One of the most important parts of online training has to do with finding your target audience, knowing how to serve them and building a community. While marketing is important, the key is to serve your community first. Jason Van Orden has been doing that online and in person many years and is considered one of the pioneers in this space.
I first got introduce to Jason through his podcast. I later became a paying member of his membership site and have always greatly respected him. He helps people create new income streams from their expertise. He gives personal experience from his over 60 online courses that’s he’s created over the years.
Jason talks about consulting and how he has managed to charge premium prices. I personally hire coaches and consultants to give me their extensive experience and expertise. Coaches are found in all aspects of your life from health, income and personal growth. And that’s one of the reasons I provide coaching. I know I can help you find clarity on your idea, create your course so your audience will want it and market it using proven methods. Not only do I share my processes and strategies for creating the best courses, I have a lot of industry experience so I can answer questions and help you avoid making common mistakes. If you want to learn more about my coaching, go to the coaching page to learn more.
Most people are hesitant to spend money on coaches, though. They do not view it as an investment. Yet, coaches provide clarity for our ideas and help us expand our audience. Jason will help us avoid making common mistakes in your business and help you be authentic. We are all learning how to become more effective teachers and this will help.
Jason Van Orden’s Bio
Jason helps thought leaders to reach a larger audience with their ideas, create new income streams from their expertise, and build business models that align with their goals. As a consultant, trainer, and strategist, he draws from thirteen years of researching top Internet influencers as well as personal experience gained by launching over 60 online courses, teaching more than 7000 entrepreneurs, and generating 6 million dollars in online course sales, and 8 million downloads of his podcast. His mission is to help more visionaries with impactful ideas to reach the people they serve best and the problems they are uniquely positioned to solve.
Jason’s background on how he started with online businesses with information marketing.
JVO: When I discovered information marketing, I dove into it when I was marketing for my band. I started doing consulting and it brought me to the whole world of packaging your expertise and selling it for profit.
I began with a seminar about everything I knew about digital marketing back in 2003. I made a net profit of about 8000 dollars to teach what I love. Before social media, I used to post in forums to expand my audience. I then launched a podcast and haven’t looked back from there, just creating brands from my knowledge and teaching people to do the same.
Key to business success
What would you say have been some of your keys to your business success over the years? What do you think are the keys to your success?
JVO: I used to be blocked up by having prior success. How could I keep up with what I have already achieved? When I moved on after creating my podcast, it became more of intuition, quick start and experimentation from there.
When I advise people on strategy, my approach is that it is a series of hypothesis and experiments. I ask them what feels like a good experiment to try after I have given them the factors and criteria.
Course creators should look for frameworks over formulas in the online marketing world. Keep in mind that not everything that has worked for someone else will perfectly work for another one.
Breaking down the important bits of it all, it is important to add on to the skeleton such as who people are, their business and their audience. Course creators have to create something that will keep them ahead of the game.
They should be careful, however, not lose sight of their uniqueness; what they want to bring to their world. If that happens, they will not have unique perspectives to bring to the world and they can get drowned out.
Testing of ideas beforehand
Before someone spends a lot of time on creating an online course, what strategies do you have on testing their ideas?
JVO: My predominant idea was a small eBook or a short course. It is easier for one to sell as a smaller thing and build up their portfolio from there. Also, the building of their educational business without limitations of inventory and time. I flipped this.
Whether it is their first course or not, doing some higher level and closer-to-the-student experience has higher advantages. This is where things such as consulting comes in. The major advantage is that creators will be able to charge more money from consultations. Another point is that they won’t have to create a lot of material.
Course creators ought to learn a lot about what is valued by their audience, their needs and the language that works for them. This can help them refine their own process. There is a fulfilment in the direct approach since their unique strengths can come through. In any case, consumers can be sophisticated at times and they will need authentic content.
Ways of creating an online community
Once the course is made, how does one create that community and build upon it?
JVO: There are some obvious advantages of having the right tool such as Facebook groups. Having the platform is no longer enough though.
Course creators these days must think outside the box. They need to input the extra thought in fostering their communities. For instance, they should think about ways of improving interactions within their community and getting people stick to their communities.
It is also important for course creators to give their communities identities. A course creator should give their audience a vocabulary on how to identify themselves and how to communicate among themselves effectively.
In addition, there should be a community leader that stands in for the course creator whenever he/she is unavailable. Most importantly, course creators should encourage people, answer their questions and even pick up recognition of the success stories of their communities. This can help strengthen the bond that exists among community members.
Building your authority
As your audience grows, there is a need to ascertain your authority in the community. How have you gone about that?
JVO: When you have a network of people, you can build up by finding their first four students.
Course creators should be very clear about who they are talking to. Authority starts with conversations with their targets so as to know their unmet needs. Talking to your audience can help one create more resonate content and find their voice. To go a bit further, one should have a great point of view that draws from their own perspective.
There are three whys’ here.
- Why is the message important to your audience
- Why is it important to the person they are selling to
- Why is it important to the world’?
If course creators can consistently answer these three whys’, then it’s easy to command authority in messaging, marketing and conversion.