If you’ve built up a brand as an expert then your knowledge is what people are paying for. But consultants, authors, and speakers can often find it hard to scale their expertise.
When you’re consulting one-on-one or hiring out your services as a speaker, you can only be in so many places — and engage so many customers — at once. After all, there’s only one of you!
How can you reach more people (and add more revenue) without bringing on more employees? By building an online education business.
E-commerce platforms like Shopify/Wordpress make selling your products online simple – even if that product is your knowledge. Here are 12 of the best Shopify apps and a wordpress Plugin for experts who want to monetize their thought leadership
This popular wordpress app is a must have if you’re selling Courses. Customers get instant access to the items they purchased, like PDFs, e-books, and course materials. Watch Video on how to do it.
This popular Shopify app is a must have if you’re selling digital goods off your site by letting you to sell digital items with a file size of 5GB or less. Customers get instant access to the items they purchased, like PDFs, e-books, and course materials.
Digital Downloads is more than just a delivery tool. The app will also automatically notify your customers if an item gets updated, and it includes a helpful dashboard so you can keep track of your download stats and manage your products.
FetchApp is another great application for managing your downloads and for keeping track of who has access to your paid content. The app allows you to control how many times a product can be downloaded, as well as the amount of time a download link works.
FetchApp gives you greater control over your files, allowing you to bundle products with multiple files together or to split larger files into multiple smaller files so that you can sell a single product in multiple parts.
Price: Free – $300/month
SchoolKeep is a learning management system that lets you create your own online courses with custom branding and a professional feel. Instruction can be self-paced or scheduled, and assignments and quizzes help you — and your learners — rate their progress.
When integrated with Shopify, SchoolKeep lets you showcase your courses using one of over 100 premium storefront website themes. You can even sell courses through Facebook and other social networks.
(Full disclosure: I work for SchoolKeep.)
Your email list is one of your biggest assets as a thought leader, which is why I highly recommend the MailChimp app for Shopify. Sending regular “learning boosts” to your email list is a great way to stay top of mind, and ensure that your learners don’t lose out on the benefits of your content as time goes by.
With the MailChimp-Shopify integration, customers are automatically added to MailChimp, and you can set up automated email campaigns to encourage customer reviews, deliver product recommendations, and continue delivering your awesome thought leadership content straight into their inboxes.
Price: Free – $35/month
With so much free content out there on the Internet, how do you get people to shell out their hard-earned dollars for your course? With social proof. Yotpo is a review app that allows your customers to review your products and even answer questions for other users.
All of this user-generated content does more than just provide social proof to potential customers. It’s also great for your website’s SEO, which means more people will end up on your site in the first place.
Price: $25 – $699/month
Speaking of SEO, if you haven’t given your e-commerce site an SEO check lately, you should take a look at Plug in SEO. It helps ensure your course detail pages are optimized for search engines and analyzes your site to find any problems or gaps in your SEO game.
Plug in SEO doesn’t just tell you what’s wrong, it also helps you prioritize which problems are the most important to fix so you can be smart about spending your resources.
Olark is a live chat app that’s really useful for helping visitors find what they’re looking for on your site. It creates an easy chat interface that lets your customers drop you a line whenever they need a hand. You can set it up to be available during your business hours when visitors can instantly ping you or a member of your team for help. Outside of business hours, Olark will take a message.
Olark also gives you a detailed snapshot of your customer during the chat, letting you see who they are, where they’re looking, and even what’s in their shopping cart. It’s thoroughly visually customizable, so it will always look great and in line with your brand.
Price: Free – $36/month
Do you have an awesome new course coming around the corner? You need a way to build up excitement and let people sign up in advance.
PreOrder Me lets you premarket courses, ebooks, and other products that are not yet ready for launch. You can use it to place a pre-order button on your landing page and allow people to pay for it ahead of time – while they’re still thinking about it. The app is highly customizable to fit with your landing page and shopping cart style.
This app is perfect for if you have items that cross-sell well, like ebooks that go along with your courses. Directed Edge Product Recommender can be configured to automatically show related products based on the apps algorithms, or related products you handpick yourself. You can also configure it to show things like recently viewed products, or also-bought products.
There are tons of different recommendation types available, so you can configure the app to display products in a way that’s perfect for your store. That means you make more from every sale.
Price: $24 – 79/month
If you live in a country that requires you to collect VAT taxes for your digital products, you need a simple way to do so. Enter Taxamo. This app is designed to make VAT tax collection simpler for everybody by automatically detecting the customer’s location and applying the appropriate tax rate. It will also generate multi-regional tax settlement reports that make filing your taxes much less of a headache.
Taxamo is compliant with international digital tax regulations on tax calculation, reporting, and invoicing, and it will scale even as other countries add digital sales tax laws.
Price: $24 – 110/month
Vender Payout won’t be necessary if the only courses and digital products you’re selling are your own, but if you’re running an online marketplace that features multiple thought leaders, you need a way to pay your third-party vendors.
Vendor Payout is great for making sure everybody gets paid. Once you get the percentages set up, everything is automatically calculated for you. So simple!
Give them a great experience. You have a wealth of insight, and there are potential customers out there who could benefit — and who are willing to pay for it. When you set up your online courses, books and other products on Shopify and connect the apps that give a great user experience, you’re on the road to capturing that market.