To New Course Creators: Market Locally First
Marketing your business is hard work – it takes strategy, consistency, time and money. Add a course to that mix and you have the additional task of finding a specific audience who wants to take one, especially yours.
Yet, statistics have shown that online learning is becoming more and more popular because of its convenience. A busy adult with a laptop or tablet can easily access the learning whenever they want and wherever they are. This is very important!
Thus, there is no doubt that creating a course is a good investment and viable business asset. Many have had success with them. But… the big step is marketing it and filling those seats – this can be a challenge.
THINK LOCALLY before GLOBALLY
Give me a few seconds to convince you why starting locally to market your course might be the best step for you and the most successful move.
You know your community and neighbourhood and are aware of the local retail area and business sector. These are all potential audiences for your online course.
As stated above, people are more apt to take an online course, if they can, purely for the convenience. Just because you could deliver your course in person within your hood, doesn’t mean that is what people want.
Consider approaching the same people/audience and market your online course as a time saver for them with access to immediate digestible info, an online community and support. As well, you could offer the online version at a cheaper price as you don’t have to rent space and you can add more students than can fit into a classroom. Bonus!
Let me give you an example of what this might look like.
My friend and former student, Carol Ann Webster, did this very thing – she marketed her online course locally. Carol is a professional interior decorator who has delivered many in-person painting workshops for furniture, ornaments and cabinetry.
She loved teaching and working with her students, yet in time she found enrollment was limited due to the physical space and conflicting time frames. She knew her craft down pat and was confident she could deliver it online.
By joining my program, I helped her build an online course plan that was mobile, visual, loaded with tips and worksheets, and broke down her steps to paint kitchen cabinets within 4 days.
However, Carol’s focus was not to drop this course into the big ol’ online world (and get drowned out in all the noise and bustle) but to target local businesses (not people). Her focus was realty offices.
She knew that people who wanted to sell their homes probably needed to spiff them up a bit, if not put some lipstick on their kitchen.
She planned to give the realty offices access to her online course to see first hand what was included and then ask them to endorse it. She would leave behind brochures or large business cards for interested house sellers to take home and log on to her site and into her course.
What a great reach and viable market as Carol could meet these endorsers of her course in person, show them the goods and offer their potential clients some support, if not encouragement, to sell their homes.
How many realtors do you think are in Oklahoma City, where Carol lives? How many people are selling their homes at one time in that city? Buckets full.
I think your wheels are starting to turn, am I right? Give this some thought as I want you to be successful with your course.
STEPS to MARKET LOCALLY
Here are some preliminary steps to determine and plan to market locally:
- Take a week or two and keep your eyes peeled for opportunities that would fit with your course by
– Reading the local paper
– Driving around town
– Speaking with select retail stores and businesses
– Talking with friends and family
2. When you find one niche, investigate it. Get deeper into how it works. Learn how to here in Step 2.
3. Tweak your course to serve this niche.
4. Practice your elevator pitch, and features and benefits of the course, for the potential course meditators.
5. Make plans and appointments to meet them and share your course offer.
6. Listen to what their market needs.
7. Provide printed or emailed info to follow up that links to your course landing page and/or website.
8. Send a follow-up thank you note for their time and see if they have any questions.
9. Open the doors to your course.
Thinking locally does not mean you can’t or should not market globally. You can do both! But we tend to understand our local terrain, trends, culture, peeps and industries much better and can take strategic steps to engage with them.
This also produces marketing muscle for when, or if, you want to launch your course into the big ol’ online world. Think of the testimonials you can collect from local students!
Why not leverage local markets to share your knowledge and skills? Someone may be waiting for it right now.