When we first decided to create a course about Facebook Advertising we knew we wanted to release it for free.
Our industry is riddled with gurus who claim secret knowledge and tactics that are "guaranteed" to generate millions overnight. The truth is, many of the gurus are parroting each other's material or worse, have zero experience running Facebook ads for themselves.
Now that's not the case with everyone promoting a course or a mastermind. We owe a debt of gratitude to people like Jon Loomer, who have diligently honed their craft over many years and deliver tons of value for free.
Releasing our course for free felt like a nice way to undercut sketchy, bad actors while providing some massive value to our audience at a higher level of scale.
So we decided to have some fun with our campaign once the course was ready:
And thus #ScrewTheGuru was born.
Besides sticking it to gurus, we wanted this free course to generate leads for our core business: actively managing campaigns for eCommerce, lead generation or user acquisition clients.
We set everything up on the Teachable platform and granted students access if they filled out a short form. Those leads then posted to our HubSpot CRM and were enrolled in a simple nurture/workflow.
Within a matter of weeks we had enrolled over 1,000 students, with a fair amount of them requesting proposals.
But Where's the Hustle?
We were excited about the new influx of leads, and over the moon about the leads that were converting to sales.
But there was also a disturbing trend.
A non-trivial amount of these users were giving up on the course (and homework) after completing a module or two.
We knew the content was top-notch, because it came out of our daily experience launching and scaling campaigns for clients. Further, those who did keep on going with the material were reporting fantastic results...
13.4x ROAS. Not too shabby!
So if the content was good, why weren't more people digging in?
This is most likely due to the fact that by making the course free, we took away any financial stakes, and with it, the motivation to execute on next steps.
We knew we didn't want to invest further resources into improving engagement and accountability.
So Now What?
We weren't exactly sure what to do with these learnings.
Here's what we knew:
There is a hunger for this content
The content was impactful for those who put it into action
It was generating leads that led to sales
We put a lot of work into the course and didn't just want to sunset the content. But at the same time, this method of delivery just wasn't having the impact that we wanted it to have on our business.
Don't hate, un-gate
We decided the best way to leverage the course content is to completely un-gate each video module.
By un-gate, we're referring to taking the content from behind the "closed doors" of the teachable platform and bring everything out into the open.
Here are the expected outcomes of the experiment:
Generate more targeted organic traffic with high-quality, long-form content
Allow for users to pick and choose what's most helpful to them in the moment (no forced sequences)
More personalized marketing/lead generation efforts based on which content a user consumes (thanks to hosting on HubSpot)
Here's the plan of action
Here's a look into our internal planning. This might be helpful if you're also sitting on a course or similar content.