You spend a lot of time creating your course catalog, including amazing content and knowledge to supplement your courses. So now how to market your online course?
Create a marketing plan!
It can feel overwhelming to begin marketing your course – where do I start? Which platform is best? What software should I use?
Don’t worry – we cover everything you need to know. Jump to a section below, or read it all the way through and you’ll be marketing your course expertly in no time!
Starting your online course planning means doing a TON of research so you can make the right choices when you’re ready to spread the word.
We suggest starting your online course marketing strategy by following these 4 steps first:
1. Define your target audience and personas
You want to really sit down and create a profile of the audience you are trying to target. You might have this already as your existing customer base, but if you are looking to grow enrollment and reach new customers, it’s imperative you target your course marketing to the right demographic.
This demographic profile will help you with any online advertising you do, including location, age, gender, etc to make sure ads are targeted properly. It will also help you in graphic design choices to appeal best to your target audience.
2. Pick your avenues based on your audience
Once you have your demographic down, now you can start to marketing to them. If your audience is young, consider Instagram as a starting point. Older? Facebook is good! So is LinkedIn if you are targeting specific professional demographics.
From there, figure out where your audience is. Are there groups you can join to market your course? Are ads the way to go? How can you engage yourself with the community and then organically market your course.
A website is always a must, and using SEO techniques to get ranked for your ideal keywords will help gain traction as well. Ensure your website is optimized for SEO, and includes an interest or lead form, as well as registration for your online course on your website for quick conversions.
3. Engage your audience
Once you’ve found the places your target audience is hanging out – what now?
Engage them of course! You can do this with great content, including blog posts. Video is also a great way to get engagement and to spread your message even wider. Create some great video content, upload to YouTube and then share those links!
If possible, connect with influencers in the space you are targeting as well. This type of endorsement can go a long way for your course offerings, and it’s always good to network and build relationships. You can approach an influencer with an idea for a guest blog or interview post. Then ask them to share that post with their followers! Instant traffic to your website, and you’re building trust with your target audience.
4. Offer multiple opportunities to convert
Once you’ve targeted and engaged with your audience, it’s crucial you make it easy for them to engage back with you.
This starts with your website, as mentioned above. Optimize your website so that contacting you and signing up for your programs and/or email list is simple and straightforward.
A great online course registration software can help to facilitate this effortlessly for you. Create a lead form to gather contact and interest information, and a registration form that captures data and allows for easy, integrated payments right on your website.
With a system that allows you to send emails as well – you have a system that can handle not only data collection, but client communication as well, including sending thanks for registering emails, updates on their course selections, payment reminders and receipts, and future marketing content.
Having a varied marketing approach is important for bringing in more potential learners. The rule of 7 in marketing states that you need at least 7 touch points with a customer before they will convert. This is true no matter what kind of business you have! Ensure you are covering all of your bases with your marketing strategy to make sure you aren’t missing out on getting in front of potential students!
Create content targeted for your audience
Any content that you can do well – do it! Whether that’s video, guest posts, blogs on your website, articles on LinkedIn, etc. If you write and/or create graphic content on topics that engage your audience, and that they will find useful – do it!
Plus your content can even be a watered down version of what you offer in your course, to give people a taste and encourage them to enroll to continue learning.
Create customer personas
If you followed step 1 above, you are golden!
Once you know what an ideal learner “looks” like – it’s really easy to target your marketing to that group or groups.
These details also help when running ad campaigns and deciding on course topics.
Segment your communications
A great course software will allow you to collect the information YOU need to then filter and target communication to the right people.
If you offer a variety of courses, segment your email marketing efforts to each group so you are “speaking their language” and providing content relevant to their interests.
Invest in SEO tools
SEO is hugely important when growing your online course in order to get in front of new learners. There are a lot of SEO ranking factors you should consider when starting a campaign.
Whether you hire an SEO agency to help out or you do some research and learn how best to optimize your website homepage and core course pages to show up for the keywords you are targeting, make it a priority. You won’t regret it!
Use social Media
A full fledged approach to social media will do wonders! Don’t just post on your Facebook page, but join groups where your learners are and join the discussion. It might take a while to gain traction in a group, but relate authentically with people, offer advice and/or resources when relevant and you’ll network in a way you can’t anywhere else.
Once people understand you are an authority on the subject at hand, you can market your offerings and gain business, including email marketing leads that can down the road turn into paying clients!
Use Automated email marketing
This is crucial to constantly engage both interested leads, past learners and current clients.
This is also why getting the data you need from this whole audience is important, because it will allow you to target and segment your email marketing so it’s as personalized as possible.
A software that helps to automate this further – like sending bulk emails with personal information like their name, past courses they’ve taken, or some data point that makes the message personal will help make this easy and effective!
Optimize your website for user experience
Your website is your storefront. If it doesn’t look good – people will “walk out”.
Your website and then your lead and registration process is the first impression you have to give potential learners and sets the tone as they move forward.
Ensure your process and website look good, operate optimally, and is easy to use.
Have a dedicated online course registration tool
Using the right course software tools will make or break the experience learners have and can really make or break your ability to manage your course offerings effectively.
This will help you keep data organized, and allow you to manage leads and also registrations, including payments. Plus with email functionality it really becomes an all-in-one course management and marketing tool.
Using a few different software solutions to manage your website, your course registrations, and your marketing is time consuming and not very efficient, both in your time and in terms of cost.
Finding a software that gives you the ability to manage multiple processes connected to marketing and managing your course offerings will help you save time by automating processes and centralizing your information management in one place.
Your course registration software should allow you to:
- Email prospective learners and market to them
- Email current learners with information about their course registration and market future courses to them
- Manage payments connected to your course registrations
- Allow you to filter and download reports to manage your course
- Allow for your entire team to login and manage every aspect of your course
- Let you create course sessions, and include links to livestream or pre-recorded content
Using software to run a virtual course
Utilize the tools in your registration software to help achieve this. A few ideas:
- Use the description fields for your courses and sessions to your advantage. Include the description, URL link to livestream or pre-recorded content for that course or session, and instructor information.
- Filter data in any way you need – including by demographics and sign-ups to target and communicate with the right groups of people.
- Use trigger functionality to have automated emails send out when learners complete actions in the system – including making payments, registering for a new course, and more.
Whether you’re building a new online course idea, or looking for new and effective ways for marketing your online course, make sure you follow the steps outlined in this article and vary your approach.
In the end, a combination of various marketing tactics will drive the results you are looking for including higher engagement, increased registrations, and growth in revenue.