Selling an Online Course Without Having a Fan Base or Spending Money on Ads

With Special Guest Kurt von Ahnen From MananaNoMas Agency.

Ready to sell your online course without a fan base or ad investment? Explore expert tips and tricks for driving course sales effectively.

In this eye-opening video, discover the secrets to successfully selling an online course without a fan base or expensive ads. Learn proven strategies and innovative techniques to help you reach your target audience and organically generate sales. Don’t miss out on this valuable information—watch the video now and start monetizing your knowledge confidently!

This Week Show’s Sponsors

LifterLMS: LifterLMS

Convesio: Convesio

Omnisend: Omnisend

The Show’s Main Transcript And Links


[00:00:03.740] – Jonathan Denwood

Well, welcome back, folks, to another Membership Machine show. I’ve got my special but regular co-host on the show, Kurt, and we’re just going to do the countdown and go straight into it. So three, two, one. Welcome back, folks, to the Membership Machine Show. This is episode 70. In this show, we’re going to be talking about selling your online course without a fan base or without spending money on Facebook or Google Ads. Is it possible to get your course off the ground and get your first students in without a fan base or spending much money on that? I think it’s possible with some provisos. We will have some straight talking here, which you don’t find in many online resources. I’ve got my special co-host, but he’s semi-regular, but not every week. I’ve got Kurt with me. He’s got a tremendous amount of experience in some aspects of this, and I’m sure he will have some great insights about it. So, Kurt, would you like to introduce yourself to the new listeners and viewers?

[00:01:17.930] – Kurt von Ahnen

Sure thing, Jonathan. My name’s Kurt von Annen. I own an agency called Manana Nomas. I specialize in membership and learning websites and helping people grow their communities. I also work directly with Jonathan at WP WP-Tonic and the great folks at Lifter LMS.

[00:01:32.360] – Jonathan Denwood

That’s great. As I said, I think I’ve got some great insights, but this is going to be a bit controversial this show because I also believe there’s a lot of misleading information out there that will not benefit you. My main vision in this show is to promote myself and the WP-Tonic business, but the main thing is to give you grounded information based on a ton of experience me and Kirk have. So you’re going to really find this show really useful. But before we go into the meat potatoes of this discussion, I’ve got a couple of major sponsors of the show. We will be back in a few moments, folks. Three, two, one. We’re coming back, folks. Just want to point out that we’ve got a great Facebook group, the Membership Machine Facebook Group. If you’re looking for any advice about these discussions or ongoing advice about the right plugins or other online technology, you can join this group for free. We are regularly on there, and we’ve got a great group of WordPress people trying to build a membership website. So Go to the Membership Machine Facebook Group and join us there.

[00:03:06.260] – Jonathan Denwood

The title of this show is Selling Online Calls Without Having a Fanbase and Spending Money on Ads. So you haven’t got a tremendous social media presence. I think before I go off, I guess I’m going to turn this over. No, I asked you to watch a couple of videos before we had this discussion. And what are your initial thoughts? Is it possible to get your course going, getting the wheel turning if you haven’t got a large fan base or you’re not spending much money on paid advertising, Kirk? What’s your initial response to the title?

[00:03:58.470] – Kurt von Ahnen

My initial response to the title is that it’s not only possible but also imperative. And I say this, people think I’m going to be such a jerk on the show, Jonathan, because I’m blunt about many things. But there’s a way- You’re Mr.

[00:04:16.120] – Jonathan Denwood

Charming compared to me.

[00:04:18.530] – Kurt von Ahnen

I try to be diplomatic, but this particular topic is complex because you and I have clientele that come to us with, I’ve got a great idea. And I read online that there’s a dollar industry in the online training world, and I’m going to be a millionaire. And it’s like, that’s not how the internet works. That’s not whatever these gurus told you on YouTube. That’s not real. Everything I do, and I talk about this in my personal channels quite a bit, It’s like leadership and playing the long game and knowing that there’s work to be done, hard work to get you where you need to go. I think some of the video content you shared with me before this show reedifies that. It says, Hey, establish a community first. To your point, you always say, Don’t write War and Peace and then try and sell that. Put some content out, put some feelers out, Do some samples, and maybe you don’t precisely follow the blueprint that’s put out as illustrated in the videos we watched before this show. But have a strategy, have a sampling or a tasting strategy so that you can build the right audience for the right message and the right offer.

[00:05:34.080] – Jonathan Denwood

Right. I totally agree with the outline. I think this show was spurred on, folks, by a lot of videos I watch to give me ideas about what we’re going to be discussing in this podcast. I’ve been infuriated by the misleading information out there, which damages the whole concept of building a thriving and ongoing membership educational business, which is still totally possible, but you have to be realistic, folks. It is going to take time and work. There are no easy shortcuts. I’m probably cutting my throat by saying this because there seem to be a lot of people out there who want the message that this will be easy. It won’t be easy, folks, but it’s doable. You just got to be realistic, folks. But we’re here, this show is here to help you on the journey. So let’s start off with what I call the Unique Selling Proposition USP. And we’ve covered this in previous shows, so do listen to the past episodes. And basically, this is about is that there are two things you really need, I think. You got the painkiller vitamin argument, which comes from the startup world.

[00:07:09.800] – Jonathan Denwood

You should be dealing… If it will be your first course, it should be dealing with a pain point. The second thing is that there should be some degree of urgency in explaining why the person needs the pain resolved. If there’s no urgency, We’re all looking for excuses not to buy something. We do, either, but we buy things because we think they’re going to solve a problem or they’re aspirational. There’s usually more urgency if it’s dealing with a pain point. But how do you find the subject that will be the core element of your initial course? Well, the good news, is that the research you do to find out what is going to be the core center of your spoke, the core fin that your initial course will solve. The research you’re going to do will enable you to build relationships with people who can be your first list of people you approach to be part of your initial course. Where I disagree is you do not want your initial course to be the end game because if this is your first go at this, the idea that this is going to be an enormous success and make a monumental change in your and your family’s life is it isn’t going to happen.

[00:09:01.800] – Jonathan Denwood

It’s a lie. But if you do it by stage, by stage, by stage, it can lead to that end result, and it’s totally, utterly achievable. You can’t say that with a lot of this internet guru and these schemes, folks. Most of it is utter lie and dribble. This isn’t, but we have to be realistic. Was your What’s your response to what I’ve just outlined, Kurt?


[00:09:34.070] – Kurt von Ahnen

Well, I like what you said about what you’re working towards is not the end. I think it’s important to framework this episode as we’re talking to people that are brand new to like, I’m going to start an online course. If you’ve already got three courses up and you’re struggling to get people into your site, that’s probably a different episode, or maybe you’re going to reverse engineer some things we’ll talk about today. But if you’re just getting started, it’s really important to follow some strategy or game plan and know that as you release your course, what drives the revenue and what drives the growth in these online courses is the connection and the relationship that you have with your community. And so maybe you end up upselling and doing some one on one coaching time, or maybe you expand your course into a longer duration course, or there’s always some tweak or addition that you can do that helps drive the revenue on a different channel. I think what Jonathan is saying here is, let’s get you started. Let’s get you out of the block and getting that first lap down so that you can get the dopamine hit of a success and then move on to the next thing and grow.


[00:10:49.590] – Jonathan Denwood

We’re not selling you here a $6,000 course telling you that you can do this in a month. It isn’t going to happen. Folks. What I’m outlining here is probably a six-month process minimum, and it might be a bit longer, but it can be achieved in a six-month period. What I, if I was in your shoes, would honestly do. So you got your area of expertise that you think you can offer some value, and then you need to do some market research. You do not just want to build out your initial course based on what you think your target audience might like. You can go down that path, folks, but I think it’s going to actually… It might deter So it’s not going to be the success, in my opinion, that you think, and it might deter you from continuing when you get a negative result. I think if you can push through and learn from it, I think that’s great. But we’re here, so you don’t make that first initial mistake. So you need to find out, you need to join online groups of people that are in the area that your first course is going to be about.


[00:12:19.430] – Jonathan Denwood

And then you need to… God gave you two ears and just one mouth for a reason. And initially, you need to join those groups and listen more than you post, but then try and be a bit helpful and be part of the discussions. But you need to write down what are some of the key problems that people are talking about time after time in these groups. Facebook groups is a great resource, but also joining LinkedIn and doing searches through LinkedIn So Kurt is an expert on LinkedIn. He’s wrote a course on LinkedIn, and he’s built his business utilizing LinkedIn. So he’s the guy to, if you If you want to know more about LinkedIn, he’s the guy to approach. You can do the same with YouTube. You can do searches, what are the most popular YouTube, and what are the people making these YouTube videos? What are they discussing? And Reddit, I can never pronounce that. That’s a great resource. I think Reddit and Facebook groups are two really fantastic areas. But what I’ve listed in Twitter, you can do I think Facebook groups and Reddit are two forum type scenarios, where LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter, you can just see what people are talking about and the problems that they’re talking about.


[00:13:59.780] – Jonathan Denwood

But this is a great resource to find out in the niche area that you’re going to do your first course in, what are the problems that people are talking about? And then you can be part of that discussion. Before I go on to the next step, what’s your response to that, Kurt?


[00:14:22.160] – Kurt von Ahnen

My initial response, Jonathan, is that if you tell folks to go to Facebook groups and to go to Twitter and to go to YouTube, that you’re actually encouraging them to push that lazy button. There’s so much more to social than that. So yes, be involved in your Facebook group, grow your LinkedIn account, but don’t be afraid to engage them in the private messaging. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to somebody that seems like a player in that space. Hit them on the direct message and say, Hey, I saw a couple of your posts. I thought those were valuable, blah, blah, blah. You want to start bridging relationships with people that are already moving and shaking in those spaces. So don’t just observe and soak it in. That’s good, right? But remember, this takes time, and your time is worth money. And so You can’t get to where you’re spending four or five hours a day just surfing and not getting ahead.


[00:15:21.210] – Jonathan Denwood

Well, you’ve taken the words out of my mouth. I totally agree. That was going to be step two. So I totally agree with what Kirk’s outlined. So that was going to be step two. You observe first, then you get in discussions, you DM these people.


[00:15:40.510] – Kurt von Ahnen

And I want to be super clear about another thing, Jonathan. You got to be active. I mean, go to a local chamber meeting, go to a local meetup group, get on meetup. Com and find out where the entrepreneurs in your community are getting together. Because even though it might not be your niche, you’re going to soak up that energy and those connections from that group in a live, face-to-face, handshake environment, which gives you more that energy you need for your social work.


[00:16:11.420] – Jonathan Denwood

Yeah, I totally agree. It depends on what your niche is, but I think if it’s the niche that joining local groups, you can benefit by the research that you’re doing. You listened, you’ve written down what are some of the key problems that maybe your first course should cover. You’re getting in some discussions, you’re direct messaging some of these people. Where I disagree with a lot of the gurus out there because you’re going to come across two or three other videos. If you’re watching this on YouTube or you’re listening on iTunes or Spotify, this podcast, there are people out there that say, that you should engage in 50 to 100 people and you’ll be able to do this in a month. It’s cobblers, folks. You literally will You cannot do this in a month. If you’re doing it nine hours a day, and I presume that you got some full-time employment and you’re trying to do this as a side hustle, it It just isn’t. And you got family, other commitments. It is not possible. That’s why I say that this is probably a six month. And what you’re trying to do is this, folks, And this is my spin on it.


[00:17:47.990] – Jonathan Denwood

I think the next step is to develop a really quality lead magnet that is based on some of the problems that you have observed. And this could a PDF that answers a list of the problems that you observed based on the niche that your course is going to be about in a lot, and your course is going to delve in a bit more detail. These are quick answers to questions and problems that you observed. So it’s going to be a PDF, probably, a downloadable PDF. And you set up a landing page on the website that you’re going to build the course on, and all you ask is their name and email. And what you do is on social media, on forums, and it does It depends. I think that most groups, Facebook groups and other platforms that we’ve listed, if you got a free informational product and you’re offering it, you are not going to be barred from those groups because you’re just offering a free resource. And you can just say, well, I’ve just published it. And you’re going to have to keep periodically saying you’re offering this free resource. And people sign up, and that will be your initial contact list that when you build your course, you can outreach to these people.


[00:19:25.900] – Jonathan Denwood

What do you think of what I’ve just outlined, Kurt?


[00:19:29.390] – Kurt von Ahnen

I like that strategy. I’m a little less apt to post unwarranted links in people’s Facebook groups. I tend to do more on the relationship side and then share that link in a direct message later when it’s appropriate. But I always struggle with this, and bear with me on this one, Jonathan. This is why I say everything with me is the long game. I want to become a part of that community before I try to I want to add value to that community and show that I’m a member of that community before I try and extricate what I can out of that community. You know what I mean?


[00:20:09.620] – Jonathan Denwood

It’s a balance, Kurt, but obviously, we didn’t go into a lot of depth of what we were going to discuss. I gave you some resources. But what this is about, Kurt, is this is not building up a massive email list. This is about getting 12 to 20 people to sign up approach them, and then you offer these people a discount to your course, and they will be your first batch of students. So you get your first initial And then you can talk to these people and get feedback about your course because you’re going to have to modify your course because this is your beta course. This is your course to get feedback from students, from users. And then from that feedback, how useful did they find the information? What problems weren’t covered by the course? If they were covered, would make the course better. This is why getting your first group of students is so important, because unless… And these people, when you improve the course, or you might your next course, which will be based on the feedback, these initial people could be your evangelizers that talk about their experience, and they’re very optimistic about this other course.


[00:21:45.330] – Jonathan Denwood

Can you see how this all works together, Kurt?


[00:21:48.030] – Kurt von Ahnen

Yeah, and I think one of the key takeaways in what you just said there was the number, right? People think they have to deal with thousands of people, but as long as you’re not selling some Udemy for 19 bucks, if you’re selling something that is really going to deliver value, and it’s a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, 10, 12 people, 15 people is enough to get you launched and get you going and do that proof of concept, exercise it, even if you discount their entry and move to the next stages.


[00:22:19.750] – Jonathan Denwood

Well, the first course, folks, I would advise you not to aim it. I would advise it to be priced and And do your minimum… In the startup world, folks, it’s called your minimum viable product. In the membership world, I call it your minimum viable course. I think I’m talking about a course that only covers one main pain point in the subject and then gives direct guidance in the lessons to get an end result, and which then can be a component in a larger course that delves into more areas. So it’s modulised. But I think your course which you’re getting these first batch of students through should be your minimum viable course. That’s my stance on that, Kurt. What do you reckon?


[00:23:27.080] – Kurt von Ahnen

I’m with you. I’m with you. I’ll go with you.


[00:23:29.700] – Jonathan Denwood

So So what I’m talking about is a more staggered approach, folks. And there’s a little bit those influencers that say you can just throw up an initial course if you follow them and give them 6,000 plus dollars, and it’s all going to be fine, and it’s the key to success. They’re misleading you, folks. If you want a pathway that will lead to success, it’s staggered, and there’s a certain pathway that can’t guarantee you success, but reduces the chances of failure. And that’s what I’m attempting to outline in this show, basically. So let’s go to step three, optimize your authority. And I think because your experience on LinkedIn How would you apply this to LinkedIn? How do you optimize your authority? Because I think we can apply these principles to other social media platforms. So how would you do this on LinkedIn, Kurt?


[00:24:46.430] – Kurt von Ahnen

The question is, how do I demonstrate my authority on LinkedIn?


[00:24:49.920] – Jonathan Denwood

Optimize my authority.


[00:24:52.510] – Kurt von Ahnen

Optimizing the authority, and this is going to sound sideways, too. I don’t I don’t just post on LinkedIn, like, look how great I am, look how great I am, look how great I am. That really turns folks off. What I do is I jump into other people’s posts and I add solutions or input or resources for other people to gain value. And if you do that on a frequent enough basis with consistency, it actually begins to change the tie. That’s how you know your authority is working, because then people will start to put posts in and actually tag you in the post and say, Hey, I’m looking for information on X, Y, and Z. Kirt, do you have any ideas? And when that happens, I’m like, It’s working. My authority in this niche, My authority in this vertical is beginning to take hold. And the more that you can interact, especially with people that have a decent following in that space, the more authority you’re going to drive. And then, of course, you have your own posts which focus on your niche or what your goals are. But again, I’m real careful to… I don’t want to jump on and just be the bang of my own horn all the time.


[00:26:08.160] – Kurt von Ahnen

I want to be able to have other people bang that for me.


[00:26:11.510] – Jonathan Denwood

Yeah, I totally agree with you, but I think there’s two areas to it. There’s the area that Kurt just outlined, which I totally agree. But there’s also you really got to set up your LinkedIn, your YouTube channel.


[00:26:27.890] – Kurt von Ahnen

Profile page, yeah, set it up.


[00:26:28.860] – Jonathan Denwood

Everything’s got to set up. And really, this is the other reason why you want a lead magnet. Lead magnet and have a link in your profiles that goes to the lead magnet. Because these people are the people that you’re going to pre-sell to. Everything should be to drive people to a quality that offers some real value. Otherwise, they’re not going to sign up for the lead magnet. And don’t ask on the landing page, just ask for their first name and email. Don’t ask for any more information. They’re not going to give it, basically, folks. But people still… If it’s target at the right audience and in the landing page, the research you’ve done on the social media platforms to find out what are the key problems, the patterns that you observe, which is also going to inform you on your minimum viable course are going to things that are going to enable you to have the right copy on your landing page that gets them to sign up to download it and give… Can you see how all this is linked, folks? It’s a jigsaw puzzle. And it’s not jet science, folks, but it’s getting the bits together.


[00:27:55.090] – Jonathan Denwood

And like I say, people are charging $6,000 plus for the information we’re sharing for free in this podcast. All right? So in all your… Setting up your LinkedIn homepage, your YouTube, there should be a link to and it should be clear what you are the expert on, and you need some decent photos of yourself, and it should be totally clear what you are the expert in, and you should have the link to the landing page because you’re trying to build up your pre-sale list, and that’s all your initial buyer’s list. So the two things are linked. I got this as four and five, but they’re really into mind. I think it’s a good place for us to go for our mid-break. I think we’ve had a good discussion, I’ve waffled on. And we We’ll be back in a few moments, folks. Three, two, one. We’re coming back, folks. Hopefully me and Kirk have given you some great info that gives you a layout, an outline of how you really truly approach getting a successful launch or your first minimum viable course, your minimum viable product. I call it your minimum viable course, your minimum viable product.


[00:29:33.010] – Jonathan Denwood

I call it your minimum viable course, and how you can get the wheel moving without having an enormous fan base or spending a ton of money on ads. Which until you go through this process, will probably be a total waste of money anyway. But before we go into the meat and potatoes of the second half, I just want to point out we’ve got a great newsletter. You can get this newsletter that gives you advice on membership and also gives you some latest weekly tech news stories all mixed up into a nice consumable newsletter. To get this freebie, all you have to do is go over to Wp-tonic. Com/newsletter, Wp-tonic. Com/newsletter. And I write it myself, folks. I do it every week for you. So sign up, and I think you’ll really love it. So as I covered, I think you can see how my mind’s going now. So like I say, Kurt watched some of the videos that influenced me about this show, but I think you can now see how my devious mind is working, can’t you, Kurt?


[00:30:57.440] – Kurt von Ahnen

Yeah, for For me, my biggest thing when I jump online and I scroll through and I’m doing my thing, is all these people jump on and they want to give everybody the easy button. They think everybody wants this easy button. Then they convince people there is an easy button when there isn’t. It’s all a long game. You’ve got to do the work, you’ve got to put in the effort.


[00:31:23.480] – Jonathan Denwood

If you want a sustainable business that makes a difference to your life as a good second income or the possibility of replacing your job, or you want a good second income that provides benefits for you and your family, it’s a medium long game, isn’t it?


[00:31:42.590] – Kurt von Ahnen

Yeah. I like that you pointed out, plan on six months. When I saw that video that you referred me to, and she was like, You can get 50 Zoom interviews with complete strangers done in a month, I was like, It would take me…


[00:31:58.280] – Jonathan Denwood

And on Jonathan In your experience, I’m not a shy person. In no shape or form is that ever going to happen, is it? It just ain’t going to happen, is it?


[00:32:11.800] – Kurt von Ahnen

Unless you’re paying people, unless you’re saying, I’ll give you 50 bucks to jump on a call with me. But then you’re not getting the organic material that you’re really looking for. So if you want real relational organic material that you’re going to get from a future audience and you’re starting now from scratch, you You cannot get into this process, get in 30, 45 days, and then beat yourself up because you’re not done yet. I think three to six months is where you’re looking at to do this real ideal customer analysis thing. And then it’s probably another 30, 60 days to really build that curriculum outline to match what you find in your discovery call?


[00:32:51.310] – Jonathan Denwood

Yeah, 30 days, folks. Not six months to a year, which I’ve had clients, and they’ve built fabulous courses, but they haven’t done any of this. And then they launch, and it’s crickets, folks. And I feel sorry for them, but I advise, I try influence. But there’s a lot of influencers out there, folks, that are just telling you crap, basically. In no show perform in one month, are you going to have 50 Zoom discussions? It isn’t going to happen, folks. And if you’ve got the fan base or leadership that would enable you to do that, you don’t need to do it.


[00:33:39.460] – Kurt von Ahnen

No, you just put up the course. You just need to put up a landing page in the course, then you’ll be on the…


[00:33:46.950] – Jonathan Denwood

You don’t need to do… If you got the where you can get 50 people to have a Zoom with you in one month, you don’t need to do it anyway, folks.


[00:33:59.440] – Kurt von Ahnen

That’s a good Jonathan. That’s a good point.


[00:34:01.760] – Jonathan Denwood

It’s bonkers. It’s totally, in my opinion, I’ve got to be careful. In my opinion, it’s just misleading. But the concept, this truth in the concept. I just want to clarify something which Kurt pointed out, and I didn’t clarify. When I said, you can either… Some moderators on groups will get a bit iffy with you because if you just… But on the other hand, there’s the other way. You can initially answer the question and have a link, and I would use something like bitly, so it can’t be identified as going to your website. It will track it and it tells… I would use bitly. It’s totally free, a free account. For the different social media platforms, I would have a Bitly link for each social media platform. So then you can look, go into bitly, and you can see which is generating the most clicks. And I would bitify it, as I call it, and I would answer the problem. I’ll just say, I’ve got more information here, and then I would put the link in. And I think most moderators, if you do it smart, it is just the information and there’s nothing else. It’s just a landing page, and you’re not selling anything else initially.


[00:35:37.150] – Jonathan Denwood

I think you’re going to be okay. But what’s your thoughts on that, or do you think I’m not right about that?


[00:35:43.420] – Kurt von Ahnen

I like the use of bitly because it makes things easy and it doesn’t take up a bunch of characters in your post, and it’s not so-In your face. In your face and bold. I also like using individual links for the bitly to track which ones are good hits and bad hits, because when you’re just getting started, any hits are great hits. But as you get further down the road, you’re going to have to start asking yourself, Where does my traffic actually come from? If you set it up correctly from the beginning and you analyze those channels, down the road, you’re going to be really thankful you did.


[00:36:16.120] – Jonathan Denwood

All right. So obviously, there’s different social media platforms are better for different groups. So there’s two main differential buckets. There’s B2B and there’s B2C. B2b, business to business, or what your course is about, is going to be more business-orientated. And then you’ve got business to consumer, which could be a lifestyle, Health, those very popular membership course. Now, I’d say, Kirk’s written a great course, which is on Uname, about LinkedIn, and that, in my opinion, is more business to business. So can you give us an outline of what the main areas in your course on Uname that you cover actually? Can you give an outline of the different chapters in the course? Can you give an outline of why you wrote those particular chapters in your course?


[00:37:23.870] – Kurt von Ahnen

When you start looking at the actual coursework, a lot of what you’re going to in your discovery calls is that you initially- Can you give a quick outline what’s in the course, though, first? Sure. It’s like, what is LinkedIn? What is the platform? What are the benefits of using the platform. And you have to go through that first iterations of content. So what is it? What are the benefits of it? How do you connect to it? How do you build your profile? How do you get involved in community within the platform? Platform. And as you work through growing your use of LinkedIn at the bottom, I have the last three or four lessons are what are the common mistakes made using LinkedIn? And then you go through people that over post, people that spam in the Messenger, people that use too long of a message in Messenger, because I believe you use Messenger more like a text instead of a paragraph thing. And the reason that I have lessons that start with, what is it? What’s the benefit of it? How do you use it? All the way through to the end is because a lot of course creators, you’re an expert.


[00:38:41.390] – Kurt von Ahnen

So it’s like the expert’s curse. You come in thinking everyone’s going to start at step five. You think everyone needs your course to start at step five and get somewhere, and you miss steps one through four. And so it’s important to work with your community first, find out what the real pain points are, and then answer those pain points. In my particular case, when I started my LinkedIn course, I made this assumption that everybody was already on LinkedIn and was just struggling because they weren’t getting their growth that they had wanted. And what I realized was a lot of people didn’t even understand what LinkedIn really was as a social platform, and they didn’t understand the benefit of using LinkedIn. I’ve talked to a lot of people since creating the lessons that would look at LinkedIn, and LinkedIn is just the example course we’re talking about. But they say LinkedIn isn’t for them to personally brand themselves because they’re corporately employed somewhere else. So they think it’s more like an online resume service. That’s not what LinkedIn is. It’s a social networking platform for professionals.


[00:39:45.390] – Jonathan Denwood

It’s more of that. I think before I want to go into what I’ve learned by working with Kurt and how in the past 6-7 months, I’ve really upped, and I think you would agree, I’ve really upped my…


[00:40:00.730] – Kurt von Ahnen

Upped your game.


[00:40:01.870] – Jonathan Denwood

On LinkedIn. Would you agree with that, Kurt?


[00:40:04.310] – Kurt von Ahnen

I would.


[00:40:04.800] – Jonathan Denwood

Under your influence. So it’s a great course, and it’s on Unami. How much is it, Kurt?


[00:40:12.620] – Kurt von Ahnen

I think it’s 1995.


[00:40:14.280] – Jonathan Denwood

It’s really great for you, folks, and I would highly advise you that if your target audience is this more professional audience, it could still… Because it covers B2B, but it also covers be to consumer, if it’s that more professional type of individual that you’re going to find on LinkedIn, and I’m not been disparaging because I don’t classify myself as professional in some ways. It’s difficult to put it, isn’t it? I’m just losing a little bit of track. So I think LinkedIn have really done some really great stuff, but it’s just one area I think they haven’t done so well. I think they’ve engaged. It’s the way that they’ve got the stream now laid out on the homepage is more interesting than it was previously. I think that you can post articles on your profile, and the editor, the mechanics of posting on LinkedIn is really easy, and it’s really a nice editor. How you can embed YouTube videos and post on the platform. They made it super easy. And you can use tags, like on Twitter, and these make your articles and the pieces that you’re posting more searchable. I also upload video natively. I I think it’s got to be less than 10 minutes.


[00:42:03.210] – Jonathan Denwood

Is that correct? If you’re uploading to LinkedIn, it’s got to be a video of 10 minutes or less or 15 minutes. I’m not sure, but there is a limit in time. But I think most of the videos that I upload are below 10 minutes because it’s a short message, and I normally link it to a longer article that I’ve written on the website. Also, I’ve introduced the newsletter element that I’ve been doing to a more targeted audience than my general newsletter that you can get by going to the WP tonic, W-tonic/newsletter. I’ve got a more focused to more specific group that people get through LinkedIn. And I think they’ve done a great job here, Kurt. The one area where they haven’t done a great job is the group function, which was a great resource for LinkedIn, and they let that die. And I just don’t understand why they let that happen. If you’ve got any insights yourself? Because I think it could be… I think it could be… Sustent could be put into it, and it could be a great resource because Facebook could do, and it’s one of the few things Facebook. If you’re not paying, that’s a great resource that’s still on Facebook.


[00:43:37.400] – Jonathan Denwood

So why was there a decline in their use? I think it was the way groups were promoted and LinkedIn decided to push them. They weren’t going to encourage them or show the content that much?

[00:43:57.320] – Kurt von Ahnen

Since I don’t work internally with them, I don’t know what the drive was, but you are right. I get very little traffic and leads from my groups, but I get a lot from my personal profile.

[00:44:11.320] – Jonathan Denwood

I don’t understand why they went that way, do you?

[00:44:14.430] – Kurt von Ahnen

I think that LinkedIn just really doubled down on that whole personal branding idea and that it wasn’t to be split up into different company factions. That’s just my-Yeah that could be it, couldn’t it? And then, just to be clear for the listeners, remember, I didn’t think we were doing a review on LinkedIn and Facebook today.

[00:44:32.910] – Jonathan Denwood

I just wrote this to him, but you’re the one who’s written a course on it. So I thought we’d be, and it’s linked to what we’re discussing, right?

[00:44:40.120] – Kurt von Ahnen

If you upload a video from your computer, it can be 15 minutes. If you upload a video from your mobile device, it’s only 10 minutes. So there is a difference based on how you upload. But remember, LinkedIn has a feature where you can broadcast live, and then they encourage you to make content longer than 15 minutes.

[00:45:00.100] – Jonathan Denwood

That’s what we’re doing here, folks. We push it because we push it. If it’s live, it can be as long as the live broadcast. The other fact, it’s very similar to Facebook and others. If you natively upload, they will show the video to many more people. If you just put a YouTube link, it will show, but they won’t show it to anything like the number of people. If you natively, I am correct about that on Ica.

[00:45:33.540] – Kurt von Ahnen

Yeah. Suppose I could just be so bold as to recirculate the wagon on the episode. In that case, we were talking about launching your course without a big audience and without paying for ads. Then we totally discussed social media and how to use social media to build your audience. But Jonathan, the next thing was pre-selling. Are you a fan of pre-selling?

[00:45:55.730] – Jonathan Denwood

Well, I think that’s what you’re doing with the lead magnet to build up your initial, and then that’s down to your minimum viable course, which I cannot emphasize that I’m a real believer. If you get anything from this show, folks, do not build war and peace. Do not spend months, months, months on your first course. You need to get your first batch of students. You need to get feedback from those students. You need to interview them. You need to offer them a special deal. But part of that particular deal is that after they’ve gone through the course, you’re going to have a Zoom with them, and you’re going to get what they liked about the course, what they didn’t like about the course, what they think should be added to the course, which will then be your more extensive course, which will be at a higher price, folks. Instead of guessing missing what should be in that course, you’ve got actual research from users who have gone through the initial course and given you honest feedback rather than rubbish. You get accurate analytical data from a small test group, but you won’t get 50 people.

[00:47:24.390] – Jonathan Denwood

You’re not going to interview. And like I said earlier on, if you’ve got enough foreigners where you can have 50 interviews, you probably don’t need to do any of this. Even then, I would advise you to do a minimum viable course, but you don’t. You’ve probably got a big enough audience, so you don’t have to spend too much to promote that initial minimum viable course to get your first students through it. But I don’t care what unless you’re going to hire experts. And there’s nothing concrete, but I think if it’s your first attempt, no matter how big your audience, doing a minimum viable course is still a good idea. What do you reckon, Kurt?

[00:48:20.000] – Kurt von Ahnen

It is. I’m also a fan of actual pre-selling and coach some of my clients on the pre-sale process. And so, for instance, the software that you give a license to with WP tonic, Lifter LMS, can set restrictions so that you can have an enrollment period and a course period. And you can pre-enroll students for a course that’s not yet completed. And I think if you are dripping your content and you can throw out a couple of lessons and get people’s feedback, it gives you that feedback you need to complete those lessons in the drip schedule, and it allows you to create revenue while building, which is another layer of conversation. But it’s like pre-selling a book. You could authorize a book, put out a sample paragraph, and then say, Hey, you could pre-buy this book for $15. And then, once it’s published, you will sell it for $29. It’s that same mentality. Give people a reason to come alongside you and be vested in your project, and they’ll become ambassadors in the process.

[00:49:32.490] – Jonathan Denwood

I think it’s great. We’re going to wrap up the show. So, Kurt, what’s the best way for people to find out more about you and what you’re up to?

[00:49:40.710] – Kurt von Ahnen

Well, I think we’ve already discussed LinkedIn today. So, I’m the only Kurt von Ahnen on LinkedIn. When you find me, you know you got me. Hit that Connection button. It’ll recommend that you follow, but go to more, hit Connect, and let’s have an actual connection. And then chances are we’ll talk face to face on a Zoom call and see how we can help each other.

[00:50:01.220] – Jonathan Denwood

Yeah. And if you’re looking for a great checklist, a great lead maker, a PDF that goes through the critical steps for building your initial course, your minimum viable course, we have a great free resource. You go to the WP-Tonic. Com. It’s right on the home page, and you can download it. It’s a two-page checklist that goes through everything that you need to think about to do your first minimum course. And you can also book a free chat with me. It will be me to whom you talk. I don’t know if that’s a good or bad fit. Hopefully, I’m friendly, folks. And you can book a free chat with me on the home page, right on the home page. I’m more than happy to answer any questions. Also, you have a Facebook group. So, we offer many free resources for you if you’re looking to build your first membership website on WordPress, and I think you should look at WordPress. We will be back next week with another… I think I’ve got a special guest next week. So it should be a great discussion.

[00:51:09.700] – Jonathan Denwood

We’ll see you soon, folks. Bye.

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