Success for teachers on Skillshare doesn’t happen overnight, and it can be stalled by a number of avoidable mistakes. We've seen new teachers struggle to gain traction when they forget to take a few simple steps before and after publishing their classes. Let's talk through 5 of the most common mistakes, so that you can avoid them and be well on your way to Skillshare success!
Mistake #1: Forgetting to merchandise your class
If you were to go shopping to buy a new product for the first time (all prices and quality being equal), you’d likely gravitate toward something aesthetically pleasing – a product with a bright colored box and a name that resonates with you. You don’t need to be a marketing expert or a product designer to package your class in a way so that it has the same appeal. But if you don’t consider what your class looks like, from the cover image to the title, you may be losing out on students watching your class.
Great merchandising grabs a student’s attention and a few small details go a long way to increase visibility and click-throughs. You can optimize your class for discovery and student engagement by having a clear class title, an eye-catching yet relevant cover image, and skills that distill your class into a few keywords.
To see the difference that merchandising makes, check out this great example of how teacher Jamie Bartlett packaged up her Photoshop class. The content of this class is amazing and based on the number of students in her class, it’s clearly a hit with the community. But imagine if this class made a poor first impression by having a blurry cover image, a vague title, and no relevant skills. Students would likely scroll past the class on the page, and miss out on all that it has to offer.
For more tips, check out this blog post on easy ways to merchandise your class.
Mistake #2: Disregarding Skillshare's marketing tools
Spreading the word about your class is vital to ensure your class is discovered by more students. We offer a suite of tools to help you promote your class, but using the wrong tools (or worse, forgetting to use them at all!) could mean losing traction.
Of the tools we offer, there are two different links you can use in your marketing when you share your class with your friends, family and followers: a referral link and a free access link. Each link brings new students to your class but in a different way. It’s important to understand the distinction so that you can share the best link with the right audience.
When you share your referral link, students can access your class plus Skillshare's entire class catalog for one free month! We think this is a great tool to use with everyone: your family, friends, social media channels, blog followers, email newsletter, next-door neighbor -- the list goes on. When you share this link with your communities, be sure to let your them know about the amazing offer. Thought they'll be promoted to enter their credit card for the free one month trial, your friends will be able to learn to take better photos, whip up a new recipe, balance their business budgets and take your class! Not only does the referral link give your community an incredible deal, but you also earn $10 for each student you refer.
When you set up a free access link in the “Promote” section of your class creator, the person clicking on the link can access your class for free. We think this is a great tool to use with anyone who may be hesitant to sign up for a full account. When you send out this link, let the recipients know they can sign up with no strings attached. The free access link provides a lower barrier to signing up and enrolling.
Knowing the different options you have will help you determine what is best for your marketing strategy. But remember to use at least one of these tools! Don’t simply copy and paste the browser URL to your class. For more tips on using these marketing tools, head to the Teacher Handbook and check out this blog post on 10 different ways you can use your links.
Mistake #3: Not putting in the time to continually market
Promoting your class once after it launches, and then never promoting it again, is a guarantee that you will miss out on new students and additional revenue. Think of it this way, if you were to stand in the crowd at Times Square with a sign for people to sign up to take your class, you’d get a sizable number of students. If you go back again, two weeks later, you would attract a new group of people interested in your class.
This is the idea behind continuous marketing. It’s not meant to be spammy or exhausting to your community, but rather a way to share your class with new people.
You can promote your class in a way that is genuine and fruitful. Teela Cunningham, a successful Skillshare teacher, shares her tips for developing a marketing strategy using your social media channels in this video.
After promoting your class on your social media channels, take a break and try a new tactic. Add your class referral link to your website or write a blog post about your creative process with a shout out to your class. If you have more than one class on Skillshare, re-engage your audience by promoting your entire Skillshare channel.
For more marketing tips, check out our Teacher Handbook and read through a few our favorite creative marketing tactics in these blog posts: Bring Your Offline Community Online, Cross-Promote Your Etsy Shop and Skillshare Channel, and Use an Evergreen Link to Make Even More Green.
Mistake #4: Not engaging with your students
Success is not just about marketing your class(es). It’s equally important to engage with your students and be an active teacher. If a student asks you a question in the Community Board or shares their project, and you’re not there to provide feedback, they will be left feeling discouraged and may hesitate to participate in your next class.
We have a community of passionate students on Skillshare that are looking for supportive teachers. Your presence and interaction can be a make or break when it comes to positive class reviews and student projects.
Posting a welcome message on your Community Board, checking back for questions, and giving feedback on projects is a great way to show students that you care. Check out the awesome interaction in Andre Wagner’s class. We understand that you may not have the time to answer every question or give feedback on every project, but making an effort matters, even if it's just for 5 minutes a day, and students will reward you for it. Engaging with students isn’t a requirement to teach, but it does help you build a loyal Skillshare following.
For more ways on how you can engage with your students, head to the Teacher Handbook.
Mistake #5: Not having a consistent presence
Consistency works in your favor -- whether it’s in marketing, student engagement, or teaching. Carving out your place on Skillshare happens when you have a consistent presence on the platform.
Take for example Skillshare teacher Helen Bradley. Helen teaches a class every week and is one of our top-earning teachers as a result. It’s an ambitious feat and not one that we expect every teacher to do. However, teaching a new class once a month is definitely feasible for a committed teacher. Developing your channel takes time but the payoff is worth it. The most successful teachers on Skillshare teach on a consistent basis, helping them grow their student following and earn more revenue each month.
Along with consistent teaching, it’s important to find creative ways to continuously promote your Skillshare channel and stay engaged with your students.
We’re sure that if you avoid these five mistakes and follow our best practices in promoting, teaching, and engaging your students, you’ll find the success you’re looking for! Jake Bartlett, one of Skillshare’s most successful teachers, agrees that hard work pays off over time.
“After I established my built-in following on Skillshare, every class after that took off even quicker than the last one.” – Jake Bartlett
Jake has a personal goal to teach at least one class a month to maximize his success -- and you can too! When you’re ready to teach for the first time or to start working on your next class, head here to get started and be sure to use these helpful tips!