In this episode, I talk about Udemy and the pros and cons of publishing courses on this popular platform.
I also discuss the best ways to use Udemy to build your own business.
If you’ve ever looked at the potential of earnings from Udemy, be sure to listen to this episode first.
Many people who create information products have looked to the potential of publishing on Udemy.com. And, sure, Udemy is an attractive place. They have a lot of traffic from people who are actively looking to learn things. Plus, they make it easy since they provide the platform and take care of all the headaches.
But, SHOULD you publish on Udemy? And if you do, how should you go about it?
In this episode, we’ll talk about Udemy and the pros and cons of publishing courses on this popular platform. I also discuss the best ways to use Udemy to build your own business.
If you’ve ever looked at the potential of earnings from Udemy, be sure to make time for this episode.
But before we get started with our discussion for today, let me first tell you about a couple of changes I am going to make here in this podcast…
Some Changes And The Reasons Why
Instead of the show coming out twice per week, I am actually probably going to be reducing it down to once a week. Now, we are not going to drop less than that, but here is the reason for it: I am finding on average that this podcast is getting a little longer than it used to be. It used to average around 10 minutes top; lately they have been averaging a little longer than that.
The other thing, too, is that… This is not an interview style podcast as you can tell. It is pretty much generally me just talking. And that was on purpose. I mean, I did not want to have yet another interview style podcast because everybody seems to do interview style podcast and I didn’t want to be another “me too” type of a thing. And so, as you can imagine, it is some work for me to prep these things.
Secondly, because it is me speaking, and it is me giving you things to do and those things, that twice a week can be a lot of volume. It is really hard to keep up with something like that especially if you are following along and actually doing the stuff we talk about here on the show. And so, for that reason we are going to probably be taking it down to a once a week schedule; it will remain regular outside this random little scheduled things like I just had. And we are also going to be making some changes to the intro and the outro; I got to get that ball rolling, but I want to modernize those and also just basically modernize the show a little bit. So that, you can look forward to, coming up.
So anyway, all that being said, we are back and let’s jump right in to the topic. I want to talk about how to repurpose your products on Udemy.
Now, this is specifically if you are in the information products space or if you are doing training courses and that type of thing. And you might be familiar with Udemy, a very well-known and popular training portal where you can go there and you can enroll on a ton of different courses and get trained on a ton of different topics. And so it is kind of like the YouTube for education in the fact that you can go there and you can enroll on the structured courses that in many cases are very well put together, and learn a variety of things. Many of those courses are completely and totally free, other ones are paid. And of course if you are looking to be a course creator, then Udemy is going to sell you on why it is so awesome to publish your courses there. And surely enough, I have seen many people out there who are in the course creation business who will publish their courses on Udemy because they want that distribution and they can make money there. So what I want to do is answer that question “How do you repurpose your stuff on Udemy?” But not only that… “Should you?” Okay? Because what I really want you to understand is that there are trade-offs to it and there is definitely a way that I recommend that you use a site like Udemy but also a way that I recommend that you avoid it.
Should You “Udemy”?
There is definite draws… there is definite benefits to publishing on big sites like Udemy. They have got a lot of eyeballs; they really do. They have got a lot of distribution potential over there. And that would definitely go into the Pro category. And also they take care of a lot of logistics of making sales. And so for a lot of people who just want to concentrate on making great content and do not want to deal with any of the other logistics, it can make sense. You go, you publish your course on Udemy, they have got the system already in place, you just put the modules in place; you do not have to worry about functionality and all that… You don’t have to worry about processing credit cards, none of that. It is all taken care of. And so that is a very attractive proposition for many people. What I want to do now, though, is look at the trade-offs and look at the cons of publishing on something like Udemy. And these are things that you definitely need to be aware of if you consider publishing a course on that site.
First of all, keep in mind that Udemy is extremely strict on any follow-up marketing at all. If somebody buys a course on my website at blogmarketingacademy.com, they are on my email list. I can send you anything that I want. It is a platform that I own. I can also cross-sell you into other courses or action plans in the Academy. I can try to upsell you into the full Blog Monetization Lab. These are all things that any business owner will do.
Now, go into Udemy and you are very, very much limited on what you can do. First of all, they have got a rule that says you can only send two promotions to your course students in any given month. But the other thing, too, is that what you send them is extremely limited. So not only are you only allowed to send out 2 promos; those promos can only direct the person back into Udemy. You are not allowed to send them into any external site and you are not allowed to ask people to opt-in to anything. These are all policies built-in to Udemy. So think about that. You are basically building your email list on Udemy and Udemy owns it and Udemy controls what you are allowed to do. So are you really building an email list? Are you really building an asset? Hell, no. You are not. You are not building anything of any real value to you at all. You are building that asset for Udemy. You are bringing Udemy students. That is it. So those strict rules really do fly in the face of most good best practices when it comes to growing a business. You are really not going to be able to do that over at Udemy.
The other thing, too, is that you have got no ability to build your list; not only because they tell you that you are not allowed to send any emails to your students that directs a person to opt-in to anything or to even direct them offsite. All has to stay with Udemy. There is only one place in the entire set up that you are allowed to do anything like that and that is on the bonus lecture of your course. So you have your course, you have got these modules, you have got these various training units that you are going to set up on your course. But at the very end of the course, you are allowed to have what is called a bonus lecture. And on that bonus lecture you are allowed to do things like give them a call to action to come over to your website and stuff like that. But only in the bonus lecture. You are not allowed to do it anywhere else.
In fact, the first time I had set up a course on Udemy, that particular regulation; to my knowledge, was actually not even there. So I have the thing at the beginning of the course that says “Hey, by the way, if you would like to get the emails that were designed to go along with this course, head on over here and opt-in.” And it was an opt-in to my 30 Day Blog Transformation Challenge email list. And it was specifically for the delivery of the Challenge. Well, Udemy didn’t like that at all. They had a little bit of a hissy fit, they gave me a strike and they were threatening to shot down my ability to email my students on Udemy which honestly, I have no intention of doing, anyway, because I have my own platform… But they are pretty strict about making sure that the only place that you try to direct them anywhere outside of Udemy is in the bonus lecture. Now, that is pretty limiting.
They’re Udemy’s Customers, Not Yours
Now, here is another thing when it comes to the business value of Udemy; is that they get the entire lifetime value of that customer. Because at the end of the day, it is not your customer. It is Udemy’s customer. And Udemy is just cutting you a percentage check. That is all they are doing. It is Udemy’s customer and for that reason if you bring a customer into Udemy, it is Udemy that gets the full value of all follow-up sales from that student. You will not get any. Now they do have a little bit of an affiliate program set up over Udemy but it is pretty limited. And so essentially, the system is very much designed to help grow Udemy. It is not designed to grow any business of yours. Okay? So they get the full lifetime customer value of that person. You do not.
Coupons & Discounts Driven
Here is the other one; and this is a pretty big one… And that is that these courses; you’ll go in there and you’ll see courses on Udemy that sometimes sell for a few hundred bucks and you might be thinking like “Wow… That instructor must be making some real money!” Well, in almost all cases, that is not true. And it is because Udemy is extremely driven by coupons and discounts.
I remember a few months ago, my wife actually got a (I think that was a) promo email or something from Udemy and ended up getting three $300 courses for $10 each! Okay? Now, that is a mega discount, that is why she did… she would have never paid $300 for these things and she was like, “Hell, for $10, I’ll try it!” So think about it. It was like a $299 course; she just picked it up for $10. Now, that is not out of the ordinary for Udemy. They do that kind of thing all the time.
When you set up your course on Udemy, you do have the ability to opt-in or out of their discount program but they very strongly suggest you stay in it because that is how you get the most sales. But it also very much devalues your course. And just because you set a price point does not mean that that is the price point that you will be getting on average. And so, I think that it really brings down the perceived value of your course, you are very likely not going to sell it at the price that you asked because you’re in an environment where everybody is just sitting around waiting for coupon codes and discounts.
So for all of these reasons, we need to look at Udemy and be like “Okay, should we post anything on Udemy at all?” Udemy is a rented land. You don’t own it. They own it. And they are your landlord. They set the rules and by the fact that you are doing business with Udemy, you are agreeing to those rules.
Use It As A Vehicle
So here’s the thing… In my position I believe that you should use Udemy as lead generation but not as a sales vehicle. There’s no doubt that Udemy and sites like that have a lot of distribution power. They’ve got a lot of traffic. They have got a lot of eyeballs on their site and you want to get in front of those eyeballs, right? The other great thing about Udemy is that it is a collection of people; an audience of people who are there to learn. I mean, that is the entire purpose of the site. So, for many of us, this is a great audience. It’s just that there is this systematic limitations that Udemy places on us plus they train their audience to be very, very discount minded. But you could still use it as a lead generation vehicle and bring people over to your own platform; of course, obeying the rules that I just said that Udemy has.
So here is what I recommend that you do; sell your courses and your training products on your own platform that you fully control. And that is what I have been talking about here at Coffee Break Blogging for quite some time… That all those stuff about building membership sites and training portals and all these things; this is all where you are building your own platform. And you can sell it. You set up the sales funnel. It is your bag; it is your asset. And that is obviously what I recommend that you do. But you can still use Udemy in the right way to bring people out of that world of Udemy. Bring them over to your house and then get them into your own set up.
My Suggestions To Make It Happen
First of all, you can create a free course or some type of a challenge or something like that, like somewhere like I did and you can publish it on Udemy. So create content specifically for Udemy or you take free content you have already created perhaps as a lead magnet or something like that and you repurpose it into a course on Udemy for free. Because “free courses” on Udemy usually get a lot more students than the ones that are paid. Now, then you use the bonus lecture to direct people back to your website. That is all within the rules of Udemy. You just make sure that you fully utilize that bonus lecture at the end. So that is one… that is the most obvious way to go.
Second way to go is to take a part of one of your paid products; not the entire thing, just part of it. And publish that on Udemy as a course. And then what you do is you invite those people who have completed that course on Udemy to finish it over on your own platform. And then using the bonus lecture, you give them a call to action, send them to a landing page on your own website that invites them to continue. And so for this to work the best, you are probably going to want to make that part of that course on Udemy free as well because you will get more people to start. But then what happens is because you start them down this road and not able to finish it, you can now invite them to finish it on your own platform and charge them a little bit of money accordingly. And that is their option.
Third idea that you can do is to republish courses on Udemy as an additional revenue stream but just don’t expect a heck of a lot from it. You can totally do it in the way that Udemy wants to do it. Publish your courses on there, charge them, opt-in to the discount program and allow coupon codes to be applicable and then whatever happens, happens.
But what I do not recommend that you do is rely on Udemy as your business model. You should be putting your time into building your own platform and then what happens on Udemy is just some kind of additional revenue stream.
Fourth way to do it is to take lead magnets or even old blog post series that you might have already written on your site and repurpose those into a course that you publish on Udemy. So essentially what you are doing here is you are using Udemy as another platform. It is a way of getting your best content out in front of Udemy audience in a structured way. You don’t want this to read just like a bunch of blog posts, obviously. You want it to jive together in a way that goes from one to the next. So this is going to work best if it is an old lead magnet like a long eBook that maybe you wrote in the past or a challenge or a video series that you made; something like that, and then you can publish that into the Udemy system and use that as a way to bring people out of Udemy and over to your own platform.
And then the fifth and last way, is to realize, again, that the goal of Udemy is simply exposure to new people, not necessarily sales. So for that reason, regardless of what you do here, you need to situate those things in such a way that they are going to attract people out of Udemy. Give your course a really “headline-y” type of title so that it remains attractive. You probably want to air on the side of “free” on Udemy, rather than paid, because it is not really a revenue generator. It is more just to get people to be exposed to you and your brand.
It’s Still A Great Platform, After All
Now, you can make money on Udemy. There are people out there who make money. I mean, most Udemy instructors don’t make that much money on Udemy. But there are those who make a few thousand dollars a month. And it is just great! It can be done. The thing is I would contend that if they had generated those sales on their own platform they will be making a helluva lot more than if they were going to Udemy. So that is the thing there.
So hopefully all these makes sense. I definitely think that if you are in the information product business, you should be looking at Udemy. They are a great platform. They have done a fantastic job and there is a lot of people there that are looking to learn things. M’kay? But you need to keep in mind the marketing limitations that are inherent to that environment. And you need to look at it for what it is. It is a way to get exposure for you and your brand but your main game there is to bring people over to your home base which is going to be your blog, your sales funnels, and the whole nine yards. You want to get them on to your list because honestly, the list that you have on Udemy isn’t even your list. You can’t do what you want with that. It is not your asset.
I want to end off this episode by letting you know about the Membership Site Blueprint. Now, everything that I have just said about having your own platform and your own sales vehicle; it is all covered in this Membership Site Blueprint I have over at the Blog Marketing Academy. This will teach you not only how to fully structure your membership site but we go also heavily into how to sell it, how to keep members on your program if you are doing a recurring program, how to price things… This is an area that you want to go down when it comes to creating your own training platform so you get to have 100% of the revenue versus the percentage that Udemy will give you, then the Membership Site Blueprint is a good way to go. Now if you are a Lab Member, you already have access to the Membership Site Blueprint.
Once again, thank you so much, hopefully you found this episode useful. Definitely check out Udemy if you are in this business and get some eyeballs from there; I think that is a great way to go. You now have about a week to do something about this because we are going to slow down (just a little bit) on our frequency of episodes here at Coffee Break Blogging, but we will be continuing and because these episodes are getting a little longer now and I just want to not just overwhelm everybody.
I will see you next time! Talk soon. 😉
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