How to market your course online
If you’ve produced a good, well-structured online educational course, the next concern is how you can let people know about it. This is where marketing comes in. Marketing makes or breaks your success, no matter how good your content is. And nowadays, there’s no place better to market your online course than on the internet. So today, we’ll show you how you can start marketing for education programs online!
Market research: Take advantage of your learner personas
The first step to any marketing campaign is market research. You’ll have to find your target audience – which is the group of people who you think will be interested in your product.
Know who you’re teaching
Determining your target audience basically means deciding who your potential learners are. Then, come up with customer personas to represent them to help you know how best to approach them.
Luckily, you already have learner personas, which are the foundation for your customer personas! Both of them look at what skills and knowledge the potential customers need, how much free time they have, and the kind of work/education that they do. This information lets you know what potential customers want, which is what you should focus on when advertising. Thus, learner personas can be very useful in marketing.
However, there are differences between the two. To do marketing for education, you want to find out more specifically how to expose your materials to potential customers. In other words, you should look more at their online behaviors, their preferences and how they can be influenced. Perhaps you’ll want to know more about how much time they spend on Facebook rather than just on the internet. It’s so that you can see if they’ll be likely to see advertisements on this site. As a result, you will have to research some more to add important information to existing learner personas.
Doing this includes collecting a lot of information, going through them to summarize and pick out the important bits and then organizing that to create profile. It’s a lot of work and can be confusing! So, to help you in this process, we have a guide that will take you through the steps of creating personas for your potential customers here!
Create your User Persona Profile!
Guide to create the marketing persona profile for your potential learners!
Tip: Marketing audit – keep a log of your progress
Like everything else, marketing is something that you can always improve on. Thus, it is important to keep a record of the personas that you created, and the strategies that you used. Spend some time assessing them and see if they were effective. Ask questions like:
- Did you see a lot of learners coming in?
- Were the actual learners similar to the customer personas that you created?
Logging everything and reflecting on them will let you see the weaknesses and the strengths of your campaigns. From these analyses, you’ll find ways to improve your strategies!
Marketing for education strategy #1:
Branding for your course
Equipped with the profiles of potential learners, you can next consider marketing strategies. We firstly suggest creating a brand image for your course. To do this, you’ll have to find something special about your course and highlight that.
What is your unique selling point?
This is a feature of your course that is unique. Examples include:
- your course content helps the learners gain skills that other courses don’t
- interactions and animations are the main features of your course
- your course is divided into compact lessons that busy office workers can complete during their lunch breaks.
All of these are potential unique features that can help you create a special image about your course. And marketing means emphasizing a point like this to appeal to potential learners.
Tip: Animation is a wonderful tool!
Let’s illustrate this strategy with a case. Imagine that your target audience are office workers who don’t have much time. Moreover, their jobs involve a lot of quiet hours at their desks. So, to draw them in, you might want to advertise using a short video that is informative and entertaining. At the same time, the video will highlight how your course will be fun, lively and time efficient. Here’s an animation that is a great example of this!
Source: F.studio on Vimeo
If you’d like some more information of fun animation, have a look at:
Marketing for education strategy #2:
Make full use of social media platforms
Being on social media is such a big part of people’s lives nowadays. There are various sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram that people are on constantly. Besides, you can spread information to so many people on these pages that it’s a waste not to use them! How can you use them? Well, there are many ways, and below are some suggestions.
You can pay Youtube or Facebook to put your advertisement on videos or on the news feed of browsers. It’s a great way to get the word out, although a bit costly. Also, it requires a bit of patience. In the case of marketing for education, the effect won’t be as immediate as advertisements for clothing brands or food brands. Education is appealing to a smaller group of people, and so you will have to wait it out. The result comes in the long term, so don’t give up early!
Content demonstrations: Provide demos for potential customers
Make short videos or provide concise infographics that shows how the course would be like as a preview for people. It can be an extract from your actual course, like a trailer of a movie! It’s a great way to get people interested in your course.
1. Post these demos on social media
You can upload a short video on to Youtube, then share it on Facebook or Twitter. Universities all over the world are jumping on this bandwagon! For example, this super short and energetic video from Columbia University’s Youtube page briefly what the environment in the university is like.
Source: Columbia University on Youtube
2. Post the infographic on Instagram, LinkedIn or Pinterest
Photo-sharing websites such as these are great for marketing! Upload them with some extra tips and information in the description boxes. Instagram and Pinterest let you to combine attractive images with bite-size texts, and is increasingly popular. Because of that, they’re the perfect places to promote your course!
You might want to have a look at how to make and use infographics:
Establish brand loyalty by maintaining proactive media accounts
Since education is a lot about community, marketing for education should promote this. Set up a community of your former, existing and potential learners to interact with them. Interactions with former learners are as important as with potential ones. This is because they are the ones who can recommend your course to others. And their recommendations and positive reviews is a powerful promoting tool that you won’t even have to pay for! On these platforms, you can give them tips, organise live webinars, or even ask for reviews on these sites! Of course, make the interactions fun – provide references to popular movies or shows or songs. Just like Duolingo did in this post, where by referencing Game of Thrones, they welcome the show’s fans to their courses.
Source: Duolingo on Instagram
All of that is the basics to marketing for education courses online. There are three key points to remember:
- Do market research to add to learner personas
- Create a brand image that appeals to your potential learners
- Use social media to promote and engage with learners
If you still need advice on building a fun and effective course, especially with the use of animation, we have some things that may be of use. Do check them out!
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