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Training organizations: how to increase sales of online courses

Marketing strategies and tools for training organizations that want to sell online courses: everything you need to know to promote your training offer.

If you work in a training organization, you'll know that good instructional design is only part of the work required to sell online courses. Much of your success, in fact, will depend on the marketing strategies that you will implement.

In this article, we'll provide you with some useful tips to better promote your educational offerings and increase sales of online courses. Specifically, we will discuss:

SEO for training institutions

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the set of strategies aimed at improving the positioning of a site in the results of search engines such as Google. The great advantage of SEO, therefore, is to intercept the needs of users who search online and direct them to the most relevant pages, bringing free and quality traffic to the site.

But how do you leverage SEO to sell courses online? First, you need to identify keywords, i.e. terms related to the topic of your course that your audience is searching for on the web. To do this, you can take advantage of free tools (such as Google's automated completions and Google Trends), or paid platforms (such as SemRush, SeoZoom, Keyword Explorer, etc.). For more information, also read " SEO tips for selling courses online". 

Our advice, however, is to not just focus on the queries with the most traffic. The terms with the highest volumes, in fact, have a higher competition and it will be much more difficult to get a good ranking on those keywords. Therefore, focus also on keywords with lower volume and more specific. For example, if you want to promote an English language course, the query "advanced English course" will certainly have less traffic than a more generic "English course", but it will respond to a more specific search intent and will allow you to convert more easily.

Once you've identified your keywords, you'll need to use them to optimize the pages of your site (course presentation cards, blog articles, etc.) and leverage them in your content marketing plan (as we'll see later). In doing so, remember that, in SEO, quality always trumps quantity.

Finally, we recommend that you make the most of your images. In fact, visual content is an increasingly important element on the web because it has the ability to attract the user's attention and make the content of a page more pleasant and effective. But that's not all. Images are also very important in terms of SEO. From this point of view, remember that:

  • Heavy images take longer to load, compromising the user's experience on the site. So make sure that the images have a size that is relevant to what will be their use within the page and that the weight is not excessive.
  • The name of the image file must be relevant both to its content and to the keywords you want to rank for.
  • The ALT tag is very important both for SEO (because it helps search engines to understand the content of the images) and in terms of accessibility (because it will be read aloud by screen readers allowing those who cannot see the image to understand its meaning).

Copywriting to sell online courses

Copywriting is the activity of writing advertising texts in order to attract and capture the attention of the target audience and increase conversions. The types of texts written by a copywriter are many: advertisements, brochures and postcards, newsletters, product sheets on ecommerce sites, etc..

Writing can really make a difference in online sales, especially (but not only) in the choice of the title and description of a course.

The title is in fact the first element that users see when they scroll through your site or the results of a search engine (even before the program, duration or teachers involved) and is therefore the first opportunity to capture their attention. But what are the characteristics of a title that works? A good title should be descriptive and interesting and succeed in arousing the curiosity of users. But that's not all: a headline should also work from an SEO perspective, so that it ranks well in search results. For more insights, also read " Tips for choosing the perfect title for an online course

The other key element you'll need to focus on is the course description. It plays a key role in convincing (or not) the user of the validity of the course. A good description must be convincing but at the same time clear and, above all, sincere: make sure that users are not disappointed by a description far from what the training course really offers. Finally, make the best use of keywords and make sure that the description meets the needs of your audience. On this topic, read also " How to write a description of an online course".

Content marketing for training providers

Content marketing is a marketing technique aimed at creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage a clear and defined target audience, with the aim of driving customers towards a profitable action (in this case, the purchase of a course).

In order to make the most of its potential, we recommend that you plan an editorial plan that deals with the main topics of the course (or courses) by dividing them into publication branches. Each branch should be composed of at least 3-4 related articles that should contain internal links aimed at better indexing.

Through these articles, you can more easily intercept users' searches and take advantage of your editorial plan to inform and entice the reader to learn more by enrolling in your courses.

Email marketing

Email marketing is a form of direct marketing that uses email to send messages (commercial or otherwise) to your target audience.

In the common imagination, email communications are associated exclusively with promotional or advertising messages. In reality, a good email marketing strategy aims to build stable relationships with its audience and responds to much broader objectives: inform, educate, gain customer loyalty, increase brand awareness, acquire and cultivate new contacts.

Email marketing is one of the most effective marketing channels because it allows you to reach a large number of users in a very short time, at a very low cost, and to communicate with your customers in real time. Moreover, you can easily analyze sending statistics and monitor the results of your email campaigns. But that's not all: by collecting your customers' data (both master data and purchasing habits), you can create customized campaigns (for example, a special offer for their birthday or a message about the release of a new course they showed interest in).

However, avoid abusing the trust of newsletter subscribers by bombarding them with irrelevant or exclusively self-referential emails, but rather:

  • identify your target audiences and their needs;
  • send well-designed emails that are relevant to your target audience;
  • provide a value proposition (in the case of an online course, explain with practical examples how the course will simplify and speed up their work activities);
  • alternate between different types of content: company news, offers, new product launches, personalized emails, etc;
  • include clear and prominent calls to action.

To learn more, also read " How to promote your online courses with email marketing?

Social media marketing for educational institutions

Social media marketing is a form of digital marketing that strategically uses social to promote a company's products and services. When we consider that the average user spends about 15% of their time on social platforms (We Are Social, 2020), it becomes apparent that social networks are one of the most attractive marketing tools available.

But how do you leverage social to promote your educational offerings? First, remember that it is not absolutely necessary to be present everywhere. Each social has a different audience, and your job will be to study the demographics of the various platforms to identify those best suited to reach your target audience.

Once you have identified the most suitable platforms, you will have to optimize your company profiles: carefully choose the profile photo, the cover image, fill out the About section and, where applicable, the Products and Showcase sections, highlighting your training offer.

At this point, you can set up your editorial calendar for social media: make sure you consistently publish informative content that is really relevant to your audience, give your followers a chance to have their say and share their thoughts. For example, periodically post new questions that encourage readers to leave comments, share student testimonials and reviews, video content, infographics, and any other format that you know will grab the attention of your target audience.

In recent years, the organic reach of social media posts, i.e. the number of people reached by a piece of content naturally (without taking advantage of paid ads), has been dropping sharply. We therefore advise you to invest in paid advertising campaigns. Starting a social media ad campaign allows you to reach new users and expand your audience. Moreover, when you create an ad, you can determine exactly what your ideal user is based on biographical data, interests, buying habits, etc. But that's not all. You can also set specific goals (website traffic, purchases, follower acquisition, lead acquisition, etc.) and make sure your campaign reaches the users who are most likely to take that type of action.

For more insights, also read, " How to use social media to promote online courses?".

Video marketing to sell courses

As of 2016, most online users learn about new products through videos they find on social. Therefore, even in the case of online training, a video marketing plan is now extremely effective to expand your audience and increase course sales.

You can create videos related to the "behind the scenes" of the course, to increase user engagement, or build actual trailers. Just like a movie trailer, a course trailer has the ability to engage and excite your audience and, in the best case, push them to buy your course.

Widely used in cinema, a trailer is a short promotional film that is meant to raise interest and expectation about a film or, more generally, a product. In the case of an online course, the trailer aims to present in a few minutes (usually less than two) the contents and objectives of the course in the most attractive way possible.

As short as it is, the creation of a course trailer can be time-consuming and complex. In fact, the most difficult aspect will be getting the audience involved from start to finish.

For more information, read " Tips for creating an online course trailer". 

E-commerce for the sale of online courses

E-commerce is the activity of buying and selling goods and services on the Internet. Through an e-commerce platform, a training organization can sell its courses directly online, customize the contents of the pages of the site and manage online payments, simplifying the purchasing process for users.

As an alternative to an e-commerce platform, more and more often training centers use LMS platforms with integrated e-commerce, that allow you to automatically manage the enrollment of courses, further simplifying the management activities related to the sale of courses. For example, with DynDevice LMS it is possible to ensure that when a user purchases a course, the system generates the enrollment on the LMS without the intervention of any administrator, reducing the margin of error in data entry.

Increase sales of online courses with DynDevice LMS

DynDevice LMS is the eLearning platform developed by Mega Italia Media that combines in a single environment everything a training institution needs. Used by many training centers throughout Italy, offers the guarantee of a high technological standard and allows you to optimize all the typical activities of those who deal with training, including the marketing and sales of courses.

In particular, DynDevice LMS is equipped with integrated eCommerce that allows you to sell courses to your customers directly from the eLearning platform. The sale can cover both online courses produced by Mega Italia Media and already present in the platform, and those eventually created by the training provider.

For the creators of courses, DynDevice LMS provides its CourStore, a virtual store of eLearning courses within the control panel. Through the CourStore, the training provider who creates online courses can then access a potential network of customers and resellers (all users of DynDevice LMS) to whom they can sell the courses created and increase their profits.

Finally, DynDevice LMS is equipped with a series of additional modules specific for marketing activities that allow you to transform the platform into a powerful and comprehensive tool for promoting business activities: from the newsletter system to the module for the publication of news and articles, up to the creation of up-selling and cross-selling campaigns.

Discover all the features of DynDevice LMS specific for training institutions, also read " DynDevice LMS: eLearning platform for training centers" or book a free demo of the platform and find out if it's right for you.

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