Designing and launching an online course can be hard work. Unfortunately though, that is only the first step.
Success in any business depends on how well you market your product. The more people you reach with a targeted product, the higher your chance of connecting with your audience and making a sale.
Why Content Marketing?
There are dozens of ways to reach a targeted audience with marketing. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is among the most popular strategies. But using PPC is a recurring expense and erodes your margins.
Organic marketing strategies such as search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing are a lot more profitable. This is especially true if your strategy involves publishing multiple courses targeting the same target audience.
Your website’s authority in your industry heavily influences your success with these techniques, especially in the online course business. There, the sole reason your customer buys your course is because they see you as an authority.
Content marketing involves producing text, video, and visual-based content to draw an audience. It will help you demonstrate your credibility among your followers. This credibility in turn helps with converting them into paying customers.
How to Build Content for Online Course Marketing
To begin with, you must establish a content marketing strategy that aligns with your industry and audience. For instance, the best way for violin teachers to showcase their expertise is through videos.
A YouTube channel is ideal for this purpose. Stocks consultants, on the other hand, will want to publish market research reports or participate in webinars to demonstrate their expertise.
Once you have established your strategy, the next step is to create content. There are two ways to do so. An active content creation strategy focuses on establishing a schedule for content delivery and following a routine while publishing content.
Passive content creation strategies involve repackaging existing content to fit your marketing needs. Let’s take a look at some of the most common active and passive content marketing channels, as well as how to deploy them while promoting your online course.
Blogging can be an effective content marketing strategy to demonstrate your authority and build your brand. The first rule of blogging is to stick with a theme.
Stock consultants might, for example, pick their top stocks at the beginning of each day. Readers of this blog are thus likely to visit the blog every day for advice. Predictability is key to building a brand.
Businesses of all types have used YouTube video channels as a successful marketing strategy. YouTube is highly effective in industries where visual engagement is key to building authority.
In some ways, managing a video channel on YouTube is similar to running a blog. You must establish a theme and stick with it. Also, sticking to a schedule helps your followers come back to you on a regular basis. Building returning followers is critical to brand building.
There are a few other points to note while using YouTube to market your online courses. Given the sheer number of videos published on YouTube every day, retaining your viewers’ focus can be a big challenge.
Annotations and the video description fields are immensely valuable for nudging your viewers into following your channel or subscribing to your mailing list.
In addition to keeping your subscribers updated with your latest videos, annotations and description fields also help direct subscribers to a marketing pipeline where you can market your online course.
“Active” content channels such as blogging and video marketing help bring a targeted list of buyers to your course.
But you might also look at repackaging other content you have created for marketing your course. This tactic is especially useful for B2B businesses that invest in a lot of content creation beyond blogging and videos.
Businesses create a lot of video content as part of their marketing efforts. Webinars are essentially cloud-hosted discussions on industry topics that are of interest to the customer.
A company’s learning management system (or LMS, for short) also hosts a lot of other educational videos to help with the employee onboarding system. You can repackage such videos into content to market on YouTube or through your company’s blog.
B2B businesses routinely publish industry reports and surveys that target their audience. Such reports can be an extremely lucrative source for promoting online courses.
The results from such research studies may be repackaged as infographics that you can embed within your blog posts. Or you can make them into videos for your YouTube channels.
Using Content for Marketing Your Online Course
Once you have content, the next step is to make use of this content to market your online course. There are a couple of different ways to do so.
Direct promotion works if you have content that directly addresses a topic you have explained in detail in your online course.
For example, if you have an online course about mutual funds, you could discuss them in your blog post. Then nudge your readers to buy your course in order to learn more about mutual funds.
Content marketing strategies such as blogs and YouTube serve as platforms to draw a targeted audience to your website. You can then funnel your audience into your mailing list or newsletter where you can promote your online course.
This strategy is especially useful if you have several online courses targeting the same audience. A mailing list helps your business market all these courses to the same group of customers.
Some online courses can be hard to sell, particularly if they come with high list prices (usually over $100 per course). In such cases, you can make use of content to add value to your course material.
Research reports cost several thousands of dollars to publish and have a market price of several hundred dollars.
Your business can offer such reports as “bonus” content to customers who buy your online courses. Doing so raises the value of the product you’re selling and helps convert more customers to your online course.