With rising demand for flexible learning options in the modern age, prospective students expect greater access to education through digital devices such as laptops, tablets and even phones.
Education institutions that can adapt and answer these demands have a lot to gain, and can benefit from the natural evolution of the industry to become a leading provider of online courses.
The e-learning market has grown dramatically, soaring above $165 billion in recent years. Learning how to sell them effectively is something all education providers should take time to do.
First, however, we must understand why it’s such a good idea to offer them as.part of your educational offering
3 Reasons Educators Should Offer Online Courses
In the fast-paced digital landscape, there's a pressing need for upskilling, as a digital skills shortage has left many working professionals feeling overwhelmed and unprepared to make significant contributions in the modern working world.
While some companies invest in upskilling their workforce, many look to hire newer graduates who are already equipped with the digital skillset required for many new positions.
As a result, working professionals need to find the time and money to re-enter education. Online education is becoming the norm, and so more people are taking that route to qualify for their ideal jobs.
Here are three key reasons for education institutions to respond to the shift in the market.
1. Education Institutions Can Build a Reputation
Online learning provides a myriad of benefits for modern students, including a flexible learning schedule and lower course fees. They want a course that can serve their needs, allowing them to study at their own pace.
Education providers can cut down costs on staffing and building maintenance by providing more online classes instead of traditional classroom-based courses. Also, by filling the demand of these new students, schools can build a reputation for online learning.
2. Remain Competitive in the Digital Age
Since the turn of the century, many colleges have upgraded their syllabus to provide choices that are relevant to the changing face of modern industry.
Educators that don’t offer prospective students the chance to study a specialist area - such as digital - online are likely to be overlooked for education providers that do.
More students are looking for the convenience of studying on their own terms, using the devices they are familiar with, and therefore the advantages of offering online courses aren’t to be dismissed.
Online courses will always be more flexible than the others, and so it’s important to sell the online learning options if you are to remain competitive in the years to come.
3. Attract More Students
Moving with the times and answering the demand from a younger, digital-savvy population will not only help education providers to stay competitive, it will help them grow.
As your business develops a reputation for online learning, more students will come, which will create a diverse population. From there, the quality of courses should increase as the faculty becomes more acquainted with and skilled in delivering education online.
How Educational Institutions Can Sell Effectively
Before an institution can reap the rewards of selling online courses, they must understand just how to sell them effectively.
If your faculty is not be equipped to provide such services, some groundwork is required to create and sell online courses that deliver an acceptable ROI.
Let’s consider 4 essential steps needed to sell online courses successfully.
1. Define Your Audience
As with any business venture, it’s critical to know who you are trying to sell the product to. Online training options are vast and varied so if your institution is to succeed in selling courses, it’s crucial to have a clear sense of who your customers are.
To define your audience, consider creating audience personas. Drawing up a detailed profile of your ideal customer, their interests and pain points will help you find them.
After this, you can segment your audience further to consider different types of people who may be interested in purchasing an online course.
Once you have clear, defined audience personas, you can look to develop a strong value proposition. This must reflect the needs of your ideal customer and encompass the unique value your course offers them.
What makes your course better than other education providers?
2. Differentiate from Competition
Online training providers face a lot of hurdles when trying to sell their courses. One of the biggest challenges is their competition.
As the industry picks up pace, it is increasingly important to find ways to differentiate your company from the competitors. To get the edge on your rivals, look to do the following with your online courses:
- Test them rigorously. Don’t let a great course suffer from a poor user experience. Test the design out, looking for flaws and spots where there could be an improvement in every area. Ensure that the education you provide caters directly to the needs of your audience. Strive for perfection, and when you get positive feedback and testimonials, use these to garner more credibility.
- Use a professional design. Anything else will look amateur and will be treated as such. Top-class training deserves a slick, professional design that is appealing and enjoyable to navigate.
- Make it mobile-friendly. Depending on the age of your students, you may have users on smartphones, tablets or laptops. Your online courses need to be responsive to different devices, allowing for seamless interchanging and easy access, regardless of the platform.
3. Price it Right
Setting the price of an online course can be tricky, as you don’t want to sell yourself short, nor deter customers.
Consider the costs of producing the course and factor in all additional costs involved in getting the course to the point of sale.
Look at competitors and what they are offering for similar courses, and think about just what you are offering, and to whom.
When you weigh up the options, you should be able to estimate the demand for your course and set a price that reflects the value of the material.
4. Aim to Meet the Needs of Modern Students
The rise of e-learning is closely intertwined with the modern-day obsession with digital. People expect their learning experience to be enjoyable, engaging, and even entertaining - just as they would with their apps and computer games.
Online learning shouldn’t simply be a lecturer dictating notes on video. Classes must encourage interactivity and group participation, instilling a sense of community and teamwork throughout the course.
One way of doing this is to use branching, which creates a more personalized experience that allows the students some control over how they learn.
Another method is to break the training into bite-size segments, which offers mobile users the chance to learn on the go. Students can complete lessons during commutes, or on lunch breaks, making it convenient to study online while working a full-time job.
Many students who enter online education are adults in working jobs. Unlike those fresh out of high school, adult learners have an innate desire to be challenged. They want a chance to prove themselves and so your online training should offer them that opportunity.
Online Marketing is Essential to Success
While the need to market online should come as no surprise, it can be a stumbling block for many trying to sell online courses. While education providers can often create great online options for adult learners, they aren’t always skilled in marketing them.
If the course is going to be a success, you must build brand awareness and connect with your customers through the same mediums that they will be studying on.
First and foremost, your company must have a dedicated website solely focused on selling the course. This will act as an online catalog, giving potential students the information they need before buying.
Moreover, having information pages on the course and your background provides opportunities for content marketing and Search Engine Optimization. This, in turn, will help drive traffic, both organically and through paid advertising.
Through blogging and social media marketing, you can boost organic search rankings and build a strong online presence that breeds trust in your brand and products.
Sharing authority content from respected sources in the e-learning industry will continue to build your reputation, attracting more customers to your courses.
Finally, it’s important to follow up with people who buy your online courses. Feedback will help you make improvements to courses and get valuable reviews.
As the education market continues to get more competitive and students demand more of both their learning and the institutions that teach them, offering a suite of online courses in in-demand areas of specialization will help to tap into new markets and grow revenue.
Start today to gain a competitive edge and offer knowledge and skills that students want and need.