Tiago Forte teaches a Skillshare class on workflow design and productivity. In his first month teaching, Tiago made over $3,000 from his class, and enrolled almost 300 students! We asked Tiago to share his 4 tips on how he did it (and how you can too!).
I wanted to share 4 main pointers for promoting your class from my experience in online marketing, crowdfunding and productivity, building on the excellent Teaching a Great Skillshare Class. While Skillshare has a large, active community, you still need to put in work to market your class. At the beginning especially, the more effort you put in, the more students you'll enroll. Here's how to start:
1. Delight your users, and the word will spread
The fact is that if you delight your users, the word will spread. But a great class is only the beginning. These personal referrals are by far the most effective marketing tool you have.
I respond to 90% of all comments, questions, and project updates for my class within a day or two. I know this doesn't sound very sustainable, but it doesn't need to be. After your class takes off and gains its own momentum, you can be more selective about what you respond to, and also direct many people to your Q&A section or other people's projects.
2. Your personal network is the spark
If you think in terms of selling, your potential will be limited. You have to think of your class as a community and a movement. This is what it takes to turn your class from a hobby into a business. The spark of this movement is your personal network. Your family, friends, colleagues, clients, neighbors, acquaintances, social media friends, and third-degree contacts form concentric rings around you. In this day and age just these people are in turn connected to millions of potential customers!
Ask these groups of people, according to how well you know them, to:
- Sign up for your class (using free enrollment links of course)
- Post the link on social networks and any special groups they are a part of
- Give you marketing ideas or feedback on the class itself
3. Create a community of evangelists
You aren't creating just an online class. You're creating a movement. And every movement needs a community of true believers. These are people who have been delighted by your class and have begun telling others about it. They know your content intimately and also trust you and the experience you are providing. They can answer questions about your class and will even customize your pitch to appeal to people they know. They are amazing!
There are numerous ways to build your community:
- Be super active in all sections of your class, responding to questions and commenting on the class feed
- Encourage people to create groups in your Skillshare class, support these groups with your involvement, and direct new students to groups that can help them
- Give special attention to those who create projects, since they are your super-evangelists. Follow them on Skillshare and Twitter, message them directly, get to know them!
- Use interesting, unusual challenges and awards
4. Leverage existing distribution hubs
Don't try to build your own distribution channels from zero. That takes way too much time and effort. Use existing hubs that already have millions of readers. For me, this means reaching out to productivity blogs, and also going after the secondary audiences of startups. Yours will be different, but they shouldn't be hard to find.
Also take advantage of the big content aggregation sites, as they are massive funnels of potential new customers that you can tailor your marketing to. For example:
- Slideshare: Create a short little "teaser-style" slide deck to give people a taste of what you'll be teaching, and then link to your class for the "complete version".
- Dribbble: If your class is design or visual-related, create a design to share here.
- Reddit/Digg: Does your content contain something unusual, sensationalistic, or potentially viral? Post something to Reddit in one of the active subreddits. These are focused on specific topics (some of them extremely niche) and people really pay attention to the subreddits they're subscribed to.
- Pinterest: does your content have a cooking, decoration, organizational, or DIY aspect? Does it appeal highly to women? Post it on Pinterest as a pinboard with interesting photographs
- Instagram: do you have neat photographs to share? Post them on Instagram and "mention" people with large followings, especially if you've made prior contact with them.
Learn more about how you can become a teacher on Skillshare here, and start your class today!