How a Chatfueler Sold Thousands of Courses Online
Vladlena Taraskina, September 5, 2016
Over the past few months, I invested heavily into the bots space. I founded an agency in Vienna called Bot Manufaktur, specialized in building bots for Facebook Messenger, Telegram, and Slack. At one point, I couldn’t help but notice a gap in the market: A lot of people were playing around with bots, but the learning curve was extremely steep, so I analyzed the market to find the easiest and at the same time most sophisticated solution which happened to be Chatfuel.
That’s why I decided to record my very own online course on how to create a chatbot using Chatfuel, available on Udemy and Skillshare using Chatfuel. A few months and over 2,000 subscribers later, I thought it would be a good idea to share my experience with the community, in the hopes of inspiring you to start your own business in the emerging bots industry. I started teaching on Udemy over a year ago and have built up an audience of over 10,000 students since then. Most of my students come from Australia, Egypt, the United States, and India. The way I approached the problem was to create online courses where through which I could personally offer real value and choose topics that were not overrepresented. I was basically looking to create niche courses.
The chatbot course fitted these two requirements, so back in May I created the first course on how to build a chatbot on Chatfuel, because I saw increased interest. Additionally, there was no-one else on Udemy who created a course covering chatbots. After the first few months, I got around 2,000 students enrolled in a course on how to make a chatbot for Facebook Messenger and 1,600 enrolled in my Telegram course.
Chatbot course creation process and best practices
Are you wondering how my course creation process works and what are the key success factors which make a difference between a good-selling and a best-selling course? It starts with a lot of hard work. I conducted a lot of research and studied most of the best-selling courses out there, and here are some of the things I found useful. First of all, you need to create relevant courses for an audience you understand. I already mentioned my strategy of building niche courses where I can add value. It is really important to understand your target audience and design the course based on the specific needs and requests.
Secondly, the course needs to be structured in a way which doesn’t break the students’ way of thinking. This basically means it has to be logical, and that’s why I suggest you double-check your course curriculum with friends and colleagues before you start filming. What makes perfect sense to you might not make sense to anyone else, so it’s important to get a second and third opinion. Divide the course into small bites of two- to three-minute video lectures and go straight to the point. No one likes too much talk and students just want to learn what you promised to teach them in the title.
Finally, what I found out about well-performing courses is that they tend to be interactive and engaging. Basically, this means you have to provide as many examples as possible, include exercises, multiple choice tests, images, videos and so on.
Remember, your course needs to appeal to people with different learning styles and grab their attention for as long as it is possible.
Feedback from the community
After a few weeks, I started to receive the first feedback, which was really important to me because my aim was to make each new course better than the last one. Feedback from my students was largely positive. Most of them had never heard of chatbots before and the course was their first hands-on encounter with the concept. Here are a couple of positive reviews I got on Udemy:
“I would recommend taking this course, though it’s pretty basic, you will be able to find a way to build a chatbot at the end. Some lectures are very interesting, whereas others are a bit too long, but overall I did get value out of this, and it was definitely worth the money! Chatbots here I come :)” – Matt S.
“I had no idea how to build a Facebook bot. Thanks to this training I’m really well informed and able to start building my own. Love all the resources given. Training was well paced and very informative.” – Katia D.
I obviously got some less positive reviews, but even they were helpful because most contained valuable suggestions and pointed out potential areas of improvement. One of the more frequent suggestions was to create a more in-depth course, which would cover more sophisticated ways of creating a chatbot. “The course covers the basics of creating a bot in very easy to follow steps. The other aspects of promoting, PR and monetizing are helpful. It may be a good idea to cover creating of bots in more depth in an advanced course”. – Kamaraju T.
“Good well-rounded course. But very basic about the bot creation.” – Rajesh C.
After analyzing the feedback and my own stats, I think the next courses will cover more complicated chatbots development, perhaps even targeting specific platforms like Slack, Kik etc. Like I said, I want to create niche courses that offer real value.
Now few sentences about the promotion of courses and my experience of building up an audience on Udemy. Creating the course is just five percent of the work. Unfortunately, the real work comes after you publish the course. Here are a few tips and tricks I used to promote my online courses in the past:
Start Small, Start Quick
When you are just starting out, it is important to start building your audience from scratch, from day one. This audience can partly come from organic traffic on Udemy, Skillshare and so on, but it is important that you build it outside the platform to keep your options open. I have a Slack group where I engage with my students during and after the courses. This adds additional value to them, but also makes my life easier when I create a new course and want to promote it.
Don’t Neglect Social Media and SEO
What worked quite well for me was promoting my course in different Facebook groups, specific to the topic which you teach, but there are also many Udemy related groups. I also tried Google Adwords, Twitter, Facebook Advertising and I am constantly working on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to drive more organic traffic to my sites.
After you created a course, you cannot sit around and wait for it to become a best-seller. You have to proactively start building your audience, first starting from people you already have on board, to building up a wider strategy to spread the word to your target audience. As I already mentioned, this process starts by studying and understanding your audience, allowing you to create a tailor-made course for them, addressing their demands.
I believe there are huge opportunities in the bot space and we are just in the beginning stages of bot development and monetization.
Educating people is an important aspect of chatbot development, and at the end of the day, the more people get involved, the more diverse and exciting our chatbot ecosystem will be. Creating online courses does offer an opportunity for people in the chatbot community to position themselves as experts in a specific field and attract users or clients, depending on your goal.
I hope my experience of creating a popular chatbot course was useful and will help inspire you to share your knowledge with the community. If you are interested in creating an online course of your own, feel free to get in touch. I would be happy help out and share my experiences further.
About the Author:
Vladlena Taraskina is a female entrepreneur. She studied, worked and lived in Russia, the USA, the UK, Luxembourg, and Austria. Now she lives in Vienna, where she founded Bot Manufaktur an agency specialized in building chatbots for Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Slack and more
Prior to this, she has also worked in the Online Gaming and Venture Capital Industries and has over 7 years of experience in Marketing and Strategic Management. She shares her experience online on Udemy and Skillshare and has more than 10 000 people enrolled in her courses