Dealing With New Platform Enquiries
Are you getting more and more new platforms approaching you to sell your courses?
We seem to be getting new enquiries every week!
That is great to have new platforms wanting to sell your goods, isn’t it?
Well there is a problem though and that is platforms wasting your time.
Like many other instructors we have courses on several good platforms which are selling well but we also have courses up on other less known platforms* with not even one sale materialising.
*Please see the Platform Guide for feedback on some of the platforms.
It Takes Time!
As many of you will know it takes time dealing with new platforms and uploading your courses. Of course some new platforms offer to upload the courses for you, which helps tremendously but you still need to check they have done it correctly and correspond with them etc.
So what is the best way to minimise your time investment with new platforms?
How can you avoid wasting valuable time dealing with platforms which are not going to deliver results?
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Below Are Some Tips When Dealing With New Platform Enquiries:
1. Ask Around The Online Instructor Community:
- Have others heard of the platform that has approached you?
- Are they getting sales?
- What course topics?
- Are they a good platform to deal with?
The strength of the answers to these questions be probably be enough to decide whether to proceed further with the new platform or not.
You can find a very knowledgeable community here.
2. Do Some Quick Homework
Quickly check out the site:
- Does it look like it has lots of traffic or does it look like nothing is happening and feels like a ghost town?
- Are there other instructors you know or big training firms on the platform?
- Does it look professional and worthwhile?
- Google the platform:
- Any bad reports coming up?
3. Ask The New Platform Questions
Before deciding to commit to a new platform, send a standard email to the new platform like the one below (please feel free to use this as a template) asking some questions:
Thanks for reaching out!
I have had a look at the link and just have a few questions for you:
- Scope of interest: what courses/topics are you interested in? What sells well on your platform?
- Price setting: can the instructor set the price?
- Revenue model: is it one off sales or subscription?
- Transparency of revenue generation - do you have a sales dashboard we can check income and payments on, including percentages etc?
- Course uploading/editing: does the platform upload the courses? And once uploaded can the instructor edit?
- Promotional activities/strategies: what promotional activities are undertaken? Any email marketing and advertising?
- Price discounting: do you operate a heavy discounting model?
- Size of company: how long have you been operating? What size is your company, how many staff on payroll?
- Do you have mechanisms in place to collect EU VAT which must be paid on all digital products sold to EU clients? As the providing platform, you will be legally responsible for this.
We look forward to hearing back from you…..
You may not need to ask all these questions if they were answered in the enquiry email. Usually a platform will tell you in the initial email if they have the backing of a large parent company and have large resources at their disposal.
4. Assessing The Answers
A lot will depend on the answers from the platform.
Using ourselves as an example, we are looking to be in control of setting course prices as much as possible as we like to have consistency of pricing across the Internet. The price we set on Udemy is what we like to match elsewhere. We are happy for any platform to apply heavy discounts like they do on Udemy though.
If they are a platform that does not plan to do promotions then we would not bother using that platform.
We learnt this with dealing from one platform who said from the onset that they don't do promotions and that sales would be reliant from organic search on the platform. We never had a sale from there so we learnt if a platform doesn’t plan on any promotional activity then it is unlikely to produce results.
With all else being well and if the platform offers to do all the uploading then we are more likely to go ahead as the time investment is greatly reduced.
If we are interested in the platform but the instructor has to do all the uploading then we would only upload only one or two courses and see how they perform before investing more time. This also gives a message to the platform that this is a trial to see how they do.
It seems some new platforms want lots of courses up on their sites as it ‘looks good’ but here is where instructors need to be wary. There is no point spending valuable time helping to make a platform look good which could be time better spent on digital asset creation.
5. Possible No Go Reasons
- Price setting decided by platform
- No promotional activities - organic only
- Course topics not covered or poor match for platform
- Too small
- Too new
- Don't like/unsure about the model (e.g. streaming, not truly residual)
- Bad or poor feedback from others
- Finding bad reports on Google
6. Nothing Is Set In Stone
Even if you decide not to use a platform it doesn’t have to be set in stone forever but could be something to review again in a year’s time.
Once we’re on board with a new platform we like to give them a few months to see how it goes before touching base to review things. Has there been any sales? Any new plans in the pipeline?
7. Last Hurdle - Signing The Agreement
If it gets to the signing of Agreement stage, in addition to all the above being covered in the Agreement it is also good to look out the following:
Termination of Agreement clause - know how to get out if need be!
Intellectual Property - make sure you retain the IP, that it always belongs to the instructor.
Taxes - what do they say about taxes and EU VAT
Obviously it is wise to check out the whole Agreement but these are things that particularly pertinent in your decision making criteria.
8. Sharing Your Files
Finally, if you’ve signed the Agreement and the platform is happy to upload your courses it is now time to share your files! We have found the following process works well for file sharing management:
- Keep the original rendered course files on the PC
- Backup all your rendered course files mp4, pdf's etc to Google drive (or other cloud storage)
- Duplicate your Google Drive folder and only share a link to a copy of your backup course files on Google Drive so to minimise the risk of file deletion
- Share a free coupon for each of your courses on Udemy (if you are on that platform), so that the platform can see how the courses should be laid out
9. Platform Tracking
Some platforms may only want some of your courses which match topics they tend to promote. So you can end up with only some of your courses on one platform and all of your courses on another. It can get confusing and hard to remember what courses you have where!
However, keeping a simple spreadsheet with the following information can help no end:
- Platform name
- Contact name
- Course names as applicable
- Usernames/passwords (breviated for security reasons if need be)
A Balancing Act
It’s a balancing act between testing the waters and guarding your valuable resource of time.
With more and more new platforms popping up and approaching instructors it pays to start tightening your selection criteria as many hours might be saved in the long run!
What process do you use when a new platform emails you?
Please share your experience with us - we would love to hear it!
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