Creating a course is not enough. You need to build an effective marketing plan for your online course to get your qualified audience. When you do that, you will earn the passive income stream that you are looking for.
The challenge? With all the information out there on how to create a great online course, it can be tricky knowing where to start when it comes to marketing your online courses.
But don’t worry though. I’ve put together an easy-to-follow guide that will help you build an awesome marketing plan for your online course that will generate quality leads and sales.
So if you’re just starting or you’ve been in the online course business but you’re not making enough sales, then this guide is for you.
What is an Online Course Marketing Plan?
A marketing plan is a strategic plan that you put in place to solve a marketing problem in your business or achieve a specific sale goal or milestone. As an online course creator looking to make money from your knowledge, a Marketing Plan is your blueprint for success.
Usually, it will outline some insights into the market you’re trying to target – what they want and need. Then it will detail how you are going to use your available resources (time, money, competitors, etc.) to grab their attention and get them to buy your online course.
Why Do You Need a Marketing Plan For Your Online Course?
In a competitive market, it is very difficult to establish your business since there are already large players present in the market. Through the marketing plan, you can create new strategies and explore different ways to reach your potential customers.
Here are some of the key benefits of building a marketing plan for your online course:
- It will keep you on track
- Make sure you know where your online course business is going
- Helps you establish priorities
- Increases audience reach and more word-of-mouth publicity
- You have a better course promotion
- Enable you to define the marketing goals of your online course
- Gives you a clear way to measure your success
- It helps you build your brand and strengthen the trust of your future online course students
Steps to Build an Effective Online Course Marketing Plan
1. Define Your Goals
Whether you’re launching your first online course or creating a more cohesive marketing plan for an existing one, you need to start by identifying your goals.
A specific or well-defined goal is an essential part of building an effective marketing plan. Yes, I’m talking about your ultimate end game: What do you want to achieve with your online course? How many students do you want to have signed up or buy your course? How much money do you want to make in a month or year?
These are some of the questions you need to answer when defining your goal as an online course creator looking to promote and market your course to the right audience.
Defining your goals helps you ensure that every email, Facebook post, or Google ad has a specific purpose. For example, maybe your marketing goal is to generate 500 leads in the first three months from your promotion. Focus on an achievable objective, such as generating 1,000 to 5, 000 pageviews during the first few weeks of the launch.
Not sure how to define your goals yet? The secret to setting effective course marketing goals is to make them SMART. By that, I mean Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
If your goal isn’t defined clearly, you won’t know what kind of results to look for or if your marketing efforts are delivering the desired results.
2. Research and Get to Know Your Target Audience
The hard truth for most beginners and even experienced online course creators is that, if you don’t know the right audience for your online course, any marketing efforts you make will not be as effective as they could or should be.
One proven way to get to know your target audience is to conduct thorough research and speak to them if possible. You could get to interact with them using social media platforms or online communities for online course businesses.
Researching who your target audience is will help you know where and how to approach them the right way. This is far more important than creating profitable online courses itself.
I believe that your students should be able to feel like they’re making a safe and profitable investment when they purchase your online course. This can only be achieved once they feel that they are being taken care of and be given value. And how do you achieve that if you don’t know them or what they want or how they want to be contacted.
So if you want to build a marketing plan that works, please ensure that you take time out to research and know your target audience. In the end, everything is done with the student in mind if you want success.
3. Analyse the Market Trends
Market trends are the pattern of change in a particular business or market. They come into existence as a result of excessive changes in prices and other factors that occur in a marketplace. A business must keep track of market trends to adapt to the needs of customers.
Analyzing market trends will help you to create a better marketing plan. This includes monitoring your competition as well as staying up-to-date on the latest industry news and trends.
As an online course creator, you may have to perform proper market research. You need to have a clear idea about the target market if you want the course to be successful. Identify your market and research the demand for your course.
By analyzing the market trends, you can easily predict which marketing strategies that will work and the ones you shouldn’t use.
After all, it’s all about implementing the right strategies. And the best way to know the right strategies is to stay updated on the market trends in the online course industry.
4. Understand Your Competitors
Whether you agree or not, there’s competition in every business, including online course business. The truth is that, no matter how unique your course is or how profitable it is, someone is promoting a similar course online.
So indirectly (which may not be obvious), it becomes a game of who beats who or who makes more sales. The earlier you realize this, the better you put effort to know who you’re competing with.
Your course isn’t the only product your students have access to. You need to know what your competitors are offering – their course content, price point, marketing, and more.
Watch what they are doing and how people react to it. Are there common issues in the industry you can address through your course? If you are the only course about a topic, how long do you think this will last?
How do they talk about their courses and the benefits of taking them? What topics do they emphasize, what skills do they help students learn, and what problems do they solve? Examine your top competitors and figure out how you can beat them to ensure you have a successful marketing plan.
5. List Down Ideas to Reach Out to Your Target Audience
One of the keys to effective marketing and sales is knowing your target audience (which I have mentioned) and providing solutions to their problems.
If you are an expert in a field, creating an online course with solutions to common problems based on that field of expertise isn’t enough. You need to know how to reach your target audience.
Nobody will ever purchase your online course if they don’t know it exists. No matter how exciting or innovative your course content is, without putting it out there the right way, nobody will ever buy it or sign up.
Therefore, it becomes essential you make sure people know about the capabilities of your course and the value it can add to their lives. And to do that, you must find out the right methods and channels you should use.
You can’t just go around slamming posts on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. This is where most online course creators get it wrong. That Facebook is working for an online course creator doesn’t mean it will work for you because you don’t have the same target audience.
Research and list down ideas to reach out to your target audience. Some people prefer to be reached through social media posts while some only invest in what is pitched to them via email.
The idea I am trying to explain here is to find out what works for reaching your audience and stick to it.
6. Create a Timeline of Activities and Events to Reach Your Goals
Creating a timeline of activities and events to reach your goal is one of the most powerful ways to organize your marketing efforts.
When building your plan, you want to consider your overall goals for the year. From there, group your activities into months and weeks to create a strategic timeline that works for you.
The activities you identify can inform the content you need to create and where to publish it. Understanding and assembling all of the activities into a single timeline allows you to see the big picture, develop realistic goals, and avoid setbacks.
For example, how much time do most people spend browsing social media websites? Developing quality content to be published on social networks can allow you to reach potential students who spend much of their time searching for content on Facebook or Instagram.
With this particular step, you’ll be able to increase your momentum toward your goals and ensure that you stay on task. Evaluating the events in your timeline will help you make decisions now so that you produce meaningful results later.
Online Course Marketing Plan: FAQs
How do you create an online course outline?
To get started on creating a course outline, first determine the focus of the course you’ll be teaching. Each lesson should build on the previous one.
Keep in mind that as a teacher you’ll be explaining the content to your audience, so consider both the visual and audio components of each topic.
How do you generate leads for online courses?
You can take advantage of email autoresponders, targeted Facebook ads, and automated social sharing to effectively generate and nurture leads for your online courses. Here are the best lead generators you should check out.
What is the best marketing strategy for an online course?
There is no single best marketing strategy for online courses. There are so many different factors that contribute to the success or failure of a course.
It’s the combination of all the marketing you do, the price you set, the content and quality of your course, and more that determines whether or not you will be successful.
Online Course Marketing Plan: Conclusion
Currently, all over the world, the online course business is one of the most profitable businesses anyone with knowledge to share can do. But you cannot launch your course and expect to reap profits right away.
To be successful, you need to follow a planned and strategic approach. A well-planned marketing strategy can help you grow your reach, increase sales and achieve your business goals. Without an effective marketing plan, it would be nearly impossible to sell courses
Please keep in mind that putting a lot of money into the promotion of your course won’t guarantee success. Also, don’t rely on just one strategy for the promotion, use multiple promotion techniques.
LMS Hero is a place you will have all you need to succeed as an online course creator. Please feel free to check other articles for more valuable insights.
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