Image credits: B Rosen

“Don’t launch your course to crickets.” – Anonymous.

Makes sense, no?

It is a painful experience when you put blood, sweat, and tears in creating an online course, and when it’s launched…no-one just seems to care.

And hence the advise that we hear is – “You need to build an audience for your course.”

And so, you embark on this journey of ‘building an audience’.

The thrill of creating an Instagram account

You feel an instant rush of dopamine when you start a new channel for your marketing initiatives. You feel like you are making progress.

Image credits: B Rosen

But then, after 23 Instagram posts, reality hits.

You realize that –

  1. Instagram marketing is not as exciting as it sounds
  2. You are not getting any tangible results from Instagram whatsoever. The course is still not selling.

This approach of doing more then forces the online Course Creators to focus on all the Marketing channels. 

“Should I start a YouTube channel?”

“Should I start a podcast maybe?”

“What about Tik Tok by the way? That seems like the next best thing, no?”

The quest of building an audience is slowly becoming messy.

We live in an age where we hear the words ‘Hustle’ and ‘Noise’. When we start following the people who are succeeding in “content marketing”, we tend to think that we need to do everything on the Content Marketing menu to achieve success.

The online world can create an illusion though.

Once we decide to look deeper, beyond this illusion, we see that in reality… there is nothing substantial there. We hear of YouTubers who have a hundred thousand subscribers but still can’t make money.

The number of likes no longer translates into business success.

Building a fake, superficial audience is easy. Spending a few dollars on Facebook will get you a few hundred likes. The same is the case with Linkedin and Twitter.

But that audience is a superficial one. It doesn’t trust you.

And more importantly, they won’t buy from you.

The overwhelm of Marketing is real.

An online course Creator is overwhelmed.

Sure, the online world made it very easy for Course Creators to start creating their own courses. After all, anyone with the expertise could use a webcam, a decent mic and put together a course and then charge people for it.

But you know what happens when a thing becomes too easy, right?


Everyone starts making that thing.

And that is what happened.

And hence, there is noise. A lot of noise.

Building an audience for this online course became very hard.

The Marketer who focuses on doing more is stressed.

There is so much left to do and so little time. If the budgets are limited, then the number of channels that we use for Marketing is also limited.

It seems that the only way that we Marketers know how to cut through the noise is by being louder. We feel that in order to break through this noise, we need to shout more. We feel the pressure of engaging in more gimmicks.

This is a screenshot that I saw in one of the groups – 

The story of Buddha and Mara

There is a story about Buddha and Mara which is really apt here. 

This story is purely mythological. But it has a good takeaway. 

The beauty of stories is that you don’t really need to believe it in order to learn from it.

It is said that when Gautam Buddha was just inches away from his enlightenment, a demon named Mara decided to distract him. Mara used different ‘weapons’ to distract the Buddha from his meditation and to keep him away from Enlightenment. He used violence, sensory pleasure (like lust) and mockery to distract the Buddha.

But the mind of the Buddha was not moved. Amidst all this chaos, the Buddha was unmoved and focussed on the one thing that he wanted.

The same Mara comes to distract us when we are Marketing an online course that we created with so much care. The same Mara comes to distract us and we fall prey to Mara.

And we listen to this Mara. We get impatient. We start becoming noisy. We succumb to fear and engage in half-cooked tactics.

What are the most successful Marketers doing?

It seems to me that the Marketers that I look upto – Seth Godin, Bernadette Jiwa, Andre Chaperon – are doing the exact opposite. They have conquered their Mara. They do not focus on being noisy.

Do you want to learn to play the guitar or do you want to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star?

There are broadly 2 types of guitar teachers that I have come across.

One type of teacher directly asks the students to play a song, very early in their journey. They believe in making students happy right at the start. On the second day itself, I see a few students playing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

And then there are other types of teachers. They do not want to play this game.

They want to focus on building a strong base… a rock-solid foundation. They want their students to focus on doing the hard part first. These teachers understand the value of having a “Strategy”… a plan.

Without a foundation, playing a song is a pretty superficial way of learning the guitar.

Also, Without a foundation, your Instagram post is just meaningless.

It is just a Mara trap.

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