Do you dream about launching your own online training course?
Creating your own online training course is just half the battle.
If you want to monetize your course, you’ll need to market it successfully, too.
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Here’s the problem: The Internet is awash in free “knowledge”. From Slideshare presentations to YouTube videos, it’s easy to Google your way to just about any piece of information. The veracity of this knowledge is another story, however. When it comes to marketing your online training course, you’ll face two key challenges: standing out from the competition and establishing yourself as a credible, authoritative source.
Recently, I sat down with entrepreneur Mike Bundrant, who founded the internationally accredited iNLP Center. Mike is on track to hit $1 million in annual sales for his online training courses. He’s just launched his latest online sales training course to help sales professionals become top leaders by mastering the art of non-verbal communication, personal influence, and persuasion. And before launching iNLP Center four years ago, Mike will be the first to tell you he didn’t know a single thing about web design, coding, or digital marketing. But he did know he needed to build a strong reputation for educational excellence from day one. Here’s how Mike built his business, and you can, too.
1. Establish Online Authority Through Thought Leadership
Google any business problem and you’ll get a flood of information: some useful, some outdated, and some that’s just flat out wrong. Finding accurate, reliable and easy-to-understand online training tutorials is a whole lot trickier. Assume that folks who are first arriving on your website will be a bit skeptical of your credentials, as they should be.
Why should they trust that your online training will deliver like you say it will? You’ll need to “prove” your knowledge: blog posts, white papers, and even a free eBook download are all great places to start. You can also tease out information in your blog posts. For example, you could list 5 tips for building a stronger social media presence… and tease out 5 more that will be covered in-depth in your online training. I also recommend being active on Quora, where your contributions to answers help “prove” that you’re knowledgeable about the subject at hand.
2. Target Through Social Media
Promoting your business and your brand is vital to getting your name in front of potential customers and clients. Social media is ground zero for building your reputation and connecting with potential customers. Selling an online sales training course? Tweet a series of shorter sales tips to followers, share a teaser preview (a short Vine or video on Instagram), and host a hashtag Q&A on Twitter. Mike freely admits to not knowing much about social media marketing before launching his iNLP course online; today, Mike says that Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are some of his biggest traffic referral sources.
3. Build Your Opt-in Email Marketing List With Teaser Materials
Is your email list closer to 10 people than 10,000? Not to worry! When Mike first got started with iNLP, he had a grand total of zero folks on his email list. Today, he’s grown the list to over 150,000 engaged opt-in subscribers with industry-leading open rates and click through rates. You can, too. Start collecting names and email addresses when you “give away” your knowledge via white papers or eBooks.
It’s standard practice for companies to collect basic information (first name, last name, email, business industry) before granting access to a free eBook or white paper download. If you do plan to use the mail for marketing purposes (which you should feel free to do), just be sure to send a welcome message first that gives folks the opportunity to opt-out of correspondence. You never want people to feel as if they’re being spammed.
Building a successful marketing program for online training courses will take time. Like any business, you’ll need to build your brand, establish your credibility, and grow your subscriber base. There’s no need to re-invent the wheel, however. Capitalize on the material you’ve already created and “atomize” this content into “snackable content”. It’s a great way to tease out your courses and hook prospective customers.