Once your eLearning course is developed and ready to be published, you need to start thinking of it as a commodity. The principle is simple—the more people buy into what you’re offering them, the greater number you can expect to take the course. Read on to find out how to market your eLearning courses within your organization.
Why you need to market eLearning
As technology becomes increasingly accessible and we can create and produce high-quality digital materials without a specialist vendor, it's possible to miss a trick or two when it comes to the strategy surrounding your eLearning. Taking the time to drum up support and market eLearning to your internal audience can do wonders for the numbers through the course and how L&D is perceived in your organization.
To make people buy into your course, we need to deploy some tactics to market eLearning effectively to your internal audience. Implementing a marketing strategy for your course is key to ensuring your course doesn’t gather dust on your LMS.
If you don’t woo your audience with the benefits and personal value of your course, then you can’t be too surprised if you aren’t getting the results you were expecting. You could have built the best course in the world, but if nobody knows about it, how can they even consider taking it? Think of it like this blog: time has been taken to write it, so it will get promoted on social media, posted in relevant groups and forums to ensure that it finds its audience. The same should be true of your approach to marketing your eLearning.
What’s in it for me?
It will come as no surprise that while you’re building a course, you should be thinking all about your learners. As soon as you’re course is built, however, it’s time to think of them as consumers. Busy ones at that—their working weeks are predefined and will rarely let up, leaving little time for them to stop and think about their personal development.
In order to make your audience want to consume your course, you’ve got to make sure they’re well aware of what is in it for them. Some courses may be mandatory, but telling your workforce they have to complete it is hardly riveting. In this case, you should help them understand why mandatory or annual refreshers will benefit their performance and address potential weaknesses in the way that they work.
Learning isn’t cool
We might have designers, developers, and intuitive tools (like Gomo) to make eLearning content as interesting and visually pleasing as possible, but take it outside of your L&D peers and without the right marketing and messaging, staff could take one look at it and decide they want nothing to do with it. Make sure once the course is complete, you leave the learning theory, intricate workings, and other L&D-isms behind and consider how your audience will perceive it. After all, whether your course takes minutes or months, it relies on people taking time out of their day to complete it.
To make people want to take the time out, you need to tap into what motivates them and sell benefits related to that. Through speaking with line managers, you could work the course into being a part of personal development plans. This means that staff are looking to reach bigger goals by they look up to, which could, in turn, lead to a pay rise or a new job role they are working towards.
What's your message?
Today, it’s more evident than ever that the power is in our hands. The internet, connected technology, and the dawn of simplified tools are all proof that today, we are in control.
Consider eLearning; we can now build whole courses of learning through a browser, collaborating with fellow learning technologists in other global locations on the same project, storing data in the cloud to ensure a cohesive, collaborative building experience which, in the form of the finished course, ultimately benefits the learners your course is built to serve.
With the power firmly in our hands, it’s important to understand that once we've built it, it's our responsibility to ensure we're marketing eLearning efficiently. This can feel quite removed from L&D, and involves a completely new skill set, but the benefits associated make it worth your time.
As we mentioned above, you might think a course is out of this world from an L&D perspective, but if you aren’t marketing eLearning sufficiently with the right messaging, it’s probably going to seem like just another course to your audience.
We can’t stress the importance of marketing eLearning; it can really make the difference between a course you thought was good and a course that is great, with results to prove it.
Marketing eLearning messages
Just like the words you chose within a course, the language you use while marketing eLearning is really important. Decide on several statements which articulate the benefits of your course and refer to them throughout your marketing eLearning campaign. If your messaging is concise and appeals to your organization, interest in your course will begin to build.
It’s important to engage at all levels through all channels available, so you reach the right audience and hit them over the head with the messaging and benefits of your course at every opportunity. your learners are consumers and defining this messaging will help you sell your great product to them.
Marketing eLearning to influencers
The fact you’ve actually built the course means you already have the buy-in of internal stakeholders. Use this to your advantage and work out how you can get these (probably fairly senior) people to begin championing the course amongst their departments, peers, seniors, and juniors. Chances are, these stakeholders will represent different areas of the business, and could help spread your message into areas of the business you might struggle to tap into alone.
You are looking for the superstars of your organization; the ones who are widely known, well respected, and listened to. Whether it's a CEO or a head of department, getting key people on board can make your campaign gain traction much faster.
Every team, department, and organization will have their own
- Internal newsletters
- Management updates
- Team meetings
Find out about them and either post or appear yourself, or recruit the help of line managers and stakeholders to lend a hand marketing eLearning to individual groups.
If you have one, speak with your internal marketing team and find out what they think about your message and how you can get it out. After all, this is the sort of thing they do every day on a much larger scale.
A good product sells itself
Once you’re implementing the above, you have to rely on your course to do the talking. If your course is doing the trick and staff benefit from it, you can rely on further uptake through word of mouth, one of the oldest and most effective forms of marketing.
If your course proves a hit, look at feeding back the results to your organization to benefit future initiatives, or enter it for an eLearning industry award. The first time you go through the process of marketing eLearning may take a while, but just like any commodity, you can build from it with future products.
It does go without saying, though, that even with the best marketing, a bad course is still a bad course, and once you’ve enticed some internal consumers into becoming learners, a course needs to stand on its own two feet. To make sure they aren’t disappointed, you need to make sure you build responsive, adaptive content that you can output to an app store, an LMS, or internal website. This means that wherever your course lives, your internal audience can access it on any device they need to.
The importance of this cannot be stressed enough—consumers today expect nothing less than to be able to put down one device and pick up the same task on another, and learning should be no different.