It seems that there can be no better time to be a course creator than now. According to the World Economic Forum's report, online course enrollments have gone from 26M in 2016 to 189M in 2021. That is a huge spike! However, with a thriving market comes strong competition too. In this article, you will learn helpful strategies to market your online course. Make sure to follow this read till the very end.
See Also: How to teach live online classes- the ultimate guide.
Smart strategies to market your online course
1. Content marketing
As a course creator, you are already well familiar with the importance of content. But what does it mean in terms of marketing? Essentially, it is a wider marketing strategy that focuses on developing various forms of content to attract audiences. This includes video content, blogs, resource guides, etc.
The primary goal is to create tailored content for your specific audience. To fully tap into this, know your audience well by creating a 'marketing persona'. Who they are, what are their pain points, and what you can offer them. These key points will prove vital in mapping out your content structure and type. In fact, a study shows that 61% of the consumers say that they are more likely to purchase from a company that serves custom content.
A good example to follow is the DigitalMarketer. As pioneers of digital marketing for online learning, they offer multiple custom content resources for course creators to use.
2. Social proof
Social proof includes customer testimonials, ratings, and accreditations from reputable organizations. Basically, anything that one can use as evidence of good service.
Think of buyers as investors. They are people willing to put their money into your product but no one likes to play blind poker. Hence, they require social proof to trust your service. Moreover, studies prove that social proof results in higher conversion rates.
Following are examples of social proof:
- Customer ratings and reviews
- Accreditations from review committees and organizations
- Logos from press and partners
Tidbit: If you are new to all this, give social proof tools a try. For example, Scout IQ is a tool that users use on Amazon to sell books by informing visitors of hot sellers. This way, a sense of FOMO develops which compels people to buy the product.
This perhaps is the more technical way to market your online course. But it also happens to be one that can serve the most if done properly. SEO drives the inbound traffic to your webpage with the help of search engine ranking e.g. Google. Your goal here has to be to have your webpage pop on top of the search result's list. The higher your rank the higher your chances of being followed.
Following are some elements that one should focus on to get a good SEO score:
- Titles and descriptions
- Use of right keywords
- Use of appropriate headings
- Images and ALT texts
- Internal and external linking
- content structure
Now, this can be overwhelming even for the experts. Therefore, it is a good investment to use SEO tools such as YOAST.
4. Social Media
You might be familiar with this one. Make no mistake, social media is a rather powerful tool for marketing. Be smart with picking an audience avatar and then work along it to define your marketing goals. Find a suitable platform to advertise on and stick to it consistently. This is called niching down. By jumping between platforms you will not be able to earn a big enough following and it would anyway require more effort to manage. Hence, niche down and stick to it.
Podcasts work in the same way as social proof. Rather than starting your own podcast, go as a guest on other people's shows. Anyways, podcast hosts are on the lookout for new creators to interview and new things to launch. This opportunity will benefit you both and you'll be able to develop mutual leads.
6. Online discussion channels
Joining existing communities is a great way to market your online course and create brand awareness. On online platforms, you should have a cool logo design and friendly fonts representing your brand. Start by looking for relevant groups that follow your niche and have your target audience. Besides the recognition, communities can help you with content ideas and constructive feedback. A great way of finding suitable discussion channels is via LinkedIn where you can discover communities based on your keywords.
7. Influencer marketing
Influencer or partner marketing is yet another mutualistic marketing strategy. Here specifically, you can collaborate with other creatives around shared interests. For instance, you can do guest blogging, do product reviews for each other, and share customer stories. Besides, also earning you some social proof, it will help cross-transfer leads from both of your channels.
8. Affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing is a type of paid strategy that can be used to market online courses. Primarily, you pay individuals for spreading the word. It creates a string of marketeers that can vouch for your product. A better approach towards this is to get your loyal customers to join in the venture. Since they have already used the product, they are a better fit for the task. Besides, for an extra buck, they will be more than happy to.
9. Email lists
Emails are also another great resource for reaching out to lots of people with just a click. However, building email lists can be a bit of work. On the plus side, with a few tricks, you can do so efficiently.
Create a space on your course page or landing page where you can request people's emails. But don't be too forward. Maybe advertise an e-book or some exclusive product and in addition, ask interested people to drop their emails to receive these resources. Once you have collected ample emails, consistently reach out to your subscribers with interesting content. It can be product launches or simple life updates.
The productivity guru, Ali Abdaal does it really well. Have a look for yourself below.
10. Host a webinar
Webinars are in season it seems. Whether course creators or organizations, everyone is making the most of them. They are a great way of virtually meeting lots of people from all over the world. It is cheap, accessible, and a quick way of marketing your online courses. Furthermore, webinars are also a great way of building email lists since you will anyways have access to people's emails after signing up.
11. Start a YouTube channel
This is how most of the course developers start out. One starts out by putting pro-bono courses on Youtube and hopes to build an organic following. A more efficient way of doing this is by moving courses to proper course hosting platforms and using YouTube for creating interesting additional video content. Use the platform for lighter more fun stuff to generate leads for your website. At the same time, don't forget about the security and speed of your website. You can provide good user experience with a Mac VPS hosting. Perhaps, you can use it to put out little teasers of your courses.
12. Write press releases
These are official statements posted to inform audiences about anything new. How professionals do it is they reach out to PR agencies and for an amount have their content advertised on media houses or even social media pages with a good following.
13. Join marketplaces and coupon sites
This one is a more thrifty marketing strategy. Coupon sites and marketplaces are greater places to list your deals and exciting offers at. Lots of people are already there looking for affordable deals. All you have to do is make your bid and the leads are sure to follow.
14. Paid traffic
I know the word 'paid' is a little off-putting. But you have got to invest some in to get some in return. However, since it is an expensive option, it is only recommended for established creators. Once your business has stabilized and is making good profits, it is no harm to pay up to market your online courses. You can even pay Facebook, Instagram, or other social media platforms to advertise your courses.
Yaay! You have made it till the end of the article. This was a brief but hopefully helpful list of strategies to market your online courses. Put them to the test and see which works the best for your courses.