We have been developing courses for clients and recently started selling our own, but it is difficult to get online purchases. Any tips?
It's a competitive market for online programs and takes concerted effort to make a splash and get noticed. Before providing tips since there's little context, here are some questions for you:
1. Do you have a platform/audience already developed who want the courses you've developed?
2. How did you launch the product? Putting a sales page up isn't enough. Your targeted audience needs to be primed to know that the product is coming, what it does for them, when it's being launched and then told it's available.
3. Follow up, follow up, follow up. Without out consistent reminders, your audience moves on because there's someone else promoting their online course.
Building and nurturing your audience is the primary and ongoing activity that will create demand. Your calls to action, urgency and keeping your courses top of mind will help keep sales consistent.
If you'd like to discuss a strategy and specific tactics for your products, feel free to schedule a call. I've been working and marketing on the web for 19 years and have seen a lot of tactics come and go, and it comes down to haveing a solid foundation, an audience for the service/content you're selling and a consistent way to connect with them.
The most successful Elearning content strategies I have seen involve opt-in pages and then automated email sales funnel that convince the users of the value of your product. If they don't buy now, they will convert before your 7 Day barrage of emails is done.
And once they do buy, you have a different automated
Campaign that checks on them to see how they are doing and let's them know you are available for more learning.
A lot will depend on the *details* of what you are offering and price points, your existing network or networks you have access to and how your material is relevant to them. Generally, higher price point requires a longer funnel.
Is it difficult because you don't have traffic to the sales point, or is it difficult because once there people are not accepting your offer? Or both? (Do you have clear web analytic data to draw from?) Is your price too high? Is your funnel too short? Is your content not convincing? Are you trying to solve a problem that people don't really have, or not enough people? Are you solving a problem people really have, but not describing it in a way that people recognize? Is someone else doing it better?
To share some things that have been on top of my mind, and that I am working on developing while working with clients on designing, launching, marketing online courses:
- Think about marketing inline with how we about being an educator.
- Who will benefit most from the insights, skills we are providing? Do we really understand who they are quite well?
- Do we understand the problems (in detail) they are trying to solve—and how they describe those problems in their own language?
- Can we show convincingly—with real numbers—why the offering represents a better educational investment than other options?
Given the above kinds of considerations, a few directions I've been working with clients on:
- Offering a free mini-course that draws from the paid course.
- From understanding the potential ideal audience, reach out using Facebook advertising (which for us has become a much better platform in the last year).
- A powerful hack combined with above: connect Facebook ads to conversion pixels for remarketing efforts and to build Look Alike audiences based on customer data. This is a longer run strategy.
- Find relevant influencers (people with fans, list subscribers, etc., who are in a related niche) . Make deals as needed. : )
- Find gems in keyword research. People may not be searching for the terms you think they are. Especially, if your course can have international reach.
- Bootstrap audience by posting adapted (possibly much shorter, specific) versions of a course where course-buying traffic is already being collected (Udemy, etc.). Link to fuller offerings.
What I am feeling now though is that I will talk to clients about investing up front into survey work to understand learners' real goals and ways of describing the issues. I find the same thing in doing keyword research: experts in their field are often surprised about what people are actually searching for. With understanding the audience and their needs clearly, investing in specific campaigns is likely to have much higher leverage.
It depends on the type of customer you're targeting.
If your courses are for professionals, you could try something like Paid LinkedIn Advertising, targeting people in jobs who could benefit from your courses.
If your courses are targeting students, you could try Paid Facebook Advertising, targeting people in interest categories related to the courses.
Search engines are highly competitive battlegrounds for eLearning and your user experience, value proposition, credentials and pricing all need to be excellent to win new business there.
Pre-roll video would be a good strategy - YouTube ads targeting content/videos related to your courses. This is a higher cost strategy however, because you'll need to produce the videos.
Wherever you advertise remember that learning is aspirational (emotional) - so I'd try to use messaging and calls to action which are anchored in emotion, as opposed to pushing pricing or basic benefits.