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Join Our Research Team at DMA 2014
Aug 06, 2001
Case Study

Marketing Book Author Makes $68,000 with eCourses

SUMMARY: Joe Vitale, author of such books as 'There's a Customer Born Every Minute' really wanted a new BMW Z3 Roadster. As a copywriting expert, he had lots of good advice to share but it's not easy to make a quick buck by writing another book (the average publisher advance for a non-fiction book is in the neighborhood of $5000.)

Read this quick Case Study to learn how Vitale made the cash for his new Roadster by offering pricey eCourses to his opt-in list of just 800 names instead.
CHALLENGE

It's also not easy to get rich quick -- rich enough to pop for a BMW anyway -- by self-publishing an eBook, even if you've written books before. People tend to think of general business books and ebooks in a particular $29-49 price point ... so as expert as Vitale was, he'd have to move a lot of copies to get that Roadster.

CAMPAIGN

Vitale did have an email list of 800 marketers around the world who had bought his prior ebooks and/or signed up at his MrFire.com Web site. He decided to test offering them an ecourse, an email-only class in marketing.

The course was five weeks long. Each week Vitale emailed out an assignment, and then students emailed back their homework. Vitale figured that this kind of personal attention from a 'copywriting guru' was worth real cash, so he set the class price at $1,500 per student.

He emailed his list a plain-text letter to sell tickets. The letter was about two pages long, and included benefit-laden details on each week's classes. For example: "Week Three: How to write ads (online or off) that create sales! This will reveal the long-lost Kenneth Goode persuasion method, and my own refinement to the process of how to create ads that get results. I'll also reveal an advertising formula not known to many people AND I'll reveal the 16 desires that motivate people. (The latter is priceless!)"

In order to boost response the letter let readers think they could get a special deal. It gave the official price of the ecourse as $1,900, but readers could save $400 by signing up within 15 days. To establish urgency, Vitale limited the number of students allowed in each class to just 15.

Letter recipients could reply via email to reserve their space, but needed to prepay by check or credit card to attend.



RESULTS

Over the course of five months, Vitale made $68,000 from his ecourses. His first ecourse, 'Spiritual Marketing' (based on his book of the same name) sold out with 15 paid students at $1,500 each.

He was happy enough with these results that he expanded his reach, planting an announcement in a friend's email list of 20,000 for his next course, 'Advanced Hypnotic Writing' (based on his 'Hypnotic Writing' ebook.) Vitale sold a total of 20 tickets to his list and his friend's at another $1,500 a pop.

Next Vitale decided to test pricing limits by marketing an ecourse entitled, 'Guaranteed Outcome Marketing' for $2,500 a ticket. He only mailed the announcement to his own 800-name list. Five people signed up.

He plans to offer more starting in September; and says, "Anyone can do this. If they have an email list and something people want to know, they can create a virtual class too."

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