Table of contents:
Video: 5 mistakes starting online schools make
2023 Author: James Gerald | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-24 12:31
Infobusiness appeared in Russia in the early 2000s, and since then has been actively growing every year. And with the popularization of Instagram, it has become even more in demand. Just ten years ago, online education was something supernatural: it was believed that you could only study in colleges or in refresher courses. In choosing an educational institution, people were limited by geographic location, for this they had to go to big cities, but not everyone had the funds for this. With the development of the online education market, it became possible to study in a convenient format from anywhere in the world. I live abroad and all this time I go through 2-3 online courses a month in Russian, this is very convenient and expands the possibilities.
I am a practitioner, as I own an online marketing school and have already trained more than twenty thousand students: those who want to get a new profession, and those who need knowledge to develop their own business. I would like to share with you my opinion on the prospects of the field of online education and warn against mistakes.
Last year, when the pandemic struck, all organizations were closed, there was a real boom in the field of EdTech. According to a study by CloudPayments and Netology, in March 2020, the demand for online education increased by 55% compared to February, and in April - by another 65% compared to March, and according to RBC, the revenue of one of the market leaders of the Skillbox school for 2 Q2 2020 grew by 349% compared to Q2. 2019 At a time when all businesses were collapsing, online business was actively flourishing, and experts predict further growth of the online education market to 40 billion rubles.
In 2020, people were closed at home and many began to engage in self-education. It is significant that 55% of Russians choose education for self-development and pleasure, and not for a career, that is, now additional online education successfully competes with other types of leisure *.
The EdTech market is developing rapidly, it has become easier to enter it, including for new schools, and you can see two sides of this "coin". On the one hand, the popularization of online education. Now there is no longer a question of studying online or not studying. For most, this is an unequivocal “yes”. As a result, the national level of education is growing and this is a very positive trend.
Consumers have already realized the advantages of this form of education: you do not need to travel anywhere, you can learn at a comfortable pace from an expert you trust. Many have adapted, for example, the Coaching Institute, which I graduated from, before the pandemic was only available offline. I would never have been able to study there while living in Spain, but they restructured and launched an online course, and I was able to get a new profession. Now a huge number of national Universities and Institutes have already launched their programs on well-known platforms: Coursera, Eduson, Open Education, Universarium, etc.
Distance education has become the norm. It used to be unusual to buy clothes from an online store, but now it is a common thing. Wildberries, AliExpress, Amazon, Asos are developing. Amazon's net profit in 2020 increased 1.8 times by 2019, there was not enough reserves and storage space to service the flow of orders, everything began to be ordered only online. Definitely, this is the most promising direction for business development and now is the best time to enter the online market.
The flip side of the rapid growth of the distance education market is that now a large number of experts with low qualifications have come to make quick money. They offer low-quality education, which negatively affects the market as a whole, spoils the ecology of this business and reduces the level of confidence of the audience in general in online learning.
With the enchanting growth and development of the education market, the most demanded areas now remain:
- weight loss theme. The popularity of the topic does not depend on the situation in the world. People always want to lose weight, no matter what happens, that's why so many participants collect various fitness marathons, weight loss courses. This is an all-time theme.
- the theme of getting what you want miraculously. People want to believe in miracles, so there is a great demand for "magic pills": marathons of desires, building wish maps, fulfilling dreams, making millions in a week.
- learning foreign languages online. This knowledge will be useful in all spheres of life - from business to personal affairs.
- training in the field of marketing and promotion in social networks: Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, etc. More and more people understand that social networks are a tool for rapid promotion and sales growth.
Who should start an online school
It makes sense to launch right now in two cases. First, if there is a good offline background. For example, an offline educational institution with a large subscription base, and there was a goal to transfer training to the online space. This year in my agency this is a very popular request: to integrate an educational project from offline to online, or to help an expert who is successful in the offline sphere to implement activities online. It will be quite easy for such projects and experts to enter the new format. The second option is when an expert in any field has a blog with high audience loyalty, for example, on Instagram, but an online school or online course sale has not yet been launched. In this case, the launch is also relevant.
A difficult case for starting an online business, but also possible - when there is an expert, but there is no subscription base, no loyal audience, no background in online business, no popular blog. But there is the expert himself and his high professional qualifications. In this, you need to be prepared that investments in development will be many times greater.
Promotion will require especially large investments. The more money you invest in it, the faster the results will be. It is difficult to say exactly what budget will be required, it largely depends on the direction. For example, the field of marketing and online promotion is incredibly competitive, and the cost of attracting one subscriber can go up to 150 rubles. There are areas that are less competitive, and our prices are lower. For example, producing. A year ago, only 2-3 good experts were visible on the market, to whom the audience was ready to go and learn, and the entry into this area was very low in cost. Now there are more and more experts in this field, the competition is higher and the cost of entry has become higher. The situation changes every year, so it is your situation that needs to be assessed.
When planning your launch, it's important to keep track of the relevance of your industry. For example, in 2016-2017, the topic of photo processing was in great demand, the training market grew rapidly, and many experts developed loyalty and strengthened their personal brand on this wave. But now the trend has changed towards the naturalness of photography, and the audience has lost interest in processing courses, the market has shrunk due to low demand. When planning a launch, be sure to analyze trends and niche demand.
It is important to consider the budget for starting an online school. It will be difficult, and sometimes impossible, to start without the required amount. We need to prepare for the fact that this will be a long-term recoupment cost. For example, investing in your blog: the transaction cycle can be very long, and one of the potential students of the course will become a student of not the first or second stream, but only the third. Large investments will be required for design, logo creation, materials and online platform design, course creation, and, of course, the team. It is impossible to launch a school with high quality at high speed on your own without a team. The scope of work is very large, often requires narrow specialization, knowledge and skills. And it is impossible to be an expert in all areas.
Here everyone has a choice: to invite a producer who has his own team and who organizes all processes for 20-60% of the turnover of an online school, or to assemble his own team of specialists: a project manager, a marketer, a technical specialist, a targetologist, a specialist in contextual advertising, designer, copywriter, sales manager. For example, I have 15 people working at the launch.
Again, you always have a choice in how you engage your audience. The first is launching through the creation of a blog and the development of an expert's personal brand. At the same time, the loyalty of the audience to the expert from whom it wants to learn increases - this will serve as a good basis for launching an online course. In my case, this is exactly the case, my students want to study with me. The second way is without the development of a blog, and, for example, without a specific personal brand of the speaker, by developing the brand of an online school, an educational platform. In this case, the attraction comes at the expense of the online school brand, such as Netology, Synergy, Skillbox. The audience is attracted to the school by investing a huge budget in advertising through targeting, context, advertising from bloggers.
The audience is the most valuable currency, so now, more than ever, investing in loyalty, developing a personal brand and launching educational online projects is relevant.
Let's talk about mistakes that are often made at the start.
Mistake 1. Immediately waiting for big income
There is a lot of information now about how info business people make big money selling courses. It may feel like this will happen to everyone. To avoid false expectations, it is important to understand: without investing, you will not get such a result. In reality, experts who make millions have invested a lot of resources in the development of their project: time, effort and money. There are two options for the development of events: invest a lot of time and effort and develop slowly, or invest a lot of money and develop very quickly. If you choose to launch your own blog, get ready to invest both money and time and effort. Cases and reviews sell best of all, it is very difficult to launch without them. For a good start, it is necessary to make cases, at least during consultations, and this is still both time and effort. I advise you to take a closer look at your expectations, conduct a marketing analysis of the area and build a sales plan, coordinating it with the available resources.
Mistake 2. Do not take a command and try to start it yourself
A poorly packaged, low-quality course does not sell well, even with case studies and reviews. Loyalty is important for good sales, and when faced with a low-quality product, the audience will not buy the following educational products, will not advise friends and acquaintances. The money, time and effort invested in attraction in this case may not pay off, the audience's trust will be destroyed. For big sales, gather a good team of experts in your field.
Mistake 3. Do not work on audience loyalty, but only try to make money
Now is the time when constant communication with the audience is needed to develop loyalty. With a high level of trust in you, you will be able to increase the number of courses, sell not one course, but two, three, and so on, build multi-stage education in modules, etc. On trust and in the presence of the quality of the product itself, the turnover of the online school will grow. Be sure to pay attention to working on audience loyalty.
Mistake 4. Lack of marketing strategy and product matrix
Sometimes experts launch a course without thinking about the sales funnel, namely, which product will be offered to the audience next. This approach is based on a one-time sale, without long-term planning and understanding of which next educational product to lead the client to. Nowadays, it is imperative to build long-term relationships, increasing the life cycle of each attracted buyer. Therefore, already at the launch planning stage, develop a marketing strategy and product matrix.
Mistake 5. Ignoring numbers
Often, experts at the start think about revenue, but do not take into account the costs of launching and maintaining an online school. When calculating and conducting analytics, it may turn out that the net profit from the proceeds is 40-50%. The rest of the income will cover organizational costs and employee salaries. In the event of an unsuccessful launch, it turns out that it would be many times more profitable for an expert to make money on consulting. Be sure to keep records of income and expenses, analyze the data obtained.
All of these mistakes can be avoided, and now you know how. The field of online education will continue to grow, I definitely advise anyone interested in development to start now. Be brave, act, attract professionals, and everything will work out!
* According to a 2019 study by TalentTech, online universities Netology and EdMarket, conducted in partnership with the Moscow Innovation Agency
Julia Rodochinskaya, marketer, blogger, founder of the Institute of Online Professions and Julia Marketing agency.