Everything I learned by creating an online course.

It is for this reason that in April I decided to leave my job and invest all my time and money to do what I do best, the popularization and the creation of contents, by crossing the fingers so that everything is going well.

6 months later, I can now say that this big jump has been the best professional decision I’ve ever made so far.

However, if you had met me a month ago, my answer would have been very different.

That’s what’s funny with entrepreneurs: one day you feel invincible, the other one feels like an impostor about to be discovered and lynched publicly.

It is a continual roller coaster that scares, motivates and surprises at every turn.

In this article, I will share with you everything I learned when I created my online Facebook advertising course.

I’m going to talk about the size of my list, my conversion rate, my number of sales, my number of refunds … In short, everything you want to know, but nobody has the courage to reveal.

The steps of creating an online course.
Step # 1 – The Market Study.
It all started in December 2014, when I made a mailing to my email list (2000 subscribers).

I read somewhere that before doing a training it was important to sound the ground and try to discover the hidden desires and frustrations of people.

So I did a little survey using Google Form that I sent to my list (you can see it by clicking here).

In this survey, I asked only one question: what would you like to know about Facebook advertising? Which, with hindsight, was not much.

I realized that in a survey, if a person is not ready to answer 4 or 5 questions, she will not be ready to pay $ 500 for training (so is not part of your target audience anyway).

So I redid the survey a little before the launch, but this time by asking a few more questions! My answers were much more precise than in the first survey and I think I found a good formula. If you are curious, you can click here to see the survey I did.

Honestly, I bite my fingers a little bit for not doing this survey right from the start … If that’s what I did, some aspects of the training would have been very different!

My second survey was more effective than the first, largely because I slipped some questions to determine the context from which the person completed the survey.

Does he advertise Facebook? If so, what is its budget? Is he serious? Would he be willing to pay to wipe out his problems? How many subscribers does he have on his page? Etc.

In short, during my data collection, I was able to do two things:
A lesson plan.

A list of desires and frustrations to make my sales emails.

Step # 2 – The presale
Once my search was over, I had to validate that people were really willing to pay for access to this type of content.

So I did what any overconfident entrepreneur would have done: I put my training up for sale without even starting it.

I know it sounds a bit crazy, but I could not imagine spending all my time creating an online course to realize, 6 months later, that no one really wants to have Facebook ad training.

It was an important step for me since the income generated by the presale would allow me to buy my equipment (camera, microphones, etc.) and live for the summer (ramen, hot dogs, etc). Remember that at this point I have not had a job for two months now!

To do my presale, I sent an email to my 5000 subscribers telling them that I had a series of tips for them and that they could have them by clicking on a special link.

Of these 5,000 people, 837 clicked on the link in question, which means that 837 people were added to my series of sales emails.

This series of e-mails included, in all and everywhere, 6 e-mails.

The first 2 e-mails served as inking for training.

In these emails, I was not referring to my training directly, but I was explaining how Facebook advertising could help a business. These emails were sent 2 days apart.

2 days later, I announced my training and told people that they only had 7 days to register. After 7 days, we will have to wait for my other launch in September.

To get people to buy right away, I offered 2 hours of free consultation to everyone.

2 days later, I sent a Q & A email explaining basic tips such as taxes, course format, and so on.

2 days later, I sent a third email of content where I addressed the sales objections that I had anticipated using the first survey.

2 days later, I sent a reminder to tell people they had less than 24 hours left to buy.

Finally, a week later, I did a survey to find out why people did NOT buy.

I wanted to know what they thought about the price and content of emails. Finally, I asked them what they would like me to do in the future.

This survey allowed me to evaluate the subject of my next training (email-marketing) that I will launch in Q1 2016.

Results
Here is the part you really want to know!

Of the 837 people who received the series, 11 people bought the training in presale, which makes a pretty good conversion rate for a product at $ 500!

However, it should be noted that this was a very engaged sample of the 5000 subscribers I had at the time!

But, well, I think it’s going to say that if your list is engaged, you do not need to have 10,000 subscribers to be able to sell a product!

The only thing I would change in this list is the body of my device. I would rather use the Canon EOS 7D mark ii, available at 1,699.99 on Amazon.

Why? Well just because the T3i cuts videos after 10 min (4gb) recording and does not have continuous autofocus on the videos. Also, the 7D can record in 60fps in 1080p, which is not necessary, but can be convenient for traveling to make more sporting scenes.

For video editing, I use Camtasia Studio to film my screen and Adobe Premiere Pro for videos where I’m speaking on screen.

If there is one thing I would have liked to learn from the start, it’s how to do the video encoding correctly. I feel that I could have had a much more interesting quality from the start.

The people involved in my training can very clearly see the gradual change in recording quality as the lessons progress.

The quality of the latest videos is very similar to my sales video that I put on the page of my training. However, every time I launch a new video, I discover new tricks to make me faster when editing or improve quality. I am far from having reached the top, I would even say that I am in my debut and that the quality will continue to improve over time!

Step # 4 – Content Distribution
It is fine to make videos, but still it is necessary to distribute them to the participants!

At first, I sent my new lessons via email. The videos were hosted on the Wistia platform and people would go directly to the video page to view them.

To be honest, I thought it was a little hay and it was really the image I wanted to give to people. So I started working on creating an online course portal.

So I’ve been on udemy, codeacademy, fizzle and treehouse taking screenshots of my favorite features. I put all that in a document and I used it to design my course portal.

Honestly, I think the course portal I did is fucking nice, but I received an email telling me the opposite (damn!). So I installed Inspectlet to film people’s screen and see if they use the features properly.

So far, everything looks good, but I’m on the lookout! My portal is a bit like my baby and I want it to be as intuitive as possible!

I made the choice to develop my own platform, but honestly, I could very well have gone with ZippyCourse or Teachable.

Why did not I take one of these platforms? I guess it was an interesting challenge for me, I had not done programming for a while. Also, I like the feeling of having achieved something from A to Z. It’s counterproductive, I know, but I like to look at the finished product and say, “You did a great job buddy! ”

However, as you will see in the next step, I lost time and money with payment system bugs. Even today, I have a bug list to fix to reduce the error rate in transactions.

Step # 5 – how to get paid?
During my presale, I realized that if you want to sell internationally, you have to manage taxes!

When you sell a service, you always have to charge taxes, regardless of the position of the person buying the service. But when you sell a product, it’s the position of the person who buys the product that matters!

Unfortunately, Gumroad and Paypal have nothing to deal with this kind of problem. That’s why I decided to make a payment system using Stripe.

What’s good about Stripe is that you can be ULTRA sophisticated, as much as you can keep it super simple.

In my case, I decided to go for a more sophisticated integration since I wanted to create invoices and access to my course portal automatically.

I must say that the look was also very important for me, I did not want it to look like a system made and used by 10 other sites. I wanted something that I like and that follows my style.

You can see the final result on my payment page.

Unfortunately, since I’m far from being the best developer in the world, I had some trouble at the launch of the training. Yep, I had some payment errors that I did not anticipate, like people buying my training by having JavaScript disabled in their browser.

This is particularly stressful, since when you intend to have fifteen transactions, each of them counts for a lot!

Step # 6 – Set the sales funnel.
Once the content, the platform and the functional means of payment, it was now necessary to create the path that would allow people to register for my training, it was necessary to create a sales funnel.

To make a funnel, it takes two things: an incentive for people to sign up and a series of emails that will automatically persuade subscribers.

In marketing jargon, we call the incentive a lead magnet.

So, my lead magnet was an e-book that I named, “The Little Bible of Facebook Advertising”.

This Bible is not a 400-page brown brick, but rather a short thirty-page PDF that explains in detail how to advertise Facebook.

One of the hidden goals was to make people aware that they do not really know about Facebook advertising.

In the survey I did following the presale, I saw that many people did not buy because they think they already know the Facebook ad well.

Indeed, Facebook makes it all beautiful when you start! We click on “boost post” and BAM, $ 5 in investment advertising.

Unfortunately, if we think that’s all we can do, it’s going to be difficult to use Facebook as the world. Their platform is one of the most comprehensive advertising tools available today. Believe me, boosting publications is probably the worst way to use the Facebook ad!

The e-book was therefore intended to demonstrate the depth of various advertising tools such as the Facebook Power Editor.

Back on topic.

People start by receiving the e-book, then, 4 days later, I send a nice email to ask people what they thought about the book.

5 days later, I send an email that says “read is long” and I propose the equivalent of the e-book in the form of a video of about 10 minutes.

In this video, we see that the image is a little jerky. This is an example of me who does not really know how to do my encoding and YouTube that compresses my video as they want.

Then, a few days after this one, I send another email proposing a second video. However, the click and open rate of this video was lower than for the other, and I received comments that I sent too many emails. So I decided to remove this video from the funnel later.

7 days after sending the video, people receive my first sales email. In this email, I propose a special offer valid for 7 days only.

2 days after this email, I send the traditional Q & A to demystify the format, payment, etc.

3 days later, I send an overview of the content of the training. This is a video where I explain how to do A / B tests with Facebook advertising.

With hindsight, perhaps I should have taken a video with a more interesting topic, however the goal was once again to show the many possibilities and applications of Facebook advertising.

Before, I would send an e-mail where I addressed the common objections of people in a slightly more aggressive way. Following bad comments, I decided to remove this email from the series for fear that it will affect the overall conversion rate of my campaign.

2 days following the email where I show a preview of the training, people receive my reminder email since the offer is about to end.

Then, 7 days later, I send a last offer to people: my Facebook training for $ 1, the rest in two easy installments.

$ 1, it’s really not much. But technically, it’s the same offer.

If someone buys a training, I offer them a 30-day guarantee. He has 30 days to tell me if he wants a refund. In this scenario, the person has 30 days to ask me to cancel their payment plan, which is exactly the same.

However, many had asked me to do some funding and I did it to accommodate those people. As you can imagine, the results of this strategy have been quite interesting. More on this in the “results” section of this article.

Finally, a week later, I send a new survey to find out what people thought about this small sales series.

I used the results of this survey to play with the deadlines between emails, headlines and other relevant parameters.

It’s all around the sales funnel. Past this point, the person is simply added to my mailing list where she will receive my new blog posts.

Step # 7 – Advertising
Once the funnel is up, all you have to do is add people, and in theory it should generate profits.

The game is trying to generate listings at a low enough cost for the sale of the training to cover advertising costs and turn a profit.

I’ve also tried to advertise on AdWords, but I have to admit that interesting keywords do not have a lot of search volume.

Finally, I did some advertising on Instagram. The cost per registration is higher and I have not yet had a sale from this medium. However, I do not close the door on the platform since my tests are still too young to draw a conclusion.

Step # 8 – Affiliation
Everyone who signs up for my training has the opportunity to promote it and earn a commission of $ 250 per sale.

By putting so much energy on the course portal and the quality of the videos, I told myself that people would jump at the opportunity to make the purchase of their training profitable.

Unfortunately, it turns out that my clients are not very great affiliate marketers – only 2 people participated.

So I used my platform to try to recruit people who already have an audience. Several have decided to embark, including Guillaume Bareil, Kim Auclair and Sylvain Webmarketing-com & com.

While it is fairly recent for them to promote the course online, I can say that they already have some pretty interesting results. I give more numbers in the “results” section!

Step # 9 – After-sales follow-up and Facebook group
It’s nice to have a funnel that generates registrations and a system that adds people every day to that funnel, but you still have to deal with people once they’ve converted.

So I created a short series of e-mails that welcome people to the course portal and tell them about the Facebook group.

In this group, people are free to ask questions and discuss the new features of Facebook ads.

I also use it to get people to vote on the next lessons to be added to the training as well as new features to add to the course portal.

The objectives of this strategy are, of course, to increase satisfaction and referrals while decreasing claims for reimbursement.

My results
Well, after explaining all my strategy, it would be fun to know what it will have brought me!

I must admit that I was very afraid of having lost my time with all this. Before doing my training, I searched the web for case studies and hard numbers to get an idea of the results I could hope for, but unfortunately I did not find anything.

That’s why I took a 0.5% conversion goal. It’s not unrealistic, but it’s not too pessimistic either. In fact, I had no idea what was optimistic or pessimistic since I had no point of reference!

That being said, here are the numbers.

As I speak, 8032 people have completed the sales funnel.

Of these 8032 people, 79 bought training.

Of these 79 people, I had a total of 14 refunds.

14 is a lot! Only, of these 14 refunds, 12 are sales refunds with financing ($ 1 now, the rest later).

In all, I had 25 financings at $ 1, which gives about 50% of them who a) request an unsubscription or b) can not afford to pay for the training.

Which, in the end, gives 65 sales on 8032 people, a conversion rate of 0.8%.

I collected 3036 addresses with Facebook advertising. Of the 2,337 that completed the sales sequence, 14 converted, resulting in an approximate conversion rate of 0.59%.

Each address costs me 40 cents, so every sale costs me $ 66 in advertising spend.

Step # 8 – Affiliation
Everyone who signs up for my training has the opportunity to promote it and earn a commission of $ 250 per sale.

By putting so much energy on the course portal and the quality of the videos, I told myself that people would jump at the opportunity to make the purchase of their training profitable.

Unfortunately, it turns out that my clients are not very great affiliate marketers – only 2 people participated.

So I used my platform to try to recruit people who already have an audience. Several have decided to embark, including Guillaume Bareil, Kim Auclair and Sylvain Webmarketing-com & com.

While it is fairly recent for them to promote the course online, I can say that they already have some pretty interesting results. I give more numbers in the “results” section!

Step # 9 – After-sales follow-up and Facebook group
It’s nice to have a funnel that generates registrations and a system that adds people every day to that funnel, but you still have to deal with people once they’ve converted.

So I created a short series of e-mails that welcome people to the course portal and tell them about the Facebook group.

In this group, people are free to ask questions and discuss the new features of Facebook ads.

I also use it to get people to vote on the next lessons to be added to the training as well as new features to add to the course portal.

The objectives of this strategy are, of course, to increase satisfaction and referrals while decreasing claims for reimbursement.

My results
Well, after explaining all my strategy, it would be fun to know what it will have brought me!

I must admit that I was very afraid of having lost my time with all this. Before doing my training, I searched the web for case studies and hard numbers to get an idea of the results I could hope for, but unfortunately I did not find anything.

That’s why I took a 0.5% conversion goal. It’s not unrealistic, but it’s not too pessimistic either. In fact, I had no idea what was optimistic or pessimistic since I had no point of reference!

That being said, here are the numbers.

As I speak, 8032 people have completed the sales funnel.

Of these 8032 people, 79 bought training.

Of these 79 people, I had a total of 14 refunds.

14 is a lot! Only, of these 14 refunds, 12 are sales refunds with financing ($ 1 now, the rest later).

In all, I had 25 financings at $ 1, which gives about 50% of them who a) request an unsubscription or b) can not afford to pay for the training.

Which, in the end, gives 65 sales on 8032 people, a conversion rate of 0.8%.

I collected 3036 addresses with Facebook advertising. Of the 2,337 that completed the sales sequence, 14 converted, resulting in an approximate conversion rate of 0.59%.

Each address costs me 40 cents, so every sale costs me $ 66 in advertising spend.

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