Content Marketing

Guide to quality traffic from Online Courses

In recent times our video consumption has increased tremendously. With the extra time, each one of us is motivated to achieve personal goals, develop sustainable habits, and build new skills. This market need is on an ever-increasing trend. Youtube recently surveyed its users on what they watched in the last 24 hours and the statistics … Continued

In recent times our video consumption has increased tremendously. With the extra time, each one of us is motivated to achieve personal goals, develop sustainable habits, and build new skills. This market need is on an ever-increasing trend. Youtube recently surveyed its users on what they watched in the last 24 hours and the statistics call out this need in the market as video consumption trends are on the rise.

As we plan multiple content marketing strategies, Online learning courses are an important tactic that niche companies should leverage. This is a good way for enterprises to share their strategy and culture and in turn, be more transparent. Companies that offer e-learning courses attract a very engaged pool of audiences with the potential of long-term relationships. They may not buy your products but they can still be your fans and advocates. Badges and social recognitions for training completions incentivize your audience to come back for more. The bond that you get from teaching is not the same as what we get from traditional marketing.

Referencing the book REWORK by Jason Fried and David Hansson, who are strong supporters of teaching or in their words out-teaching, they give a very appropriate analogy of this with world-renowned chefs. A lot of Chefs are known to us because they showcase their recipes and even techniques in cookbooks and cooking shows. But that never scares them of copycats. Because a recipe even though much simpler to replicate than a business model, isn’t made by the same human. By being transparent and teaching everyone your success formula, businesses advertise and build trust and respect. This is also an area where emerging smaller companies have a chance to outmaneuver larger enterprises obsessed with secrecy.

don’t OUT-SPEND, OUT-TEACH — REWORK

The second most popular response for viewers to watch videos is to “Learn something new” followed by “Allows me to dig deeper into my interests”. We as Marketers need to tap into this ever-growing need. Content and SMEs are generally available within the organization, just make it informative, educational, and promotional and we have our recipe book.

What are the Benefits of online courses for business?

Including online courses in your area of functional expertise within your content marketing strategy includes a lot of benefits for your business. It helps domain authority, builds trust, and leads to better conversions. Some other measurable benefits are as follows:

  1. Online courses are scalable
  2. Online courses create a niche audience
  3. Online courses are budget-friendly

How to create effective online courses for your business?

To build an attractive online course, it’s important to research your target audience and satisfy their needs. User needs are famously categorized into 5 levels of Maslow’s hierarchy. But Abraham Maslow kept on researching his theory even after the 1943 paper, converting the 5-part framework into an 8-part model broadly categorized into two parts — Deficiency Needs and Growth Needs.

The below image was first created by Human-Centred Design: An Emergent Conceptual Model by Ting Zhang and Hua Dong. Focussing on Growth Needs as the basis for designing an online course will attract quality and returning audiences to your course.

Cognitive Needs

Cognitive needs highlight the pursuit of knowledge and understanding. To satisfy the cognitive needs of your audience, study buyer personas, and target audiences. Make content that they would benefit from and value. Learning content that should help them build their skills, gain knowledge and they can leverage in their daily life.

If you build content that satisfies your buyer’s needs or pain points in turn satisfying their cognitive needs, you will have a growing population of returning learners, giving you feedback on your content. This feedback would continue to be useful in the future as you keep iterating your course or build new courses.

Example: Canva has a learning site called Design School. This is created for amateur designers to gain basic knowledge on Design like typography, color theory, building brand kit, etc. This platform has very limited information about Canva as a tool instead helps solve skill challenges for beginner designers. This online training is free of cost and a good knowledge source for learners to come back for more content. They also have the potential to become early adopters, in an attempt to practice what they have learned in the course. Canva’s content marketing strategy with design school now attracts 1 million viewers per month.

Aesthetic Needs

Aesthetic Needs focus on the audience’s pursuit of beauty and creativity. To satisfy aesthetic needs, online courses should focus on learner experience. Make it easier for the learner to load the site and navigate the modules. If your program has a structure, make sure your audience follows from where to start, how to jump to specific content and how to finish and if applicable get credits. The course should also be accessible over multiple platforms so that the learner can consume any place and his/her own time.

Satisfying aesthetic needs makes your learner love your content. This means more word of mouth marketing for your services, expertise, and quality. Learners would spend more time on your platform, engage more, and talk about it in their social circles.

Example: HubSpot offers training for marketers in Hubspot Academy. They teach about content marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, and many more. They reveal their internal marketing strategies along with showcasing best practices from other companies. Their platform is very intuitive with easy categorizations to seeing completions and certifications. To get a particular certification, the learner can see the complete learning roadmap. Hubspot academy has moved from 1,000 signups to 30,000 signups per month and today it contributes to 50% of customer acquisitions.

Self-Actualization

Self-Actualization is the sense of achieving individual potential. At the end of the training, learners should feel the value, they should feel that they learned something new, something valuable, and something that helped them achieve their potential. If you already have a brand presence in the industry, the learner feels even more proud to showcase their learning.

If you incorporate digital badging and e-certificates or other ways for social sharing, it helps them showcase their credentials over social channels gain recognition among their network for their achievement, and in turn, helps you get free online impressions.

Example: IBM is a leading enterprise that has adopted design thinking principles on a large scale and even provides its services to its customers. They have extended their expertise through Enterprise design thinking course and whoever completes the listed training, gets a digital badge that they can share on social channels. These badges have value and industry credibility. Badge earners get to flash a new skill and with IBM being one of the reputed brands and industry leaders. They are also likely to get more recognition from peers and superiors on achievement. Documentary on The Loop by Invision reveals IBM’s secrets to this transformation and makes them appear more human. It also reveals how they became achieved industry leadership in this domain. IBM makes this certification even more exciting by announcing its hiring plans for design teams attracting job seekers to take the certification for any prospective job opportunities in the future within the company.

Self-Transcendence

The ultimate reason to take online courses is to gain knowledge and develop skills.

Finally, with the skills that learners gained, they get the opportunity to help themselves or others. And when that happens, brand recall is high. The brand then becomes the go-to channel for solving all their problems. They become loyal brand evangelist without even buying a product. This is then the epitome of marketing success for the brands. Such users are then a part of a qualified pipeline who are willing to listen to you and even consider a purchase decision.

Example: Grow with Google provides basic digital skills to everyone categorized for those seeking jobs, building small businesses, developers, educators, and startups. These transferable skills can easily be learned and taught to others. AI with Google is another highly revered free training offered by Google to help learners understand and leverage machine learning concepts in their projects. Google’s simplistic approach to these training increases learner engagement and its easy to follow framework makes it useful to use and reuse.

A common factor across all the training above are that they are sharing their k internal resources and research studies free of cost. These humanized stories by brands make their target audience, their fans.

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