Well-planned teleseminars can be sources for multiple streams of income
This tutorial – How to Create Income Teaching Teleclasses – covers the important basics about conducting teleclasses (also called teleseminars or teleconferences)… plus ways you can earn ongoing passive income using teleclasses as a teaching tool.
So, what is a teleclass? A teleclass is, essentially, a seminar or educational class that’s delivered over a shared telephone conference line to a group of people who are interested in the topic.
The “tele” here is related to the telephone and not to something you’d see on a television or computer screen. Low-tech and easy, in other words.
You don’t need to be a professional speaker or teacher to conduct a teleclass, either. However, you do need to have some expertise in the topic you’ll be presenting. People attend teleclasses to learn something new, as a general rule.
Why People Attend Teleclasses
Teleseminars are easy.
People attend teleclasses because it’s really easy to do. Your audience can relax at home (or office) and listen on the phone.
1. As a participant in a teleclass, all you need is a clear phone line – and if your long distance is bundled with your regular phone service, like mine is – listeners don’t even have to pay long distance charges to call the conference line.
2. Participants on the teleclass can listen anywhere in the world that has phone service – you can join in wearing your jammies, if you want. Who’ll know?
3. Most teleclasses are reasonably priced or free, since the overhead is so low. With teleclasses, you typically get a pretty good bang for your buck.
4. People listen to teleclasses because they are searching for a solution to some problem they have… or they think you may have an answer that will make life easier for them in some way.
5. And because there are no visual distractions, you can receive concentrated information in a very short time on a teleclass. Teleclasses are a very efficient method for sharing information.
Six Great Reasons for Teaching Teleclasses
Why would a business owner, who doesn’t regard himself or herself as a teacher want to hold teleclasses?
Well, there are many reasons for giving teleclasses. Here are half a dozen just for starters.
- First and foremost, teleclasses can be a source of income for business owners – and for teachers.
- Teleclasses can be recorded and the recording can be sold as a separate product on your website. Also, for people living in different time zones… or for those with schedule conflicts, the recordings mean they can still get your teleclass content. You can send an audio link to everyone who registers for your teleclasses for just that reason. Of course, for paid classes, this is automatically expected nowadays.
- You can teach a teleclass from anywhere in the world that has phone service, even when you’re traveling. So teleclasses are easy from a technical standpoint. You dial a phone number… and you’re on.
- You can use free teleclasses in a number of ways. You can point people to your newsletter sign up page, you can inform people of other products and services that you offer, you can demonstrate your expertise to make people comfortable hiring your other services, and you can generate buzz for yourself. Alexandria Brown, the former Ezine Queen, got over 6,000 signups for her final free teleclass on email marketing. The buzz around the event became more important than the event itself in many ways. And it gave her a huge jumping-off place to launch her new business ventures.
- Then again, some people are better speakers than writers, so a teleclass relieves the pressure of having to create written products.
- You can also use teleclasses to build customer loyalty, especially if you’re giving people information they really want and need.
If you’re considering planning a teleseminar program to market your business, I recommend you start here.
If you don’t have a Kindle, this e-book can be downloaded to your PC or smartphone.
Three Different Teleclass Formats
Lecture, Interview and Classroom Styles
Depending on your audience and the type of material you want to cover, there are 3 basic formats for teleseminars.
The first is the lecture style format. The communication here is one-way: the teacher speaks and the audience listens. The lecture format works best for large groups and when there is a lot of content to teach.
A second style is the interview format, where one person interviews another. You can interview guest experts, who will actually provide the main content of your call and then you either share revenues from the teleclass with them… or allow them to promote their own business on your conference call in exchange for their time and expertise. The interview format lends itself well to a “guest expert series” of teleclasses around different topics and it’s worth considering if you want to make money with teleclasses. Sharing a call with a guest expert relieves you of having to prepare all of the teleclass content. The workload is shared, in other words.
The third type of teleclass is the participatory or classroom approach. This works best with smaller groups, where you want a high degree of interaction. You can do question and answer sessions, round table discussions, masterminding – just about anything you’d do in a small in-person group, other than physically touching one another.
Many coaches use the classroom method for group coaching combined with instruction and it’s also a good format for book discussion groups where you want lots of audience participation. Book discussions are usually handled as a 6 or 8 week teleclass series, to cover the important highlights of whatever book you’re looking at.
One Teleclass… or A Series?
Another option you want to consider is whether to hold individual teleclasses or a teleseminar series.
Individual classes conducted periodically can be used as introductory door-openers – especially if they are free. You give people information they can use – and then in exchange for this gift of information, you let them know about your other paid activities they might be interested in.
Or you request that they sign up for your newsletter.
Some people use individual teleclasses to generate interest in an upcoming event. The Ezine Queen, whom I mentioned earlier, wanted to emphasize that she was going out of the email marketing business so she wanted to make a big splash offering her final free email marketing teleclass. When she garnered 3,000, 4,000, 5,000 and then 6,000 registrations for this final class, she became known to all kinds of people who had never even heard of the Ezine Queen before. She had a good launch platform for her new business, in other words. And up to 6,000 new names for her mailing list.
You’d design a teleclass series if you need to go into a topic in more depth. Series usually come with a price tag as well. The rule of thumb is – you can charge a higher fee for your series if you hold participation down to under 12 people – so everyone can get hands-on attention from you. Over 12, then you’ll have to have less one-on-one assistance and would likely charge less.
Ways to Create Info-Products From Your Teleseminars
Multiple Passive Income Ideas from One Single Teleclass
Your teleclass – whether you charge a fee for it or not – is automatically a new product for you. Your teleclasses themselves are items you can advertise on your website or blog and if you have multiple teleclass listings, it gives the impression that you’re a person of substance – almost like a book would do.
And even your free teleclasses can be turned into a second product – a product you can charge a fee for. Obviously, your paid teleclass audios can be sold for a fee. But your free teleclasses – if they contain valuable information – can also be sold after the fact as downloadable MP3 audios.
And what’s more… if you wrote out an extensive outline for your teleclass, you could flesh that out into a PDF e-report that you can sell for a fee.
Or you could hire a professional transcriptionist to transcribe your entire teleclass onto a Word document, which you can convert to a PDF file and sell that on your website for a fee. By the way, if you don’t own the full Adobe Acrobat program to make your PDF documents, you can use the free online service at pdf995.com. Or… for $7.50 a month, you can subscribe to Adobe’s PDF Pack service athttp://createpdf.adobe.com and convert unlimited files of just about any type to PDF. The reason for using services such as these, rather than converting directly from Word is that you can set security options that prevent people from copying your reports.
So to recap, you have a 1-hour teleclass that you can turn into (1) a 1-hour audio, (2) a multi-page e-report and (3) a multi-page transcript of the audio. I have seen teleclass teachers sell all 4 items separately and I’ve seen them bundle the audio with the e-report, which is what I do… or the audio with the transcript, which I have purchased from others when I couldn’t attend a class in person.
Teleclasses can be golden ground if you have information people want and need. And because the technology is so easy to use and so inexpensive to operate, it just makes sense to consider adding teleclasses to your product line.
How to Price Your Teleclasses
Free… or Fee?
Now this leads us into the murky waters of pricing your teleclasses. There are no hard and fast rules for this.
People tend not to pay $40 or even $30 for a one-hour teleclass… but they might pay that amount for a two-hour class. On the other hand, 2 hours is a long time for people to hold a phone to their ear – so you’re probably better off going for a 2 or 3 part series of one-hour classes instead.
My experience is that many individual teleclasses come with a $25 price tag. For example, SpeakerNetNews.com offers high quality information for a professional speaker audience at $25 for a one-hour class. They record these classes and then sell the downloadable audio for $15… or the CD delivered to you for $25. Mind you, they are offering information that’s in demand by their target audience.
The main thing is to keep your teleclasses in a price range appropriate for your audience – but also appropriate for your content. If you’re teaching something that a lot of other people teach as well, take a look at PlanetTeleclass.com to see what people are charging for topics similar to yours. This will give you a reality check on how much you can reasonably charge.
On the other hand, if you have knowledge that a segment of people desperately need so they can solve a problem – and they can’t find this information anywhere else – you can charge significantly more than $25 a class.
But to do this, you’ll need to be seen as an expert for this type of information. If you haven’t established your credentials yet, people just won’t believe you can solve their problem and they won’t sign up if there’s a huge fee. You might know you have the answers they want, but they need to know it, too.
So that’s why free introductory classes are so useful. You can give a solid taste of what you know, and this, in turn, gives people a better incentive to register for your paid classes.
Choosing a Phone Bridge Service and Collecting Payments for Your Teleseminars
And this leads us into the topic of how to collect payments for your teleclasses. Teleclass fees are typically collected online as part of the registration process.
If you have a shopping cart program, such as 1ShoppingCart.com, you just include your teleclass as if it’s another product… and sell it through your shopping cart. Most shopping cart systems allow you to lead people to a download page after their credit card purchase goes through. On this page, you can give them the telephone bridge number and passcode. Another option is to use the autoresponder service that comes with your shopping cart to email them the information automatically, as soon as their payment is processed.
If you don’t have a credit card merchant account and shopping cart, you can simply use Paypal. It doesn’t cost to join and they take out a small fee to process the payments, same as any bank does. The payments can be made through a personal Paypal account or any of the major credit cards. Paypal emails you a notice when the teleclass payment is received and this notice includes the payer’s email address… and then you can just send an email to your new students, giving them the teleclass information. This method may be a little too cumbersome for very large teleclass groups, but it’s a great method when you’re starting out.
If you want to pay someone else to handle the registrations for you, Telephonebridgeservices.com can handle this for you.
If you don’t use Telephone Bridge Services’ bridge lines, you’ll need to find a reliable telephone conference call service. If you don’t have a one you’re already using, there are many such services and most offer free bridge lines for your teleclasses. I use a company called freeconferencepro.com, whose conference rooms can hold up to 200 people. They offer free class recordings and they will also store all your previous recordings for you. Most conference services only let you have 1 active recording at a time, so I like the fact that FreeConferencePro doesn’t make you erase your last recording to make a new one.
I have also used freeconference.com in the past and since I last used them, they have added a recording service for a nominal monthly fee. Their rooms hold up to 150 participants. Freeconferencecall.com is another service that offers free recording of your classes and their rooms hold up to 96 spaces for participants.
Regardless of the service you choose, you’ll want to avail yourself of the audio recording feature. Another recording option is Audio Acrobat at audioacrobat.com. This service uses your own telephone line rather than the computer control panel of the conference service. Audio Acrobat carries a monthly fee of around $20, but with this program, you have the option of editing your audios after the fact. Also, for audios you are planning to charge money for – I believe the sound quality is better with Audio Acrobat than with some of the free services.
Paypal works well for teleclass registrations and payments
I used Paypal to handle my credit card payment for registration fees.
A PayPal merchant account allows you to accept credit card payments for your teleclasses. You get an email address for each person who registers, so all you need to do is send emails with your conference bridge number and passcode. No startup fees.
Timing, Chiming and Muting
There are a few tried and tested protocols for conducting a successful teleclass and, I must tell you that I don’t always follow a couple of them because I usually try to put too much information into a 1-hour class.
But generally, you want to follow these tips as much as you can.
(1) Before the teleclass, in your pre-class emails, you’ll want to announce the date and time of the call as well as the conference phone number and passcode. You could also give participants a brief outline of what will be covered during the class.
(2) You could request that people disable their telephone’s call waiting before they call in to your teleclass so folks don’t hear the beep-beep sound in the middle of the class. And recommend that participants use a land line phone rather than a digital VOIP phone, unless your bridge service specifically offers voice over internet protocol service. Speaker phones are discouraged, too, because of the static they can cause – which everyone on the call will hear. Cell phones can be a little iffy, too. Muting can sometimes take care of cell phone static, but speaker phones affect the whole bridge line for some reason.
(3) When you start your class – at the beginning allow 5 or 10 minutes to welcome people into the call, before you start official proceedings. If you begin your content too early, you’ll be interrupted while people chime in and get settled. And they’ll miss the first part of the class.
(4) Also… during the first 10 minutes, there are a few other items you can address. You can give participants a few more protocols – such as, “Please state your name before you comment or ask a question.”
(5) You’ll want to let people know how to mute, if they have a lot of background noise that others will be able to hear… *6 on the conference service I use, but each one will have their own method.
(6) Also… tell your students what they can expect to learn during class – you could even outline the class so they know what’s coming.
(7) Another good idea is to give participants a little information about yourself – a brief bio, in other words. Depending on how far and wide you marketed your teleclass, there will be many participants who aren’t familiar with you and your work.
That’s the first 5 or 10 minutes.
(8) The next 35 to 40 minutes is the body of your class, and that’s where you will present your main content, using either the lecture format, the interview format or the classroom format.
(9) By the way, if you use meditations in your teleclass, you’ll want to learn how to turn off the chimes that announce when people join or leave your teleclass. Your conference call instructions will also tell you how to mute the entire call, in case someone has a coughing fit and forgot to mute themselves. A mute of everyone except the moderator means that the other participants can’t hear the coughing and it also won’t ruin your audio recording. Just remember to unmute later.
(10) Starting 10 or 15 minutes before the end of the hour, you’ll want to begin winding down. You can summarize and recap the class… or give homework assignments if you’re teaching a series of classes. You can also advertise future events at this time. If you have time, you can ask for feedback on the class. This is also when you can have your question and answer session, if that’s part of your class structure.
As you can see, the timing is rather important to make sure you cover everything you need to… and don’t run overtime. Many people schedule teleclasses into their appointment and meeting schedule, so if you run over, they could miss the last part of the class.
Encouraging Audience Participation
Tips for conducting a lively, interesting teleclass
I’d like to mention a few things about audience participation. If your teleclass includes a lot of interaction, rather than lecture, here are a few tips to encourage your students to speak up.
Write down people’s names as they chime in to the call and use their names frequently during the class. In a smaller group teleclass, try to connect with each person at least briefly and thank them by name when they share.
To encourage students to speak up, you can say something like, “I’d like to hear from 2 or 3 people on this.” If people are slow to respond, you can call on one or two by name, because you took those names down at the opening of the call.
Another way to foster discussion during the call is to send out a pre-class assignment that will be discussed during the teleclass. Some people are more comfortable speaking up when they feel more prepared on the subject.
Here are a few other things you could say to encourage participation: “Who’d like to begin?” or “Next,” or “Who would like to recap or expand on that?” If your timing allows for it, you can also ask if anyone has questions before moving on to the next section.
And to make sure people are staying with you – and paying attention – instead of reading their email or something – ask them to write things down. For example, in one of my teleclasses, I asked people to write 4 headings a few spaces below each other on a piece of paper. They received the fill-in-the-blanks information during the meditation that followed.
Marketing Tips for Promoting Your Teleclasses
Get creative about letting people know about your new classes
Okay, now we’re down to the nitty-gritty. We’ve got our teleclass prepared – but where do we advertise it so people will sign up?
Well, the obvious places are – on your website or blog… and in your newsletter.
Networking on sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Powerful Intentions are worth doing, especially if your class solves a problem for the people who frequent these networks. I would choose just one or two networking sites where you can build a large following of people who are interested in your message.
If your teleclass signup page includes useful information along with the registration form, it could be worthwhile to bookmark the page on the three major social bookmarking websites Digg, Delicious and Stumbleupon.
If you’re on Twitter, you’ll have noticed that people promote teleclasses there ALL the time. If you’re not up to speed on Twitter, it’s a micro-blogging site where you can post “What I’m doing now” in 140 characters or less.
And don’t forget to post your classes to Pinterest. If you have followers interested in your topic, this could be an excellent resource for you.
You’ll want to try some offline advertising also. For example, I advertise my teleclasses in a local wellness magazine in a little twelfth page print ad each month. I also list my classes in their Calendar of Events, alongside the local in-person classes and workshops.
If you use a business card service such as Vista Print, you can quite easily add your teleclass listings on the back of your business cards. This works if you’re out and about quite a bit, meeting new people who might be candidates for your classes.
If you have a mailing list of clients, pop a postcard in the mail to them, with details about your teleclass.
Articles are another marketing tool for your teleclasses. You can submit timely articles about your subject both to print publications and online article directories, such as ezinearticles.com. Then include a link to your upcoming teleclass in the author box below your articles.
In one teleclass training call I was on, one of the students told us about putting a short, provocative question on her baseball cap. It was something like “Need to write a resume?” and her website URL. She went to the mall with it on and had something like 40 or 50 people ask her about it. Of course, she happened to have flyers in her purse describing her upcoming teleclass on resume writing.
You’ll want to use at least 5 different methods to market your teleclasses. Just make sure you use methods that are most likely to reach your target audience.
For example, for the 3-part teleclass series “Soul Guidance for Your Business,” my co-teacher and I both included information prominently on our websites. We wrote about our teleclasses in our newsletters. We promoted on Twitter and Facebook and also started a Facebook group centered on soul guidance for your business. We made print ads and posted details on my spirit writers Ning network. That’s seven methods right there.
I’m sure you’ll be able to come up with a half dozen more for your own teleclasses.