One might have noticed these days, that the online learning industry is on a major upward trajectory. In fact, many educational institutions across the world, have launched their own, online services. Even the worlds largest professional network Linkedin has invested $1.5bn in the acquisition of a very popular e-learning site, Lynda. ‘Teaching Sells’, is the reason for the acquisition. To put this in perspective, consider that in 2011, about $35 billion was spent on self-paced e-learning worldwide. In 2015, e-learning was a $56bn industry, and that number hit $107 billion, in 2016. The online education world has gotten really big, and it’s not just universities who are interested, but subject experts too, who use the authority earned to gain a sizeable number of eager students. This has resulted in thousands of paid and free courses available online. Here are some ways by which you can market your course to the public and generate leads.
Understand The Audience First.
This is a very important step and should be number one on the list of priorities. Although one might have a general idea about the target audience, it is necessary to be specific. Identify the demographic, which helps in creating the content for a balanced and helpful course. Don’t half the course with the basics, what they mean, and how it applies. You must assume they know that much, at least. Searching Google for keywords helps a lot in when it comes to understanding target audiences. The search results seem to adapt, to the user’s needs. Google is really good at giving users what they want. So by working smartly, you know what customers are looking for. Commercial intent is reflected, when search elements like ‘Shop For’, ‘Maps’, are used. When people look for images, or refer to the ‘People also ask ‘ section, they show an informational intent. This helps in closing in on the target audience and understanding them.
What’s Unique About Your Course?
Today, looking at the vast number of courses available online, if there isn’t something unique about your course, you won’t be finding many customers. What makes your course different, should be the basis of promotions. If your offering comes under a big brand, then, not much is required. If not, trial and error should be your best friend when finding an effective way of marketing your course.
Watch the Competition.
In every industry, there is always a brand that places itself as, a hub of knowledge, for all things related. What can be used here are Q&A’s, guides that can be downloaded, monitoring tools, etc. You should keep a close eye on the existing leaders in the industry and competitors to better understand how they create content for, and engage with viewers, to create more leads.
Survey Potential Students.
Finding out what students are looking for in an online course, can be hugely beneficial. A student who is searching for a course means he has come across many, but has still not made his choice. Try collecting feedback with a gamified surveying tool, which will make the process engaging and entertaining. Many of them can be integrated into WordPress Blogs, and is also a great way to collect email addresses.
Use A Platform That Let’s You Be Flexible.
Most free hosting platforms for courses available today have very little control over branding or prices. You can send updates to students, but not links, which is a very common problem. Use part of the budget to find an advanced solution that will help you create lead gen magnets, landing pages, and special offers. Try accompanying this with an app for handly mobile access and quick notifications, with which you should have a winner.
Promote on Many Platforms.
Blogs and tweets, are simply not enough today. You need landing pages, video channels, Instagram posts, Snapchat stories, Reddit, Tumblr and Slideshare. Take advantage of all the different forms of media that people respond to. Use videos, infographics, slideshows, podcasts, interviews, in fact, anything and everything. Anything that reaches a different audience, may respond better to varying types of promotion.
Use Multiple Learning Formats.
Not everyone learns the same way, same as not everyone responds to a single form of promotion. This has resulted in many online courses using graphics, videos, and discussions, to help students learn better. This is also a great USP when you can boast about a multifaceted approach to learning. When it involves more than just reading pages, people will be willing to sign up. Even though it is additional work, it pays back in the long run.
Use Email Marketing.
Being one of the most effective forms of marketing today, email marketing is loved by small and medium businesses. And with everyone being connected via mobile, email marketing is only getting more popular. By building an email list, or incorporating email directly into the course, you would be more successful. Use traditional drip campaigns as reminders for your weekly and daily tasks, and to keep people, in the loop. And future courses too, can be communicated to this audience.
Offer Free Condensed Versions.
If you charge something for your course, try offering a free condensed course. This needs ideas, lessons, and tips from the course material prepared and offered, in a faster way. This helps, if someone is interested in the course, but is still not convinced fully, comes across this opportunity. Treat this like your lead gen magnet.
Promotions, Discounts And Bundle Deals.
If you plan a service or ebook, or end up making more than a few courses, then it is advisable that you sweeten the deal with a bundle offering. If you choose otherwise, you can create a few promos or discount sales that give people a better deal. Watch the rush, when you offer half off, to the first twenty who enroll.
Chat With The Community.
If you search closely on the net, you might find a live meetup in the neighborhood talking about the same thing that you teach. Check out sites for meetups or localized subreddits, along with unique Facebook groups. Or just, start your own. It’ll only do more good. This will then give you a chance to speak to other local Influencers and start some local promotion. Share some of your research, in the comment section below.