Sure-fire Tutorial on Attracting Hoards of Customers with Autoresponders.
Author: Chris Kilian
You're constantly on the lookout for sure-fire ways to attract targeted customers to your online business.
Well, what do you know?
Really--what *do* you know? Think long and hard about this, because you can use your areas of expertise, your
skills and/or your hobbies as springboards for promoting
and selling your goods or services to a captive audience --by offering a free online course.
If It's Free, It's For Me!
Why offer a freebie when you're trying to make a profit from your business?
While at first glance the concept
might not make sense, it is actually one of the oldest and most effective marketing techniques both online and
off. People simply love to get things for free, and merchants oblige, with the goal of selling additional
goods back end. From taste testings at wineries and supermarkets, to product samples delivered door-to-door,
vendors have used freebies for decades to promote their
Free classes fall into this same "try something for nothing" category.
Again, using a comparable example
from the brick and mortar world, consider the craft store chain that offers free classes on how to make
decorative wreathes. Where will most, if not all, of the people who attend these classes purchase their
It's a win-win situation; those who
take the class gain a new skill for free, and the store gains new--and probably repeat--customers!
Those Who Can Do, Teach
"But I've never taught anything in my life!"
Chances are, you have--whether showing a child how to bait a hook or bake cookies, or coaching a new co-worker on the job, we all have opportunities to take on the role of teacher now and then. "Teaching" is simply taking
something we've learned, and showing someone else how to do it.
The fact that your instruction didn't involve a structured course plan or weekly quizzes doesn't make you
any less of a teacher in these situations.
When developing your free online course, focus on selecting a subject that meets these three criteria:
·One that involves a topic or skill that you consider yourself good at, or even an expert;
·Something that other people would love to learn;
·And, finally, has some sort of tie-in back to your
Going back to the craft store example above, you can see that offering free decorative wreath class successfully
satisfies all three of these qualifications.
Still not sure what you could possibly teach in your own free online course?
Begin with the third criterion--base
it on your business itself-- and go from there.
Let's say, for example, that you operate a marine supply company
aimed at sailboat owners; you might offer a free "Safety Tips for Sailors" course, or a "Long-Distance Sailor's
Or if you specialize in providing
virtual office services to small businesses, you could conduct a course entitled "Simple Bookkeeping Techniques
for Busy Business People," or perhaps a basic business writing course.
As with any marketing strategy, your free course ideas are limited only by your imagination--as long
as you keep the three rules of thumb listed above in mind.
Develop Your Course Once, Teach It Thousands of Times
The best and most cost-effective way to develop and deliver your free online course is to use an autoresponder
service that allows you to set up several (five to eight)
messages which will be generated automatically to those
who sign up for the class.
Set up each outgoing message
as one "lesson" in the course;
in the first lesson, you
might provide a complete overview of what information the course will cover, followed by more specific information
in lesson two, and so forth.
Each lesson needs to be no longer than a short article, ranging from 500 to 900 words.
You might also want to
include little "assignments" at the end of each lesson,encouraging your students to put into action the material
covered that day.
As for pacing your course, select an autoresponder service that allows you to preschedule the time intervals
You can then choose to send a new lesson
out each day, every other day, once a week, or whatever.
You only need to develop your course and set up the mailing strategy once, and let the autoresponder take it
Using the Free Course to Promote Your Business
Keeping in mind that your free online course is a marketing tool, you will of course want to somehow refer your students back to your business Web site.
This means incorporating the additional products or services that you
offer, along with your URL, into each and every lesson.
The goal here is to strike a balance between sounding flagrantly self-promotional and being too subtle.
In other words, you do not want to chase off those who have signed up for your free course with a barrage of hype;
most of us already see too much advertising daily, and have become desensitized to it.
At the same time, you want your "students" to know where they can find additional information or tools on the subject--at *your*
You can accomplish this by covering each lesson in greater depth on your site (e.g., "For more information
on today's lesson, visit http://www.yoursite.com"),
including a trip to your URL as part of each day's assignment, or simply posting a brief advertisement for
your site at the end of each lesson.
If your course-takers feel they have benefited from the free information
they have received from you, they will be much more inclined to at least take a look at what else you have to
Many Internet entrepreneurs currently offer free online courses to gain exposure and expand their clientele.
Although developing your own course requires a good deal of effort up front, the pay-off in terms or increased
traffic and sales is tremendous.
Incorporate the "teach'em to reach 'em" philosophy into your marketing strategy,
and watch your business soar!
About the Author
Mr Killian is the author behind the Rapid Reply.net Corp. Find out sure-fire ways to promote your online business at http://www.web-site-promotion.gr/cgi-bin/axs/ax.pl?http://secure.ibill.com/cgi-win/ccard/rscookie.exe?RevShareID=Maxout&returnto=http://www.rapidreply.net ...
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