How I Turned My eBook Into An Online Course And Made $4,334 Last Week

title card online course

As you know, I quit my job on January 1 of this year to become a full-time “author-preneur”. Yes, I would write and sell books. But I would also figure out how drive additional revenue through paid speaking gigs, online courses, affiliates…whatever would work!

While the paid keynotes speeches have been going great, I’m eager to figure out how to convert my book into an online course so that more income can be truly passive. Here are the results of my first experiment.

STEP 1: CREATE THE COURSE
I focus on leadership and other business topics, and I already had my short book, Employee Engagement 2.0, which teaches manager how to improve morale on their teams. A little wonky I know. I have also been delivering the content via keynote speech.

So to turn it into an online course, I simply took the slides and material from my 50-minute speech, and broke it up into shorter “lessons”. It took me less than a day to go from speech to workshop format. I then just shot video of me looking into the camera teaching my course–again, basically the same as giving a speech to an audience, but looking into the camera instead.

I took the video clips and uploaded them into a course building/hosting site called KajabiNext. And title my new course, Leading for Employee Engagement.

STEP TWO: PRICE THE COURSE (AT $197)
Ok, ok, so you can actually buy the Kindle book for $3.95 (shhh). But I’m also getting $12,500 for the keynote speech, which usually has about 100-200 people in the room. You can find management training programs available priced anywhere from $0 to $10,000. So who knows what the “right” price should be, but $197 seemed a good price to try.

STEP 3: CRAFT THE FULL OFFER
To make the sale I wanted to hit those buy-it-now triggers:
– Scarcity: I set the normal price to $497, the $197 would only be available for 10 days
– Bonus: Because it was a new course, I offered all students could email me their #1 management challenge and I’d personally respond through a group Webinar
– Guarantee: I offered a no questions asked full money back guarantee

I designed a 3 email sequence, see below, and the copy for the first email was:

<<NAME>>m I am very excited (and a little exhausted)…

I’ve just finished my brand new online course for managers: Leading for Employee Engagement.

It’s the first and only online course that teaches individual managers specific actions they can take to drive massive engagement, discretionary effort and loyalty among team members.

Based on surveys with over 10 million workers in 150 countries, I personally teach the leadership behaviors and activities—things to do!—that I used as the CEO of a “Best Place to Work” award winning company.

Click here to enroll in Leading for Employee Engagement.

The best news is this online learning format is low-cost and high-value. No boring webinar slides, no rambling or fluff. You get 22 brief, high-impact videos that you can watch at your convenience without travel expenses or time away from the office. Whether watching them on your computer at work, or on your mobile phone, you choose the time, you choose the location, and you choose the pace.

I’ve got two special offers exclusively for my newsletter subscribers (that’s YOU). If you enroll in the course by July 8, 2015:
1. Tuition is only $197—a $300 savings off the full $497 fee.
2. Group coaching call—just send me an email describing a challenge you are having at work right now, with your team or your own boss, and I’ll schedule a group coaching call where I’ll offer guidance on all the challenges sent in (that way we can all learn from each other).

Would you like to be a “Great Boss” who makes an impact at work and on people’s lives?

Would you like to create a great place to work culture?

And if you don’t absolutely love the training, just ask for your money back, my feelings won’t be hurt. No risk at all to check it out.

The special offer for my subscribers ENDS at midnight ET on July 8, so please visit: www.KevinKruse.com/l4ee

– Kevin

STEP 4: PROMOTING/LAUNCHING THE COURSE
To me, this whole thing was a big experiment, so the only thing I did was announced the course to my list of 15,500 subscribers. They are a fairly engaged group, but would they actually buy a $200 product from me? I never tried selling them anything before…not even my books!

So I set up an email “campaign” over the 10-day launch period. You can see the diagram below, but basically all I did was:
– Sent out a “new course!” email
– Sent the same email out again to the non-opens about 3 days later
– Sent the list another announcement 7 days after the first email
– Sent a “last call for special price” email ONLY to the people who had clicked a link to check out the course in the previous emails (i.e., they showed SOME interest, but didn’t buy, I pinged them one more time)

email sequence

STEP 5: RESULTS
Made 22 sales at $197 each = $4,334.00.

BUT WHAT WERE THE COSTS?
KajabiNext was $99 for the month. Now I’ll keep paying that because I plan to launch many more courses, but in theory that’s all it would cost for a month. I use Stripe to process the credit card payments. I think Stripe takes 5% of the revenue as their fee. I used Mailchimp to send out my email blasts, but I pay them every month for my normal blasts so don’t really count that as a cost against the course.

What DID cost money–but it didn’t have to–was creating the videos. NORMALLY I shoot my own videos in my living room. I just talk in front of a big TV, and the slides are displayed on the TV, and start and stop the video camera with a the video camera remote control. Totally rookie, but works pretty good. For this, I thought I should step it up so I went to a videographer for 6 hours and then hired someone to edit all the clips together. I can’t remember total cost but probably $2,000 or $2,500. Again, didn’t need to do it that way and not sure I’d do it again.

SO IS THE GLASS FULL OR EMPTY?
Well, the glass is empty and shattered on the floor from the perspective that I have 15,000 email readers and only 22 people bought the damn course. Seth Godin complains about this all the time. He has a bazillion daily readers that he’s been giving value to for a decade, but whenever he puts a link in to his own book or some other deal, nobody clicks. It’s like a micropercent.

And the costs to develop the course wash out most of the revenue, IF this is the only time people buy the course.

BUT I view the glass as being more than half full from the perspective of:
1) Hell, $4,334 is more than the book made me in royalties last month
2) I can keep promoting the course so will make future sales
3) Like with book publishing, it’s tough to succeed with a standalone title…but as you build up your body of work, people who read/watch one item will discover and buy your other items

WHAT’S AWESOME
What’s awesome is I’m six months into my full-time authorpreneur journey and actually figured out how to create and launch a course, and I made a little bit of money from it. I’ll be smarter about it next time and I definitely plan to create a Book+Course+Keynote for every future non-fiction title I create.

As always, hit me with your questions, high fives or “you stink” at kevin at kevinkruse dot com.