How Bogdan Milanovich got 500 new students from Reddit

reddit_logoWhen instructor Bogdan Milanovich posted on Reddit about his Udemy course, I’m not sure if he was prepared for what happened next.

In under two days, 500 people enrolled in his course. Let’s be clear about one thing: all of these students enrolled in his course for free. However, keep reading to learn how this caused a ripple effect of paid signups. You can keep this in mind as you find various ways to enroll new students into your courses (especially important if you have under 100 students enrolled in your course(s)).

 

PART I: WHY REDDIT WAS A BIG WIN FOR BOGDAN

Although all 500 students enrolled into Bogdan’s course for FREE, this can cause a ripple effect of PAID student signups. Here’s why: 

  1. Courses with more students convert at higher rates than courses with less students. Think about it, if you saw two courses on Knitting for Beginners and “Course A” had 40 students and “Course B” had 500 students, which one would you more likely enroll in? If you have the opportunity to boost your enrollment numbers, you should take it. It will help your conversion rates with other prospective students because it boosts your social proof.
  2. The more students you have enrolled, the more it boosts your credibility. Since Udemy is a marketplace, potential students will size you up alongside comparable courses. They will evaluate your bio, course trailer, and outline along with the number of students and positive reviews.

 

PART II: HOW BOGDAN DID IT

Udemy instructor Jay Mutzafi gained 70+ students for his course when participating in discussions on Reddit (and we have since had many instructors get hundreds of students), and he contributed to the pointers below:

  1. Create a coupon code with “REDDIT” in the title and include it in your post.
  2. Find the right subreddit to post in. Jay tried posting in two areas—the first did not get traction but the second earned him 70+ subscribers. Pay attention to how many subscribers the subreddits have. You can see on the right side how many subscribers each subreddit contains. The more, the better, but targeting niche topics can be more effective at times. Jay posted to a niche subreddit called iPhonography and didn’t get upvotes, but then he posted to a slightly larger one called iPhone which work well. Be sure to experiment, based on your topic.
  3. Contribute to the discussion in a valuable way. Post something with an engaging title, good description, and don’t come off salesy or spammy. Write from a place of adding something valuable to the community. Reddit is divided into subjects, and people subscribe and see the posts of the subreddits (topics) they are interested in. They upvote or downvote posts (which are links, images, text etc.). Downvoted posts disappear quickly and upvoted ones get more visibility. You cannot offer something paid on Reddit because it’s not for commercial purposes. Check the subreddit’s guidelines to be sure you’re being a good citizen. 
  4. SEE ALEX MOZES’ POST HERE. He attracted over 150 new students to enroll in his Microsoft Excel Pivot Tables course in a weekend.
    Screen Shot 2013-04-08 at 5.45.37 PM
  5. SEE JAY’S POST HEREReddit_example_Jaybig
  6. SEE BOGDAN’S REDDIT POST HEREReddit_example_Bogdan

 

Things to keep in mind: Reddit is a thriving online community, so if you break any subreddit guidelines, you will probably receive unfavorable comments on your post. Be respectful, and add value by participating in the community in a positive way.

Here is some of the feedback from the Reddit community in response to Jay’s post (overwhelmingly grateful and positive):

Thanks man! I’m getting an iPhone in 2 weeks, and will be making a lot of videos. Hopefully after following your course they won’t suck. :D”

“Watching now. Very inspirational.”

“Thanks for doing this.”

 

Thank you to Jay Mutzafi and Bogdan Milanovich for allowing us to publish their success story!

Comments

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  2. Phil South says:

    Great post, Danielle, but I should warn anyone who's intending to do this you should be prepared for a bit of flack from certain reddit folks. I posted a note, very similar in wording to the examples, and I got flamed for spamming EVEN THOUGH I WAS OFFERING SOMETHING FOR FREE! I was unprepared for the fact that out there in the wild people are sometimes much more rude and snarky than they would be in person.

    My advice, if anyone posts snarky messages under your post, ignore them. Only speak to the people who play nice. The snarky ones are only doing it to get a rise out of you. Unfortunately with me it worked because I wasn't prepared for it. Too late I realised that I was doing myself a disservice by engaging with internet trolls. Treat them as you would a person on a street corner with a shopping trolley shouting about socialism.

    Just my 2p.

  3. Phil Ebiner says:

    This totally works! I posted my Kinetic Typography course on REDDIT and received over 150 new students in less than a week. Plus, I included an option for them to pay for the course, if they felt like it, and got a few students using this coupon!

    The course I posted on reddit was http://www.udemy.com/kinetictypography/ in case anyone wants to check it out.

    You have to be careful about what you write because reddit is good at not allowing spam, and reddit-readers know how to sift through any spammy content.

  4. Phil South says:

    That's a very good idea, a post purchase coupon, a version of the pay what you think its worth strategy. They already got it so the choice is firmly in their hands. And yeah I fell foul of the spam aware reddit folk, I trod a teeny tiny bit too heavily, but I'll not make the same mistake again.

  5. Kymberli Hemberger says:

    For anyone familiar with reddit, this is decidedly not a way to 'win friends and influence people.' @Phil South, this isn't about 'snarkiness.' Reddit's TOS specifically prohibits posting of "material that constitutes junk mail, spam, advertising, and/or commercial offers." Free, or otherwise. Reddit's not intended for use as a personal forum for promoting your biz — regardless of udemy's email prodding its instructors to do so. Shame on you, udemy.

  6. Brad Hussey says:

    This worked amazing for me! Almost 300 signups within 6-hours!

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  8. Jeremy Shuback says:

    @Kymberli If he was asking to charge, that would be one thing, but he's offering something people want for free. This is him giving to a community that wouldn't otherwise know about his class. If anything, the people being tricked are those on Udemy paying for it down the line, not realizing everyone else got the class for free. I used a very similar strategy with torrents rather than reddit, and those who got the class for free were very appreciative. There are ways to take this advice and do it wrong, but this seems to be a win-win situation. With that said, I have no doubt others will read this article and use the advice for evil.

  9. Kym – you are joking right? Most sub-Reddits consist of SPAM, (although not direct sales calls) etc. Shame on YOU for suggesting that Reddit is something other than it is! Reddit is a SPAM FACTORY and just like Wikipedia – has longtime users who decide who 'can' and who 'can not' spam. An 'elitest' core if you will. If you think this is untrue – I will give just a few sub-reddits that disprove your assertion (internetmarketing, fiverr, marketing, ebook publishing, warrior forum, affiliate marketing) should I go on?

  10. Thanks Phil but I politely disagree. I've used Reddit for years and can say WHAT they allow is largely dependent on WHO is doing it. There is an Elitest core of long-time users who for all intents and purposes can SPAM their sales messages (even using misleading headlines) at will. What you mean is Redditt is good at SLAPPING NEW users with spam penalties.

  11. Great feedback, Phil. Thanks for sharing that here for others to learn. I'm glad you tried the tactic out for yourself. Trolls definitely cannot be avoided or pleased. :)

  12. WOW, Phil! You had some fantastic results. Thanks for trying out the tactic and sharing your experience here. And thanks for commenting, Phil, and Church Baptist for providing some insight into the "elitist core" on Reddit. All perspectives are helpful.

  13. Amazing, Brad! Kudos for trying out the tactic and sharing your results here. That's really encouraging for other instructors—particularly newbies trying to get their courses off the ground.

  14. Jason Martin says:

    We did this for our course https://www.udemy.com/raisemoneyusingdigitalmedia and had great results. We signed up 300 people (we capped it at that) in a little over 24 hours.

    Here is a link to our Reddit post http://www.reddit.com/r/Entrepreneur/comments/1alfhm/hey_all_i_made_a_course_on_raising_money_using/.

    Make sure to post in the proper category and engage the community carefully!

  15. Taryn Hughes says:

    How do you give them the option to pay after, if they like it?
    Someone mentioned that earlier, but now the post has been deleted.

  16. Holy Moly! This works likes gangbusters. I just did the Reddit section and I am in the middle of creating the slickdeals post. I already have 20+ news subscribers in a about 15 minutes. My advice to you is this. Go ahead and do it. This is coming from a marketing clod. Don't talk yourself out of doing it. Oh by the way while you are at it. You should also check out my course for traders of the stock market :-) Revealed : Profitable Principles of successful traders. Let me know your thoughts.

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