Does your course catalog work for you to drive registrations or sales, or do you have to do all the work promoting your content, while your course catalog merely serves as a content repository? For most people, the answer is the latter. Their course catalog is merely a listing of the courses their organization offers. This listing can sometimes be ordered by credit or date, but most likely is just a long, long alphabetical list of courses.
Why should you care?
Because at its core your course catalog is an eCommerce site, and in order to be successful and drive the registrations and revenue you wish your catalog/eCommerce site needs a few fundamental features.
Ease of Use
If learners can’t quickly and easily find the content they want, they will leave your site for one that better meets their needs. Ease of use encapsulates everything from an engaging home page to clear site navigation to product lists. For instance, grouping products into categories enables learners to quickly hone in on their topics of interest.
Technically, having site search capabilities falls under ease of use. But, given the surprising number of continuing education catalogs that lack this fundamental feature, it is worth emphasizing. With 30% of visitors using your internal site search to find their desired content, and with these individuals being twice as likely to purchase content, this is not a feature to ignore.1 However, in order for a site search to be effective you need accurate product descriptions.
Accurate Product Descriptions
In the online shopping space accurate product descriptions are essential. Unlike a typical brick and mortar store where shoppers can handle a product before purchasing it, an online store must make its sales through pictures and descriptions. And in the world of continuing education it is ultimately the course description that lets your learners know that the content is right for them. So take the time to write course descriptions that include the learning objectives and identify the course’s target audience. We’ve covered this topic in the past, and you can review that here.
Mobile Friendly Site
By 2017 over 25% of eCommerce sales will be done with a mobile device2, so it is essential that your catalog be mobile friendly. In fact, this is the subject of our upcoming webinar. Join us on July 22nd for “Mobile Learning- Making it Easy” to see how you can ensure you get the right content to the right learner at the right time.
Ultimately, even if you have the most relevant, highest-quality content, if your learners can’t find it, they can’t buy it. So, given what you know about the modern learner’s preferences, it should come as no surprise that modern learners want, and expect, a user-friendly course catalog. Get rid of you content repository, and turn your continuing education catalog into a dynamic eCommerce site that will help drive registrations and sales.