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Monetizing Your Unique Expertise For Knowledge Commerce: Guide
The Big Four formats for Knowledge Commerce that are most popular are these
What can you sell through Knowledge Commerce? The limit is set only by the technology available. You can sell ebooks, courses, podcasts, video tutorials. You can build membership sites with paywalls that protect exclusive knowledge. You can host webinars or mastermind classes. You can also offer to consult or mentor as a service. You can also sell a host of toolkits, templates, worksheets, whitepapers, guides, case-studies ...
The list is endless because people like variety of information in a variety of formats. But if we were to select the Big Four types of Knowledge Commerce products, most preferred by marketers and customers, they would be these: Ebooks, Courses, Memberships and Consultancy Services.
First things first: don’t aim to make that one perfect knowledge product
A major mistake of knowledge product creation? People push themselves to try to make that one perfect product. They try to write the most thorough ebook, or develop the most comprehensive course, with a certificate et al.
The common belief is that this is the best way to delivering more than competition ever can. It’s also the belief that such a product will command a great price. That, in turn, would lead to a shorter route to greater wealth. Some people even believe that higher product prices reflect more topical authority.
People who envision such perfection, end up researching their topic dry. They reshoot videos many times. They rewrite paragraphs till all the spontaneity goes right out of them.
All this leads to burnout or a waning of interest, and the product never gets completed. Or even if the masterpiece product gets done, the entrepreneur is too drained to do a great marketing job.
Here’s the truth though: not every knowledge product needs to ooze with endless knowledge. You need instead to have a hierarchy of products in your area of unique expertise. This actually helps you more - and helps your customers more.
Some typical challenges in creating ebooks, courses, memberships and consultancy services
1. Want to create ebooks? The whole jig is now ultra-easy thanks to some excellent resources and tools
Remember, ebooks are amongst the most popular knowledge products. Most marketers like to begin with these. Ebooks allow Knowledge Commerce entrepreneurs to cut their teeth in the business without much risk.
We’re talking here of books to sell through your own site. We're not including books for Amazon Kindle which are a whole different ball game.
What you should be aiming for first is to pick a topic for your first ebook. It should make it easy for a prospective customer to become a purchasing one. Your ebook must help generate more sales of other knowledge products. So, keep that one goal in mind.
Ebook pricing can be a tricky decision. If you're just an author, your focus may be a lot on earning income from sales. But if you're a Knowledge Commerce marketer your goal may be less on profits per book.
2. The demand for good courses is only climbing. Get your share of this golden pie
According to GM Insights, the e-learning market size was at around USD 190 billion in 2018. It's expected to grow at a CAGR of 7% from 2019 to 2025. Every serious Knowledge Commerce provider needs to get into this space.
The reasons for the anticipated rise in e-learning are many. Evolving new techniques of technology-enabled teaching could drive e-learning growth. Further, there's a growing need for upskilling. Many working professionals are now feeling underprepared to keep pace with new digital skills. Online learning is the method of choice. It allows people to study via the devices they prefer. That is also a huge plus-point.
Topic selection is a stumbling block for many Knowledge Commerce marketers. This is especially so for first-time course creators. Your challenge is in finding out where you can have the biggest impact. Ask yourself. Which pain-points most trouble your audiences'? How can you best help solve these for them?
3. Membership sites are a good idea for those who already have a solid bank of knowledge content
The idea behind membership sites as a Knowledge Commerce product is this. You may have built up a good library of content. Maybe you have a good number of ebooks, short courses, templates, and worksheets. Your customers may want all this in pick-and-choose doses. They may like to pay for access to your library through monthly subscriptions.
With membership sites, you can set pricing plans at different levels. You can thus allow graded access to your library of knowledge products. Having lots of members paying you a small fee every month could make your income more reliable. It may also help you stop trading your time for money. You can use your time to create more products, so your library grows in value.
Membership sites have some clear plus points. They also have some areas of challenge. It pays to get into this kind of Knowledge Commerce product with your eyes open. It also helps to know what members perceive as “value” in membership sites. What makes them want to belong to the site? What makes them remain members for a long time?
4. Consultancy services are the easiest to start. But it takes a lot to satisfy a customer
According to the Harvard Business Review: “Each year management consultants receive more than $2 billion for their services. Much of this money pays for impractical data and poorly implemented recommendations. Clients need to ask more from such advisers, who in turn must learn to satisfy expanded expectations.” This is a client's point of view.
Another description I’ve read is this one: “If you’re not part of the solution there’s good money to be made in prolonging the problem.” This could be a mischievous consultant’s point of view. This second explanation sums up to me why people get suspicious before hiring a consultant. It’s tough to quantify what attitude you’ll get for what you pay.
Of all the Knowledge Commerce products you can sell, professional consultancy must be the easiest. Technically, you need nothing beyond a landing page on your site. But you may need to understand what role you should play, and what you shouldn’t, in a customer’s life. An ideal consultant should be exactly like a doctor. A patient usually comes to a doctor complaining of the symptoms. It’s the doctor’s job to palliate the symptoms but also diagnose the underlying problem if he wants to cure the patient.
To learn even more of this topic, read on ...