Why should I bother with marketing?
Marketing is the only vehicle to get your course out of your office to the learner’s workspace! Marketing is as easy as sending an email and as tough as organizing an orientation seminar on the course. The challenge, common to both marketing strategies, is attracting the learners and stakeholders and convincing them that you have a great value in store for them. How would you accomplish that?
Considering your meager exposure to marketing, let alone your first attempt at developing an eLearning course, how can you push this course across all barriers?
Think over the learning goals of your eLearning course. Write them down. Think about the organization’s learning needs. Jot them down next to the learning goals. What you have there is a potential, in-the-raw marketing campaign. Combine them together to demonstrate value in terms of ROI and job performance. Don’t forget the Public Relations team. Rein them in for more productive marketing ideas. Now you know where to begin!
Remember your audience
When you designed your marketing campaign, who did you have in mind? What was your aim? Obviously, the answer to the latter is to convince learners that your eLearning course will change their life. However, without knowing your audience/learners you won’t be able to accomplish much.
Talk to operational managers and team leads to learn more about your learners – the employees. Is there a learning preference? For example, can they read and write at college level, or do they depend on visual cues to perform? Factors like these will make or break your course design. Establish learning goals that are measurable (getting at least 80% correct in quizzes).
Another fantastic method that has been doing wonders for us since elementary school, is public recognition. No matter who your audience is, what their background, deep down we are all humans, hungry for praise and recognition. Use these proven strategies to promote your course to your audience. Create a method to showcase the first enrollment and the first course completed. Award certificates they can brag about. Promise more projects for certified/trained employees. Provide a visually enticing professional development growth chart to your team. Deliver your promises. If there is anything worse than being inconsistent – it’s not practicing a recognition method at all!
How to run a successful promotion campaign
Get help from the communication department
Public Relations department in your organization is the key node of communication between you and the public. Get them involved in the initial stages of marketing. Use their expertise in tweaking the course cover and preview clips. Ask them to give you contacts of individuals in companies or freelancers who are successfully marketing their courses. Ask about how others are doing. While this is not your standard gossip topic – finding out how other organizations churn out impressive trainees should be common sense. Needless to say, a happy employee is a willing learner.
You can also ask teams to commit to a minimum number of training sessions per quarter. Follow up and gamify the course-commitment activities. Gamification is not new to businesses at all. Find out how you can gamify your company’s LMS or intranet to engage learners in lifelong learning practices. Your ultimate goal is to create a learning organization: An organization that updates regularly its practices and innovates. and gamify the course-commitment activities.
Live presentations, announcements
Organize a course promotion event within your company. Arrange for live presentations by VIP speakers within your organization. If possible, arrange for an external guest speaker as well, with your Public Relations department. Be creative in providing incentives to employees for attendance and participation. This event cannot be some boring meeting your employees “have to attend”. It has to be something they “want to attend”.
A great way to add motivation is to create course introduction images with real snapshots of employees. You read that right. Ask employees to pose for a photo-shoot for the course. Use these photos as your course cover. Want to take this up another level? Simply ask camera-loving individuals to pose for people cut-outs in your course. A bit of touch-up with a photo editor software and you can enhance these images and lose the background. What did we just accomplish here? We boosted participants’ morale and excitement.
We even aroused curiosity and the suspense around the course that will be “coming soon”. Now you can sit back and enjoy watching employees star in their own show (course). Getting everyone involved goes a long way into coaxing the hesitant and unenthusiastic learners into enrolling!
Create emails with marketing banners and testimonials as discussed in the ROI section to promote marketing. Circulate images of successful employees who are happy with training. A great way to present your promises towards successful performance, is through special eLearning newsletters. These need to be short and more pictorial. We all know what too much documentation does to us. Words that don’t spur an action are a turn-off. Consider illustrating hard facts with illustrations and graphs. Show the prospective percentage of improvement before and after the course. Add testimonials from employees who have already taken the course. Some of these newsletters can be technical, where they will explain the course content, in order to increase the credibility of the course. They can also discuss specific improvements in bullet points, to demonstrate the value of the course.
Use the course learning objectives to develop these value-driven bullet points. Get the email list from the Human Resources department to circulate the newsletter periodically. Be consistent with this circulation. Share the latest developments and ask for feedback on what other courses your employees would like to see in the future.
Influence the influencers
When it comes to marketing courses within the company, no one can move things better than the president! That’s right! Do you want one man to move a mountain? Then get hold of the president of the organization (and a few more executives!). Request for some quality video-time. Shoot their video when they sing praises of the new course purchased/developed by the company. Have them provide the organization with the gritty details behind their personal success. A real-life story never fails to move the human in us!
Moreover, it’s inspiring to hear a success story. When key stakeholders talk – employees will listen! When they share their views on regular learning and how it helped them get to where they are (even Bill Gates was a regular learner – so what if he was a college dropout!) – employees will follow suit. If the chiefs-in-line will brandish the main features of the new training materials, by describing how it will help the learner grow, you can expect a rising enrollment chart. If presidents have the power to influence top managers, the operational managers have an equal power to influence the lower level staff to enroll and complete your eLearning courses.
Bear in mind that some tweaking will be necessary to adapt your eLearning course to lower level staff. Factors such as their educational background and technology management expertise will determine the delivery format of your eLearning course. Would they learn better in a blended/hybrid course? Do they desire an asynchronous session? Can they communicate online or do they need to talk to an actual course facilitator? You can receive answers to all these questions by involving operations managers. These people will enable you to add key changes in your course, that will help your lower level staff to comprehend and apply the content effectively.
Arranging for a course opening event is also advisable with operations managers. They will further provide invaluable tools to rein in maximum enrollees and attendees to your eLearning course. In the long run, your course attendance will translate into a “popular course” that will be further endorsed by the president and VIPs of your organization
Track the progress
Tapping into the analytics tools of your learning management system and harnessing the business intelligence criteria for measuring learner performance, you can easily track and make available the progress to your learners. Make sure you enable tracking of important LMS features, like course completion percentage, grades per assignment, instructor comments etc.
Also, create a regular feedback mechanism that is automated and timely. Reporting progress that is a week old is not going to do much for your learner. Deduce graphical representation for all your data and notify the learner through email. Reminders like “your next assignment is due on “this date”, “congratulations, you passed the quiz with “this score”, and “assignment revision requested” etc, keep learners informed of what is expected of them.