Julia McCoy is a content marketer who found that there was a lack of resources out there for others in her industry. She was looking for a way to train people at her own agency and found that there was a gap. So she created a course on the subject using Teachable. She started her school, Content Hacker, in 2017, to help train her own agency employees. It didn’t take long for it to turn into a complete course that people outside of her agency and her clients were interested in taking too.
Now, more than five years later, she’s still going strong on Teachable and has helped thousands of students. “It’s really rewarding. You know, you might not have a million dollars in a weekend. But if you impact people and hear from them years later, and now you know, you have other programs to offer too, it’s just amazing. To create something that bridges a gap, rather than ‘Let’s just create a course,’” she said.
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Opportunity with digital downloads
Now she’s branching out to sell other products on Teachable to. Specifically, the paid digital downloads now that they are available as a product. The timing is right too, she’s noticed it’s a product people are more willing to buy over some of her higher investment products. “I think that what I’m seeing, especially in the last quarter of last year, is really the economy is impacting people’s ability to buy bigger programs,” she said. “The reality is, they’re very afraid to put anything I would say, over $1,000 down,” she said. What she’s noticed is that while people used to go right to her sales page and buy courses for hundreds of dollars, they’re more hesitant now.
Generally, the people buying like that still are those who need a new skill for a job or whose jobs are paying for the course. Or even people who are very convinced of the transformation her courses offer. But that’s a smaller portion of people now.
“We see so much hesitation, I would say more than I’ve ever seen, I would have organic traffic just hit buy now on the Teachable link for $999 not even talk to us, like two years ago, all the time. So we don’t have that anymore,” she said. “And I really think it’s because of the recession, you can’t just ignore what’s happening in the world, as much as you’d like to,” she said.
Creating small wins
So instead of resisting the changing economy, she’s done what she can to provide the products her students are more likely to buy. That’s where digital downloads come into the mix. “What we basically did was repurpose some content from those bigger courses and turn it into downloadables,” Julie said. And she knew it would work because the content was tried and tested in her more extensive courses.
But it’s something people can do even if they don’t have a whole course yet. She recommends that people lay out all of the information they would include if they were to create a whole course. Just high level, in a spreadsheet. Then from there say, “These are my, five comprehensive modules, this is what I would teach if I was taking somebody all the way from A to Z in my knowledge, and then see what you can create as a small win from that,” she said.
“And I think it’s a lot easier to work from that way versus how can I create a small win, and then you’re just like, trying to put that guide together. But if you pull it from your best stuff, then I think the transformation is even bigger,” Julia said.
Bridging the gap
She also uses her downloads as a way to bridge a gap. “It’s really important to bridge the gap and create some trust with a $9, a $37, a $47 product. And making that a digital downloadable is amazing,” Julia said.
She can sell someone a download for $47 and gain their trust in her products and her as a teacher. Even her smaller downloadable products are extremely useful to those who download them. So when the time comes, they feel more comfortable paying for a larger product or spending time on an entire course. “I think bridging the gap is so important. Bridging that gap of trust, to get somebody to trust you to go all in on a coaching program, or just a longer duration of time, which most courses that are bigger usually are,” she said.
It’s something she’s excited about, but her students are too. “When we launched it, we had replies coming in all night. People were emailing us, they were posting in my free Facebook group, it looked like the way we packaged it really got them to dive in,” she said.
Learn more about marketing digital downloads at a virtual live event with Julia on January 27.
Check out the full interview with Julia below.
Read the transcript here:
Jonah Cohen 00:00
We are here with Julia McCoy today super excited to be talking to her. And we’re talking all about digital downloads, but more importantly, just all of the many products you can make. And Julia is a master of this. And one reason we really wanted her to come here and talk to us. So, Julia, if you could just give a basic background of yourself, what do you teach? What’s your goal as a with your platform and with your business? And what really is the transformation that you’re hoping to offer to anyone who engages with your products?
Julia McCoy 00:31
Yes. Well, thank you so much for the kind introduction. Made my day. But yes, so to answer your question, you know, I didn’t start teaching. I think like a lot of people that set out to create courses these days do, I kind of fell into it. So I was building an agency was in my seventh year of 2017, sixth or seven theory of building the agency. And I have been asked over and over again, came up in my own team, my own people needed this, where do we go to learn how to put together a content strategy. And I had been doing content, we were in the range of like, 150 projects a month at that time, by the time we sold, we were at 300 a month. So we were a little bit crazy. But at that point, I was like, “You know what, I don’t really find a practical place to send my people.” So two hands on, there were two directions here. On one hand, I needed to train my people. And then on the other hand, I needed to train our clients, and show them what a good kind of strategy looks like. And, you know, I tried all the courses at the time went through Hubspot’s program went through several different ones, you know, the stuff ranking at the top of Google even was very ambiguous. So I just realized, okay, it’s 2017, content marketing was worth around 300 billion. Today, it’s worth going towards 600 billion, so almost double since 2017. So I didn’t know that, you know, at the time, that was unknown information to me. And I just put those horse blinders on and began to create what happened at that time was I saw the opportunity. And I just jumped right in, I that’s my style. There’s an opportunity, I’m in the team, but you know, it’s worth it, it’s always paid off, I have to say. So I was like, “Okay, let’s create a course and a book.” and my first course and my first book on this, if I was going to really help the industry, it was going to have to be comprehensive, like there’s no way on earth, I could have just created a low ticket offer. At the time, I don’t even think I knew what that meant. So what I saw was the industry needed a very practical textbook-like solution. So that’s what I did. And one of the books behind me the blue one over here, actually, practical commerce strategy in marketing, it’s almost 400 pages. And it corresponds directly to a course that I built within Teachable and launched. And, you know, today, that course has done about 150,000 in sales, the book, additional sales. So it’s been quite exciting. It’s been quite the journey since then, to realize, you know, there was industry need. And, you know, it wasn’t like I launched something in a weekend made a million dollars. And I think that’s a myth anyway. You know, so my, that was not my style at all I really set out to solve what I saw was a huge industry need. And like, even today, like four days ago, I heard from somebody who reached out and said, ‘You don’t know how much that book helped me in my first career three years ago, in content marketing.’ So it’s really rewarding. You know, you might not have a million dollars in a weekend. But if you impact people hear from them years later, and now you know, we have other programs to offer her other resources to give her so it’s just amazing, you know, to create something that bridges a gap, rather than let’s just create a course. So that’s my story and kind of my perspective on it.
Jonah Cohen 03:53
A couple interesting things there. It sounds like, I guess what I’m trying to tackle here is it’s easy as a beginning creator, or even if you already have a freelance business, and you’re trying to enter into education, or educational products, it’s easy to go other people are doing it. I don’t need to do it. So can you get a little more specific about like, what that feeling? Was that made you feel enabled to or have the right to or feel the desire to start your own process and share that?
Julia McCoy 04:28
Yes. And that’s such a great question, Jonah, I can’t tell you because I coach people now. And that has got to be one of their biggest questions. They’re like, ‘Well, Julia, there’s a million people in the industry doing this. Why should I even try?’ It’s a pain point. So you know what I saw what prompted the whole thing was a conversation with a client. I still remember it January of 2017, where this client and I we had a personal relationship and he was just like, we you just come and train our office. So I had one client, one person, one person that needed this. And that was what prompted me to think, ‘Okay. I think if this person sees me as a good fit to go and teach his office, then why wouldn’t I be able to reach a whole market of additional people like him? If I just build that relationship and build great products?’ Yes. I didn’t even think about that, like, okay, that’s my competition. That’s, you know, that’s, that’s big stuff. I’m little peas over here. But it never even occurred to me at the time, because all I thought of was my one client that said, ‘Hey, would you come in our office and teach?’ And that was almost like permission granted, you know, so that would be my advice. If you have one person even that says, ‘Hey, I could benefit from what you have to share.” Put your horse blinders on. And like, just look at that one client. And forget all the other competition where, you know, I could have told that client, I’ll just go hire Robert Rose and have his whole team come in and train your office, which, interestingly enough, turns out years later, hindsight is 2020. That was more corporate than what than what they ever would have wanted. So my very nitty gritty, practical, I call it like realistic style of content marketing, was actually something that was very much needed at the time. But again, I didn’t even see it, because I was like, so busy taking action after I got that permission from one client. So all it takes.
Jonah Cohen 06:28
I love that really focusing on one transformation to start at pulling the value from there. Dig a little deeper, I want to talk about some of the actual products you offer. So you mentioned you’ve been on teachable for quite a while now. And when you came to teachable, Was that your first foray into digital products? Or did you already have digital downloads and other products that you were building? What was your process of figuring out what product you should build first? And where you were going to offer it?
Julia McCoy 07:00
Yeah, so Teachable was my first first digital anything? Yeah, we had been doing services. But that was through ecommerce, like completely different world. Like you pay us we get it done. Okay, that’s checked. So digital, downloads, ebooks, guides, courses, that was completely new for me. And at the time I was studying, I don’t even think Kajabi was out yet. I was studying all platforms. And then like Kajabi rolled out right after I signed up. But what I saw about Teachable was like there was a real commitment from the leadership team to excellence. And I didn’t really see that as something that stuck out from the other platforms. And I’m really glad actually, that I picked Teachable, because I’ve seen a lot of value. And it’s funny because I know creators that are moving off the other platforms for Teachable now. And I just never want to do that. I never want to have to have a platform move. Because we have so much content now so much. So Teachable, was definitely my first and came after a lot of research. And, you know, the first course I launched was nothing small. It was a comprehensive content strategy and marketing certification program content strategy. course.com. Still, we still run it. Yeah, it was gonna be six modules, 75 videos, like the whole thing. Because that matched what the industry needed. The industry really needed, like, Okay, how do we actually create a content strategy plan for a website that will generate real traffic and income. And that’s just not, you can’t really wrap it up in a single, little downloadable, you can try, but I don’t think people will really get the skill set. So that’s why the first product was a behemoth. And it took me about eight and a half months to build.
Jonah Cohen 08:44
I love hearing those success stories, because it is I think it’s harder to do it that way. But it can be done. So then it’s fun talking to you in this vein, like after you build this big behemoth. And that may work for some people. But as you expand and scale your business, not everybody needs or wants that big transformation. So what’s been your process in either breaking that down or identifying new transformations or products you could build to get to the point of having like a digital download or something that that may be small, but you’re confident actually offers something? Hmm,
Julia McCoy 09:25
Yes. I think that what I’m seeing, you know, especially in the last quarter of this year, is really the economy is impacting people’s ability to buy bigger programs. And I know like there’s a lot of people that are saying, oh, high ticket still is the best thing to sell yada yada. But really what I see what it comes down to in our list, which is about 5,000 different people on all levels from, you know, executive leaders to the brand new marketer that like we had a mom of twins that is just starting to get into marketing, which I love. We love helping those people and So we have a wide range, and we see what people can afford and what they can’t. And the reality is like, they’re very afraid to put anything I would say, over $1,000. So really afraid to put down, if they don’t have a real reason to buy that program like either an immediate skill, like I have to learn this for a job, maybe my job will pay for it, or I really know like and trust this person, I know this will be the right transformation. So what we’ve done to really bridge that gap, because we see so much hesitation, I would say more than I’ve ever seen, I would have organic traffic just hit by now on the Teachable link for $999 not even talk to us, like two years ago, all the time. So we don’t have that anymore. And I really think it’s because of the recession and what’s happening, like you just you just can’t ignore what’s happening in the world as much as you’d like to. So, you know, ignore the recession, sometimes you can, what we basically did was repurpose some content from those bigger courses and turn it into downloadables. And smaller courses. Not even courses, really, it’s been mostly a downloadable. So it’s a very short, quick win, usually under $50. And we just take it from something that’s already been proven, which is why I really liked the idea of like, even if you don’t create your master course, if you were to lay it all out in a Google spreadsheet and say, These are my, you know, five comprehensive modules, these are, this is what I would teach if I was taking somebody all the way from A to Z in my knowledge, like just give out on a spreadsheet, and then see what you can create as a small win from that. And I think it’s a lot easier to work from that way versus how can I create a small win, and then you’re just like, trying to put that guide together. But if you pull it from your best stuff, then I think the transformation is even bigger. And it’s really cool. When we have people that are like, you know, I was able to create a whole process for my team from this $47 product. And that’s because we tested it in our bigger program. We knew it worked, so we could pull it out of there and sell it in the digital downloadable.
Jonah Cohen 12:10
I love that perspective. Because I think that downloadable serves two purposes like we’ve continued to uncover the use case of downloadables paid or free in this way of also like, Okay, you have all this content, you built a course? How do you offer those smaller pieces? Or how do you scale your business to serve more people? a two part question coming up, then looking at the economy the way it is, or just looking towards the future at the place where you are and your goals for your business? When it comes to smaller products like Downloadables? What is the like primary use that you’re excited about? In like, 2023? How you think you might use those, then also, are there ways in which you would have used Downloadables? differently? Looking back at your path to building that big transformation?
Julia McCoy 13:04
Huh? Yes, yes, great question. I think that you know, whether we’re in a recession or not, if we are, you definitely should do this. But if we’re not even, I think bridging the gap, right like that is so important. bridging that gap of trust, like to get somebody to trust you to go all in on a coaching program, or just a longer duration of time, which most courses that are bigger usually are. So for them to go that extra length, it’s very rare that they’ll just jump into it unless, like you’re Brendon Bouchard, or whatever the industry hero is that has hundreds of 1000s of followers. So if that’s not you, then it’s really important to bridge the gap and create some trust with a $9 a $37 a $47 product. And making that a digital downloadable is amazing. Yeah, especially like the way we structured it when when we launched it with you was we could do an audio file, narrate a little bit of what was in the guide, get people interested enough to use it. Creating that excitement like that is so understated, you know, getting people excited to use the digital products. And that’s how we use the audio file was to narrate this is why we created it, this is how we think it’ll help you. And so building that excitement, just for two minutes, you know, gets people to really put it to good use. So we did that. And then the other files, we pulled some of the pieces out of the guide and just gave them here’s the two page template itself and the links to the loom videos that show you how to set up the exact template because it was a content management process template for your team and your calendar. So us being able to do that in the digital downloadable feature. makes for a better product experience. I think, you know, especially for the people that don’t have time for the people that might quickly move on. There are definitely a lot of just compulsive prod If buyers out there, that if they see it, they liked the marketing, they’ll buy it, they’ll never open it, you don’t want that you want people to open it, use it. So they can move to the next step with you and really get inside your ecosystem. So I’m really excited just that the way I think we were able to build that product. When we launched it, we had replies coming in, oh, nine people were emailing us they were posting in my free Facebook group, it looked like the way we packaged it really got them to dive in. So for me, it was like, what’s our most unique offering that we can give away that maybe nobody has seen yet? Nobody has done yet. And for us that template, like you’re not gonna find that anywhere else on the entire internet. So when you have a product like that, like it’s definitely going to do better and sales. You know, marketing can can only go so far if the product itself isn’t good. So that really helped us too. And then seeing how many people were using it. You know, within two weeks, we’ve had almost 40 people buy it. So that’s been really exciting.
Jonah Cohen 15:58
That’s awesome. I want to have a whole nother conversation about that thought process of building a digital download, you really took full advantage of the ability to include multiple files and create kind of a mini course is experience or really a multimedia experience. Thank you so much, Julia. It’s always a blast talking to you and getting another little window into your business and how you structure things and your mind around it and everything is so valuable. So appreciate it. As always, thank you so much for being here. We’ll talk to you soon again.
Julia McCoy 16:35
Thank you Jonah.