Andrea Vahl specializes in social media advertising and is a co-author of Facebook Marketing All-in-one for Dummies.
This is the 80th session of Smart Brand Marketing.
Andrea teaches how to become a social media manager. She manages FB ads and does stand up comedy. That last part helps her get speaking gigs. I was especially interested in how she markets her online course. We went over her exact funnel so listen in for that.
When it comes to online courses. Try to have a waiting list and launch every couple of months instead of keeping the course open at all times.
Press play to find it why.
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- Stand up comedy
- Teaching vs doing
- Online course launches
- Dealing with clients
- How she markets her services
- Focus and essentialism
The Art of Marketing an Online Course
You already know what kind of online course that you want to create. Better yet, you may have already created it yourself and are just itching to publish it as soon as you are able to.
Here’s the problem, though. How do you go about convincing other people to enroll without being too pushy to the point that you are figuratively holding your potential students at gunpoint just to get them to sign up? Or how can you build up interest for your course way before it is even published?
This is where marketing comes into play and marketing an online course does have its demands. However, pulling off a good one can be so easy that anyone with even minimal marketing experience can do it themselves. In fact, the best online course marketing campaigns don’t even feel the audience is being marketed to.
Believe it or not, marketing an online course begins right at the moment you decide to make one. After all, an important requirement in making any marketing campaign successful is identifying the people you will be marketing to and how you can propose any value to them. It’s also important that you properly communicate to your team as to who the course is going to be marketed to and how so everybody will be on the same page.
First things first, you’d have to have a vision of what your students are going to like. What are their purchasing behaviors? What kind of problems do you think they need to have solved? Identifying the kind of people you’d want to be enrolled in your course will save you a lot of time and money once you start marketing it.
For instance, you might be creating a course on how to invest in real estate. From that concept alone, you’d have an idea as to the kind of people this course will be marketed to. Once you have a general sense of how your students will look like, it’s time to start segmenting them into different segments which leads to the next point.
2. Customer Personas
In its most basic terms, a persona is a more specific profile of your customer base. As such, you may come up with 5 different customer personas from 1 profile. So, if your customer profile for your supposed real estate course are, well, people who own real estate or want to venture into the field, then your customer personas are either those that are new to real estate, those who want to expand on their investment portfolios, and those that want to save what they feel to be is a bad investment.
Segmenting your larger customer profile into smaller personas is important as you would rather craft a message that will target the needs of those people. This doesn’t mean that you have to create 5 different courses for 5 different personas. It just means that you must craft your course in a way that all the needs and goals of each of your personas are going to be met or, at least, addressed to the best of your ability.
3. Differentiating Your Course from the Competition
Competition is one of the biggest challenges any course creator will face. Chances are somebody else has covered your topic providing roughly the same solutions. So, if a lot of courses are saying roughly the same message, the next best course of action you can take is to make your offer stand out by giving it something that will make it different from other courses.
Differentiating your course from the competition can be done in three ways which are as follows:
- Testing – You have to make sure that your products work before you publish it. Go through the course itself and find out how it solves each of the needs that your personas and allow them to meet their own goals.
- Optimizing – Even if your course already passes standards, there is still a chance that you can improve on it. Mind how organized your course is as people tend to enroll in courses that look professional more than those that look amateurish. It would be best to monitor the potential impact your course has from module to module and iron out any issues as you go. After all, it’s best that you address your own mistakes before another person notices them.
- Making it Mobile-Friendly – Accessibility is a major draw for any online service nowadays. As such, it would be best that you make your online course optimized for mobile platforms. There are tools out there that allow you to create a course that can be viewed from mobile or convert an existing one to become mobile-friendly. The more people can access your course, regardless of what device they use, the bigger it’s potential income will be.
The Rules of Promotion
Before you go about learning different strategies to promote your online course, there are a few rules that you need to be aware of. It’s not that these rules are set in stone to the point of being doctrinal, it’s just that they strategies that follow these principles tend to succeed more.
1. Sales Funnels Matter
There are only two goals that you can achieve in the Internet: get famous or earn money. When it comes to online course, it’s not enough that you amass a legion of fans. Those fans have to convert into paying customers i.e. students if you want course creation to be a sustainable business model for you.,
Your sales funnel should follow the scheme of 1. attracting people, 2. nurturing a relationship with them, and 3. offering them something that you can be certain that they will find value in. This should provide for an easy to follow narrative of how you can turn a problem a person might be encountering into an opportunity where they can learn and you can, well, earn.
2. It’s About Service, Too.
“Now, what a minute” You may ask “Isn’t it all about making sales?” That would be true but you cannot hope to earn from your online course if you don’t have the right message in your promotion. Frankly speaking, your target audience does not give a damn about what goals you have set for the course itself. You might have painstakingly organize these goals but if does not resonate with them, it’s worthless.
Your promotion should answer a very basic question that your audience will have: What’s in it for me? This means that the core of your message should revolve around the value that the course offers to them. Don’t dictate to them the value that they should get from the course. Let your audience determine for themselves what value they can draw from it. The point is that you give them an opportunity to change their mindset with the solutions that your course offers.
So How Can You Promote Your Courses?
There are several ways that you can build up interest for your course. Now, the strategies below rest on the assumption that you already have established a network for your business or brand. If you have not yet done that, then it’s best that you expand on your brand’s reach first before applying these strategies.
1. The Live Stream Teaser
Give your potential students a taste of what your course offers by going to a live streaming platform like Periscope, Twitch, and Facebook Live and then share tidbits of your upcoming course. You can even use the live stream to discuss topics that will be relevant to your site or establish what you are trying to achieve with the upcoming course.
To do this, find 5 of the easiest topics that your course contain and form a script around them for your stream. The topics should be covered by no less than 15 minutes to get viewers interested on what your course will offer without getting overwhelmed by the details. If possible, don’t take entire chunks of your course and then put them together for your live stream. After all, you’d rather not spoil a bulk of your course; for free to boot.
2. Instagram Tips
This is similar to the live stream but with a more visual approach. How it works is simple: you take one of the solutions that you offer on your course, divide into bit-sized tips, pair it with a pretty picture, and the post it on Instragram. The beauty here is that not only are you building interest with such posts but you are effectively creating content that is share-able which drives traffic to your site even before the course is ready to be published.
However, you might want to cater to those who want more elaboration from your tips and you can do this at the description tab. Just expand on what that tip discusses. You can even segue into a call to action by telling people to subscribe if they want to learn more of this topic. Also, make sure that the images you use are eye-catching but not ugly. You’d want to have a pairing of eye-catching imagery with helpful content, after all.
3. The Mega Blog
If you are into blogging, why not dedicate a large blog post that covers much of the topics that will be covered in your course while also leading into the same? The blog post can serve as a mini-course in itself, giving viewers the basics of what you offer while holding off on the meatier, premium content for the actual course.
At this point, you must hammer it to your audience that the topic you are about to cover is important and that they should learn it as soon as they can. Including a worksheet or any other document that will be important in the upcoming course will give the impression to your audience that you know what you are saying, generating more interest from the audience and, of course, credibility on your part.
However, what you must avoid doing here is to taking too much time perfecting your blog post. This is just the introductory part of your upcoming post so if you left anything out, it’s understandable. Let your course cover the topic in more detail. Just make sure that you upload your blog posts on a daily basis to maintain traffic in your web pages.
Gamifying your promotion is one way to generate interest for your course while keeping your social engagement at a high. Don’t be intimidated by the name, though, as incentivizing/gamifying your promotions is not as hard as you might think it is. What it requires for you is to come up with challenges of sorts to encourage people to participate with the promotions for the course. The reward here should be simple but considerable like discounts on enrollment fees (or a limited free enrollment if you are that generous), a physical reward like gifts that can be decided on a lottery, or even early access to your content.
The goal here is to get everybody’s attention and make them feel like they have something more than the initial value you offer to get from your upcoming course. Aside from that, this should allow you establish connections in the market which eventually will become a self-sustaining community of people who will not hesitate to consume whatever you have to offer. Either way, you can make your effort promoting your course worth it in the long run.
Have you tried promoting your online courses? What other tools and strategies have you come up with generating hype/interest for your online courses? The comments section down below is always open for all sorts of discussions.
ANDREA IN ACTION
THANK YOU FOR LISTENING!
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