Are you leaving money on the table? With more and more training providers entering the competitive online training space, it’s becoming harder to sell training courses. Instead of sticking to your old trusty sales methods, learn the secrets to a successful training business – starting with these five strategies
This blog was originally published in March 2016 and updated in March 2018.
1. Get clear about your ideal customers and how to engage them
A key aspect of successfully marketing online training products is having clarity about who you’re targeting and how you communicate value. Make sure everyone across your organization is clear and on the same page about who your ideal customers are, what personas you’re targeting and your value proposition.
Ideal customer profile
Who is your ideal customer and how can you identify them? For example, it may be that your ideal customers are retail organizations with over 3,000 employees. This type of firmographic profiling can really help with ensuring your marketing is focused on the right prospects. Everyone across your business should be able to describe your ideal customer in the same way!
Once you know what your ideal customer profile looks like, get into more detail with segmented personas. For example, if you’re selling training to large retail organizations, you may need to engage with different contacts within the L&D department, store-based training managers and procurement. To engage with them effectively, you need to understand their pain points, motivations, objectives, where they hang out online, etc. Again, make sure your team knows which personas you’re targeting. That way, your product and messaging will be aligned throughout the whole customer journey.
Make sure your value proposition reflects the needs of your ideal customers and the unique value you offer over competitors. It’s no longer good enough to compete solely on price. You need to focus on why customers buy from you.
2. Start differentiating your online training from that of your competitors
The Learn 2020 project found competition to be one of the three biggest challenges online training providers will face over the next five years. With more and more solutions entering the field, it’s more important than ever to differentiate yourself. Unless you’re very lucky, you’ll have other training organizations competing for your customers’ business.
Follow these three suggestions to create online training that gives you a competitive advantage.
- Ensure your training products work. Do your research on your learning audience so you can design, test and refine an experience that helps them meet their goals. Then, create the experiences in a tool with built-in analytics. Proving the impact of your training modules will instantly boost your credibility.
- Design your online training to look as effective as it is. Good-looking training appears professional, and anything else seems amateurish – regardless of how good the training itself is.
- Use an authoring tool that lets you build mobile-friendly online training. Different learners will want to access your training on different devices. Modern tools – like Elucidat – help you build online training that adapts to desktop, tablet and smartphone screen sizes (i.e., responsive). This will allow more learners to access the training in more flexible ways.
3. Choose the right pricing strategy
How do you price online training courses? It’s a difficult question for many online training providers. Simply “winging” your pricing strategy is risky. While you may be able to estimate what your online training is worth to customers, it can be helpful to learn about the different pricing strategies (and theories) available.
Calculate the cost
What does it cost to create your online training? On a very basic level, you should have an understanding of how much it costs you to create a course. Factor in additional fixed and variable costs, and you’ll quickly learn what you need to charge to break even.
It’s also worth considering the different factors at play when estimating the cost and time of instructional design. Read more…
Understand external factors
What are your competitors doing? You must consider what moves your competitors are making. For example, if you set your price too low, you may trigger a price war. If you set your price too high — and can’t communicate the value — you may lose customers to lower-priced courses from competitors.
Estimate the demand for your product
It’s important to understand the demand curve for your online training. As you sell more courses, you’ll be able to better estimate future demand based on current sales.
4. Create online training that meets the needs of the modern customer
Consumers of online training are becoming increasingly sophisticated. They expect engaging learning experiences and will quickly choose a competitor’s offerings if you fail to meet their needs.
We would always recommend following a design framework that will help you design, create and deliver elearning that works for your audience. At Elucidat, our customers have a broad range of different learners, and this has resulted in many different learning approaches. Here are three engagement techniques our customers use to keep their learners coming back.
Use branching to increase engagement
Branching gives learners control over the process, allowing them to direct where they go, what they see and what happens. This makes the experience inherently more engaging and personalized than if the same information is presented in a linear and inflexible fashion. See an example of a personalized branching experience, built in Elucidat.
Use bite-sized online training
Bite-sized learning enables learners to quickly and conveniently consume content, particularly on mobile devices. One of the biggest benefits is it can be consumed during gaps in busy work schedules. Consider this on the job sales support example (created with Elucidat) that would only take learners 3-5 minutes to complete.
Adult learners like to be challenged. Spoonfeeding them information is a sure way to bore them and have them forget what you’re trying to teach. Here’s a great example of how making choices can be fun for the learner as well as effective learning mechanisms. Adult learners like to prove to themselves that they understand what they’re being told or asked to do.
- Free guide on how to Capture your learners’ needs
- Free guide on how to Conceptualize elearning ideas
5. Improve the way you deliver online training to customers
When you provide online training as a paid service, you have to balance two broad factors. On one hand, you want to create training that meets your clients’ needs in an engaging, enjoyable way. But to maximize profits, you’ll also want to deliver that training in the most efficient ways possible.
These requirements aren’t mutually exclusive, but they do rely on selecting the right tools and using them wisely.
Key takeaways to deliver effective online training:
- Choose an elearning authoring tool that makes it easy to create and maintain training.
- Use an elearning design framework to guide you through the design, development and improvement process. We have free guides available for every step in our 5C framework.
- Ensure your LMS plays nice with your authoring tool.
- Monitor analytics to understand and improve the learner experience.
Selling more online training courses isn’t easy. You can’t just turn on the marketing tap and expect new customers to come racing through your door. It requires a strategy that encompasses your marketing, sales and training teams.
Instead of relying on your old, outdated sales methods, try these new ideas to effectively position and sell your training to more of your ideal customers.
Download our free guide: The secrets to successful training business growth.
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