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10 effective ways to promote an online course

A list of the main marketing tools that will help you market your online course and increase sales.

Have you just created an online course and think the hardest work is done? You are wrong. No matter how complete and didactically sound your course is, much of the success will be determined by your promotion strategies.

Figuring out how to market a course is not easy: you have to identify your target audience, understand their characteristics and buying habits and make sure that they not only discover your course, but are also interested enough to buy it. Easy? Far from it!

In this article, we will show you 10 ways to promote an online course effectively.

1. Content marketing

Content marketing is a marketing technique aimed at creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract and engage your target audience. There are many forms of content marketing. Let us look at some of them.

A blog allows you to create an archive of in-depth content with which to share your expertise and attract free traffic from search engines.

In order to make the most of the blog's potential, we recommend an editorial plan that deals with the main topics of your course(s) by dividing them into publication branches. Each branch should consist of at least 3-4 related articles that should contain internal links for better indexing.

Through these articles, you can then more easily intercept users' searches, provide them with valuable content and present your training offer.

A podcast is an audio programme, usually serial in nature with episodes, accessed through dedicated online platforms.
Since people like to consume content on the go, a podcast is the ideal tool to achieve more or less the same result as you would with a blog, but in a different medium.

The audience for podcasts on platforms such as Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts or Audible is huge. By publishing a podcast you therefore have a great opportunity to share your experience with all these people and make them interested in your course. You can structure the episodes of your podcast to tell interesting stories from your field, invite experts, answer common questions or shatter myths, anything that your audience might find interesting. At the end of each episode, mention your course and how it relates to the topic you discussed.

Video marketing
Videos are still one of the most popular formats on the web. Even in the case of training, therefore, you can exploit its potential to attract the attention of your audience and present your courses. How?
You could create 'behind-the-scenes' videos of your course, make short video interviews with teachers or former students, or make real course trailers

Creating a video channel allows you to reach people in very engaging ways. Also, once created, you can use the video for social media or for a blog article.

2. SEO optimisation

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the set of strategies aimed at increasing the visibility of a site by improving its ranking in the organic (non-sponsored) results of search engines (such as Google).

The basis of a good SEO strategy is 'Keyword Research', i.e. the identification of keywords related to the topic of your course that the public is searching for on the web.
Once the keywords have been identified, you should use them to optimise the pages of your site (course presentation sheets, blog articles, etc.) and exploit them in your content marketing plan. In doing so, remember that in SEO, quality always wins out over quantity.

For more on this, also read " SEO tips for selling courses online". 

3. E-mail marketing

E-mail marketing is a direct marketing strategy that uses e-mail as a means to communicate with its audience.

Implementing a DEM (Direct E-mail Marketing) strategy allows you to build stable relationships with your target audience, target them with specific messages and cultivate their trust. This, of course, as long as it focuses on valuable content.

Another great advantage of email marketing is that you can regularly test the content that most appeals to your audience. By monitoring open rates, click-through rates and response rates, you can see which content works best and use this information to create content that is interesting to your audience.

For more on the potential of newsletters for selling eLearning courses, also read ' How to promote your online courses with email marketing'. 

4. Webinar

A webinar is an event held online that allows you to reach a large audience.

Creating free webinars allows you to delve into key topics and provide valuable content to your audience. At the same time, creating live webinars gives you the opportunity to showcase your teaching skills and give your future students a taste of what they will have access to if they purchase your course.

Choose a hot topic that interests everyone and prepare a short lesson with useful information and practical tips. At the beginning of the webinar, say a few words about yourself and your course. Finally, consider offering a discount voucher to those who have stayed until the end.

5. Online Advertising

With online advertising you can show your ad only to people interested in your course, excluding those who are not your target audience. Furthermore, you have complete control over your spending and can easily monitor the effectiveness of your campaigns.

Social Advertising
Social offers very sophisticated targeting (and retargeting) methods whereby you are sure to show your ad to people with certain interests, demographics and behaviours.
With social adverts you can then send specific messages to specific people in line with your target audience. 

Google AdWords
To date, Google is the tool most used by users who have a question to ask or a problem to solve. Thanks to paid campaigns on the Google Search Network, you can show your content whenever users search for keywords related to your topics and direct relevant people to the content on your site.

7. Partnerships

No matter what your industry, remember that you are not alone: you will certainly have competitors, but also a number of realities that can complement what you do and be strategic partners for your business. For instance, your course might be in line with an author's book or a podcaster's conference.

A good marketing strategy is to find partners with whom you can organise shared events (e.g. live webinars) or cross-promotion. This will enable you to reach new audiences and generate interest in your courses.

8. Community

Another strategy to reach target audiences is to take advantage of existing online communities: Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, Quora and other platforms like these are sure to host people that match the characteristics of your ideal customer.

So try to attract them and bring them to your site/content but, in doing so, avoid selling or promoting your course directly, as the risk is that your contributions will be perceived as spam. Rather, share your story and provide value. This will help you gain their trust as a subject matter expert and strengthen your relationship.

9. Social 

Social networks are perfect places to talk about your course in a relaxed and informal atmosphere. Proper promotion on social media can help you build credibility and attract the right audience.

The potential coverage of social posts once they have been liked, commented on or shared by other professionals allows you to reach up to ten or even a hundred times the size of your network. By joining groups and sharing blog content, you can reach tens of thousands of other professionals in your industry in an instant.

For more on the potential of social media, also read ' How to use social media to promote online courses'. 

10. Reviews

One of the key factors that determine our behaviour is social proof, a psychological concept according to which people follow the actions of other people. That is why you need to show your potential buyers that the course has already proved useful for many people.

Ask students who have completed your course about their experience and share their feedback with your potential audience.
Beware though: most users are wary of the authenticity of the reviews they read online. Therefore, we recommend you register your course on third-party review platforms (Trustpilot, LinkedIn Learning, etc.) and invite your existing students to review your course.

Finally, don't expect only positive reviews. You may also receive reports from users who are not satisfied with your course. In these cases, be ready to find a friendly solution to deal with negative reviews

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