Whether you’re already delivering online course content to your target audience or you’re considering expanding on your existing products and services for the first time, knowing how to effectively market your digital course can mean the difference between a successful sale… and one that falls flat.
Like any new product launch, we start considering the go-to-market strategy for online courses as soon as we begin to scratch out the idea. When tailoring course content to meet unique customer needs, online courses should be considered the same as any other new customer offering and meet:
- A unique customer problem or need, and offer
- A simple, innovative solution, that has been created with
- The end customer experience, wants, needs, and preferences in mind.
If you’ve already created multiple courses and know that they will resonate with your audience, you’re in luck! You’re halfway to designing an effective marketing plan to launch with. Small business owners who are still coming up with ideas for their next online course should make a go-to-market plan that fits with the course’s content and product.
We’ll outline the process of aligning your new online course with your existing marketing strategy and goals below; however, if you don’t have a finished product yet, do not worry. You can still work through the same steps (while creating your online course) below.
Read on to learn more about why every brand or business should sell online courses to their customer base and how to extend your existing sales strategy when you market your online course.
Online Courses in Your Marketing Strategy and on Your Sales Page
Not in the business of offering digital products? You might be missing out on a profitable set of products and a chance to talk to your customers online. Among the many reasons product and service providers are constantly coming up with new ways to design an online course for their target market, we like that online courses can:
- Provide Customers with a New Way to Purchase and Experience Your Brand
Whether you’re a professional services provider, a brick-and-mortar store, or an eCommerce retailer, coming up with an online course can help customers engage with your business in a new way. From “How To” programmes to educational content about your products, services, or industry, most businesses have the opportunity to design a course that deep dives into their product, business, or brand and create an online course out of it. Another bonus? Highly engaged customers can interact with your brand in a new way—all the while opening up a new product (or product suite!) that they can buy.
- Automate Another Recurring Income Stream
Looking for a new way to bring income into the business? By expanding on your product offering with a digital product, you can reap the benefits of upfront investment, low recurring overhead costs, and a great profit margin. How so? Most businesses will put in time, money, and resources to design an online course upfront–knowing that once it’s published, they can take a back seat (or, at the very least, take a more hands-off approach) to product management and enjoy a new, recurring revenue stream. With fewer overheads costs and an entirely digital sales strategy, businesses of every type can enjoy a new profit funnel with limited day-to-day work.
- Help Create Brand Authority Status
Regardless of your industry or product/service offer, building your brand authority status within your industry can position your business as a go-to solutions provider for customers both off and online. From increased brand awareness to more online traffic, a digital course can be an excellent addition to your existing marketing strategy that helps attract and convert new target audience members with both your new and existing product suite. Think of it as an extension of your existing sales and marketing strategy in a way that can also increase your bottom line.
Sound good? Whether your simply looking for an additional sales offer or you want to create a new marketing funnel that can both bring in new customers and convert to new sales, we know that a digital course is an excellent (often untapped) opportunity for most businesses
Read on to see how you can integrate your digital course with an existing marketing plan so you can kick start new sales without having to start entirely from scratch.
How to Integrate Your Online Course into Your Sales Page and Marketing Plan
Regardless of whether you’re setting up shop for the first time and going to market with an online course or you want to extend on your existing product offering, online courses can both act as an extension, and complement, your existing sales and marketing plan. How?
- Reviewing Existing Goals
If you already have top-level marketing strategies designed for your business, we suggest giving it a review to take a closer look at your marketing goals. From increased brand awareness to achieving a set amount of target market share, all products (including your new online course) should act as a means to achieve these goals. Once you know what you and the business are striving for, we recommend identifying which goals your online course can help achieve and how.
An example of this includes: increasing online brand awareness by gaining an additional 1,000 social media followers. In this example, the online course can act as a marketing funnel to attract new online traffic as well as a new course of income.
- Reviewing Existing Platforms and Funnels
Once you know what goals you want to achieve and how your new online course can help you achieve it, you should look at all of the available marketing platforms and funnels currently used by your business and identify which is the best for reaching this products’ target audience.
Remember: digital courses are just like any other product and should be marketed toward a specific niche and target audience. Considering their online behaviour, likes and dislikes, and preferences, we recommend selecting 1-2 marketing platforms (in addition to your website or eCommerce platform that will host the accrual sale) to connect with your ideal course buyers.
Unsure where to begin? Go back to the drawing board with your ideal target audience market and customer personas. From here you should be able to identify where your ideal online course buyers are most likely to frequent online as well as the other marketing channels where they’re most likely to see, and respond to, your new sales page offer and marketing message.
- Connecting End Target Market to End Goals Using Funnels (and Platforms)
Found your online hot spots? With the following identified:
- Top-level business and marketing goals
- How the new product (your online course) can help you achieve these goals
- Where you’ll best find and connect with new course buyers
It’s time to put all of the pieces together. Read on to learn how to review your new product and incorporate the new offer into your existing marketing efforts.
Reviewing and Actioning a Digital Marketing Plan for Your Online Course
The time is here! You know what, how, where, and why you’ll be marketing your new online course. If you’re new to business, this may be your first time selling online courses to customers; however, if you’re already set up and selling to users online, this new marketing plan may crossover with existing campaigns.
Among the top marketing strategy features you’ll want to craft to get your new course to market, there is
- The New Sales Message
If you have existing products then the new online course should be solving a different problem for your customers and come with a new sales message or offer. For new businesses, this may be the first sales message you present to clients–if this is you, consider exactly what their problem or need is and how this online course solves it. We suggest working through this until you can summarise the problem and solution statement in 1-2 lines.
- Updated (or New!) Collateral
While it’s all well and good to know exactly what the sales message is, you’ll probably want to dress it up a bit in line with the campaign design. If the marketing creative is an extension of the product itself–great! If you haven’t considered this yet, the campaign creative should fall in line with your target audience wants, needs, and expectations–as well as the unique platforms you’ll be marketing on. (For example, there should be similarities between marketing on a website versus Facebook–however, each platform offers users a different experience and should differ in their design.)
- A Clear CTA
Regardless of your chosen marketing medium, a clear CTA (call-to-action) is a must. This may differ based on the platform–the CTA for Instagram may direct users to the website whereas the website or sales page CTA may be a clear offer to buy. If you’re using multiple platforms, each should always include a CTA that directs users to the end point where they will actually convert and buy the product. (Assuming that is the campaign goal.)
- Set Up Marketing Metrics at the Start
This doesn’t have to be complicated, but we highly recommend identifying exactly how you’ll measure the success of your new marketing efforts. (We appreciate “how many sales you convert” is one clear metric, but it doesn’t have to be the only one.)
Whether you’re familiar with SEO, Google Analytics, or tracking Instagram impressions, we suggest choosing 2-3 ways you can track the success of your marketing efforts. When you’re first promoting online courses, we also recommend that each metric track a different success marker, such as:
- Instagram impressions
Has your paid ad identified the right target audience and is it reaching potential customers?
- Website click-through-rate
Are viewers clicking through your ads to visit the website?
- Conversion rate
From landing page and website visitors to actual sales, how many of these potential buyers are converting to paid customers?
These would be simple metrics that are included with most social media channels, website sales pages, or marketing platforms that would be easy to review for even small business beginners.
Marketing with Multiple Touch Points
One last word of note before we head off–whether you’re a seasoned business owner launching a new product or a newbie starting with an online course for the first time, it’s highly recognised in the industry that online consumers need multiple touch points to convert to a paying customer.
What does this mean? In short, because online users are now inundated with huge amounts of messaging everyday, it can take between 7-20 ‘touch points’ with a new brand through social media, email marketing, or course sales page for a new lead to convert from a newbie to successful online customer. We appreciate that seems like a long journey from point A to B–but it’s also why we highly recommend choosing more than one marketing platform to go-live on. (The more ‘touch points’ new leads have with your brand on platforms frequented by your ideal target audience, the more quickly they become familiar with your offer and can begin to interact.)
Instead of relying on one paid Instagram campaign to attract, engage, and convert social media users to paying customers, it may take multiple instances of viewing your paid ads, connecting with your social media profile, following through on CTAs, and reviewing the website before they decide to pay. Don’t worry if this happens to you–it’s expected and should be considered in your sales timeline.
Learn About Online Course Sales with Edge Marketing
If you’re new to online marketing strategies, our team knows the ins and outs of marketing for online business, search engine optimisation, marketing online courses, and more. A leading Australian agency, the Edge Marketing team is committed to helping big brands and small businesses boost their online and social media presence no matter their experience, budget, or resources.
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