How to Market Your Learning Program Office Hours Recap
Developing successful eLearning courses for your audience is the focal point for many companies, but it’s only half the battle. To run an effective learning business, you need to know to be a marketer. Marketing your learning programs helps create a culture of continuous learning, and that turns into consistent demand for your organization or products.
Recently, BenchPrep’s VP of Marketing, Amanda Wynne, hosted an office hours session to discuss how to market your learning program. She shared four core marketing principles to make your efforts successful:
- Identify your target audience
Before starting any of your marketing efforts, you need to first identify who your target audience is and what they expect from your learning program. This can be done through market research, surveys, interviews, and focus groups. Use these forms of research to learn as much as you can about your learners’ educational, cultural, and technological backgrounds. Once you know who you're marketing to, you can tailor your marketing efforts to attract learners who are interested in what your online courses have to offer.
- Inform your audience how your eLearning course meets their needs
eLearning often offers a solution to a specific problem. So when you marketing your learning program, clearly state what your eLearning course offers, what benefits provide, and how the course will go. Tell your learners exactly how you will solve the problems they face or the advantages they can expect to receive by successfully completing the course. If your target audience understands the value of your course, they’re more likely to enroll.
- Identify the unique proposition
How does your course differ from similar courses on the market? Take the time to research some of the existing online courses in your field so that you have a picture of what is included in those courses and how they are presented. By doing this, you will be able to differentiate your course from your competition and identify your unique value proposition. And once you develop your value proposition, it is important to include it on your course sales page and in your marketing messaging. The value proposition is the key to setting your eLearning course apart.
- Show the audience the value of our course
There are two types of values that you should consider. First is the value that your learners are going to get for their money. It’s critical to emphasize the fact that your course offers a great ROI so they know they are getting their money worth. The second value to consider is time. Learners already have so much on their plate, so when they are looking for an eLearning course, they are looking for something that gives them the skills they need in the shortest amount of time.
During the office hours session, Amanda tackled a dozen questions from the audience about how to market a learning program. Here’s a sampling of the Q&A from Amanda’s office hours:
Question: “COVID has turned our business on its head. We’ve had to cancel our annual conference, which was a big benefit for our members. Do you have any advice or creative ideas to keep our members engaged?”
Answer: This office event is a perfect example of keeping members engaged! At BenchPrep, we tested a variety of virtual events and have been blown away with the amount of engagement and turnout. Yes, there are going to be failures, but they are also successes that come during this time. The good news is there are many event platforms on the market that are cost-effective, so that gives you the ability to test and learn as you go. I’d suggest doing a few small pilots and test different formats to see what your learner base engages with the most.
Question: “We just completed and tested an online learning program that we want to release to our customers. We do sales and sales management training. What are the first 2-3 steps I need to do to successfully market our program?”
Answer: We know that it's important to first establish who your audience is, determine what your value proposition is, and gain knowledge about your competitors. But there are other options you can do beyond these steps.
First, you can offer your target audience a sneak peek of your product. By offering a sneak peek, you’re allowing them to try the product before they buy, which allows your audience to get a taste of what's to come.
The second thing you can do is share testimonials of current customers, or find researchers and analysts in your space and work with them to get your name out there. Word of mouth is one of the most effective marketing strategies out there. By getting customer testimonials, you are able to build trust around your product.
Lastly, leverage the power of your website. Your website is one of the first places your audience visits to learn about your product. It is critical that you are constantly evolving your site and your messaging. In addition to that, it’s important to always look at your website data. By looking at your data, you are able to gauge who is visiting your website, where your audience is spending the most time on your website, and much more.
Question: “Marketing can sometimes be an after-thought at more traditional or old school organizations. How do you get marketing “on the map” as a key internal stakeholder and the business unit at the organization?”
Answer: The best way to get your marketing on the map is to ground your programs and strategy in data. However, resist the urge to the data dump. You must be able to tell stories about the data that you’re seeing. Secondly, you need to have a deep understanding of your audience. If you can be the one in the organization that says, “Our learners have red hair” and be able to support that with data, you and your department will be that more valued because of those insights.
Question: “We know data is paramount for any marketing team. What metrics should we consider for measuring the success of our marketing plan for our learning program?”
Answer: The first metric you should consider is funnel metrics. At BenchPrep, we back into these by setting up clear and concise revenue goals. From there, we set goals for each stage of the funnel, along with clear conversion goals from stage to stage.
Second, consider metrics that help you understand how your marketing programs are performing and if your learner base is connecting with your messages -- things like email open rates, click rates, numbers of content downloads, number of engagements with your social media points, and others that might be considered “vanity metrics.”. These metrics provide loads of insights into how you can optimize your programs to better engage your learners.
The last metric to consider is engagement. If you are looking to improve engagement with your learning program, consider things like gamification. By using gamification, learners are able to compete with each other through leaderboards with points and badges, which can lead to learner motivational levels to increase. Think of this as not game playing, but rather using game elements to improve absorption and interactivity.
Want to Learn More?
Want to learn more about marketing your learning program? Check out the on-demand recording of Amanda’s office hours for more tips for promoting your eLearning course.