🎉Congratulations! You’ve figured out what kind of online course you’re going to create. And now, you’re ready to start enrolling new people and you need to do so in a way that makes them want to join your class, without forcing this decision upon them. Tricky, right?
You and I both have been on the receiving end of pushy marketing. On the other hand, we’ve also been on the receiving end of honest, genuine, fun marketing. We might not have even realized we were being “marketed to” because it was that good.
To effectively and promote your classes and fill your seats to maximum capacity, it’s important to take advantage of all the modern ways people learn about classes and events in a digital age. The first and most important step when you begin promoting your classes is identifying your customer. Understanding your audience is an important part of marketing your course. The process of finding your ideal customer, selling your course to him/her and ensuring that he/she buys from you again should be the central focus of promoting your classes.
To make comprehending this process easier, we’ve divided different marketing strategies into three categories. Let’s call these ‘After School’, ‘Young Adult’ and ‘Working Professional’. Each category caters to a specific market or target group and lists down what strategies work best for it.
1. After School 🎒
Kids have a lot of energy to burn. The buffer period between the end of school and dinnertime can be challenging to fill unless you have some fun and productive ways to keep the kids occupied. This category contains hobby-like courses catering especially to school-going children. That means dancing, sports, music, magic, robotics, coding, art and craft, etc. If your course teaches any of these subjects, or something similar, you need to be selling your course to the kids as well as their parents. Here’s how you can market it efficiently:
- Use of Social Media - An easy way to sell your course would be to circulate ads on social media. Kids these days are also quite tech-savvy and active on social media platforms. If you don’t have a budget as of now, fret not. You can use free design applications like Canva to make creative ads for your course post them in those “Mom groups” on Facebook or Whatsapp. If you do have some money to spare, find relevant influencers to endorse and pitch your course. You can use Adobe Illustrator to help create ads that will look effortless and enticing.
- Mailing Lists - A large majority of people check their mails on a daily basis. The most effective way to reach parents is by curating a mailing list. Once you do this, you can send our useful information about your course to these parents in the form of newsletters, announcements, tutorials, etc. These lists will also help you stay engaged with your customers and maintain an active relationship with them. Plus, you can offer discounts or promo codes (nobody can say no to those).
- Contributing to Publications - Online platforms like Medium and Write.as allow you to publish write-ups on their website as an independent author. If you want to get a more specific readership, try and publish on websites that are connected to your field of interest. Make sure that the articles you post are relevant to the subject you are teaching. For example, if you are a dance teacher, write about busting dance myths or things only a dancer would know. The basic idea behind this strategy is to slip in details of your course into your article. Maybe include a link to your online booking page or your social media handles in the end, so people can dig deeper into what you do and with any luck, sign up for your classes.
2. Young Adult ⛹️
Young adults, or teenagers, comprise one of the largest groups in your customer base and marketing to them is a million-dollar market. The easiest hack to market to them is to keep yourself up-to-date with the latest trends. This category contains both hobby-like classes as well as career-based ones. This will include everything from singing and dancing to math and accounts, from martial arts to content creation. If young adults are your target audience, you need to be marketing directly to them, but in a way that will bring their parents on-board too. Here’s how you can do that:
- Use of Social Media - In addition to posting ads for your course online, you will be required to dive into social media a little deeper if you want to communicate with teenagers. Teens are tech-savvy and often distrustful of advertisements, so if you want them to buy your service, you have to meet them where they are - that’s on social media. Create an account for yourself on social media platforms. Post relevant content, host live sessions on Instagram and Facebook for your students, engage with them through posts, stories and comments. Share bite-sized tips on Instagram (for example, after you host a live session, you can summarise any important points you mentioned in a line or two and share this as a post - remember to expand on your tip in the caption). If you can spend a little extra, invest in promoting your posts and advertisements to your target audience will see them more often. Once you get them to talk to you, they’ll also listen to you.
- Create a Youtube Channel - Did you know that Youtube is the second biggest search engine in the world? It processes over 3 billion searches a month. Imagine how many people you’ll be reaching if you post content here. While Youtube is something of a social media platform as well, it’s used majorly to share content in video form. Create a channel and use it to share useful videos that’ll help create a brand name for your business/course. If you don’t want to commit to a full-time channel, consider uploading promotional videos, tutorials or videos on industry news every now and then. Youtube has an in-built editing tool that allows you to create content seamlessly. Other than this, a number of easy-to-use video editing tools like Kapwing, Wistia and Loom have occupied a niche in the market. You can get customer feedback and engagement through comments, likes and subscribers.
- Start a Blog - If you’re planning on posting content about your course consistently, it’s only logical to create a blog for yourself. Grammarly, a free grammar check software, is a helpful little tool to give your articles the edge they may need. You can gain a lot of business exposure by posting on your own, independent blog on websites like Wordpress, Wix, Blogger or Webflow. You can share insights, course material or activities and assignments to build an interactive relationship with your students. Those who aren’t as keen on starting their own blog, or don’t want to take on that kind of responsibility, can create an account on Twitter and put out blog-like content in the form of Twitter threads. Bonus tip: you can advertise your blog on your social media accounts of vice versa.
3. Working Professional 🖥️
Whether you’re targeting people who are in the prime of their careers or people who are facing some sort of career stagnation and looking for a change, marketing to working professionals can be extremely fruitful for your business. This category mostly revolves around courses like finance, management, programming, marketing but also includes more extra-curricular courses like learning a foreign language or building culinary skills. Here’s how to get working professionals on board:
- Podcasts - While podcasts aren’t exactly new, they are time-saving, easily accessible and rapidly increasing in popularity. You can use Anchor, a recording and editing app to make your podcasts. Creating a podcast about your subject and sharing it on platforms like SoundCloud, Libsyn and Buzzsporut can lead to a huge growth in your audience. This will especially help cater to consumers who don’t have the time to read blog posts, watch lengthy tutorials or keep up with your social media handles. Bonus tip: you can embed your podcast within your blog for better circulation and SEO scoring.
- Linkedin - Most working professionals aren’t active on social media platforms like Instagram or Facebook. Linkedin is the most professional networking platform there is and creating a presence here can only be good for your course. You can connect with different professionals, communicate with people who are interested in your business and expand your network. While it is a free platform, you may want to opt for paid advertising on Linkedin, it greatly helps in delivering your content to a larger audience. You can also use Linkedin to share updates about your business and create an organic networking tree that will bring exciting business opportunities right to your doorstep.
- Mailing Lists - As mentioned earlier, email communication remains the most widespread tool of marketing. Sending mails allows you to directly engage with your customer, it is fast, inexpensive and is much more convenient for marketing to the working class. Create an email list of contacts you can frequently forward mails to. Most working professionals are constantly required to stay on top of their emails so they’re twice as likely to read that email you sent out, as opposed to that photo you posted on Instagram. For better email marketing, you can give platforms like EmailOctopus, ActiveCampaign and MailChimp a try.
- Webinars - Webinars are incredibly useful for communicating ideas and conducting workshops for your clients. Hosting a webinar also helps show the customer that you’re well-versed with your subject and know what you’re talking about. It also allows them to be active participants instead of remaining passive listeners. You can answer any questions they may have and get instantaneous feedback.
Barring this, a few more tips to promote your classes are -
- Offer a free introductory course for new customers. You can mention the offer code in an email or on your social media handles. The idea is to give away the introduction for free and at the end, invite students to purchase the entire course. It helps to give a little sneak-peak of what the main course has in the introduction itself.
- Create multiple courses that cover different aspects of your main topic and cross-promote them. For example, at the end of one course, mention the other courses you’ve created, that you think the students will find helpful.
- Set up sales funnels to influence potential clients and get them to enrol in your classes.
Creating great content is the first step in advertising your course but understanding how to promote your content most effectively is the key. As you can see, excellent marketing is all about appearing in the right place at the right time.
Once you have successfully created and marketed your course, you can also upload it onto websites like Udemy or Skillshare. And to manage and organise your online class, Reportcard is always here for you.