• How to Create Profitable Online Classes and Events: Part 1

    I have used the teleseminar format in numerous ways over the years. I’ve held How to create profitable online events and classesa number of free events as a way to attract new prospects and gather contact information. I’ve also used this format for hosting classes.

    For example, I held an eight-week marketing course for authors via a weekly one-hour teleseminar. I delivered it in lecture format, allowed participants to ask questions at the end, and I even assigned homework. Not only did this attract new prospects, it was a profitable venture thanks to the students who attended live and those who purchased the recordings after the course was over.

    I also held a nonfiction writers’ conference in 2010, conducted entirely via teleseminar. It included 18 speakers over three days. Each gave an hour-long lecture on a specific topic.

    The conference involved a tremendous amount of work to put it all together, invite speakers, coordinate details with them, write the sales copy, promote the event, handle registrations, conduct the actual calls for three straight days, have everything transcribed, and set up a shopping cart. I couldn’t have done it without the help of a savvy assistant who was much better at detail-oriented work than I am! In the end, it was a profitable venture that attracted new clients, allowed me to connect with some top authorities when I invited them to speak, garnered some media coverage from Writer’s Digest magazine, and resulted in a set of 18 recordings that I continue to sell online.

    I have always wondered why more people don’t conduct classes or conferences online. It allows you to reach an audience around the globe and can be quite lucrative. Yes, there can be some work involved, especially if you hold a large event, but there’s work involved in just about anything that is worthwhile!

    Event Planning Guidelines

    1. Write Sales Copy – Who do you want to attend and what are the benefits to them? Write your sales copy, complete with attendee benefits. Don’t bother with cheesy testimonials from people you know. If you’ve held similar events in the past, you can include testimonials from actual attendees. Manufactured testimonials from your online “friends” rarely do much to impress. No sleazy sales tactics are needed, though you do need to ask for the sale. In fact, there’s a good chance you’ll get more sign-ups if your online sales page DOESN’T resemble those long-form “But wait, there’s more!” sales pages.

    You will also need to write copy for your email messages to your audience, social media engagement, and follow-up copy. Prepare as much as possible in advance so you will be ready to go when needed.

    Note that your event may simply need a page on your site or may require a separate website altogether—your choice. In addition to sales copy, you should include some images to break it up and give more visual appeal. Include your photo and others that represent the content you are offering. If you have guest speakers, they should provide photos and bios for display on the site.

    2. Plan Your Pricing – If you’re going to include early-bird pricing (and you probably should), make a plan for what that looks like and when it will be offered.

    3. Create a Planning Calendar – Ideally, you should create a calendar with dates for different prices you will offer, along with plans for when you will send announcements to your email list, social networks, affiliates, etc. Your whole marketing plan should be factored into your calendar to make sure you stay on top of the event. You can find free printable calendar pages online.

    4. Set Up Your Shopping Cart – Please, please, please don’t ask attendees to register via email or call you! This is a big barrier to entry. If you want to fill your event, make online registration as easy as possible. You can use something as simple as PayPal, or a more sophisticated shopping cart solution such as www.e-junkie.com.

    Another option I love is www.eventbrite.com. This service handles all of the registration details, including payment processing, email to attendees, and more. Note that for free events Eventbrite is free to use, but for paid events they will charge a service fee that you can either charge to your buyers or absorb into your costs. I recommend absorbing it into costs to remove another potential sales barrier.

    Read part 2 of this series here.

    Filed Under: Business GrowthFor AuthorsFor InfopreneursFor SpeakersOnline Marketing by SC


    About the Author: Stephanie Chandler is an author of nine books including Own Your Niche: Hype-Free Internet Marketing Tactics to Establish Authority in Your Field and Promote Your Service-Based Business and The Nonfiction Book Marketing Plan: Simple Strategies to Build Your Audience and Sell More Books. She is also founder and CEO of Authority Publishing, a custom publisher of nonfiction books, BusinessInfoGuide.com, a directory of resources for entrepreneurs, and the Nonfiction Authors Association, a marketing community for trailblazers. She has been featured in Entrepreneur magazine, BusinessWeek, Inc.com, and Wired magazine, and she is a contributing blogger for Forbes. For author and speaker details, visit http://StephanieChandler.com. The 2015 Nonfiction Writers Conferencereturns May 6-8, 2015! Reserve your seat at this virtual event now!

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    1. The biggest challenge is writing sales copy. I told my most recently-acquired client that I want to interview them and generate a 3,000 word manifesto showing 1) what they do, 2) why I should hire them and 3) why are they better than their competitors? They looked at me like my face was upside down, but they bought into my idea. Why do Americans have resistance to writing?

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