Employee training has lots going for the business and employees alike. It boosts productivity and morale, helps attract and retain top talent, and drives career development. There’s lots of evidence out there to support all of this. That evidence won’t sell your training program internally, though. (It’s too dry. Too academic.)
But, no matter. You don’t actually need to promote training, because your program will sell itself, right? If a training course is optional, those who’re interested will join anyway. And if it’s mandatory, you can simply tell them to complete it.
Treat training like a done deal or a tick box exercise that requires little effort, and you’re wasting your time, your employees’ time, your budget, and a big opportunity. Here’s why.
Why market your training
Like you, employees are busy people. Behind the targets and day-to-day demands of the job, meetings, and outstanding tasks, they’d probably love to think about their own development. But they’re unlikely to make time for it.
Here’s where you come in. As well as designing and delivering a great training program, you need to nudge your way into your employees’ busy schedules so you can sell it, too.
Marketing training means being clear about value and relevance. But it also means generating interest and creating excitement. Keeping momentum and awareness high requires an ongoing commitment to market training—not just an initial burst of activity around the launch.
And with that commitment comes an investment of time and resources. But it’s worth it. Here are five reasons why:
[Spoiler alert: The good news is there are lots of resources listed below to help you build your communications campaign with minimal effort. So, keep reading!]
- Keep everyone in the loop: After spending time, money, and energy designing a training program and, possibly, investing in an LMS to deliver it, the last thing you want is for it to go unnoticed. With a marketing campaign, you can promote training and share any available training resources with stakeholders in every area of your business.
- Engage learners: Training shouldn’t feel like a distraction or workplace “noise.” With clear, compelling, and well-crafted marketing communications, learners will focus on what truly matters—learning. And engaged learners have better knowledge retention. So, your marketing campaign will help make learning stick, too.
- Increase user adoption: If you’re using an LMS for training, this is your chance to make sure your employees know how to log in and navigate the platform. It’s also an opportunity to promote online courses and share expectations around training. You can also suggest ways of scheduling training sessions into the day-to-day routine. And encourage learners to build their own learning path by choosing topics that interest them and support their career development.
- Foster a culture of learning: From actively sharing information with their peers to proactively seeking out new courses and topics of interest, effective marketing will prompt a shift from formal to informal training. And that signals the birth of your learning culture.
- Enjoy a higher return on your training budget: With a strong learning culture embedded in your organization and employees committed to developing themselves to meet personal and company goals, you’ll be able to demonstrate a healthy ROI. Because employees won’t see training as a mandatory task, but they’ll use their newly acquired skills to achieve better results.
How to market your training
When it comes to marketing, to get buy-in from your audience you need to demonstrate value. But people value different things for different reasons. Which is why, behind every successful marketing campaign, you’ll find a targeted approach to messaging.
Segmenting your audience means you can deliver tailored communications that resonate with each different group. In this instance, when you want to promote training, the three main groups you need to consider are senior leaders, team leaders, and your employees.
Getting senior leadership buy-in
One of your key stakeholder groups, your senior leaders will be looking at the organizational value your specific training program will bring. So, focus your messaging around how it’ll help future-proof the organization, improve processes, stretch targets, and raise performance.
And highlight any leadership skills (goal setting, coping with change, resilience) that your specific training will support. With them on board, you can use their “voice” to deliver some of your message for you—or even announce the launch of your program.
Having someone outside of L&D publicly support your program will give it extra credibility and independent authentication.
Getting team leader buy-in
One step closer to your largest audience, your team leaders play an important role in encouraging employees to make time for and complete your training program. But they’ll want to know the purpose of training and how it relates to their department first.
So, craft your communications with them around this. Show the link between your training program and skills development, improved employee performance, and team productivity. Give them talking points they can use in team meetings and provide clear instructions about how to access and complete the training program so they can help their team where required.
Another way to boost motivation and engagement at the team leader level is to design a reward and recognition scheme built around the achievement of certain training goals.
Getting employee buy-in
Having the support of leaders and team managers is important. But the ultimate success of your internal marketing campaign and your training program rests with the employees working in their departments.
The heart and soul of your training program, they’re the ones who’ll make time to complete it, engage with the learning goals, absorb the information, and then apply and share the knowledge they’ve learned.
And the way you market training will give them the motivation and means to do this. To maximize reach, you need to use a mix of channels—from intranet announcements to newsletters and posters. But to maintain momentum and effectively target and tailor your communications, your best friend is still an email.
Six essential email templates to promote training
Emails are an effective way of keeping in close contact with learners as they go through their learning journey. And if you’ve got a store of ready-to-go email templates you can call on whenever you need them, promoting your online courses is quicker, easier, and more consistent.
From announcing a new training program or LMS to training invitations and reminders, the following templates support the most common promotional scenarios. Download and save them. And when the time comes just add in the relevant details and press “send.”
And remember, if you’re using an LMS for training, remember to save your templates on the platform and set automated notifications so you don’t have to send emails manually every time you want to reach out to your teams.
1. Invitation to log in to your company LMS
If you’re using an LMS to host your learning and development program, one of the biggest challenges sounds like the simplest: getting everyone to log in and join online training sessions.
Having a training invitation email sample drafted in advance is the best way to know you’ve covered the crucial information: how your employees log in and why they should.
There are three different versions of this template which cover: onboarding new hires, a move from offline to online training, and the introduction of a new LMS. Why not save them all so you’re prepared whatever the scenario?
2. Announcement for upcoming training
One of the most common calls to action when it comes to promoting your training program is for learners to register for upcoming training and “save the date” in their calendar.
With two versions (one for in-person training, the other for online courses) this announcement for upcoming training is a versatile template you’ll use time and time again at the early stages of marketing your training. Just choose the appropriate version, pop in the relevant details, and you’re good to go.
3. Invitation to mandatory training
Organizing a mandatory training session comes with a unique marketing challenge: How do you spark learners’ interest? Using this template you can make sure you’ve included all the necessary info about the course, but also talk about why it’s essential, what it entails, and how employees will grow their skills and knowledge.
First choose from one of three templates depending on the delivery method (in-person training, live virtual training, or online asynchronous training.) Fill in the practical details. And then decide how to adapt the tone and language used to effectively deliver your message.
Yes, the training is mandatory and this message needs to be clear and assertively delivered. But there are ways of softening the tone so you can make this point without sounding overly strict or formal.
4. Invitation to a live training session
When it comes to organizing live instructor-led (ILT) training sessions, the two most common scenarios will be mandatory offline training and optional online training. There are templates and examples for both scenarios. If yours falls somewhere in between, pick the appropriate elements from each one.
To make these templates yours, you need to apply facts, but also a little flair. The facts speak for themselves. Just make sure you add them all accurately. How (and how much) flair you include is up to you and will be defined by your company culture and the type of training you’re running.
To help spark some ideas, we’ve included examples that illustrate two different tones and approaches: One contains mostly facts (a formal invitation to an offline, company-wide, mandatory, live training session). The other (a more informal invitation to an optional online presentation) has more flair.
5. Reminder to complete a course
If you want to give your course completion rate a boost, consider sending a notification before the expiration date. These templates are great for promoting online, self-paced eLearning courses.
When it comes to mandatory courses (especially those that are legally required), a reminder is not just a nice thing to do. It’s essential as it ensures people won’t miss important deadlines, putting your organization at risk. In that case, you may need to send more than one reminder. This template presents examples both for mandatory and optional courses.
6. Reminder to enroll in a live training session
If you’re hosting workshops and presentations—whether online or offline—you might also need to nudge employees who haven’t booked a seat yet. In this case, a reminder to enroll in a live training session or webinar will come in handy.
Just like when you’re reminding them to complete a course, this email should include essential info like the purpose of this training and important deadlines to keep in mind.
Mix it up
The backbone of your marketing campaign, emails are an effective way of promoting your training. They work in their own right as practical calls to action (for example, as a reminder to register or complete a course.)
But they can also generate interest, engagement, and excitement (for example, by sharing a sneak preview of your training program, a biography of the instructor, or feedback from people who’ve previously completed the course.)
Having said that, they aren’t—and shouldn’t be—the only channel in your marketing toolkit. To keep your training program front of mind, it’s important to vary your channels of communication. We’ve mentioned the obvious ones (intranet, newsletters, etc.), but don’t forget the biggest informal resource you already have internally—your people. They can participate in videos, presentations, meetings, and promotional material to champion your training program, provide testimonies, and share successes.
Promoting a growth mindset
It won’t happen overnight, but as engagement, adoption, and awareness of the value of your training program grow, so will a culture of learning throughout your organization. And it’s here where your efforts to promote training really start to pay off.
Fueled by a growth mindset and an experiential understanding that training can help them overcome obstacles, your employees will start to create their own development opportunities. Good news for you. Good news for them. Good news for your business.
And that’s the power of marketing.