Founder at Karina Library Press and Embark Digital. Figure out how to tell your story online, and know what to measure to assess effectiveness. Problem solving from USPs to tag lines to web analytics measurements. Print publishing, modern authorship options and book rights / contract questions answered.
If the goal is to sell something, then the best validation of whether it can be sold is to test selling it. Let people show they are actually willing to pay for the idea of what you are offering. One of the things we tend to do as people, is to say something is just what we wanted, or that we would buy it, but when it comes available for sale, we don't commit.
Read Dan Norris: The 7 Day Startup, for some examples on how other notions of validation fail, and some ideas on how to structure an early setup of sales, such as pre-orders.
A lot will depend on the *details* of what you are offering and price points, your existing network or networks you have access to and how your material is relevant to them. Generally, higher price point requires a longer funnel.
Is it difficult because you don't have traffic to the sales point, or is it difficult because once there people are not accepting your offer? Or both? (Do you have clear web analytic data to draw from?) Is your price too high? Is your funnel too short? Is your content not convincing? Are you trying to solve a problem that people don't really have, or not enough people? Are you solving a problem people really have, but not describing it in a way that people recognize? Is someone else doing it better?
To share some things that have been on top of my mind, and that I am working on developing while working with clients on designing, launching, marketing online courses:
- Think about marketing inline with how we about being an educator.
- Who will benefit most from the insights, skills we are providing? Do we really understand who they are quite well?
- Do we understand the problems (in detail) they are trying to solve—and how they describe those problems in their own language?
- Can we show convincingly—with real numbers—why the offering represents a better educational investment than other options?
Given the above kinds of considerations, a few directions I've been working with clients on:
- Offering a free mini-course that draws from the paid course.
- From understanding the potential ideal audience, reach out using Facebook advertising (which for us has become a much better platform in the last year).
- A powerful hack combined with above: connect Facebook ads to conversion pixels for remarketing efforts and to build Look Alike audiences based on customer data. This is a longer run strategy.
- Find relevant influencers (people with fans, list subscribers, etc., who are in a related niche) . Make deals as needed. : )
- Find gems in keyword research. People may not be searching for the terms you think they are. Especially, if your course can have international reach.
- Bootstrap audience by posting adapted (possibly much shorter, specific) versions of a course where course-buying traffic is already being collected (Udemy, etc.). Link to fuller offerings.
What I am feeling now though is that I will talk to clients about investing up front into survey work to understand learners' real goals and ways of describing the issues. I find the same thing in doing keyword research: experts in their field are often surprised about what people are actually searching for. With understanding the audience and their needs clearly, investing in specific campaigns is likely to have much higher leverage.
I've done a lot of complex analytics installations, usually cross-domain and including AdWords and manual tagging with conversion tracking of ecommerce transactions.
The gclid by default will override the manual UTM values in Analytics so that is what you are looking for. If you are just grabbing the manual tags from the URL for your own purpose, this should be OK. However, if you at some point want to import conversions (say) connected to your manual tag, then you would want to enable UTM overriding the gclid: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1033981?hl=en.
Do you have AdWords and Analytics accounts linked? Where and how are you tracking commerce conversions, if you are? Do you feel you are getting the insights you need from your current custom reporting? Let me know if I can help with a call about those or further optimization of your analytics capture.
Best - Michael