Are you interested in using online courses to grow your small business? If so, you’re not alone. Many business owners and marketers across all industries have decided to delve into the world of virtual learning. Some people choose to sell their courses; others use their lessons to generate leads and build authority.
When you look at the growth of e-learning, it’s not hard to see why people feel this way.
The Learning Management System (LMS) industry is expected to reach a jaw-dropping $28.1 billion by 2025. Similarly, 91% of shoppers say they want more interactive content from their favorite brands, which accurately describes online classes. So, this is the perfect time to find your footing and add online courses to your business plan.
Today, our goal is to share several strategies you can use to market your next online course.
Let’s get started!
Create a Coming Soon Page
One of the best ways to market your course before it launches is with a coming soon page. You’re likely familiar with this type of page if you’ve ever released a new product or service. A coming soon page is a great way to build hype around your class, which means you could see plenty of early sign-ups.
Several vital components make up a top-notch coming soon page.
First, you should talk about your course. You’ll specifically want to focus on what attendees stand to gain if they sign up. The way we see it, features don’t necessarily sell. However, if you can explain how users will benefit from the features, you’re more likely to find success.
We also like including a short teaser video from our upcoming course. Studies show that landing pages with videos get a whopping 80% more conversions compared to text-only pages.
I suggest including a registration form directly on your landing page. This strategy gives first-time visitors a chance to sign up for your class and join your email list.
Coming soon pages for your course can also help you determine what your subscribers want and expect from your online courses. Once people start signing up for their first lesson, you can send out a feedback form and learn more about your audiences’ goals and pain points.
After launching your course, you’ll want to turn your coming soon page into a regular product landing page so new visitors can continue discovering your online lessons.
Connect with Your Email Subscribers
Email marketing is one of the best ways to grow your small business and sell your online course. We showed you how to get more email subscribers with a coming soon page in our last tip. But you can also market your course to existing email subscribers.
The people who have signed up for your list are genuinely interested in your products, services, and content. Simply put, these folks are more likely to open and engage with your messages.
It’s worth mentioning that not all of your subscribers will care about your course, which is why you should always segment your lead list. Segmenting means you’ve divided your audience into groups based on their specific needs and pain points. For example, an online pet store would segment its list based on the types of animals each person owns.
Segmentation allows you to personalize everything from your headlines to your offers. Research shows that when it comes to email marketing, personalization is the way to go. On average, marketers who take this approach see a 26% boost to their open rate.
The types of emails you send your subscribers to promote your course will depend on your industry and intentions. For instance, if you’re selling your lesson, you may want to host a sale price for “early bird” shoppers via your email list. This type of marketing can help you build an audience and secure sales before your course goes live.
Host Live Events on Social Media
Social media is an excellent place to build hype and sell your course. Believe it or not, almost 4 billion people use platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and a majority of these same people use their accounts to engage with their favorite brands. If you already have a substantial following, great! If not, don’t worry. There’s a good chance your target audience is out there waiting to hear from you.
When it comes to marketing your course on social media, you have several options to choose from. We’ve had tremendous success promoting our paid and free lessons through live social media events.
Webinars are the perfect opportunity to connect with your target audience and let them know about your lesson. Studies show that 43% of consumers want more video content. What’s more, video is also 50x more likely to drive traffic to your site. You can schedule your event on your platform of choice, then promote the stream to your subscribers across all marketing channels.
Again, the key here is to think about personalization. Let’s go back to the pet store example we mentioned earlier. If you have an online course focused on training puppies, you probably shouldn’t promote it during a webinar about taking care of new kittens. Cat and dog owners generally have different interests and needs, so you likely wouldn’t see much engagement.
On the other hand, if you’re hosting a webinar about fun ways to get exercise with your dog, this is the prime opportunity to promote your course. The people attending this event care about dogs, and therefore, would likely show interest in an online course that teaches people tips for taking care of their pups.
Invest in a Referral Program
Finally, once you start selling courses, you may want to consider starting a referral program. This strategy helps you spread brand awareness, build social proof, and secure more sales.
If someone bought one of your premium lesson plans and feels like they got their money’s worth, they will want to tell friends and family, even if there’s no incentive! You will see more brand engagement when you offer payments for new sign-ups (think affiliate program) or give returning visitors a discount if they refer a friend.
The type of referral program you create will depend on the kind of lesson you’re offering. So, if you’ve made a free crash course as a lead magnet, you could reward subscribers with a discount if they share a custom link with their friends.
Paid online lessons benefit from affiliate-style programs where students are rewarded for getting more people to sign up to take your class.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to market online courses to your target audience. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in or how many classes you’ve taught. If you have impactful knowledge that you think would help your customers, don’t hesitate to add online courses to your existing marketing strategy.