Depending on the course subject you choose, you may have problems getting people to find your course on the top eLearning platforms. Marketing becomes more essential than ever. But even if you manage to snap a choice course in a moneymaking niche without much competition, don’t take this as a sign that you don’t have to work on advertising. Online learning is become increasingly popular. More than 40 percent of Internet users have engaged in online learning through an interactive or self-directed course, and that does not take into account newsletters and auto-responder courses, according to “The Future of Education.”
The keys to making your eLearning courses stand out even when facing high competition on the top eLearning platforms comes down to the market. Rather than traditional direct marketing and PPC, it’s important to use techniques with more substance that will increase to your loyal customer base as much as convince readers to become customers.
Use Original Artwork and Images
Your students and readers know when you’re using stock images. Most of the time, the giveaway is the fact that most online business and information product developers use the same images over and over again. There’s only so many legitimate copyright free and royalty free image databanks out there unless you subscribe to a more expensive option like Shutterstock or Stocktrek images. Using images that you get off the Internet without permission is not an option. Technically, it’s a form of intellectual property theft. The fair use laws do not allow such use of Internet photos because you derive the full benefit of the photo.
If you have a decent camera, you can take your own pictures. You can also hire an artist from sites such as Elance, iFreelancer, or Guru to help you put together compelling artwork. The added benefit to using original artwork and images is that you have more content that can work on Pinterest, one of the most profitable of the fast growing social media platforms. It also makes you stand out from the competition because most of your competitors will still be using stock photos, even when promoting themselves on top eLearning platforms.
Offer Free Content with Value
Getting people to try samples of your work so that they can see just how good you are is one of the oldest marketing tricks in the book. For an online course, it’s best to offer free content through the form of special reports or blog posts or even an eBook. Make sure that the content does not give away all the secrets in the course, but do make sure that it makes them want more. Providing free content along a similar subject line can help to whet potential readers’ appetites for more detailed information, making them more willing to shed their identities as just readers and become students as well.
Promote the Course on Numerous Social Media Platforms
One of the biggest mistakes that some information product developers do is assume that once they get a course up and running on one of the top eLearning platforms that they can trust the eLearning platform to handle the promotions for them. While sites like Udemy do send out recommendations to users based on their interests and they do make specialized suggestions, that level of promotion is not enough.
Approximately 80 percent of emails go unread. With Google’s new email sorting system, advertisements and promotions go into a separate folder automatically, making it less likely that they will be read than ever. You can’t rely on the eLearning platform to do your job. It’s up to you to market that course. Promote on the various social media platforms that you frequent. Obviously, you may not be able to engage in traditional direct marketing tactics, even direct marketing tactics adapted for social media. Few things annoy social media users than a constant stream of “buy this now” or “you know what you’re missing.” Content marketing campaigns tend to be the most successful. You create awareness about the online courses you offer without telling people that they have to sign up. The key is to make sure that each post, tweet, and pin to any social media site has value in and of itself without the link to the course. If you do this, you will significantly increase the effectiveness of your promotions. According to Social Media Today, you also make it more likely that your followers will click on the link to see what it’s about. They may know that it’s going to lead them to a product to buy, but the fact that you didn’t tell them that they had to buy it tends to make them more forgiving of that.
Promote Specific and Obtainable Goals the Courses Promote
All too often the sales descriptions for online courses fail to actually show the readers what they can expect to achieve. When they do talk about expectations, they often focus on large generalities that do not result in specific and obtainable goals or tangible benefits. Change this when promoting your course. You’ll stand out from most of the crowd if you do. Explain to the readers precisely what they can hope to achieve. Outline some of the goals that the course offers and explain what’s expected of them.
It’s easier for customers to become students and buyers when they know what the product is promising them. An online course that makes it purpose clear is significantly more likely to succeed. Remember to weave those benefits and goals in with persuasive emotional language. For instance, if you run a self-defense education course, you could say “walk through the park without fear” but that sounds rather vague and general. Instead, tap into more persuasive emotion language such as “stroll through the park.” You can’t stroll if you’re afraid, and the verb creates a stronger image.
Engage in Conversation with Users and Students
Word of mouth is still one of the most powerful marketing tools available. Never underestimate it. That being said, good eLearning platforms are imperative for marketing. You must read the best software tools reviews first and then choose from the top eLearning platforms. A good platform can form the base of your marketing strategy. The students that you already have in your courses have friends and family members whom they can tell. Make sure to develop positive relationships with these students and users. Engaging in conversation is one of the best ways to accomplish this. Students value interaction from their instructors. Developing a personal relationship with the instructor is one of the fastest ways to create an educational brand loyalty. Once that loyalty is created, they are far more likely to tell people to sign up for the course.
Engaging in conversation is not that difficult fortunately. You can incorporate it directly into the course itself by providing timely and constructive feedback as well as encouragement. Make sure to respond to all requests within 48 hours if at all possible. Any longer than that without an explanation and your students may feel that they aren’t a priority.
Remain Consistent on the eLearning Platform and Other Sites
The other big thing to remember is that the other information products and courses that you offer give you valuable marketing opportunities just by their presence. You can include information about your courses in these other products. Just make sure that you are consistent in your quality. A hit and miss instructor is not nearly so likely to get a loyal following as one who regularly delivers great content and instructions.