Online courses are making serious waves in how people are learning and earning. Forget the stuffy classrooms and commuting for miles, people want to stay home to learn. Say ‘hello’ to automating and scaling your business, generating a recurring income and creating a bigger impact while expanding your tribe.
Increasing evidence is clearly showing that face-to-face education is taking a back seat to home-based courses. This is mostly in part because of the improving reputation of what online learning can bring to students.
Whether they’re courses to help bolster a degree, prepare for an exam, or cater to someone wanting to improve their skills- online courses are incredibly valuable and are certainly here to stay.
When it comes to selling and marketing your online course, you may need an expert.
In a recent episode of The Anomalous Educator, I spoke with Tom Libelt, the founder of Smart Brand Marketing and We Market Online Courses. Tom helps clueless course creators market their online courses through solid marketing strategies that, on average, turn $1,400 into $30,000.
In Tom’s words, “The worst thing is to try and make the market fit you.” So, here are a few tips on how you can get off on the right foot when marketing your online course.
Focus On Bringing Value
Online courses come in all kinds of shapes, sizes and formats. Some have videos, others are written content. Whatever the recipe is, you must create something nourishing for your audience.
“When people get an online course, it’s a bit different than going to a regular education,” says Tom. His marketing expertise has shown him that the most fruitful courses are exam preparation courses, certificate programs and personal improvement courses.
“People won’t buy it easily unless there’s a value,” says Tom. “I want something that there’s a clear ‘you did not know this before, you will know this after you’re done, and that has a value to it.’”
Construct a course that is centered around benefitting your students as much as possible.
Target The Right Audience
We all know that it’s far easier to sell your wares once someone has landed on your website. That’s fine and dandy, but how do you actually direct the right people to you in the first place?
First things first, Tom suggests that you must figure out who your ideal clients are. It may take some time, but this is the crucial step if you want to know where you’re going to be focusing your marketing efforts.
Is your audience going to be made up of ‘big business’ types or just people looking to improve on a specific skill?
Once you have the perfect punter firmly in your mind, the next step is to think about which social media channels they’re likely to use.
Understand The Different Social Media Channels
For anyone who uses social media – and you really should if you want to sell your courses- you may recognize that all the different channels have slightly different personas.
“Twitter is like the street corner, Linked in is like the networking event, Facebook is like a reunion. You have to make sure you’re messaging hits the right points of these platforms,” says Tom.
When you’re speaking to your audience on any one of these channels, the language and syntax you’re using needs to be interchangeable. It takes careful consideration to get it right. “You can’t go to a networking event and talk like you’re on a street corner,” says Tom.
What you post on LinkedIn will have a more professional tone. With a platform such as Twitter, you would engage prospects in a more casual and lighter conversation.
Get Course Validation Through Your Audience
There comes a point where promoting your course has to happen. One way to win hearts and get people subscribing is to entice them in with the humble freebie.
After you’ve created an outline for your course, you want to find some of the best takeaways. “What are all these golden nuggets that I’m putting in this course, these ah-ha moments?” Tom says.
These little mini revelations can then be tested as lead magnets, as a way to direct people towards the course. Give these bite-sized snippets away for free. It gives your audience the incentive of, “If he’s giving these away for free, I can’t imagine the stuff that is in the course.”
During this validation stage, you can start to see what is hitting the mark, and what isn’t. From there, it’s just a matter of adjusting the course accordingly.
The initial stages are essential if you want to begin marketing your online course in the right places. Take the time to consider precisely who would value your course the most, and where it will be best received.