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Applying the Student of Markets concept to Udemy

I am in the middle of reading The Boron Letters, a series of letters marketing legend Gary Halbert sent to his son Bond from Boron prison in 1984.

It’s fascinating.

Now these letters have been read by countless marketers, and have become a bit of a cult legend. The secrets to sales and marketing are buried inside these free letters written from prison. Almost sounds like a marketing pitch, doesn’t it?

But early in the series of letters, Halbert mentions a concept that has caught my eye.

“Now, pay attention. The very first thing you must come to realize is that you must become a “student of markets”. Not products. Not techniques. Not copywriting. Not how to buy space or whatever. Now, of course, all of these things are important and you must learn about them, but, the first and the most important thing you must learn is what people want to buy.”

You must become a student of markets. You must figure out what people want to buy. Not what they say they will buy, but what they actually do buy. He also calls this being a “student of reality”. I like this idea. You can become an expert at Facebook ads, but that skill will be wasted if you are pitching the wrong products to the wrong audience.

So to turn this concept to Udemy, what would Gary Halbert say is the first and most important thing to learn about Udemy? What people are actually buying.

So, this leads to the conclusion that you need to figure out which categories have the highest amount of sales per day. That’s a start for finding out what products to pitch those people.

One problem with going directly to the “category with the most sales” is that the competition there is fierce. It will be very hard to come up with an excellent Microsoft Excel course when the existing courses have such a dominating head start in the category. They have tens of thousands of students, and hundreds of reviews. How can someone just starting out differentiate themselves. I prefer less competitive categories.

What about making a list of all of the subcategories of Udemy, and listing the biggest course in each. How many students, how many stars, what are the latest students saying? Are there signs of weakness? Find the category that appears to be both popular, but with beatable competition.

The other problem of course is, as an instructor, you just can’t teach “anything”. You need to know something about the topic to teach it. Since Udemy does not allow PLR, and restricts non-teaching instructors, you need to find a topic you can reasonably teach which further restricts this list.

In the next blog post, I’ll talk further about taking the Halbert student of markets method into deciding what course to teach.


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