logos and testimonials of entities you’ve done work for.