Interview with Mr. Frank Kane
…”be open to trying new things, and double down on the things that seem to work”.
Taking this principle for granted he holds 17 issued patents in the fields of distributed computing, data mining, and machine learning.
He founded in 2012 his own successful company named Sundog Software, which focuses mainly on virtual reality, environment technology, and teaching others about big data analysis.
The field of IT, the domain in which he activates, is a current topic.
For this reason, the has offered topics in his Udemy Courses, in which he is ” teaching close to 100,000 people around the world “big data” skills for a living” and which have brought success to him, which “definitely didn’t happen overnight”, and “deliver value”, which brings an addition to his success.
A key role in his online business plays the position and partnerships. And in the marketing of the courses, SEO, audiences and the partnership make the difference to his competition.
My guest for today`s interview Mr. Frank Kane has tested and proofed in his career that “trying something new can change your life”.
1. I would like to request you to share something about you and what’s not yet discussed before?
I got my start in software engineering developing video games, way back in the 1990’s for Sierra Online. I worked on Mac versions of old adventure games like Space Quest, Phantasmagoria, Gabriel Knight, and even Leisure Suit Larry! I’m not overly proud of that last one.
2. How’s your experience working with Udemy and other sites where you were/are selling your courses? (I know that no one can gain success overnight, what looks overnight to people is actually countless sleepless nights bundled with a lot of hardworking.)
It definitely didn’t happen overnight. Udemy actually reached out to me, as they needed more courses on Hadoop on their platform and I had relevant experience from my years working at Amazon. I figured all I had to lose was the time it took to create a course, so why not give it a shot? My first course didn’t really sell very well at first. But I didn’t just give up and move on; instead, I created a free course on the same topic that converted into enough paid students to build momentum on my paid course. Once you reach a certain level of sales and “social proof”, Udemy’s own promotions start to kick in, and that’s when things really take off. And as you create more and more courses, you can market them to all your earlier students which gives them a head start. So it’s like a big flywheel that just keeps getting bigger as you develop new courses. It takes more than just persistence, though – you need to teach topics that are in high demand, and teach them in a way that’s unique and compelling.
3. What is your top 3 customer acquisition channel for your courses?
The marketing Udemy does on my behalf is by far #1. StackSkills and Packt Publishing are pretty close for #2 after that. I’ve also recently started working with O’Reilly Media, so they could certainly work into that list soon! I also do some of my own promotion through YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and my own website – but it’s all a drop in the bucket compared to what the big publishers bring in. Once you’re established, it’s mostly about who you’re partnered with for publication.
4. Does the course promotion on Social Media bring you financial satisfaction?
It’s a very small piece of how students find me. Social Media is more about maintaining relationships with existing students than finding new ones, I think. New students are much more likely to discover you through brands that are already established, like Udemy.
5. What are the key factors in optimizing the Udemy and Youtube Channel for generating more profit?
It’s mostly an SEO play. I upload a few free sample videos from my courses on particularly hot topics to YouTube, and link to a paid version of the course from the video description. I don’t think a significant number of people convert that way, but it’s more about giving a boost to the course’s page with more inbound links. On Udemy itself, you need to think carefully about the search terms students will use while looking for your course, and make sure those words are in your course title and description. Most of my sales come through Udemy organic search. You really need to make search work for you.
6. Any suggestions you would like to pass to the newbies in this field?
I think the most important thing is choosing the right topic. Think about what your audience is willing to pay to learn – that may be slightly different than what you want to teach. Design your course with the goal of getting people into a new or better career. Your students are taking a risk by purchasing your course, and you need to be promising a chance of them getting a much bigger return on that purchase. Being passionate about what you teach is important, but it’s not enough on its own – you need to deliver value.
7. Any Interesting Experience from your Online Business Journey you would like to share with the audience?
I think the big takeaway is to always be open to trying new things, and double down on the things that seem to work. Two years ago I never would have guessed I’d be teaching close to 100,000 people around the world “big data” skills for a living. But I gave it a shot, and once it started growing, I gave it even more effort. Now I’ve formed a real company around it, and I’m building an educational brand of my own. None of this was planned! Sometimes trying something new can change your life.