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Instructor Story: How Lee Varis became a Udemy Bestseller

LeeVaris_headshotLee Varis joined Udemy recently and has already joined the ranks as a Udemy Bestseller. I spoke with Lee about why he chooses to publish courses on Udemy and how he got so many students into his course during his first two months. Lee teaches The Fundamentals of Photo-Illustration in Photoshop.
 

Why Udemy?

I heard about Udemy from a friend. I’m also on Lynda.com and creativeLIVE. I love Udemy because I have control over my content, at 70-85% my payout is higher than anywhere else, and the site’s user base is large and growing.

How did you become a Udemy Bestseller?

I did it with three main approaches:

1.  Launch Discount for Email Subscribers.

  • Most of my current paid students came from my private email list of 2K subscribers.
  • The last week of February, I started a month-long course launch campaign and offered 50% off to my email subscribers.
  • In May, I’ll probably do a month-long email campaign celebrating the “3 Month Anniversary” of my course launching.

2.  Free Coupon Giveaway to Relevant, Niche Online Communities.

  • I posted a free coupon in Dan Margulis’ Color Theory Yahoo! group and in their corresponding private Facebook group for select members.
  • I gave the coupon to 40 members, 20 people enrolled, and I received 6 reviews.
  • Free coupon giveaway is a good idea because: I think it’s critical to get people using the course because the number of enrolled students shows up on the Udemy course sales page. I think you need a fairly large enrollment number to get other people signing up for your course. I look at David Nightingale’s course and think, “I have to get more people.”

3.  Drive Traffic from my YouTube Videos.

  • My fastest growing audience is on YouTube, so I’ve been adding a discount link to my Udemy course actually because of the last article you wrote on Promoting your Udemy course on YouTube.
  • People keep subscribing to me because I update the videos fairly frequently. Then, I tweet the links to my videos and let followers know there’s a secret discount available.
  • One trick I learned: If you have “Ultimate” in the title of your YouTube video, you’ll probably get a lot more views. My video “The Ultimate Skin Retouching Technique” got thousands of views overnight, which was a lot more than my other Skin Retouching videos.

What’s your Udemy Promo Plan for the next 60-90 days?

a)  Invite my in-person workshop attendees into my course at a discount.

  • I do in-person workshops and seminars (I have a seminar road show coming up).
  • Ideally, I have 60 people attending each workshop, and all of them will receive a special “Teacher’s Pet” (around $20 instead of $99) discount to access my online course for life.
  • I’ll also give them the ability to share the discount with friends.

b)  Publish my 2nd course.

  • My first course The Fundamentals of Photo Illustration in Photoshop was a more niche topic, and my next course will be more broad and for a more general audience.
  • When I publish it, I’m hoping the students who came into my current course with a free coupon will pay to purchase my second course.
  • [Pro Tip from Danielle at Udemy: Before launching your next course, send a survey to current students through Course Announcements and to your private email list and to your social media followers asking, “What topic(s) are you dying to learn next?” Then, list 3-5 topics that you plan to cover in your upcoming course. Let them know, “If you complete the survey, I will personally send you a 50% off coupon to get the course before anyone else.”]

c)  Continue my email marketing and uploading more YouTube videos.

  • I’ll continue creating occasions to promote my course to my subscribers on a rolling basis.

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