How To Successfully Market Your eLearning Course

How To Successfully Market Your eLearning Course
Summary: That stellar eLearning course you just created is not going to sell itself. It's time to put on your marketing hat and position your course to reach the learning audience it was intended for.

6 Steps To Marketing Your eLearning Course

You have invested a lot in creating, designing and perfecting a game-changing course that satisfies a specific learning need but you are not seeing the traction you hoped for after publishing. Now what? As important as the course might be in bridging an essential skill gap, it cannot magically sell itself. You know that people need this particular course and it is your job is to convince them.The secret behind all the successful course launches with impressive lead generation numbers has always been marketing.

We see the importance of marketing in everyday life. Marketers have perfected the art of convincing people they need certain goods and services to change their lives. Your target audience needs to be influenced in the same way. Learn from the experts in the field. Use their tactics to get your learning solutions recognized by those that stand to benefit the most from it.

Follow these 6 steps to give you the advantage of successfully influencing your target learners:

1. Get To Know Your Learner

The most important advertiser’s secret is to get acquainted with your learner prior to launching the course. This course should be designed with a specific learner persona in mind (i.e., an archetype of your learner, including demographics, learning needs and preferences). Creating a learner persona is the best first step in course creation. It is a chance for you to get into the mind of your target learner audience and create something they can connect with. A course that makes the learner feel as if it was specifically prescribed for his/her learning needs already sells itself.

For learner persona creation, start by conducting an audience analysis. To pinpoint their learning needs and preferences, ask questions about their:

  • Demographics (age, gender, location, etc.)
  • Workplace and workday routine
  • Goals and motivations
  • Interest in your topic
  • Pain points (what they struggle with in terms of training)
  • Frequency of online visits and trusted websites

After creating a course with a solid and highly specific demographic in mind, the next crucial step is to convert this learner persona into a buyer persona. Do this by including their media habits, preferred platforms and devices, commercial keyword searches, etc. This will help you figure out what kind of marketing messages and techniques resonate with them and help you position the course launch in a way that will actually reach the target audience.

2. Sell Your Learner On The Value And Uniqueness Of Your Course

There are probably many courses with the same subject matter as yours, promising to address the same training needs as you. Your audience ultimately wants to know what makes this course different from the rest. If you conducted a thorough audience analysis while creating your learner persona, you should have broached the topic of pain points learners might have. You can use this unique perspective to your advantage in creating the course and eventually in advertising it. Using this approach not only makes your learners feel heard, but it also gives them the perception of that this course will meet their specific training needs.

Your chances of standing out depend on ensuring that the course is uniquely positioned to attract a specific niche. In the training needs you should address what is pertinent and already available in the market. Identify relevant information, training delivery, methods of engagement and as much detail as possible to make the course valuable and unique in its delivery. Learners are entitled to a return on their investment. Provide them with a detailed outline of all the benefits from this learning solution.

3. Promote Your Course With Previews And Sneak Peeks

Marketers have long used free giveaways and sneak peeks to give consumers the chance to try products and services before they buy as a lead generation magnet. We see examples of these in movie trailers, excerpts from books and reading events, trailers for new products, tasting menus, runway shows, etc. These try-before-you-buy experiences are effective in garnering interest and increasing anticipation for the release of the products.

Employing the use of teasers in marketing the course essentially intrigues anyone who might be interested in the course but is still ambivalent about investing time and resources into it. A well-designed teaser wows your audience and sways them to purchase relevance course which will satisfy their learning requirements. Giving learners a taste of the value of the course in action will convince the majority of learners to return for more. However, be careful that these previews and sneak peeks do not give away too much information, thereby eliminating the need for investment in your course.

Examples of effective preview options include launch videos, short presentations or demonstrations of highly engaging course activity, free infographics or eBooks of a course module, quiz excerpts from the course and "did you know" facts.

4. Communicate Consistently With Your Audience

It is important that you follow a learner through his/her journey with your course. Just as a marketer will follow a lead from the first click to purchase, you should nurture your learners through theirs. You should keep communication constant but not overwhelming throughout the learner’s journey. Set up drip campaigns that start as soon as interest is shown in the course. This could be from clicking a link or CTA in your blog or newsletter. From then on, send out learning-specific emails, newsletters and blogs to remind the audience about the value you offer. Also, use this opportunity to put out teasers, free giveaways and endorsements. Use this medium as a reminder system for periodic lessons, new modules and course announcements and to keep your learners interested after the course is complete.

The communication campaign should not halt once the course is rolled-out. It should follow the journey through the learning path to the end and even lead them towards other relevant courses you have to offer. During this process of nurturing your learners, keep the communication lines open by giving them direct access to you via email. You can also employ social media in this case. Ensure you have an active online presence so learners are not worried about reaching out.

5. Implement A/B Testing In Your Campaigns

When developing and distributing marketing campaigns, you can never be certain what elements will increase or damage performance. For this reason, marketers have long employed A/B split testing for these checks and balances. A/B testing essentially involves testing the little details you might skip when putting out a course campaign. It involves using different versions of a landing page, an ad, or other elements of a campaign to understand what performs well and what doesn’t.

In practice, you can start by dividing your email list into two and sending out two versions of subject lines, Call-To-Actions, buttons or even content and see which batch generates more leads. The reason why A/B testing is so important is that it allows you to test your actual campaigns with your real audience and gives you data to inform decisions going forward. You can even employ it in testing your actual course and what content structure and delivery style learners respond to best.

6. Collect And Use Feedback And Endorsements

Learners want proof that your course provides the results they expect. Prospective learners are more likely to commit to enrolling if they know others have been satisfied with the learning experience you provided. This is why including endorsements in your course launch is important. A tried and true product is more likely to draw investment than one which does not have any recommendations or ones that are not complimentary.

Use a focus group to garner sincere feedback on the value your course provides. This small group should represent the course’s learner persona. Be open to constructive criticism on the content, marketing and positioning efforts. Use this information to gain perspective and improve your course. In the end, having a few satisfied learners write endorsements for your course, provides you with a wealth of credibility. Use these recommendations in your campaign emails and the course itself to legitimize your efforts.

The library of online courses has grown and learners are spoiled for choice. When creating a course, it is important that you position and market yourself effectively. Learners will not appear magically when searching for courses online as there are many similar offerings available and you need to ensure your offering is unique and provides value for money compared with the other course providers. Take time to create a marketing campaign and design a successful learner journey by employing these tactics.