In today’s post, I’m going to answer the question, how do you market your online course? A lot of online course creators are experts in their field, but that does not make them experts at marketing. Marketing is an essential element when it comes to letting people know that you have an online course for sale.
Sadly, you can have someone with an awful course make great sales, because they are good at marketing. Then you have someone that has a great course that completely flops because they are awful at marketing. That’s just the way it is.
So unless you’re going to hire a marketing expert to do your marketing for you, you need to know the basics of marketing. You can listen to this content by clicking on the video, or scroll down to keep on reading.
First, you need to know that there is a difference between a marketing strategy and marketing tactics.
What Is A Marketing Strategy?
A marketing strategy is your overall plan to reach your marketing goals. In this particular case, how are you going to reach your customers and get them to purchase your online course? That is the overreaching goal. But you will also want to set other goals along the way. You’ll see what I mean later on in this post.
A marketing strategy contains several moving parts that all have different goals. You will have many marketing engagement goals, no matter what method you’re using to reach your potential students.
A marketing strategy starts with defining who your potential students are and where they are hanging out.
- What are they searching for on Google?
- Are they listening to podcasts?
- Are they reading blogs?
- What social media platforms do they frequent?
Once you have this information, you can start to create a plan to reach them.
A marketing strategy will also include things like your messaging. Find out what your students are really buying. Why are they wanting to buy your online course? It’s not the course they want to take, but the result they are going to get from taking it. They are buying a result or a transformation. You need to tailor your messaging around this idea.
There needs to be consistent messaging that speaks to the struggle your potential students are having, and how your online course will help them overcome those struggles. To get the results they want. You will need to choose a message that makes your online course stand out from others while remaining consistent with your brand. This basic messaging will be used in all your marketing, from your website to your social media and beyond. Now that you have an idea of what a marketing strategy is, let’s get into marketing tactics.
What Are Marketing Tactics?
Marketing tactics are the marketing strategy put into action. These are the activities you’re going to be doing to reach the overall goal of your marketing strategy. I know this sounds like doublespeak. Let me break this down with some examples.
The overall goal of your marketing strategy is to sell your online course. You did the research, and found out that your potential students primarily hang out on Pinterest. Running a Pinterest campaign would be a part of your marketing strategy.
How you run it would be your tactic. What kind of pins you post, how often you post pins, and what you want those pins to accomplish would be a tactic. This is where other goals come in. For your Pinterest strategy, you would want to have goals. Your goal could be that you want 500 people to sign up to your email list. Your goal could be that you want 500 people to click over and see your sales page. These are things that you need to decide before you plan your tactical approach.
Goals rarely change in the middle of a marketing campaign, but you may need to adjust your tactics to reach those goals. That is why you set goals for each, to measure how you are doing, and adjust your tactics as needed. Marketing funnels are a big part of marketing strategy for online courses.
What Is A Marketing Funnel?
A marketing funnel is basically the path that your students take to go from finding you to buying from you. This path is going to look different for each and every online course creator. It is based heavily on what you learned about your potential students during the planning phase of your strategy.
So, let’s go back to that example of your students on Pinterest. You need them to get from seeing your pin on Pinterest, to buying your course on your sales page. One approach would be to do this directly.
Let’s say they find a pin with a direct link to your buy page on Pinterest, but they don’t know who you are and don’t trust you yet. In that case, you need to make another marketing level to build trust up at a higher level of the funnel. This is where things like lead magnets, webinars, email marketing, all come into play in your funnel.
- They see a pin with a helpful lead magnet
- They get a free download that puts them in your email list
- You send them some helpful emails to build that trust.
- After a few emails, you tell them about your online course.
Now this is a very simplified funnel design, and not the best fit for all online course creators. You need to tailor it for your course and for your potential buyers.
The basic idea is that each and every level of the funnel represents a relationship level that you have with your potential buyer. You need to have different content for each and every level. Your super fans who are already on your email list and by everything you come out with are not going to need a barrage of emails sent to them. The people who have never heard of you over on Pinterest, are going to take a lot more convincing to purchase from you.
Structuring your market in a way that appeals to all different levels is important. You may have a few people who are already on your email list, but will still need some convincing that your online course is right for them. Setting up different emails based on which emails people open and click can help you sort this out. Fortunately, there are a lot of automation tools out there that can help you do just that.
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Marketing Tools For Online Courses
What are some of the marketing tools that you can use to help you market your online course? It all starts with the plan. Planning your marketing strategy can be as easy as a pen and paper. You can also use a whiteboard and post it. If your marketing is primarily online, or you’re going to have somebody helping you virtually, choosing an online solution would be a better fit.
I personally use Trello to organize and plan all my content. It has a calendar feature that lets me see what is going out on what days. And it lets me schedule post updates and deadlines. It also sends me reminders of things that need to be handled on a particular day. There are other online tools you can use for this like air table or Monday.
To save you time, you will also want to schedule your post on social media and your emails. Most email marketing programs have a scheduler built right in, so that leaves social media.
There are a ton of social media schedulers out there like Buffer and CoSchedule. But not all social media websites are friendly with those tools. You will find the best way to schedule content to go out is by using the built-in scheduler on the platform if they have one. Facebook, YouTube, your website blog, and several others will let you schedule your marketing right on the platform. If the platform you are marketing yourself on does not have this, do a bit of digging and see what others are using.
I’m an active user on LinkedIn, and LinkedIn hates schedulers. They also don’t have a scheduler built in. The way I get around this is I have a LinkedIn board in Trello, where I write up and schedule my post. I will get a notification from Trello when the post is due to be posted. I will then go into Trello copy and then paste it directly into LinkedIn. Yes, this means I need to log into LinkedIn and do it manually. But, I usually spend 20 minutes a day interacting on LinkedIn anyway, I can do this at the exact same time.
Just having it all written out and planned is the biggest part of the battle. If you wait and try to come up with snappy marketing copy on the day you want to post it or send it, it might not come out as good. We all have times when we’re clear in the head and better at writing or recording our content.
Once you have a marketing plan laid out, plan a time to write all that marketing content and get it all scheduled. This will save you a lot of stress when it comes time to market your online course. If you are looking for a little more help, feel free to reach out to me. I am always excited to help online course creators get past the barriers holding them back.