Promote Your Business: How to Write Your First E-Course

Nov 7 22:00 2004 Tara Alexandra Kachaturoff Print This Article

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As a marketing coach,Guest Posting I encourage my clients to use simple and low or no-cost marketing strategies to promote their business. Writing an e-course is a wonderful way to promote your business, while providing value to your current or prospective customers. In the simplest terms, an e-course is a series of e-mails that are delivered at pre-defined intervals which contain valuable content around a specific topic. E-courses consist of “lessons” which are loaded into autoresponders which automatically e-mail the lessons to your opt-in list. So what do you need to know before you write your first e-course?

1. Getting started. So what do you need to get started? First and foremost, you need a good idea or concept that you can teach someone about through an e-course. For example, if you are a coach, you might offer a short course on how to write a personal vision statement or how to realize your dreams. If you are a writer, you might write a course on how to write an article. If you are a consultant, consider an e-course on the key components of an effective proposal. Once you have your idea, think of 5 to 10 key points about the topic. These will become the subjects of the individual lessons.

2. Make it short and sweet. An introductory e-course can be as long as you want it to be. It could be a short as a couple emails or as many as one hundred. If you don’t want to annoy your subscribers or lose them altogether, I would suggest assembling a 5 to 10 lesson e-course. By keeping it short, there is a greater chance you’ll complete the writing of it so that you will have a nice free or fee-based product to offer to others. In addition, your subscribers will probably read it because they know they won’t be inundated with lessons from now until the end of time!

3. We deliver. Once you’ve completed the “lessons” which comprise your e-course, you’ll need to determine a delivery schedule. Do you want subscribers to receive a lesson every day or would you rather they receive it periodically? With today’s autoresponder technology, you can set up your e-course to be delivered at whatever interval you desire. If you want to deliver one lesson per day, you will set the interval to one. If you wish to deliver one message per week, you can set the interval to 7, or any other interval that works for you. I suggest allowing at least a week between emails, so just as someone is about to forget who you are, another email from you pops into their inbox. There are a number of free and low-fee autoresponders available through www.freeautobot.com, www.sendfree.com, and www.getresponse.com.

4. Free or fee? That is the question. Short e-courses are usually offered for free, whereas longer ones which contain more proprietary content can range in price from a few dollars to even several hundred dollars. When you’re just starting out, I suggest offering them for free. Whether free or fee, it is important to make sure that they contain information of value. Never fill an e-course with fluff or shameless self-promotion. If you do, rest assured you will have many people unsubscribing. In today’s competitive marketing environment, a savvy marketer knows that to attract and retain clients, they need to offer value and substance.

5. It’s all about solving problems. So how do you add value to your e-course. The best way to add value is by offering information that a reader can use today which will make a difference in their life. People are busy, really busy. They’re bombarded with over 4,000 marketing messages each day. They work, have families to take care of, along with many other responsibilities. Believe me, the reason they’re subscribing to your e-course is not to have one more thing to do. Rather, your e-course title or subject probably struck a chord within them. The reason people buy anything is to solve a problem. If they’ve “bought” into your e-course, they feel it’s going to help them with something they need resolved. If you want them as a client, you’re going to need to do your best to convince them that you have solutions.

6. Provide references. Adding references within your e-book is a great way to provide value. Including websites, links to articles, titles of books and addresses and phone numbers of helpful organizations are all great ways to point your reader in the right direction. This approach will help position you as a go-to person, someone who can readily provide references and referrals. Also, you’ll increase the chances that your emails will be retained and/or forwarded to others because of their overall usefulness.

7. To quote or not to quote. If appropriate for your content, don’t hesitate to add quotations. Quotations help people relate to the information and can also help with recall later on. Clever words like these can really add a touch of elegance to your presentation and show a sense of thoroughness and thoughtfulness in the effort you made to develop the course.

8. Any questions? Adding questions to deepen the reader’s learning or to engage them in the material more fully is a great idea as well. You might ask opened ended question to promote possibility thinking, or you might ask more factual-based questions. You can provide the answers within the same email, or wait and provide the answers in the next lesson. You might even have one lesson which is set up in a Q & A (Question and Answer) format. People love Q & A. To get the reader even more involved, you can include an email link where they can send you more questions. This would be a great entrée to building a potential customer relationship, or to building another product based upon questions you receive from readers. The possibilities are endless.

9. Examples and stories. Providing interesting examples or stories to illustrate key points are a great way to captivate the reader’s attention. Not only do they give him a way to relate the content to his own life, but they provide a way for him to remember it in the future.

10. Contact me please. Each issue of your e-course should include your complete contact information including your name, company name, address, website, email address, telephone number and fax number. You might also want to include links to other free offers, with links directly back to your website. These links should be located at the bottom of your email, perhaps in a P.S. (post script), rather than as the center of attention. Remember, your intent is to provide valuable content with the hopes of cultivating the beginning of a customer relationship.

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Tara Alexandra Kachaturoff
Tara Alexandra Kachaturoff

Tara Alexandra Kachaturoff is an executive coach, trainer, consultant and professional speaker with over 15 years of corporate experience. She coaches executives, professionals, and entrepreneurs on leadership, business and lifestyle issues and has been featured in radio, print, and television. She is the owner of CoachPoint™, www.virtualleverage.com, and www.relationshipplanning.com.

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