Creator Stories:

Launch a 6-figure online course in one year: Learn how marketing queen Barb McGrath did it.

Barb McGrath is a Canadian entrepreneur, businesswoman, and loving mother of two who helps other business owners grow their online visibility and increase their sales through online marketing and SEO.

After opening her own marketing agency, she then decided to start an online course with Heights Platform. Today her course GetFound generates a 6-figure income and represents the main revenue stream for her family.

"In my first year with Heights Platform, I achieved my goal to earn 6 figures from my course, and I’ve been able to attract students from around the world.”


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Barb McGrath Heights Platform creator digital marketing and SEO
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Barb's Story

Coming from a small community in Canada, Barb grew up in a very traditional environment. Her family’s expectations for her future were clear: attending a good university and then starting a corporate career.

And that’s exactly what she did.

“I always envisioned a corporate job, pencil skirts, high heels so I followed that path for a number of years. I had executive jobs in private corporations and I liked it, it was good, I had a good paycheck. But it wasn't everything.”

After climbing the corporate ladder for many years, Barb decided that she wanted more from her life.

When her husband had the opportunity to switch jobs and move to a different city, it seemed like the perfect chance for Barb to start her new life as an entrepreneur.

“And so I left a very well paying job, and decided to start my own business”

This is when she decided to open her own marketing agency, which later transformed into the online course of today.

“I started off in a traditional environment, with a corporate job and a career, and ended up in a totally different place I had never envisioned. But the quality of life that has come with it, totally worth it. Totally worth it.”

The marketing agency - called ‘Above the Fold’ - is now linked with her Heights Platform online courses at GetFound.

From mini-course to a 6-figure business

When Barb started her course, her main focus was still on the marketing agency, where she was offering in-person consultation to a small group of local business owners.

The idea of starting an online course came as a solution for a problem: the in-person classes were time-consuming and repetitive, and she could only reach a small number of people at a time.

So she started putting together a mini-course, and the results from this were immediately tangible! Barb and her clients would save time and money, as the classes were hosted online and could reach a much larger audience.

Happy with the success of this small beta-course, Barb wanted to do more. She wanted to grow her online classes and invest in building a more comprehensive online program. However, the marketing agency was already very busy, and there wasn’t simply enough time or resources to invest in the project.

Until Covid-19 hit, she kept delivering the mini-course and focusing most of her energies on working at the agency.

Once the lockdown started and her job shifted online, it provided the time needed for Barb to realize her dream of a more complete, longer online course.

Barb McGrath online course creator Heights Platform

“When COVID hit, that was the impetus to take this mini-course, turn it into a full-blown 60-hours course, and run with it. And so that's what we ended up doing, and obviously had good success with it.”

Barb turned this sideline project into her main source of income.

Barb McGrath online course creator story

"In my first year with Heights Platform, I achieved my goal to earn 6 figures from my online course."

An Easy Transition

A common misconception about online courses is that you need to be an expert in technology and everything that comes with it.

With Heights Platform, it is extremely easy to set up a professional online program, with its own lessons, modules, courses, and landing pages all built for you.

The only thing that you need to do is create content and possibly purchase a few inexpensive pieces of equipment for your video recordings.

Since Barb started her online course during the Covid-19 pandemic, the challenging part was to find the right equipment to deliver quality content.

“Because we were in a lockdown, my biggest challenge was around tech. And thank God for you guys for your help! Because otherwise I would have been lost. I had this dinky little webcam and even though I knew how to use technology when it comes to a digital course, you need to be performing at a much higher level.”

While we are flattered by Barb’s nice words about Heights' support team, she does make a good point about the importance of choosing the right equipment.

If you - like Barb - are feeling that technology is creating about as many problems as it is solving, or have any questions about online courses, our support team is ready to help you.

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For our recommendations on recording equipment for online course creators, check out this article from our blog: How to Get Great Lighting and Audio for Your Online Courses

The benefits of online courses

Barb’s story is a great example that shows us the different benefits of online courses versus in-person teaching.

By moving her program online, she is now able to reach a higher number of students and grow her program internationally.

“Being able to be online, lets me serve a much broader audience than I would have been able to if we were still in person.”

As most of the lessons in an online course are already recorded, Barb can better utilize her time to produce more content and improve her program, instead of just always repeating the same information in every class.

So from a financial perspective, GetFound was certainly a success. But how about student engagement? How did she manage to keep her students interested even online?

Together with the online course, she runs live online sessions with her students. The live sessions are great as she can directly interact with her clients, answer questions and assist them in their learning process.

The live sessions also represent a way for her students to engage with each other and build a sense of community.

“With the live sessions there's a kind of banter that happens, there's joking, students are engaging with the chat. And so people really start enjoying the lessons and having fun.”

Heights Platform digital marketing creator Barb McGrath

Having regular live sessions is a fantastic way to make sure your students engage with the content and get the most out of your course. But it’s not the only way.

If you want to learn more about how you can increase the completion rate of your online course and create engagement, don’t miss this article from our blog: Proven Ways to Increase Student Engagement and Completion Rate in your Online Course.

Another way Barb creates engagement among her students is with Heights’ Discussions feature. The Discussion Forum or Board is a feature within Heights Platform where students can interact with each other and with the creator by writing messages, asking questions, and posting comments.

A discussion forum is a fantastic way to incentivize students to actively participate in the online course and benefit from it while increasing engagement and completion rate.

The interaction that happens in the discussion forum helps creators like Barb to build a community of like-minded people who share the same interests. In Barb’s case, her discussion board is particularly successful, with thousands of assignment answers, positive comments, and feedback posted daily by her students.

The picture below shows a snapshot from one of Barb’s discussion boards:

Heights Platform member discussion board software example

As you can see, Barb’s board is filled with comments by students who joined her course and introduced themselves. By witnessing all the positive feedback and interactions, new students who visit the discussion board will be highly motivated to start learning and profit from the online course.

Earning Six Figures Without Paid Ads

How did Barb manage to reach over six figures in revenue in her first year of launching the online course?

Of course, she built valuable content for her students.

lesson view from online course creation software for a successful digital marketing course

However, content alone doesn’t necessarily mean that people will buy your course. For that, you need a strong marketing strategy in place.

Being a marketing expert herself, Barb managed to organically nurture an audience of local business owners, without investing money in paid advertising. Let’s see how.

First of all, she tapped into her existing audience: the people who signed up for her in-person classes and clients of the marketing agency.

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This group of people is what in marketing you would call a “hot audience”, where prospects are highly likely to purchase your product as they have previously engaged with you or your service. Retargeting this type of audience, as Barb did, is an excellent strategy to gain a few “fast” sales for the launch of your course.

However, this is a limited audience, and in order for Barb to scale her business, she had to approach new potential customers in a different way.

Since her target market is mainly composed of Canadian local small business owners, she started thinking about where these business owners would hang out and how they were more likely to hear about her course.

That’s when she started creating partnerships with business member organizations, such as the Better Business Bureau, Chamber of Commerce, and professional associations.

In their agreement, these associations would refer members to her online course and Barb would pay them a commission for each new sale received from them. This way, she ensured that her marketing costs would not exceed her earnings, and she created a win-win situation for her business and the organizations.

Barb McGrath online course creator with Heights Platform

“Our cost to promote is lower than the price for people to register and we’ve got good rates with our partners. They made a good profit from it and so did we. So it's been a good partnership, for everyone so far.”

A similar way you could leverage this sort of marketing strategy is by launching an affiliate program for your online course. If you already have a Heights Platform account, you can easily set up your affiliate program, without having to use an external tool.

Other than this, Barb is also leveraging her strong email marketing campaign, offering free incentives and lead magnets to potential customers when they sign up for her newsletter.

Why Barb Loves Heights Platform

When in our interview we asked Barb her favorite thing about Heights Platform, she did not hesitate:

“The responsiveness! Anytime there's a question in the Facebook group, anytime there's a support question, you guys answer right away. When it's an email, even a real offshoot thing? Again, I get an answer right away.”

At Heights Platform, we pride ourselves on the level of support that we provide our creators, whether it is a question about how to use Heights, or best practices for online course creation in general, we’ve helped thousands of creators around the world launch their online courses and knowledge businesses!

Sara Hall VERIFIED CUSTOMER

"Game changing platform for course creation.

The software is ridiculously easy to use, right out of the box. The dashboard is well designed and incredibly simple to navigate. You can switch into different views to experience the course as a student too, which really helps as you build your lesson plan.

The course looks professional once completed, with the added bonus of being able to customise the look and feel of the course, to match your branding.

You can set up a discussion board too, and create and sell additional resources to compliment your course, and it all works seamlessly to create a sense of community for the students.

The support for the software is second to none, and the team at Heights obviously care about their customers, and work to support your course's success."

Bring your training online.

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Start free for 30 days. No credit card required.