There are many questions surrounding the process of marketing an online course – including how to approach teaching and engaging with students as a brand ambassador, how to build credibility and trust, and how to gain access to decision makers. But, once you’ve decided to venture into the world of online teaching, you’re on your way to creating incredible experiences for your students that will keep them engaged and coming back for more.
So, whether you’re fresh out of school or have been teaching for a while, you may be wondering what your next move should be. We’ve been there, and have compiled a list of eleven ways to market your online course that will get you started – even if you’re on a tight budget.
1. Build A Community
One of the best ways to market an online course is to establish a strong community of alumni who can champion your work, and potential students who can get value and benefits from your teaching. Whether you have a fully developed social media network or an email list already, use your platforms to promote your online course and connect with your audience.
Establishing a community around your brand is an important strategy. It can help you create transparency and authenticity around your work, and allow you to engage with your audience in new ways. Alumni can provide support and guidance as you navigate your way through the process of bringing an online course to life. And, best of all, they’re already there!
2. Use Hashtags
If you’ve ever been on social media, you’ll know that hashtags allow you to find content that’s relevant to your interests. When you use the right hashtags in your posts and comments, you open up the opportunity to reach more people, and encourage them to explore your content – whether it’s a blog article, a YouTube video, or an Instagram photo. But how do you choose the right hashtags for your content?
As you create content for your course, look for relevant hashtags as you engage with other users on social media. You can use tools like Buzzsumo or Hashtags.org to find the top keywords and relevant hashtags for your niche. Once you’ve established your community of learners on the platforms you’ve chosen, begin incorporating these hashtags into your posts. You can also use the same platforms to look for the most popular topics and hashtags within your niche, and begin using these too.
3. Create Great Content
If you’ve ever worked in an editorial role, you’ll know that creating content is one of the most important – and challenging – parts of the job. You have to be able to quickly come up with compelling content that will engage and inspire your audience. For an online course, this means producing engaging videos, infographics, or podcasts that will keep your students interested and coming back for more.
If possible, develop these bespoke pieces before you begin your marketing efforts. Thinking through the content creation process as you go will ensure that you have content to draw on, when needed. And, of course, the more you put out there, the more you’ll attract.
4. Use Email
Even if you have a really strong social media presence, nothing beats an old-fashioned email list for spreading the word about your course. You can use websites like MailChimp to get started with email marketing, and use your newsletters to reiterate the important information about your course – including any newly available discounts or details about upcoming webinars or events.
Just make sure you don’t go overboard with your emails. People hate getting too many emails, especially if you’re pitching them content they didn’t ask for. Keep it clean and concise, and make sure to follow up with a phone call or an in-person meeting to make sure the person actually receives the value from your email. This is especially important if you’re trying to promote a discount code in your email, as people may think you’re trying to sell them something.
5. Build Brand Awareness
To build brand awareness, you need to do a little bit of everything. One of the best tactics is to participate in conversations surrounding your niche on social media. You can use your status updates to engage with people, and comment on other people’s content to promote your course. You can also get involved with online forums and communities, and establish yourself as a thought leader in your niche. Finally, build a strong brand name and reputation by consistently demonstrating your expertise and reliability within your niche. Doing this will help you gain the trust of your audience, and build your brand recognition in the process.
6. Use Webinars
Webinars are one of the best ways to market a course, as they allow you to provide content while also engaging with an audience. Not only that, but you can also use webinars to identify and reach key decision makers in your niche. If you’re participating in a webinar, make sure that you’ve prepared something unique and valuable that you can share with your audience. Think through the content you’ll use, and get ready to present it in a way that will make it easy for you to deliver your message.
Decision makers often have extensive knowledge within their areas of interest. Use this knowledge to position yourself as an expert – and the best way to do this is through informative and engaging webinars. The earlier you start participating in webinars, the better – so be sure to build a schedule, and participate as often as you can.
7. Use SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is important for any website, but is especially crucial for online courses. This entails getting the right keywords and phrases into the website content so that when someone searches for these topics, your website will show up on the first page of search results. To achieve this, you’ll need to do some keyword research and analysis, and make sure to incorporate these keywords into your content – whether this’s blog articles, product descriptions, or even your website’s architecture.
If you’re really struggling to get started, check out tools like Google Keyword Planner or SEO Checker to get started. These tools will show you the popularity and competition of keywords, and give you ideas as to how you can improve your SEO score. Once you’re equipped with these tools, it’s easy to get up and running.
8. Advertise On YouTube
YouTube is one of the biggest platforms for creators to share their content, and is a critical element in any marketer’s toolbox. Now, more than ever, people are looking to YouTube for video content regarding all areas of life – from fitness to beauty, makeup, food, and travel. So, not only is YouTube a place where you can promote your course, but it’s also a great place for you to build a brand, and gain credibility and trust.
Whether you have an existing audience on YouTube, or you’re just getting started, build a good solid community there – and make sure to engage with your audience on the platform. You can use YouTube to host webinars, and even create short FAQ videos to answer common questions about your course. As you become more established on the platform, you can even opt for branded channels to gain credibility with your audience.
9. Use Podcasts
Podcasts are extremely important for any marketer’s toolkit. Not only do they allow you to engage with potential students via audio content, but they can also be a great way to build and maintain credibility and trust with your audience. If you’ve ever been to a salon or spa for a massage, spa talks are a great example of a podcast – giving you the opportunity to listen to experienced speakers discuss everything from skincare to stress management.
You can use a tool like Podbean to get started with podcasts, or use existing platforms like Apple Podcasts or Spotify for podcasts – with the option of downloading individual episodes for later. Just make sure that you find a podcast that’s relevant to your niche, and that has a good mixture of topics so that you can provide value to your audience.
10. Start A Blog
Blogs are a fantastic way to build credibility and trust with your audience. If you’ve never been a part of the blogging world, it can be a little bit daunting getting started. But, with the right tools and strategies, it’s possible to create a successful blog in no time at all – and contribute regularly to an established blog in a matter of weeks.
To get started, just pick a niche, and begin researching and identifying the key topics and blogs that are already authoritative within the space. Once you’ve got a good base, start developing and posting regularly to attract and engage with prospective students.