“There are a ton of . . . groups that don’t have an offering. Go to all those places that have people congregating around these different topics and ask them what their pain points are.”
Rob delved into what Thinkific has to offer course creators, and how to make the most of what this platform provides. I enjoyed our conversation and I think you will too!
*Just for the record, this episode was not sponsored by Thinkific in any way.
In This Episode, We Talked About:
- (3:23) Some of the most random online course topics Rob’s encountered
- (4:29) What Rob does and how he came to work at Thinkific
- (5:58) Building strong communities online
- (8:25) Thinkific’s origin story
- (11:30) What Rob sees as the biggest hurdles for online course creators
- (13:22) Finding a balance between UX and marketing
- (15:42) Why choose Thinkific?
- (18:48) A funny connection I made with someone from a well-known company
- (19:47) Rob’s personal experience with course building and what he’s working on now
- (21:28) How Rob is validating his course concept
- (26:22) His advice for beginning and struggling course creators
- (28:41) What about course creators who are doing okay but want to level up their sales?
- (31:34) A parting pitch
That wraps it up for today, but don’t forget to subscribe so you can keep up with all the latest episodes. That’s all for now, folks!
Jacques Hopkins: Regular people are taking their knowledge and content, packaging it up in an online course and they're making a living doing, but not everyone is successful with online courses. There's a right way and there's a wrong way, and I'm here to help course creators actually succeed with online courses. Hi, I'm John Hopkins, and this is the online course show.
Everyone, jock Hopkins here, and welcome to episode 99 of the online course show. This is the show where we talk all things online courses. Now, a lot of times I'll have a guest on who has a successful online course of their own. We just dive into their story with the hope that they can provide some inspiration and tips for you guys.
And while today's guest does have online courses of his own, we're doing something a little bit different today. Rob bell Savis. Works for Thinkific, and I brought him on to talk to me a little bit about Thinkific and who it might be a good fit for. So for those of you that aren't familiar with it, it's an online course platform.
It's actually one of the big four that I recommend. The big four are teachable, Kajabi, Thinkific, and click funnels, which click funnels. Most of you know is where my courses are currently hosted, but I'm actually a big fan of Thinkific as well. I built courses for other people in Thinkific. And honestly, I liked the course experience way better than in click funnels.
But as you've heard me say before, I keep my course in click funnels because I love how I can do so much there in one place, including funnels and order forms and so many other things. But I've been playing with Thinkific even more lately, and I'm super impressed. And you may have noticed a lot of guests on the show lately have said that they use Thinkific for their core site.
You know, I always try to ask people which platform they're using. And a lot of people have been saying Thinkific lately, and that totally wasn't planned. And I also want to mention that this episode is not sponsored by Thinkific or anything like that. I reached out to Rob myself because I honestly want to learn more about it.
So. Dive into this episode with me. Do the research for yourself, and if you decide that Thinkific is the right fit for hosting your course, they were super generous in offering a special deal for listeners to this podcast, you can get started for free with think IVIG for. Full 90 days and this will actually be their pro plan.
So this is normally $99 per month. So once again, 90 days totally free for the Thinkific pro plan by going to the online course, guy.com/thinkific. Or you can find more information and the link at the show notes page for this episode at the online course, dot com slash 99 so thanks to Thinkific for sharing that deal with you guys. Now let's go ahead and learn more about it and jump into the full conversation with Rob right now.
Hey, Rob, welcome to the online course show.
Rob Balasabas: Hey, John, really excited to be here, man. Yeah, thanks for having me.
Jacques Hopkins: Absolutely. Look, I want to approach this conversation from a few different angles. I want to talk about Rob himself as a course creator. I want to talk about online courses in general, and then of course, I want to dive into Thinkific itself as well. But first I want to ask you this. I can only imagine how many like different courses that you've come across in your position. What's like one of those really random, weird course topics that you've come across?
Rob Balasabas: Oh man. so many. Actually, you know what, funny enough, and I don't know, I mean I'm totally PG, but like if we went to Pinterest and we wanted to see who is creating courses up there, man, there's some like there's a couple of non ex trades courses, but there was like some, some funny ones, man. It was just like all about like, you know, sexuality and relationships and dating and stuff.
And I was like, Oh cool. And then there's another one along the same line settlement out of Europe on like this, like bad boy Academy. It was just how to be. I dunno, like how to, you know, meet women and things like that. So coming out of the gate with this kind of a question, I thought best, the most random one that I came across literally a couple of weeks ago, I'm going to do some research. But, yeah, that's, that's, yeah.
Jacques Hopkins: That's interesting. I mean, I, I can only imagine like the different things that are coming across your desk. It's like, huh? I didn't know. I never thought we could do a course on that, but, you know, sure enough, it's out there.
Rob Balasabas: It's out there, man. Yep. You bet.
Jacques Hopkins: So, Rob, you work at Thinkific, right? What is your position there and how did you get into that?
Rob Balasabas: Yeah. So, my official title here, JOC is social media and community strategist. A big part of my day is making sure our social media channels are all up to par and we're getting our, you know, all of our content out there. And then community building our community. Right now, we all live inside a private Facebook group, thriving community. I think we've got 16,000 plus course creators in that community right now. And so that's the big part of what I do. Also helping some of our ambassadors and experts. Build offline communities. So probably for the last year or so, we've been having a lot of our community members just, you know, organically meeting up in person in London, New York, Seattle, Australia.
So it's been really fun. And just empowering them to have the, you know, the resources to do that. And more and more. Also working with our partnership team. So yeah, that's what I do here. How I ended up here. I've been here about three years now and before Thinkific, working on the marketing team, I was working at a digital agency for probably about six, seven years.
I had a good colleague of mine that was working in the same building as us here in downtown Vancouver. And he moved over to Thinkific. At the time, there was like 10 or 12 team members that Thinkific. He messaged me, he's like, Hey, Rob, like should come check us out. you know, this like cool little startup here in Vancouver, all about online courses. So we had coffee the next week at the team, and a couple of weeks later I was, you know, I was here.
Jacques Hopkins: So you mentioned that Facebook community a little while ago, and I think that's how we connected, and I'm really impressed by that group because it's just so engaging. Everybody's helping each other and you guys, as the administrators of the group do a great job of posting, engaging content.
I've also been a part of groups that are the, you know, the other side of the spectrum where it's just dead. Right. What do you think the recipe is for a successful community like that?
Rob Balasabas: I think, well, first and foremost, you know, the, the people that are putting that community together, whether it's the entrepreneur or there's a team for us. You know, we're in a place where we can have a bit of a team. There's about four or five of us that are inside of that group on a regular basis each and every day. So I think, you know, investing in the community in that way, as far as, you know, putting the time in to get conversations started, you know, engage with the members.
You don't have things to talk about. Right. To start conversations. That's worked really well for us, right? So our community is not a place for a lot of Facebook groups out there. You know, course creators included build communities as almost like to replace their email list, right? So they build the community with the intention of marketing or promoting something through Facebook lives and things like that.
Our community is strictly there to support our course creators. That are using our platform and also to, you know, give them resources to either build better courses, build their first course, or market their existing courses once it's launched. So that's worked really well for us because like you just said, like it is an engaged community and it's a community that they're getting value from without being sold to. So that's the position we've created for that community.
Jacques Hopkins: And one of the biggest things I've seen is, you know, if I have, maybe I have a small like technical issue with Thinkific, I could start a ticket with your support or, and maybe, and I can post the same thing to the Facebook group and everybody's so willing to help. It doesn't have to be a Thinkific employee that's answering the question. It can just be other Thinkific users.
Rob Balasabas: Yeah. Yeah. It's been really cool to see like that is, you know, that's just what happens. Like a lot of times, like somebody will post a question and say in the middle of the night, cause we're here in Vancouver, right? So sometimes in the middle of the night there'll be a question posted from somebody saying the UK or Australia and you know, maybe our team members are sleeping so we will wake up. You know, people have already responded, right? They're like, Hey, how do I do this thing with this particular theme? And then somebody has already answered their question before we even got to it. That's great to see. I mean, that's, that's really what we want to happen. Yeah. So it's been good.
Jacques Hopkins: Rob, I know you're, you're not the creator of Thinkific, but can you give me the quick like origin story and how you guys differentiate yourself from your competitors.
Rob Balasabas: Yeah, I love the story. So the story of this two co founders, Greg Smith, most generic name ever, Greg Smith, and then also Matt Smith. So Greg is still the acting CEO and he's still here day to day operations. His brother is the founder for a tool called later. It used to be called later Graham. I'm not sure if you guys are familiar, but it's a, it's an Instagram scheduling and management tool. So they're both here in Vancouver. Back in the day of the vote.
Think of it as a seven years old now. So Greg was a practicing attorney here in downtown Vancouver and the, you know, in the, securities and finance space law. So he was doing that for a number of years, successful attorney. He was also then teaching the L sat, you know, like the, you know, to pass the board exam for, you know, would be lawyers right.
In the universities here. And so he was doing that in person and you know, posting up flyers and stuff like that around the campus. So one day he's like, Hey, you know what? I'm teaching the same stuff all the time. I should build some type of online version of this course. So that I can get it up to people and I don't have to spend the time to do it.
He approached his brother, Matt, who isn't a developer, and so they put this course together. They use WordPress and different plugins and PayPal and Stripe and stuff like that, and kind of like mash all of these tools together and they launched the course, you know, it was pretty successful. And so that's kind of like the validation of the idea.
Now, the funny thing that happened though, rather than like, there are students taking this course, but the funny thing that happened was that. Other professors in the university started approaching him and saying, Hey, like can you, we liked what you did with your course online. Can you build the same thing for my chemistry course and my biology course?
And stuff like that. And so then that kind of sparked the idea of Thinkific really in the initial days of like, well, people need this. Like for them, they couldn't find one platform that did it easily. They had to put a bunch of tools together. And so then really the first version is something Epic was born and that was it.
That was it. So spent the third, you know, the first three or four years, trying to understand and figure out the product market fit. And then about three years ago when I joined a team, that's when the team started to ramp up from, I think I joined when there was about 12 or 13 and then now we're at about 90 staff. So you know, we've figured out sort of the product market fit where we kind of fall into place in the market.
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah. I love when the, the origin stories come from kind of a hole in the market and creating something that you kind of needed yourself. I know when I was looking to create my online piano course back in 2013. One of the biggest struggles I had, if not the biggest struggle, was simply the technical like software to host the course and all that. And it sounds like Thinkific was just getting started at the time, but I couldn't find it. And I ended up just like piecemealing stuff together. And obviously my course today looks significantly different than it did back then, but hopefully, hopefully today, 2019 people are able to find tools like the GIP pick a little easier and get by that hurdle of getting started.
Rob Balasabas: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. We hope so too. It kind of make it as easy as possible for everyone.
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah. So if that's not the big hurdle anymore, what are you seeing as, as kind of the big hurdles to people getting started and being successful with online courses?
Rob Balasabas: I think it's the number of things. You know, there's people that you know, started using our platform from different origins. Stripe, they're like, they either don't have a business, you know, and they want to make one online. They have a business already offline, like a brick and mortar business, or maybe they do speaking or in person workshops. Those people tend to do really well because they have content already. The only thing they're missing now is an audience online.
Or vice versa. There's a lot of course creators that have an audience so that maybe they have a YouTube channel that's really successful. They have a podcast. That is really successful and have loyal followers, but they haven't built a curriculum ever. They've never taught anything. Although they have a really deep knowledge of specific topics.
Right. But they haven't put it down into a layout where, you know, it's something that they can productize and sell as an online course. So, you know, there's people like that, and then there's people that come from a different platform where they have both, they have content and an audience, either online or an email list or something like that.
And then they have problems of scaling, right? So then it's a matter of like, how do I continue to grow and serve more people, but not take up more of my time. So all of those things have their own unique struggles and challenges. We try to address each one of those and really be mindful about like what those struggles are, and then help them through the community, through, you know, online training that we provide resources and things like that.
The onboarding process is something that we look at daily. There's a small team that just worries about onboarding here, Thinkific. So, yeah. So I hope that answers your question, but yeah, we're just trying to make sure everyone has a different set of challenges.
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah, for sure. It kind of to dovetail off of that, one struggle that I see is where do you draw the line between like making the best course that you can make and like really focusing on user experience versus the marketing and actually trying to get people into your course. And I would imagine that focus is more on the user and the student experience side of things, but are you guys doing anything to help your customers help their customers, to convince them to buy the course with the marketing side of things?
Rob Balasabas: Yeah. Marketing is a big part of what we do. Like, you know, obviously we are not a service, so we don't, I mean, we don't provide marketing services. We do our best to share best practices by, you know, interviewing and sharing knowledge from, you know, experts that are really good at certain channels. Right? So, for example, YouTubers, right? So we ran a short series. What a month or two ago of, you know, YouTube to courses, right? So, you know, we interviewed Tim Schmoyer, Sonny Lenner doozy, different YouTube burrs that are really good at using YouTube to grow a business, and then how they used online courses as part of that business.
And then sharing knowledge from them on how to use YouTube. Yeah. We just really like we, we're not experts at everything. I think this is sort of just a mentality that we approach is that if there's somebody out there that's already doing this really well, then let's leverage their knowledge and share that with our community.
Right before that YouTube series, we did a series on coaches, right? So we interviewed a bunch of coaches that are using our platform because we know that a lot of coaches use our platform naturally for their business. Then we interviewed a bunch of coaches that are already successful and using online courses for their business.
We interviewed them. How do you do it? Like, let's open up, you know, let's pull the currents back. Where does online courses fit into your workflow? When you speak on stage, at what point do you then mention your courses? How do you do the cost to action and all those practical things? So we try to share in that sense for people that.
You know, maybe have a bit of a bigger budget. Then we have a list of experts that we can share. If you go to dot com slash experts there's a bunch of experts there. That's something that we'd love to have you on. And yeah, basically we just refer people to experts that can help them with certain things. You know, video creation, production, marketing, course creation, all that stuff. We're not part of that transaction. We're just essentially referring people to experts that can help them out.
Jacques Hopkins: So Robin, if I'm get a new course grade or just getting into this, I have an idea just getting started and I'm looking at my different options for hosting my course. Why should I pick Thinkific over some of the other options?
Rob Balasabas: Yeah, that's a good question. That's a really good question. First of all, there is no barrier as far as costs, right? So we have a free plan that has no expiring. You can build up to three courses as you know, three courses. You can even accept payments. You can integrate PayPal and Stripe. There's literally zero costs on our end. You don't have to pay Thinkific for that. So we actually have a quite a bit of users that are starting at that point, you know, already getting ROI and then as their business grows and they want more features, then they can upgrade into some of our paid plans.
The reason being, we do understand, and you know this really well, they're not kids that building a course online takes time, right? It takes time. There's a lot of skills that you need to kind of hone in. And so we don't want to have that like rush where it's like, Hey, you get like a seven day trial or a 30 day trial.
Here's a free plan. Take your time, build your course, upload your lessons. So that's the first thing. It's really easy to barrier as far as costs and finances. The second thing is that we really focus on the student experience. So we understand like we obviously are building Thinkific to make it as easy as possible for course creators to build their courses, but we pay attention to how their students are going through their course and make sure that it's smooth, that it is enjoyable.
Right. Like a little bit of like that experience as a student. So that really, at the end of the day, the goal is to increase the completion rate of the course. Right. Completion rates with online courses is one of the biggest challenges. You know, a lot of the stats are very, very low as far as completion rates.
So we want to make sure that that can be as high as possible and do our best with the platform that we're building to help in that. Obviously a big part of completion rates is the content itself that the course creators. Control, but we do our best to do what we can within our control. The higher the completion rate then to better for the course creator that is using our platform and paying, you know, keeping the lights on for us because the higher completion rate means there's more referrals for that student.
That student has a better experience and might come back and purchase more courses or sign up for their membership. And then the third thing is support. You know, support is a big part of our culture here, right? So we have, our support team is top notch. We have a phone line, you know, people can call in toll free.
We have our Facebook group. Like I said, our social channels are always on top of our, like private messages. And really as a team, we spend time each week doing support, including our CEO. Every now and then you might get an email from our CEO answering that custom domain question that you're wondering about.
It's just the way that we've on day one have built a business and it helps us. Especially like developers who may never really have direct contact with our course creators that are using our platform. It's a way for them to understand still, like who are the people using these things that they're building?
So from marketing to support floor core team for developers, we all want to have that interaction with our course creators. So. Yeah. Those are the three things that stand out in my mind.
Jacques Hopkins: I love them when I hear about companies. They all have to participate in this support. I think that's really important. I actually have a funny story that thinks relevant here. I was up, I use Zapier. I'm sure you're familiar with Zapier and probably integrate with it. I was emailing their support one time. With just a simple request. I got a response. We fixed the issue. A couple months later, I had one of my students reach out to me.
He was like, Hey, Jack, I don't know if you remember me, but I'm the guy that helped you out with the Zapier requests a couple of months ago. He's like, I'm like, you know, he's like VP of marketing or something. He's like, I was just doing my once a week customer support thing. I saw your email address.
What's your domain? I was so impressed. I bought your piano. Of course. I love it. So I might need to just reach out to more support people too, as a way of marketing.
Rob Balasabas: Yeah, no, that's awesome. I love that. Yeah. We love Sapio, man. Those guys are doing things really well. We did lose one of our support people to them like a year ago, but, yeah. No, no problem. It's just what happens.
Jacques Hopkins: So, you know, we're, we're talking about courses here, right? What is your personal experience with courses? Have you made any of your own?
Rob Balasabas: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So I built a couple of courses in the past. Everyone that joins Thinkific spends the first week and a half or two weeks building a course if they've never built one. So there's some really cool courses that have been built by, you know, and then they shared on our Slack channel after they built it. So there's one where it's like, how to have a long distance relationship. There's another one on like. Moving to Vancouver and how to settle in. There's like, well, of course this, but for the ones that I've built, I've built an Instagram course in the early, early days.
I then also built a course on how to use this tool called stream yard, which is like a live streaming tool, and also a tool called restream, which is like a multi streaming tool. So if you want to go live on like Facebook and YouTube and LinkedIn at the same time, I just do that a lot anyway for what I do on my day to day work.
So yeah, so I built the course because I was getting a lot of questions about it. Yeah, so I built the course and priced it and everything, and people are still buying it. Then now I'm sort of just starting to do sort of like pre-marketing, pre-launch, I guess, on a new course that I'm building around LinkedIn. So how to build your personal brand on LinkedIn.
Jacques Hopkins: Okay. So what's the deal with the LinkedIn course? It's, what's, what qualifies you for the LinkedIn course?
Rob Balasabas: Yeah, I guess would qualify something with LinkedIn course. I built quite a bit of an audience on LinkedIn and which has, I do a lot of videos, native videos, and also LinkedIn lives. And really it's opened up a ton of doors, you know, as far as like opportunities to speak, opportunities for other things. And just to share that, you know, sharing different ways on how to create content on LinkedIn, how to engage on LinkedIn, how to connect with, you know, your target audience on LinkedIn. So yeah, that's probably going to be launched sometime in October.
Jacques Hopkins: So are you, you mentioned you're kind of in the pre phase of that right now. Have you even recorded the course yet?
Rob Balasabas: No. No, not yet. Not yet.
Jacques Hopkins: Okay, good. Let me ask you about that, Rob, because just yesterday I had somebody posted my community asking, Hey Jacques, what resources can you point me to about the validation of your course topic? And I've, we've touched on that in various podcast episodes and various things, but I'm curious your take on that question.
Rob Balasabas: Yeah. So the question being how to validate your course topic.
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah. It sounds like you're kind of in that phase right now, so what are you doing to kind of validate that? Because you know, like I usually say the worst thing you can do is spend all this time creating a course only to find out nobody's actually going to buy it on the backend. Let's figure that out on the front end.
Rob Balasabas: A hundred percent a hundred percent so, well, the first time that I launched a course, I didn't do it this way. I just built a course and then launched it fully built and started talking to my audience. Once it was launched. So since then, I've learned that you start your marketing really way before you even build any content.
So for now, for example, yesterday, if you go to my Facebook, I don't know when you listen to this, it might be tomorrow, it might be next month, next year. But what I did yesterday was I just posted up on Facebook on my personal Facebook and also Instagram stories, two sentences. I think I just said like, Hey, I'm building my next course.
Can you guess what it's going to be on? Really like very high level. I know it seems kind of silly and it's just like sort of like, but it's really to start the conversation and get people thinking like, Oh, Rob building, of course, like, you know, it's a conversation that I'm having and right now it's very broad.
This is the strategist I've seen work really well with the partners that we have, and I'm just. Really taking their playbook. It's really broad. So it's like, Hey, I'm building a course. What do you think it is? And then you get like the guys that are, you know, they think they're funny and stuff, and they'd be like, Hey, baking, or like, you know, haircuts or whatever.
But then people will, there's been a few people that have said live streaming and also LinkedIn. So that to me means like, okay, so people then see me as an expert. At least there's a few people out there. Half of the people that are commenting who are just like not my buddies that are like trying to clown me.
They're saying LinkedIn, social media, live streaming, which is along the line where obviously I'm going to go with LinkedIn. So probably the next week I'm going to be talking about like I'll mention that it is going to be on LinkedIn and then I'll ask like, Hey, what do you want me to be sure that I cover in that course?
Right? And so then understanding like what are the pain points? What do you see me within LinkedIn? What do you see me being good at that I have, you know, knowledge and authority on within LinkedIn. Right? So if they hopefully will say it, like video content, community building, all those kinds of things. So that's a plan.
That's what's worked really well in the last launch that I did with stream yard, my stream yard course, is that I started talking to the audience way before my audience in general, on my own Facebook channel, my own Instagram, but also talking to specific groups that I'm in that are potential. Students for that course, that have an interest in that topic.
So, so yeah, I think we kind of, you know, have that same strategy where a lot of people, when I first started, you know, I talked to course creators to launch their course and they're saying like, Hey, there's nobody interested. You know, I worked on this course for like six months. You know, spend time recording and everything. I launched it and nobody's interested, and that's really the wake up call for me. It was like, you can't do it like this, right? You've got to work it backwards where you've got to just understand first what people will buy, what they're interested in learning from you, and then, and then build the course after. So.
Jacques Hopkins: No, I love it. That's great advice. And it's interesting that you're just kind of like right in the middle of that process right now. And I remember seeing your recent posts that you mentioned about, you're not just coming out and say it, you were saying, Hey guys, I'm working on a course. Can you guess what the topic is going to be?
I love that. And it just kind of gets the ball rolling, the conversation going.
Rob Balasabas: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And it gives you other topics too. Like now there's a couple of ideas that they've shared and like, Oh yeah, I can build a course on that too, like later on. But yeah.
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah, it's a great open ended question, which you're really asking is, Hey guys, what do you think I'm best at? What do you think I can help you the most at? And maybe you have blinders on in certain areas and they come up with an idea you hadn't even thought of, but their perception of you is that you're somebody that's capable of making a course on that topic. And so you should probably run with it.
Rob Balasabas: So, yeah. And also if you're listening and you're like, Hey, I don't have a huge audience. You know, I was always taught, and again, this is best practices from our partners that are doing really well, is that even if you have like a couple or a handful of people that are willing to take your course and the initial run still run that course, right?
Because if there's four or five people, even if there's one or two that are interested in that particular course, and there's going to be way more that you just haven't met yet. So yeah. Don't be afraid to say like, Oh man, I only have 10 students or five students. Well, this course still run with that. Right. You know, because then you can scale it up and you can let it run evergreen after.
Jacques Hopkins: All right. So the next thing I'm going to ask you is a little more broad, and I'm going to ask you just for some advice for the people listening to this. And you can approach it from one of two places, I think. So sometimes we have course creators, they have a course, they're making some sales, but they're just kind of struggling to take it to the next level.
And then of course, we have beginners who maybe, you know, develop another course or they're about to launch. They haven't made a sale yet. So what advice do you have for either one of those types of people? Or maybe both.
Rob Balasabas: Yeah. If you haven't made a sale yet, so they haven't made a sale yet. I'm always kinda curious, like I was asked like, how are you marketing your course? There's a million ways to market your course. There's social media. If you have a list, you know, if you have, if you have partners, there's affiliates, right? There's Facebook group admins, right? There's a ton of Facebook groups and I can talk about that all day. That don't have an offering. Right? They have a group and they have people that are interested in say photography, but they don't know.
It's not a business. It's not, it's not generating revenue. So you could approach them and just say like, Hey, I've got this course. It's a perfect fit for your group. I've been in this group for months. You know, would you be interested in partnering up or. Licensing or white labeling my course or your group.
There's so many different ways. So for me, I would just ask like, Hey, what are you doing? If they say like, Hey, I've tried everything. I've done Facebook ads, I've done all this stuff, then maybe there's just no fit in that course. Maybe that course is just not the one. Right. I mean, that is also an option.
That's, you know, again, most people that I think the biggest thing, going back to what I just said about, you know, doing that market research and talking to your market, you for you build that course. I think that's sort of like the worst case scenario. So what happens is when you launch that course, there is no market that nobody's interested.
It's not a fit, right? So you can avoid that completely by talking to your audience beforehand. Instagram stories used the question sticker, go on LinkedIn, right? Go to Cora, go all these places that have people that are congregating around certain topics and then ask them what their pain points are. You know, again, I work, I'm part of this group for stream yard.
And I said, Hey, like what are the, some of the questions you guys always have about using this particular tool. And so people started putting down, you know, all of their questions said, okay, perfect. Like a, it's an easy content for me to create for my YouTube channel, which then will can lead into bite size courses that I can build for that community.
So that's what I would do for somebody that's just starting out and said like, Hey, I'm not making any money. If somebody is making a lot of money already. Sorry, job. Can you repeat that question for the person that's successful.
Jacques Hopkins: They're kind of, two big groups of people that I come across are just like total beginners, right? They haven't made their first core sale yet. Whether that means they've made their course and it's not selling, or they're just like making the course or the other group is, you know, it's selling. Okay. Right? Like for me, back in the day, like I had my piano course making 500 to a thousand dollars a month, but it wasn't, it wasn't enough to where I could quit my job or anything and focus on it. You know? What do you, what advice do you have for the people that are making sales but are looking to take it to the next level?
Rob Balasabas: Yeah. So if they're making sales, I would ask them like looking at their analytics or maybe just looking at their list of students and you know, putting down like where that student came from. If they don't know it might be a good way. It might be a good opportunity to send them a survey. Like if it came from like Facebook ads. Or it came from Instagram. You know, that's kind of find the root of the source of those majority of those students and then double down on it, right? So if a gal came from like YouTube, if you have a YouTube channel that's successful and double down on YouTube, create more YouTube content.
If they're already purchasing, ask them if they've already gone through the course. You know, send them a survey. How did that go? Like what are some of the other questions that you have about, you know, podcasting or whatever that course is about, and then that'll generate some ideas for you, for other courses to create a lot of people that have horses they built one.
They haven't built the next one. They don't know what to build next, you know? So it's really easy. All you have to do is go back to those set of students and ask them what are pain points that you want to understand next? Right? So if it's podcasting, is it how to get a guest on, you know, how to build a weekly show, like is it this equipment?
So many different things, right? So just go back to them and then perhaps build another course. One tip I would share is like, if you haven't thought of it, think of memberships, right? Memberships is a great way to not just like use courses, right? With memberships. People pay for time with you, access to you.
So that's another way to look at it is, you know, you may want to build a membership where maybe you launched, you know, a small course each month. But then there's a community, like a private Facebook group or a Slack group that you maybe do a live video streaming session each month to answer their questions live.
That gives them that feeling of like access to USD expert and they'll pay monthly for that. Right. We have a ton of successful membership site owners, and that's essentially their formula is that it's three parts. They have a new course each month. They do a live each month or every two weeks, and then they have a community, right?
So they have a community of likeminded people. I know a lot of experts that just buy courses because they want to just be part of that community, right? So they'll buy a course, not for the courses even, but they just want to be part of that community and connect with people that they can potentially, you know, partner up with or JV with or collaborate with. So look beyond the course, I guess.
Jacques Hopkins: Rob, thanks so much for joining me today. It's been good to hear a little bit about you and they get big and of course, online courses to wrap this up, pitch whatever you want to pitch, whether it's your upcoming course on LinkedIn, the Facebook community, how people can get started with, they get big once you got for us.
Rob Balasabas: Yeah. I'm the worst at pitching to be honest. I mean, you know what, just connect with us. If you're interested in checking in with Thinkific, go to dot com you want to give it a test run. I don't have any special coupon codes or anything, but you send me, send me a message on LinkedIn. Probably is the best way.
Just connect with me. Just copy and paste my name. You'll never be able to spell my last name without looking at it. So just copy and paste my name. Look me up on LinkedIn, connect with me there. And letting it let me know that you listen to this podcast episode. Be happy to hook you up with some free time on, on our and yeah, if you're interested in that LinkedIn course, I can get some access to that as well.
Jacques Hopkins: Right on. Thanks so much, Rob.
Rob Balasabas: John, thank you so much, man.
Jacques Hopkins: All right. That is going to do it for this episode all about Thinkific. You can find the show notes from today's episode by going to the online course, sky.com/ 99 and remember, don't sign up for Thinkific without taking advantage of their super generous offer for listeners of this podcast, free 90 days.
You can take advantage of that by going to the online course, guy.com/thinkific. And if you want to hang out with a bunch of other course graders, then I have the perfect Facebook group for you. It's called the online course community. It's totally free. We have a ton of fun in there geeking out about online courses.
You can search for the group on Facebook or go to the online course, guy.com and click on community at the top. Thank you so much for joining me for this episode and please stay tuned for next week. Where I'm going to have a super special guest on for episode 100 see you then.
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