Strategies and Techniques for Marketing an Online Course Offering

Businesses should always be looking for ways to develop additional revenue streams, especially when they’re natural to the core value offerings already being presented. And while there are many different options for creating alternative revenue streams, one option that’s conducive to growth is educational courses and training.

The Value of Offering Training Courses

Offering education and online training courses certainly isn’t for every business, but it does work well for some businesses. Consider the following fictional examples to get an idea of what we’re talking about.

  • RentFamily has built an incredibly successful online community that helps landlords connect with respectable tenants, facilitates payments, and handles complaints. RentFamily could develop an online training course that teaches other businesses and industries how to build, launch, and market online communities.
  • ABC Marketing helps clients develop social media strategies that work within their respective industries. The company could then launch an online training course that teaches businesses how to create their own professional video content for networks like YouTube, Periscope, Snapchat, and Vine.
  • Baseball Warehouse Inc. sells baseball gear – such as bats, balls, uniforms, gloves, and training aides – to amateur players. They could then launch an online training course that teaches coaches and parents drills and techniques.

As you can see, virtually any business can launch an online training course and create an additional revenue stream. There’s obviously a fine line to be walked when launching these training courses, though. You want to create an additional revenue stream without cannibalizing your core offering. Make sure you research the possible effects before making any permanent decisions.

3 Marketing Tips and Techniques

If you’re going to spend a lot of time developing an online training course, you need to make it worth your time. Strategic marketing will play a crucial role in the successful monetization of the course. Here are some tips and real world examples.

1. Develop a Hook

Rarely will you convince someone to sign up for a paid online course without giving them something in return. The best way to encourage signups is to offer a hook. This could be a sneak peek, free bonus, or anything else that enhances the value of your offering.

DataCamp, a leader in online data science courses, has mastered this aspect of marketing. They offer the first module of every course for free. Since they’re confident that the majority of users will finish a course after starting, this ends up being a profitable approach. Your hook could look different, but there needs to be something that entices users from the start.

2. Gather Social Proof

People trust information that they perceive as being reputable and highly esteemed among their peers. When marketing a course, you can leverage this desire for confirmation and approval by incorporating elements of social proof into your marketing materials and landing pages. There are many different options, but the most popular techniques include:

  • As seen in. You’ll notice that a lot of successful online courses leverage their past media mentions. Take SEO BOOK, a leader in search engine optimization training, as an example. The course landing page features an “As Seen In” section with logos from reputable names like PBS, Forbes, CNN, and more.
  • Another great option is to use testimonials or quotes from actual users. DataCamp does this at the bottom of its course pages by offering simple quotes and stories that are accompanied by headshots for maximum efficacy.
  • If you have statistics, reports, or data, you can use these numbers to increase trust with your target market. For example, a quote like “900 of our 927 students have given us an A+ rating” can be tremendously effective.

By incorporating as many of these social proof techniques as you can, you’ll automatically enhance the perceived value of your course. It’s a great way to encourage users to overcome their initial hesitancies.

3. Use Your Existing Contacts

The third tip is simple: Use what you’ve got. You probably already have an email marketing list that you’ve built from your existing business. Use these contacts and send out targeted email campaigns that drive traffic to your courses.

Putting it All Together

Businesses constantly need to be on the lookout for additional revenue-building opportunities. And while you don’t want to compromise your existing business model, adding an online course may be productive. Keep these marketing tips in mind as you brainstorm opportunities for growth.

About Larry Alton

Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

2 Responses to Strategies and Techniques for Marketing an Online Course Offering

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