How to Market Your Online Courses with a Hook

A lot of us are still under the illusion that marketing your online courses is the same as marketing any other type of product. But, honestly, it’s not. At least, not entirely. There are specific platforms and methods of marketing that you need to use to penetrate the most relevant audiences and drive the most valuable conversions for your online courses.

In many ways, marketing an online course is exactly like marketing a physical product. You’ll need to consider a lot of factors, from pricing to shipping. But, beyond that, you have a completely different set of tools at your disposal. You have access to a massive digital audience, and you can use all the conventional marketing platforms and methods to reach them.

So, let’s have a look at each element of marketing and how you can use digital marketing to promote your online courses.

Product

As we mentioned, the first and foremost element in marketing any product is the product itself. And what is a product? Well, in the context of marketing a business or brand, it’s everything that the customer comes into contact with, be it a billboard, ad, website, or smartphone app. This includes all the content, packaging, and promotional material (including emails) surrounding the product.

In the case of marketing an online course, the product is, well, the course itself. So, you’ll have to choose a platform that fits your course, and make sure that the content is of a high quality. You can’t simply patch in some marketing materials and call it a day. You’ll need to take the time to create a polished, modern and appealing experience for your customers. This includes everything from the overall structure of the course to the materials used and the learning methods.

Audience

The second and arguably most important element in marketing any product is the audience. And what is an audience? It’s an existing group of people who have an interest in or relationship with what you’re marketing. So, in the case of marketing an online course, your audience is everyone who’s signed up for your course. Even if you’ve only got a small audience, you can still use digital marketing to great effect.

Unlike physical products, where you have to consider things like manufacturing capacity and the like, in the case of digital products, the scale is limitless. You can launch a top-notch course on Coursera or Udemy and reach millions of students. Or, if you’re looking for a more targeted group, you can create a highly specific niche course on Jigsaw and only target marketers or investors interested in real estate, for example.

Positioning

You’ll need to consider your positioning when marketing any product, so why are we talking about positioning in the case of marketing an online course? Well, positioning is all about why the customer should buy or use your product or service. So, in many cases, you’ll want to position your product as the best or the most effective version of its kind. But, in other cases, you might want to position it as a solution to a problem, challenge, or need. It’s highly contextual, and it depends on the nature and goals of your marketing campaign.

Positioning is an important part of any marketing campaign, because, well, the more you know about your customer’s needs, desires, and expectations, the better you can position your product to meet these needs. Unfortunately, a lot of digital marketing focuses heavily on product specs and features, which only serve to highlight these physical qualities and fail to consider the needs and desires of the customer who will ultimately bear the consequences of such a purchase.

Branding

One of the most important aspects of any product’s marketing is brand management. And what is brand management? Well, to put it plainly, brand management is nothing more than ensuring that everything from your logo and website to the packaging of your product mirrors a clear and consistent brand strategy. This includes everything from your product’s description and keywords to the way you present yourself on social media.

In the case of physical products, you might want to consider things like product placement (where you integrate or position your product in relation to other products, such as a retail store). But you don’t have to; you have a whole digital landscape at your fingertips, and you can position your product anywhere. Even better, you can use many different platforms to reach the right audience, all while maintaining brand consistency.

Channels

So, you’ve got your product, your audience, and you’re ready to spread the word. The next step is to identify the channels through which you’ll disseminate your message. Channels are simply the means through which you’ll reach your audience. In the case of marketing an online course, these channels include the traditional print media, like magazines and newspapers, as well as newer avenues like YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram.

The important thing to keep in mind here is that you’re not limiting yourself to one platform. You’re not bound to any particular social media channel, and you’re not restricted to using traditional print media to reach your audience. So, in many ways, this step is the most important part of any marketing plan. You want to ensure that you’ve considered all the available avenues and channels, and made the right decision about which ones to use.

Creative

Finally, we come to the creative part of the equation. This is where you plug all the tech and marketing jargon into a a beautiful piece of copy that will resonate with your audience. Copywriting is a specialty within the field of marketing that involves crafting words and phrases to encourage consumers to action. So, in a nutshell, copywriting is everything that you need to write to prospects and current customers in order to convince them to buy or rent your product or service.

In the case of physical products, the copy might involve product specifics, including bullet points, descriptive copy, and maybe even a little bit of explanatory text. But, in the case of digital products, the copy is often more strictly concerned with driving action. So, instead of mentioning your product by name, you might write about a problem that your product solves. Or, you might write in a blog post about how to use your product. Or, you might just send a silent vibration message to your audience, with no words at all.

The important thing to keep in mind here is that this step is about creating beautiful, persuasive messages that will get people to convert or take action. And to be fully effective, these messages need to match the demographics of your audience. So, in many ways, this is a form of marketing that is contextual and highly targeted.

With these five elements of marketing a product in mind, you’re bound to succeed. Of course, you need to remember that this marketing plan will require you to execute, evolve, and adjust as necessary over time. But, at the very least, you’ll be able to launch a multi-faceted, data-driven marketing campaign that will serve to drive growth for your branded product and brand over time.