If you want to run an online business, you’ll quickly learn that if you want to make any progress, you have to focus on the things that get you the best results. This may seem obvious, but every day there seems to be new entrepreneurs focusing on every minute detail of things that don’t matter, and neglecting to focus on the things that bring them results. At the heart of a good growth hacker and marketer is the desire to test business and marketing tactics in an effort to identify which things work best, and which ones don’t.
Doing this allows you to focus all of your energy on the things that bring results, and stop worrying about unimportant tasks and techniques. This post shows how many good things can come to you, if you are constantly testing and looking for better ways to make your business grow.
Let’s get started!
In case you didn’t already know, Udemy is huge. It has millions of members that are all interested in taking courses to advance their knowledge in fields of their interest. If you create a course that is useful to your niche audience and publish it on Udemy, you are tapping into their community to get exposure for your brand. This screenshot is straight from their about page:
I accidentally stumbled upon a “marketing hack” using Udemy that has brought great results! I thought I was doing a different hack, but it turns out that that one wasn’t going to work anyway. Originally, my primary objective was to recruit promo partners to give my paid Udemy course away to their readers for free. But I quickly learned that larger brands don’t want to point their reader’s attention to you, unless they are getting something substantial in return. My “free course” offer was not good enough.
But that’s why if you’re always testing and learning, you never lose.
The importance here, is that I was able publish a course on Udemy, and get a decent amount of exposure to it. This in turn has allowed me to begin building an audience around my subject matter, and if you execute the same strategy you can grow your audience as well. Remember that no matter what niche you are in, you can create a course that your customers would be interested in taking. Which means that there are opportunities for your business to grow by doing this. I had a few motives behind creating my Udemy course, including:
- Using it as an incentive to give away to special promo partners
- Expanding my audience/brand
- Finally creating a course that walks you through all of the small details of starting online getting started (super underserved market)
- Revenue (very low priority with this one)
Time (6 Hours Total):
- 4-5 Hours to Create the Course
- 1-2 Hours spent on Marketing
I’d estimate that it took me 4-5 hours to actually create the course. I’d say probably 30% of that time was me fiddling around with my mic, and stopping a re-recording sections because it was my first course and I still feel like I sound like a dork on the recordings. (Hey, I’m learning alright?)
- Would larger bloggers be interested in giving my paid course away to their readers?
- Would customers be interested in my little old course and what I have to teach?
Money Spent: $0
Nothing like putting in a little bit of time!
I used to get asked regularly how you can use social media to drive traffic to your websites. I’d say “Simple! All you have to do is start providing great value, use nice images, and create amazing content.” Although I had to use social media for a couple of my businesses before, I had never actually used it to do any hardcore marketing on. Looking back, I realize it was more of a brand awareness and vanity thing.
When I decided to start Pivotal, I realized that I would have to start getting active, at least on Twitter, if I wanted to start taking advantage social media traffic. I did have a Twitter account, but might as well have never used it before. I’m pretty sure I started off with 12 followers. I was then faced with this task of growing my social presence from scratch, although I had always talked about how simple it was before. In order to keep my Twitter account business oriented, my own personal connections would not do me any good. I needed to grow my follower base with followers in my niche.
The Social Proof Phenomenon
There is this phenomenon that comes in to play when trying to grow your business as well as your social media following from scratch. Let me ask you a question.
Would you ever follow someone on Twitter, that you didn’t know, who only has 3 followers?
Now, would you follow someone who was providing interesting content that had hundreds of followers?
In this scenario, you’d be much more likely to follow the second person. So, simply put, there is a threshold that you should reach in order to look like a real person and like you are worth following. This becomes sort of an “organic threshold,” or number of followers that you need in order to start getting people to follow you naturally. Once you hit this number, it will be much easier for you to grow your social media account by getting organic followers through the content that you’ll be posting.
- I set my “Organic threshold” at about 300 followers. I see lots of average accounts with followers in the 200 range, so I figured 300 would be a good number to hit before I could start getting natural followers
- Drive engagement with my followers. No one wants junk followers!
- About 2 minutes a weekday, over a month. Total time: Approx. 50 mins
For most entrepreneurs the hardest part of starting a business is taking your first steps. Getting your initial traction is extremely hard. Especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. There’s always the question on your mind of whether or not your business will even work, so the longer you spend not being successful, the more that doubt will start taking hold until you eventually give up.I know the story, I’ve done this on more than one occasion. I finally learned that if you are going to start a business, you need to attack it as quickly as possible. Create a product and see if it works. If it does, your doubt will start going away and you can focus more on persevering and creating a successful business rather than questioning whether or not you are going to be successful.If you can make one dollar, you can make a lot more. This post will go over a technique to get started that’s as good as any. It has a low barrier of entry, and will allow you to start building an audience, as well as some small successes in the first couple weeks of you pursing your online business. This is a technique that’s primarily used in the blogosphere, that many successful bloggers teach. It allows you to start building an audience before you have your own full blown product. Let’s take a look at how it works.
How it Works
- You create something of value, like an ebook, report, or if you’re technical a simple app
- You create a landing page for it.
- You begin to promote the landing page to get sign ups.
This technique obviously works really well for bloggers and content focused websites since content is our product. But in no way is it limited to bloggers. It also has great potential if you aren’t that type of business either. Here’s an example of Alex from Groove using it for his SaaS business, which isn’t exactly a content focused model. The key is to use content as a tool to grow your business, even if your product isn’t content itself. If we take some lean startup and customer development ideas, and we match them with building an audience before your full blown product is built, it is a great match. I put on my own spin on this technique and I’ll show you exactly how I did it. But first, I’ll lay out what some of my goals were, to show you what kinds of things this could help you achieve with your business. Here were my goals in doing this:
- Determine if I’m targeting a relevant enough audience
- Build my initial audience
- Start building a brand