eLearning Startups: 7 Ultimate Tips For Flying Solo (2018 Update)

eLearning Startups: 7 Ultimate Tips For Flying Solo (2018 Update)
Summary: eLearning offers multiple benefits to corporate learners and anyone who wants to broaden their skills, so it’s an easy sell. But if you don’t have brand backing, how do you build and market your eLearning products and services?

7 Tips That Enable eLearning Startups To Fly Solo

In any business sector, once you’ve acquired a name and reputation for yourself, the natural progression is to consider going solo. You want to venture out on your own instead of ‘working for the man’ and building someone else’s dream. It’s a noble enterprise, and a fulfilling one, but it can also be quite lonely. You’ll soon realize the advantages of the corporate machine you once took for granted. Having a fallback and team support makes all the difference. You can still succeed in your solo flight, and it’s worth the effort. Here are 7 tips for eLearning startups that fly solo.

1. Build Your Social Media Presence

Some people use social media intuitively. They’ve done it so long for their own pleasure that when they need to tune it for business, it’s easy. If you’re not one of these digital natives who feels right at home on Facebook, then enlist the aid of someone who is. Hire them as a consultant, or get them to teach you the ropes. Social media is one of the first places people go to these days when they need products. Plus, many search engines now give social feeds priority in their algorithm. That’s why if you Google your name, your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn will top the list. Develop an online presence for your eLearning brand and keep it helpful, positive, and consistent. Another great way for eLearning startups to build an online reputation and enhance credibility is to launch an eLearning blog.

2. Create A Realistic Marketing Budget

For a long time, social media was a free marketing tool. While you can still gain organic reach for free, there are now monetized options as well. So when you’re creating a marketing budget, be comprehensive, because there’ll be lots of ‘hidden’ costs that they can pile up. For internet marketing, include the cost of any necessary hardware and internet bundles. You may have to hire influencers or pay to produce high-quality promo videos. If you opt for a digital marketing agency, ask them to list their labor fees and media spend separately. Lastly, always leave room in your budget for business emergencies, such as unmissable marketing opportunities that can help you gain more publicity. For example, traveling to a trade show at the last minute when a booth becomes available so that you can interact directly with your prospects.

3. Tap Into Your eLearning Expertise

A lot goes into building a brand. As you market your eLearning product, think about your role. What drew you into the eLearning sphere, and which part of the machine are you? Did you develop the mechanics of the eLearning course at the programmer level? Are you specialized in eLearning content creation and curriculum development? Are you the eLearning marketing guru who brought in a million customers? Define your eLearning niche and push that part of the business yourself. Build a solid team to cover the other aspects of your enterprise.

4. Outsource For Productivity

At the same time, not everything has to be done in-house. You’ve already identified what you’re good at and you’ve filled the essential slots for success. Instead of stretching yourselves too thin and re-inventing the wheel, outsource certain tasks. It’s better for overall efficiency, and results in a higher quality product. In the business world, jacks and jills of all trades are not always the most productive. Specialization is a far better approach for eLearning startups. It saves time and money, creating jobs in the process.

5. Craft Your Messaging Carefully

We’re told never to judge books by their covers, but it’s still the best metric. If we walked around bookstores opening the middle pages and randomly reading paragraphs, we’d never leave. With that in mind, be careful as you create your product titles and brand messaging. It needs to be simple, catchy, descriptive, and functional. Lots of clarity and no false promises. List some features on the cover page, too, so that prospects get a sneak peek of what you have to offer.

6. Identify Your Distinguishing USPs

eLearning startups need to determine what sets them apart from the competition. Notably, which unique selling points will help you attract new clients and customers. Is there a specific feature that others in your eLearning niche don’t offer? Are you providing an innovative eLearning service that can help you increase your market share? Do some research to identify your standout USPs and how you can incorporate them into your marketing strategy.

7. Be A Work In Progress

You’re now flying solo, but that doesn’t mean your current eLearning product, service, or brand image is set in stone. It’s true, you’ve worked hard to establish yourself enough to set out on your own. However, any viable business strategy is a constant work in progress. Be open to new opportunities that can help you broaden your audience base. Attend trade shows and workshops to expand your experience. The same goes for your brand image. Gather feedback from clients/customers to see how you can improve. For example, offer more personalized support services or fine-tune your message to provide more clarity.

Venturing out on your own can be hard, but it’s worth it. And if you’ve been in the eLearning space as an employee, you have a leg up in your startup journey. Begin with social media. Hopefully, you already have a personal brand, so use that to leverage your eLearning product or service. Be comprehensive, and realistic, when you draft your marketing budget. Focus on the aspects you’re good at and outsource other relevant tasks. Choose the right labels, and if you already have one that misses the mark, start anew. It’s worth it, and your customers and sales team will thank you.

Are you interested in a career in eLearning but aren't sure where to start? Have you considered transitioning your current eLearning freelancing into something a bit more permanent? Do you get bored working in just one eLearning niche? You have the knowledge, but how do you get the clients? Download our Free eBook How To Build A Successful eLearning Career to find out how to start your eLearning Career, how to identify the right eLearning niche, how to expand your client base, how to market your services and much more.