I have broached the subject of building an audience for your online course before. I stand by my confectionery analogy – courses are like cookies, you may present a good assortment, and they will appeal to most, but only a few will pick them up unless they work up an appetite first.
With everything going on in the world right now, two things are obvious:
- much of the learning has moved online, making for a fantastic opportunity for e-learning creators
- there are many more cookies out there as a result, so the competition is fiercer than before.
That’s why building the right audience for your online course is so important.
5 Useful tips on reaching the right audience for your online course
Without further ado, let’s explore a few practical ideas about making that happen:
Offer something valuable for free
If this is your first time marketing an online course, you might even do it without asking for an e-mail address in return. The point is for your potential audience to get acquainted with you and see you as an authority in the field. Give away a book, a report, or a whitepaper and make sure it is high quality.
Getting a good reputation and high visibility should be the main objectives at this point. You can set up a free download button on your landing page and encourage people to share if they want to. This sort of organic marketing may be a little slower, but it draws in the right crowd.
Have a demo for your course
Back when I was working in corporate L&D, one of the most effective selling techniques that training vendors used were brief course demos. You can pick a small piece from your material and offer it as a sample. Give people a taste for free, and if they like it, they will buy more.
At this point, it is entirely justified to ask for e-mail addresses as they are needed for registration, and what’s even better, you can ask for feedback. The information you get will surely help a lot in adjusting your material and moving things forward.
Read more: How to get feedback for your online course
Build your own body of knowledge
The easiest and most effective way to achieve this is through blogging. You can set up an online blog as well as write guest posts. All of your articles must be labeled appropriately and should be optimized for search engines.
If you manage to generate a few pillar posts – these are articles that the audience deeply cares about, shares, and comes back to – you’ve pretty much hit the blogging jackpot. Numerous views and comments help establish your reputation as an authority and generate more qualified leads.
Go live in podcasts
If we were living in different times, the advice would be to attend conferences and look for speaking opportunities. Since that’s not feasible at the moment, podcasting is the new go-to trend.
As of January 2020, there are 850,000 active podcasts and more than 30 million podcast episodes. This is a massive growth, considering there were just 500,000 active podcasts around the same time in 2018. People listen to podcasts to find information and inspiration, so it is a powerful marketing tool. Doing this will give you visibility, reputation and help you get your message across to larger audiences.
Go on social media. All over it
Even if you think you already have a good presence on social media, think again. I’m not saying you don’t, but with platforms showing up and growing miraculously all the time (like TikTok, for example), it’s easy to lose sight of what’s trending. It’s certainly best to focus most of your energy on the platforms that hold the bulk of your potential customers, but it doesn’t hurt to make an appearance on the others.
Social media marketing is a multi-tasking game with huge rewards if you play it right – and most of the time you don’t need to spend a lot of money on video gear or ads. The most valuable tip I can give you about social media marketing is that you’ll need a little help from your friends, so make sure you make some – support other pages, guest post, and comment. Online solidarity is in high demand.
Having good e-learning content isn’t enough when your point is to drive your business forward. Quality content has to be backed up by a well-planned launching campaign. The audience needs to be enticed. Following the steps above will get you just that.
Raluca Cristescu has over ten years of experience in corporate training, focused mainly on soft skills for customer service and direct sales.