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- Who: Vikki Maver
- Website: refreshmarketing.com.au
- Course Topic: Writing
- Interesting Stats: Business revenue back to pre-pandemic levels
Who are you and what course have you created?
I am a copywriter and writing skills trainer – and I run a small writing consultancy. One of our key offerings is courses for corporate teams and individuals to help them become more skillful, confident writers at work:
What market does your online course serve?
My course is designed to help people of all professions and backgrounds become more effective and efficient in their day-to-day business writing.
With a focus on plain English writing, the training offers practical techniques to help participants:
- Write clearly, simply, and succinctly
- Write for their audience and stay ‘reader-focused’
- Effectively plan, draft, edit and proofread their written work
- Write persuasively for impact, influence, and action
What’s the biggest benefit of taking your course?
Most people enter the workforce without any form of business writing training. So, understandably, they rely on the writing skills they were taught at school – which are often irrelevant or even counterproductive in the workplace.
Whether we like it or not, today’s readers have low attention spans and are easily distracted. This makes it very difficult to get our emails, proposals, and reports read, understood… and acted upon.
That’s where this course comes in. It equips everyday professionals with tips and techniques for writing clearly, concisely and persuasively in today’s cluttered business world.
How did you get into the market?
I have been a copywriter since 2004. But it wasn’t until 2008 that I began training other people how to write. As a former Monash University lecturer, I always loved teaching and presenting, so writing skills training was a natural progression for me. In those very early days, I was only delivering this course four or five times a year. But now, 12 years on, it’s closer to four or five a month!
Why did you decide to create an online course in the first place?
Like many businesses, I was forced to transition my course to an online model when the pandemic hit. Up until then, I was always face-to-face with course participants. And due to that limitation, I was only ever able to offer my training to existing teams in their workplaces. Although I had plenty of individuals approach me over the years, I was never able to cater to their needs. Until now…
Did you have any moments of doubt before you created/launched it?
Absolutely. It was a big mental hurdle. Because participant interactivity was always so important to me, I knew I had to invest a lot of thought into how I would adapt my material for the online environment.I was adamant to repurpose my training properly – rather than rebadging it overnight without the deep thought and planning, I knew it needed. - Vikki Maver Click To Tweet
And given the state of the world at that time, it was difficult to find the right headspace for creating a whole new product.
If so what made you turn it around and do it anyway?
It was a matter of survival. Before the pandemic, my face-to-face workshops accounted for around 50% of my income – and was my most profitable revenue stream.
If I didn’t find a way to recoup this revenue, I would have had to make some very tough decisions around my staff.
What’s your online course like?
My online course is a 6-hour live training experience, with me as the facilitator. Think of it as a long webinar (delivered over two days).
At this stage, I am not offering a self-paced delivery option. This is mainly because I want to ensure the course is as interactive as possible – and that participants can receive real-time feedback.
To run the online course, I use a platform called Newrow. I selected this technology after a lot of research. In the end, this one satisfied my criteria better than any others – while also being financially viable. I love it. It’s easy to use for both facilitators and participants and it has a lot of features that are important to me – such online quizzes, breakout rooms and whiteboards. I can also upload and display whatever files I need like PowerPoints.
How long did it take you to create your course?
Once I chose the platform, it only took me another two or three weeks to build my online course. But that’s because I didn’t have to create any new content. I had been delivering my face-to-face version of the course for 12 years – so it was just a matter of adaption.
And that adaption is ongoing. I have delivered the online version of my course seven or eight times now, and after each time, I make small adjustments to continually improve the flow and delivery of the content.
Tell us a little about the process of launching your course and getting your first sale(s).
I had an existing client who had already scheduled a training session for a date in May 2020. And they wanted me to run it despite the arrival of the pandemic. This meant that I had to adapt my course to the online environment. And I had to do it quickly.
But I was reluctant for this important client to be my guinea pig. So I decided to run a free pilot. Although it wasn’t hard to give away free spaces, I did make it clear to all participants that I would be relying on their feedback and ideas for improvement.
And it worked a treat. I learned SO much after delivering that first course. This meant I was a lot more confident to deliver my first course at a commercial rate, and then ‘go to the market’ with my new online offering.
This involved a launch email campaign (to my database of past and existing clients), substantial LinkedIn activity, and an ongoing Google Ads spend.
Do you have a lead magnet?
I have a landing page that I promote through Google Ads. People can download my Program Outline directly from that landing page – and we then follow up these leads via email and phone.
What’s the traffic strategy that works best for you?
Most of my inquiries and bookings come through Google via my landing page. However, I also sell spots to existing contacts and clients.
What online course platform are you using?
I use Newrow. It’s a live training platform (not self-paced).
Do you like it?
Absolutely – especially now that I am so familiar with it and confident using it.
What made you decide to use your chosen platform over others?
It had the features I was looking for (to keep the training interactive) and was also reasonably priced.
What other tools do you use to run your online course business?
Participants also receive a PDF workbook that they can refer back to long after the training.
Do you have any big mistakes you’ve made along the way that you’d be willing to share?
Nothing ‘big’— but I have certainly improved my content and delivery substantially since that pilot session. Small adjustments (like camera angles and font sizes on slides) can make a big difference.
Please share some idea of revenue.
I now run a public workshop every couple of months. The fee is around $350 plus GST – and there are only 10 spots available. So I earn around $3,500 per session.
However, I also run tailored courses for teams on request. These start from around $3,800 plus GST per session, depending on the brief. And I run 2-3 of these a month.
Please tell us a little about what the money you’ve earned from your course has done for you.
It’s enabled me to get my business revenue back to pre-pandemic levels. And that’s meant keeping my staff employed!
What has creating your course done for you personally?
It’s been a massive milestone for me and the business. Now that I have an online version of my course, I can now run public workshops and accept registrations from individuals. This was not possible before and has opened another revenue stream for the business. These public courses are also a valuable lead generator for my tailored team offering – which is ultimately my goal: to run more of these!
What advice do you have for people just starting out?Running the pilot course was probably one of the smartest decisions I made. It was a real confidence booster and I learned so much. - Vikki Maver Click To Tweet
From the marketing side of things, I think it’s a similar principle. Lots of trial and error before you get it right. I adapt my Google Ads strategy and budget continually. I have edited my landing page content many times. And I have just recently started experimenting with video as a conversion tool.
Marketing a course is never a set and forget proposition.