You know what I've never seen? Pictures or walk-throughs of the backends of online courses.
I see a lot of promotional material describing them.....but rarely are pictures and videos of the actual product included.
It's kind of funny, because for nearly every single product you buy......you know what it looks like. Even software products give you extensive tours of the software and even let you use it before buying.
"For my next trick, I shall sell you this mystery product!"
I have some theories on why a lot of digital products don't openly show you the material first, but that'll turn into a 2-hour rant. Instead, let's just take a second to go through a bunch of backends of real income-generating courses!
Well guess what....I HAVE ACCESS TO A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF COURSES. In fact I've sold 13 of my own, and helped produce another 11. I also wrote the copy for hundreds of online courses, and got to see inside the contents.
One of the cleanest course I had written in HTML from scratch. It was a course on how to hire employees off Craigslist with minimal hassle.
Here's some of the stats:
- Priced at $69/each.
- Was a mildly-good seller (the amount of people looking for how to hire employees is FAR lower than the amount of people looking to start their first small business).
- Sold 377 copies.
- 6 refunds.
- $25,599 in revenue.
- About $500 in labor and material costs to create.
- Extremely helpful method of hiring many companies use till this day.
- Ironically the guy I hired to help me with some filming and HTML writing was hired with this method!
You can see it here:
Craigslist Hiring Course
Custom HTML. Basic password protection script.
Backend Link: https://copywritingcourse.com/craigslist-hiring-course/part1-new-way-of-hiring.html
Sales Page: http://www.appsumo.com/craigslist-hiring-course/
Since I'm such a nice guy :::sinister smile::: I'm removing any pay-wall protection for this course and just letting you see it. Here's the backend of the Craigslist Hiring Course
(aka what you'd get after you pay money).
I ain't gonna lie....that layout is clean as fuck.
The goal of the product was people trade $69 for 1 hour of video and templates that show how to hire employees off Craigslist without hardly interacting with ANYONE.
Original sales page on AppSumo:
First page of the course:
A couple of pages of the course rolled up into one screenshot:
Let's take a look at some other online course backends from across the web:
Painting Business Pro
Sales Page Link: http://paintingbusinesspro.com/the-course/
I actually know Eric Barstow and he does indeed have a big & profitable painting business along with other businesses.
This actually looks like a super comprehensive and well laid-out course. If I were running a painting business, I'd definitely be interested in this. He also made his marketing very non-scammy which I love. Notice how his homepage says this:
What he DIDN'T say is "OMG I'll teach you how to build your OWN $1,000,000 business in just TWO DAYS with ZERO EFFORT and NO INVESTMENT so you can sit on the beach all day!!!!!"
He simply illustrates he's going to open up the ways he's personally done things. Love it.
I actually liked his call schedule page, and it even had different "groups" of individuals (which I blurred out).
PRINCE2 Certification Course
Metier - Jon Wålberg
Site Link: https://www.prince2.no
I had to look up what "Prince2" was. It's an acronym for PR
ojects IN C
nvironments. I give that an 8/10 for cool ceacronyms :)
FretboardAnatomy - Joshua Skaja
Site Link: https://fretboardanatomy.com/
This is a guitar teaching course. Looks like a pretty small site based on the metrics I can tell.
Here's what Josh said about the course:
Students get an email nudge each day, with a link pointing to their dashboard. A new lesson becomes available each day, and for most of the course they need to mark a lesson complete before moving on to the next one. (Exceptions: the units on habit building, and the unit on using a metronome, which I offer as a standalone free course.)
I'm not a fan of this style of slapping people with a loooonnnggg menu in the course. It initially seems impressive, but from my experience this massive list does not encourage consumption of the material.
To the courses defense, much of it is dripped via email nudges. You can see some individual lessons below:
3 Months to Guitar Independence
Tristan de Montebello (sweet name bro)!
Page Link: http://aboutthestart.com/
Backend Software: PathWright
(first I've ever heard of it...looks interesting)
This is another guitar course (wow....people love teaching guitar)! It's actually laid out quite well. Very linear and "pretty" looking. While I know the design of an online course isn't everything, IT SURE MAKES A CUSTOMER FEEL SPECIAL!
Whenever I've bought poorly laid out courses, it's made me sad. When it totally kicks ass and feels thought out and is easy to navigate, it makes me happy.
Page Link: https://www.appsumo.com/how-to-make-your-first-dollar/
Custom developer. 6 months of development time + constant iterations.
This video was actually filmed by me at my old apartment! Noah was trying to figure out how to position the sales video, and was spouting out all these cool features the courseware could do to track progress....and I was like, "Ummmm why don't you just SAY EXACTLY THAT."
We immediately whipped out a ghetto camera and started filming him talking about it right there on the spot.
BACKEND VIDEO (plus some administration shots):
KopyLite Free Intro To Copywriting Course
Page Link: http://www.appsumo.com/kopywriting-kourse-lite/
Quick Signup Link if you want it: https://copywritingcourse.com/free-course/
Wishlist Member + Builder Theme + Customized CSS.
This was a totally free course about writing copy I gave away on AppSumo. It was designed for totally newbies who don't even know what "copywriting" means.
It was just six videos designed to get people from total newbs, to at least knowing that changing words around on a page can matter a lot.
Freelance To Win
Page Link: https://freelancetowin.com/ssfu-course/
This is Danny's course about how he uses Upwork for freelancing.
Here's what he told me about its design:
What I think your readers will find interesting about my course is that I didn't code or design anything whatsoever! It's just a standard Rainmaker theme (http://rainmakerplatform.com/) with absolutely no additional work done to it. Even the lessons are very bare bones -- just videos where I am talking over Powerpoint slides (again no design, just used a free PPT template!).
The course has all the content videos and an internal blog members can post on
3MinuteRelief Back Pain Course
3MinuteRelief - Daniel Reifenberger
Page Link: 3MinuteRelief.com
Daniel Reifenberger made this back pain site that actually looks super comprehensive and pretty good. I was quite impressed with the very logical and simple structure of the course.
It seems to solve a pretty simple problem: People have back pain --> They pay for the course --> They get comprehensive advice from back specialists.
What Daniel said is that all the traffic comes from a YouTube video that gets about 50,000 - 100,000 views per month. Interesting.
The signup page: I think the paid course actually looks way better and higher quality than the sales page!
TinyEmpire Weekend Wordpress Course
Page Link: http://tinyempire.teachable.com/courses
Backend Software: Teachable
I've never seen inside the Teachable platform so her video was interesting to watch. It's cool how she describes her page as her "school"
. I like that.
If you don't already have a huge platform of your own, I think teaching through one of these platforms (such as Teachable, Udemy or Skillshare) is good.
From experience however, I can attest that it's like only 10% of the people on these platforms that make 90% of the money. Just MAKING a course is usually not enough to earn a living, you must also do a decent amount of marketing to your courses.
You can see Stephanie's whole setup on Teachable here:
Value Proposition Course
Page Link: https://www.udemy.com/how-to-create-a-strong-value-proposition-for-b2b
(he said if you use the coupon code "KopywritingKourse" you can get it for free and checkout the course backend yourself....I added the coupon code to that link...I have no affiliation with Udemy or this course).
Backend Software: Udemy.com
Thought I'd showcase at least one Udemy platform course. Udemy is obviously a huge marketplace for courses. I'm pretty sure 90%+ people don't make much money from it, but I know some that do. Being able to market your course is still key with these big platforms. If you already have a big audience, you may as well host the course yourself.
However if you don't already have a big audience (or just don't want the hassle of doing all the tech stuff), Udemy is a "decent" platform to host a course.
WELL! We powered through 12+ backends of online courses....hopefully that gives you a much better idea of what some other people's courses look like.
I always get asked about which software to use for membership sites. They each have their own quirks, so here's just a big list of them off the top of my head + one's mentioned in this post:
- Wishlist Member (I currently use this)
- Member Mouse
- UseFedora (platform)
- Udemy (platform)
- Teachable (platform)
- Skillshare (platform)
I would suggest making a list of exactly what you need first, and then finding out which is most suitable to you. Sometimes you don't need as many crazy features as you think!
I sincerely hope this post helped you understand what goes into the backend of a course a little better. Let me know if you have any suggestions in the comments.
Download all these course backend examples for your own files:
I had fun showing you my backend. And other people's backends. Giggity.
P.S. In the comments, please let me know what your favorite learning style is. Or you can even give me the name/link/style of some material that REALLY helped you learn a lot in a short amount of time. Books? Videos? PDF? Software? Lemme know!