You're constantly on lookout for sure-fire ways to attract targeted customers to your online business. Well, what do you know?
Really--what *do* you know? Think long and hard about this, because you can use your areas of expertise, your skills and/or your hobbies as springboards for promoting and selling your goods or services to a captive audience --by offering a free online course.
If It's Free, It's For Me!
Why offer a freebie when you're trying to make a profit from your business? While at first glance concept might not make sense, it is actually one of oldest and most effective marketing techniques both online and off. People simply love to get things for free, and merchants oblige, with goal of selling additional goods back end. From taste testings at wineries and supermarkets, to product samples delivered door-to-door, vendors have used freebies for decades to promote their products.
Free classes fall into this same "try something for nothing" category.
Again, using a comparable example from brick and mortar world, consider craft store chain that offers free classes on how to make decorative wreathes. Where will most, if not all, of people who attend these classes purchase their crafting supplies?
It's a win-win situation; those who take class gain a new skill for free, and store gains new--and probably repeat--customers!
Those Who Can Do, Teach
"But I've never taught anything in my life!"
Chances are, you have--whether showing a child how to bait a hook or bake cookies, or coaching a new co-worker on job, we all have opportunities to take on role of teacher now and then. "Teaching" is simply taking something we've learned, and showing someone else how to do it.
The fact that your instruction didn't involve a structured course plan or weekly quizzes doesn't make you any less of a teacher in these situations.
When developing your free online course, focus on selecting a subject that meets these three criteria:
∑One that involves a topic or skill that you consider yourself good at, or even an expert; ∑Something that other people would love to learn; ∑And, finally, has some sort of tie-in back to your business.
Going back to craft store example above, you can see that offering free decorative wreath class successfully satisfies all three of these qualifications.
Still not sure what you could possibly teach in your own free online course?
Begin with third criterion--base it on your business itself-- and go from there.
Let's say, for example, that you operate a marine supply company aimed at sailboat owners; you might offer a free "Safety Tips for Sailors" course, or a "Long-Distance Sailor's Survival" class.
Or if you specialize in providing virtual office services to small businesses, you could conduct a course entitled "Simple Bookkeeping Techniques for Busy Business People," or perhaps a basic business writing course.