Knowledge commerce is, simply put, the practice of selling access to one's knowledge. A college education is one of its most traditional types, but it is the rapid rise of the Internet that turned it into a business opportunity readily available to virtually everybody: from education-oriented companies to individuals willing to share their expertise about things they care for. Online courses, seminars, webinars, conferences – these are just a few formats available to those who know something they can teach to others.
However, just like in any other booming industry, competition is numerous and aggressive – you are not the only one in your field of expertise who sees the opportunity. If you want to achieve success, you cannot merely knock together a course and hope for it to sell – you need the right tools, strategies, and approaches.
1. Understand Who Your Student Is
Knowledge isn’t different from any other product in this regard. Before you try to sell it, you have to understand to whom you are going to market it. Think about your ideal customer avatar – a personalized representation of your main target audience. Keep it in mind both while you write the course and prepare promotional materials.
2. Don’t Be Just Like All The Rest
Here is a three-step suggestion from Rob Percival, a former high school math teacher who started his own online course business that brought him $200,000 just over the first month.
Firstly, study the market and take notice of which courses are currently selling well, what topics they tackle and whether you have any expertise in these areas.
Secondly, when you prepare your course, make sure you don’t just rehash what can be found elsewhere. If you don’t want mediocre sales, your course mustn't be mediocre as well. It means that you should have excellent first-hand knowledge of the subject matter and, preferably, passionate interest in it.
Thirdly, choose a big topic. If you want to motivate people to pay for an online course, you should promise them a lot of value – and deliver it as well.
3. Survey Your Audience
If you have an audience (from a blog, YouTube channel, podcast, social media account, etc.), try asking them what topics they want you to cover, what questions they have, what they want you to concentrate on. By finding common elements in their requests, you will be able to build a course that will be expected before you even announce it. Jonathan Levi, the author of a successful speed-reading and memory course, didn’t start out until he did a lot of markets research and talked to a lot of people about what their concerns were – and you can do the same.
4. Use The Right Tools
If it is your first attempt at selling knowledge, the chances are that trying to put the course together on your own using a bunch of independent tools will take too much time and effort. You are likely to make numerous mistakes and have a hard time marketing the results – many who try this approach get discouraged early on and decide that knowledge commerce isn’t for them. However, it is easy to prevent this by choosing a platform to do the heavy lifting for you – at least initially, until you get your feet firmly on the ground. Take a look at their website – it tells the stories of virtually hundreds of people who managed to earn thousands of dollars by selling their knowledge.
5. Pay A Lot Of Attention To Your Course’s Title
The Internet is likely to be already overloaded with information on your topic – which means that your title should a) contain all the most important keywords for your subject matter (use Google’s Keyword Planner to single them out), and b) cover at least some of the likely pain points of your target audience.
In the long run, no matter what kind of knowledge you sell, your success heavily depends on marketing. Even if your course is objectively better than anything else on the market, it will be small consolation if nobody except you knows about it. Use the right tools, cooperate with the right people, build a marketing plan ahead of time.