Teach Online: Which Platform is Best for Highly Niched Topics | With Terri Armenta

Udemy is a great online course marketplace but is it the best platform for highly niched e-courses? Can you make a good income by focusing on a specific niche? When done right you can make a good living in a niche market. Let's look at what it takes.

Terri Armenta is a highly regarded educator in the field of forensic science. In this interview Terri shares what she did right, along with some of the pitfalls she encountered along the way to successfully publishing her online courses.

Teach What People Want to Learn

This is key to success when you're creating any course but is extremely important when you are presenting information in a specific niche.

What set's the highly successful instructors apart from the rest?

Well in some cases it can be just good fortune, being in the right place at the right time. Maybe being an early adopter of a platform when competition was low and it was easier to build a following.

But let's take chance out of the equation. Let's look at the principles of success.

Feed a Hungry Crowd.

This is the first thing Terri did right. She listened to her audience. She studied and analysed the emails she was receiving and identified what training programs were required to meet those needs, then she set about to fill those needs.

You have to provide a solution to a problem

On top of looking through emails Terri also spoke to a number of students to identify what they were really looking for and what they needed.

Go Where Your Students Live

While Udemy has 8 million students and growing there is no guarantee that a large number of those students will be interested in your topic. You have to consider, where would my audience go to look for information on my topic?

If you're topic is extremely niched, highly specialised, your audience may be looking to other platforms for training and information. Personally, Udemy would be the last place I'd look for a course on forensic science for so many reasons.

Udemy is a marketplace with a reputation of offering heavily discounted courses. Regardless of the content, people just aren't going to take a $10 course on a forensic subject seriously. There is also the issue of certification. A certificate issued by a recognised trainer or institution is going to carry far more weight than a Udemy completion certificate.

That being said, Udemy can play a role in your overall marketing funnel as a lead generator. By creating good quality, informative, introductory courses you can still tap into the Udemy organic traffic and direct those looking for a more definitive course back to your main school, be that Fedora, EDLOUD or any platform that provides online course hosting.

The other consideration when choosing a platform is pricing structure. In a highly specialised niche you really don't want your premium course going out on a $10 special. When you're offering premium content you are entitled to charge accordingly.

It is also beneficial to offer your prospective students various pricing tiers to choose from. Do they just want the course at $197, or the course plus access to your private community for $297, or the course plus community plus a Skype consultation for $497

Studies have shown that when given the Goldilocks pricing options most people will opt for the middle tier option.

It is important to note that some niches do extremely well on Udemy. It just comes down to market research, going where your audience is and teaching them what they want to know.

How do I find students for my course?

One advantage of hosting a course on Udemy is organic reach to their 8 million (and growing) student base. This comes at a cost, but at least your course is getting exposure.

When you host on other platforms such as Fedora or EDLOUD then you have to find your own students. Obviously if you have a list that's a good place to start.

If you're starting from scratch, you can look at a number of free and paid sources. Blogs are a good source for generating qualified leads but do take time to build. Social media tools such as Periscope and Blab are redefining how coaches and instructors can connect and interact with prospective students and are proving very successful when used correctly.

Of course there are paid ads on Facebook, Twitter and Google, not to forget LinkedIn as a source of potential leads.

Once again, go where your audience is. Do they have to purchase tools and supplies in order to carry out the skills you're teaching? Approaching businesses that sell the equipment related to your course and offering to joint venture with them is a great way to tap into their traffic.

One of the great things about recording the Podcast interviews on Blab is the ability to invite attendees in to share their experience. An important point that Danna shared was getting a sponsor for her Webinars. After being repeatedly hacked, Danna moved her online instruction to Webinars. She has a membership/subscription model setup along with a sponsor to help with the cost of her Webinar hosting service.

You can find out more about Terri and her courses by emailing her at terriarmenta@forensicscienceacademy.org or by visiting her website at http://www.terriarmenta.com/

Terri has also offered one of her extremely valuable courses at a very special price!

10 Essential Ways to Start a Forensic Your Forensic Career

Online Course Platforms mentioned in this episode

Fedora (now Teachable)



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