When we talk about the 4P’s of marketing, Promotion always comes last. By this point in the process you should have hammered out all the details with your product, its price and how your learners will access your courses (place). Now, you are ready for the final piece, promotion.
Promoting your product can take many forms, and, like all the other aspects of your marketing should be sculpted around your learners. Just as you offer a diversity of product types to reflect the diversity in your learner’s tastes, come up with a diverse promotional campaign. For instance, if you are targeting younger learners, focusing on social media might yield better results. However, if you are trying to attract an older demographic, an email campaign coupled with a targeted direct mail campaign might work better.
In addition to the different promotional channels, there is the matter of timing. This can range from the best time of day to send emails, to capitalizing on seasonal events such as annual compliance deadlines. Know your industry, know if your learners share a compliance deadline, or have individual deadlines based on their licensure dates. Use this type of information to build a marketing campaign that will alert learners of your content at a time when they need it most.
Most importantly, avoid being too pushy. Yes, your goal is to increase sales, but in the long-run you will drive away customers if your only message is buy, buy, buy. This can translate into all sorts of less overt marketing techniques. For example, if you use social media, not only share details about your courses, but relay relevant industry information that your learners will appreciate. Remember, a good pricing strategy includes communicating the value of your educational content to your learners. So include this in your messaging, and make sure your marketing focuses on the benefits your educational content provides.
Finally, remember that promoting your product doesn’t end with your marketing campaign. What do I mean by this? Well, once you’ve connected with a learner, gotten them to visit your catalog, you now need to make sure you translate this visit into a sale. A good way to do that is to ensure that your catalog markets your individual products. Unlike a book that someone can flip through before buying, your content is harder to access. So, to help your learners decide which course to buy, use dynamic language to describe your course content. Make sure your course titles are interesting and inviting. And, if you are using InReach, offer a short “Demo” of your course. This is a 2-3 minute clip from your course that gives learners a sense of what they are getting.
The topic of promotion is a vast and complex one, just like the rest of the marketing topics. This blog series on marketing your CE has barely scratched the surface on all the things you can be doing, and all the points you should be considering. I wrote this series with the goal of applying the 4P’s of marketing to the world of continuing education to give you some ideas of how to spice up your marketing, and some pointers to consider as you launch a new marketing program. As you think about the rest of the year, and your marketing tactics, I encourage you to think about and hopefully even try some of the suggestions sprinkled throughout this series.