Ok, let’s say you’ve nailed down your passive income product topic. (woohoo!) You know what you want to teach, you know who you want to teach it to, and you’ve decided on your epic results. Now the question is – would it work better and be more profitable as an ebook or as an e-course?
They both seem like great time investments and profitable options, so I’ve broken down the pros and cons to (hopefully!) help you decide . . .
Great starter product
If this is your first product, ebooks are a great way to introduce people to your brand. It’s a little less intimidating because there are fewer moving parts than an e-course and your audience can work through the content more quickly instead of waiting on weekly lessons.
Lower price point
Ebooks generally have a more accessible price point. This means you’ll likely make more sales and build your audience more quickly than with an e-course that costs hundreds of dollars.
Ability to sell on Amazon + reach a larger audience
If you launch an ebook, you also have the option to publish it on Amazon/Kindle. This is super helpful if you want to grow your sales and reach people you wouldn’t connect with through the normal blogging and social media channels. Also, having an actual printed book…kinda badass.
Use it to build your list
Because you’ll likely sell more copies of an ebook than spots in an e-course, it’s a great way to grow your email list. Choose an e-commerce platform that connects with your email provider and either add customers into a new list or into a group within your main list (this is what I do for my ebooks).
Turn it into a course
Since you’re creating one piece of content and likely not doing multiple launches or tending to an online community, ebooks are generally more passive than e-courses.
You’ll earn less
Since the price point on an ebook will likely be lower, your monthly earnings will be lower, as well, even if you sell a lot more. For example: I might sell 100 ebooks in a month, but at $25 that’s less revenue than 30 spots in a $197 e-course. ($2500 vs $5910)
More time to create
While you could write a quickie ebook, you’ll likely be aiming for 40k or 50k words, which can take a LONG time. Each of my e-course lessons are generally around 2k words, which comes out to 16k words for the entire course. This means lots more hours spent writing if you’re looking to produce a book.
Need some design skills
While you don’t need a ton of tech skills to create an ebook, you will need some design skills. This means designing an ebook cover, creating a page template for the interior, and learning Photoshop, InDesign, Pages, or Canva.
Must hire an editor
If you write that 40k word ebook, you MUST hire an editor. There is no possible way that your friend, mom, boyfriend, or just you is going to get through your entire book without missing a typo. Hiring someone ensures they will take the time and meticulously go through your copy not only for misspelled words but also grammar mistakes and content that just doesn’t make sense.
Higher price points
Because you’ll be launching a course that spans weeks or months and because you’ll likely add on worksheets, coaching calls, or an online community and because you can guarantee a larger result, you can charge more for an e-course than you would for an ebook.
Multiple price points
When you have a higher-priced product, you also have the option to add multiple price tiers. For example, students could purchase just the course OR the course + a set of coaching calls OR the course + coaching calls + an online community. This allows more people to jump in to your product and (extra awesome) most of those people will level up to the next tier once they see how much they’re learning.
More customer interaction
Adding a community to your course is not only great for helping people work through your content but also helping them get to know YOU. People who love your content and hanging out with you will very likely be first in line for your next product.
Connecting with your customer over a period of time
In addition to connecting within a community, an e-course allows you to pop into your customers’ lives over a longer period of time. An ebook gets read once or twice, but with an e-course you’re working together for weeks which helps cement you as the go-to person for their next step.
Because you’ll be working for a longer period of time and because you’re able to work directly with your students, you’ll be able to bring them bigger results. Bigger results bring in more students (because people love to share what works) and allows you to boost the price.
More time invested after the launch
E-courses can be super passive (launch once and let people join when they want), but e-courses that include lots of feedback, coaching, or teaching on your part are generally more profitable.
Launching a few times each year instead of running an evergreen course can be more profitable as well. You can, of course, set up a killer sales funnel and sell the heck out of an evergreen course, but limited launches do tend to get people to throw down cash more quickly than a course that’s always open.
More tech set-up
Since most e-courses are run either through a membership site or are sent via email on a weekly basis, you’ll have more to set up. You may also be adding in video or digital downloads instead of simply uploading your product into your e-commerce platform. (If you’re still figuring out that part, I’ve got another list of e-commerce pros and cons over here.)
More tech support emails
More tech set-up means more questions from customers. Any time there are multiple steps, log-ins, types of content, you’ll receive more emails from people asking for assistance.
More types of content
An e-course can take less time to create than an ebook, but it also has the ability to take waaaay more time. This can happen if you shoot videos for all your lessons, if you’re creating tutorials, recording bonus audio/video interviews, or designing a million and a half worksheets. Though adding in more valuable stuff means you can increase the price!
The last thing I want to mention is that you can really do things however you want. You can price your ebook higher if it’s worth that much, you can add on a community to add value, or make your e-course short and simple. So if you reaaaally want to do an ebook over an e-course or vice-versa, there are ways to work around those cons :)
So what do you think – ebook or e-course??
P.S. If you want more help figuring out all this info-product stuff (aka lessons + worksheets + some serious strategy) plus access to ME and a bunch of other peeps building and launching their products too, check out Create. Profit. Party! LIVE…might be just what you’re looking for!