In the beginning students just trickle in, slowly; one by one by one… It takes a lot of effort to convince just one student to join your course at first. But after you’ve niched, marketed, and networked your way to a larger audience, it will become necessary to tap the authoritative power of your current students. That is when group buying becomes the newest tool in your online teaching arsenal!
Imagine. Students land on your lesson page or blog, and then find out that other students are queuing to join your course. With a reduced price for a group of students, there’s additional pressure that is often lacking on a passive webpage offer. Students who are on the fence will be forced to choose a side. What you should keep in mind is that friends trust their friends’ choices. Even if they aren’t sure about you, the teacher, they will give their friends the benefit of the doubt.
A World of Social Deals
As you might expect, social and group deal sites are popping up everywhere! fCommerce, which is the development of Facebook as a direct sales platform, is also buzzing these days. Applications like Wildfire, are helping both small and big sellers create social shopping promotions, including sweepstakes, contests, coupons, group deals, trivia, etc. Although listing your courses on their sites gives you limited control, it’s definitely worth a shot! With the right niche course and title, you probably will get lots of extended traffic, if not genuine sign-ups!
For the go-getters out there, DIY group deal tools have been surfacing in the past 2 years for bloggers and business owners alike. Last year I attempted to use the SyncFu plugin for social course buying, however, they suddenly stopped supporting their 2010 plugin and I was hard-pressed to find anything else that would fill this void. UPDATE: After a chat with SyncFu co-founder, Nir Bar-Sade, I found that the plugin was relaunched a few days ago. See my example Social Deal:
For a full-site experience Group Deals Plugin, a Wordpress plugin launched in April 2011, is a promising alternative to deal buttons. Another collective buying site on Wordpress is called “Group Buying Site” which creates a social deal site with a fresh wordpress installation. Not ideal for those looking to update a currently live teaching site or online school.
Whatever you choose, the element of social networking for your courses will only be money well invested if you have a solid foundation. Good courses, which fill a need, are the only survivors for online learning. If you’re in need of inspiration, continue to read the rest of my Success with Online Teaching series. (You could also follow this article as this topic develops!)
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