The growing popularity of online learning presents both an opportunity and a challenge for the providers of E-Learning programs. On the one hand, the market is clearly expanding. On the other, a rush of new providers has made it all the more critical to have a comprehensive strategy for engaging prospective students, differentiating your program from the competition, and effectively following up with prospects to close enrollments.
The following strategies can make all the difference in successfully marketing your online learning programs:
Ensure Tracking & Analytics are Complete
Before you even get started with your marketing efforts, the first step is to establish the metrics in which you will measure campaign success, and then put tracking in place that will help you trace conversion actions back to the campaigns that generated them. The details of tracking are an enormous topic, and frankly outside the scope of this article. However, we’d recommend at the minimum that you have the following tracking methods running:Google Analytics (GA) –
Google Analytics (GA)
While there are many third party options available for tracking website analytics, GA has the benefits of being free to use and it can be directly integrated with a number of marketing tools including Google Ads. This makes Google Analytics somewhat of a no-brainer to be implemented on your site. GA will automatically track an incredible amount of data related to your website traffic, allowing you to make better informed marketing decisions. Additionally, you can set up one or more goals in GA to track the actions taken by site visitors, and attribute those visitors back to the ad campaigns that initially brought them to you.
If you are running campaigns on Google, we would normally recommend setting up Google Ads conversion tracking for those campaigns, as opposed to relying on imported conversions from Google Analytics. The main reason for this is that there is a difference in how the two systems attribute conversions. Google Analytics will credit a conversion to the last marketing channel the individual encountered, whereas Google Ads conversion tracking will always credit your Google campaign with a conversion if it was involved at any point in the acquisition process. Consequently, Google Ads conversions will provide a greater amount of data related to your campaigns, and in our opinion a more complete picture of your campaign ROI.
Ensure that your tracking is operating correctly by conducting some test conversions after first clicking on an ad. You should be able to see these conversions reflected in both GA and Google Ads, assuming the process has been completed correctly. This will give you the ability to effectively optimize your campaign performance now and into the future.
Focus Your Messaging on the Outcome
In the rush to get the word out to your target audience, it’s easy to forget what your prospective students actually want out of your program. While the pursuit of knowledge itself is laudable, most prospective students are really looking for ways to improve their lives. They have their sights set on starting or advancing their careers, increasing their income, landing that dream job, or providing for loved ones.
Communicating what your audience truly desires makes your message more likely to resonate with them. This understanding should be woven throughout every aspect of your marketing, from ads and landing pages to blog posts to video content to emails and more. When prospective students can see themselves accomplishing their “big” goals through your program, they will be all the more likely to enroll.
Build Out a Complete Marketing Funnel
For marketing veterans, this goes without saying. But we still come across many advertisers in the education space who use a one-dimensional approach to their lead generation. In other words, they drive traffic to their single lead form, and simply do whatever they can to generate leads from there.
This approach fails to recognize that people can be in a number of different phases of their research when they first encounter your message. Prospects that are higher in the funnel may have only a vague idea of what they want to accomplish by enrolling in your program. Therefore, their searches might be a lot more generic than someone lower in the funnel. Your campaigns should be broken out in a way that accounts for these different phases. Campaign type, keyword targeting where applicable, ad messaging, landing pages, and offers should all be tailored to as specific an audience as possible. The more thought you put into this, the more likely your messaging will resonate with prospects and drive enrollments.
Optimize Your Website for Conversion
Even a slight improvement in landing page conversion rates can make a world of difference in the return on ad spend in a marketing campaign. Consequently, time and energy invested in conversion rate optimization (CRO) is very well spent, and can pay huge dividends.
You can begin by doing a simple analysis of your landing pages using the following questions:
- Does this page address the needs of the prospect, based on the traffic I’m sending here?
- Is my offer above the fold?
- Am I offering something of enough value to compel taking action, and have I made that value apparent to the site visitor?
- Are the next steps clear and easy to take?
Once you’ve addressed the basics, we also recommend using software to split test different aspects of the landing page. Your headline, copy, formatting, colors, and all the various aspects of your offer can each have an impact on how many of your visitors will convert. This is one area where you DON’T want to trust your instincts. Instead, let the data from your tests determine your direction, and your campaign performance will thank you for it.
Build up Testimonials and Reviews
Nothing reflects the value of your program more effectively than the words of previous students. For this reason, it is imperative that you have a system in place for collecting feedback from your students. This feedback will be a valuable tool for making continuous improvements to your courses. For all students who have had a positive experience, you should take the opportunity to ask for more details on what the program meant to them and their lives. The goal is to obtain full testimonials for your website and all of your marketing campaigns.
We also recommend using a review aggregation service like Google Customer Reviews to help collect reviews from your students. This kind of service will allow you to further leverage your reviews by showing a star rating on your Google Ads, and displaying a badge on your website.
There are many strategies that you can employ in building a complete marketing strategy for your education program, and these five only begin to scratch the surface. If you are looking for some guidance in any of these areas, or others that you may be contemplating, don’t hesitate to reach out for a no-hassle, no commitment consultation.