There’s a famous saying: “If you build it, they will come...” But in a world where everyone is constantly bombarded with information, your association can’t solely rely on your amazing learning content to bring learners into the fold. You must market your eLearning programs to get the right eyes in front of your content...and keep them coming back for more! But how?
Two of Blue Sky eLearn’s experts, Cassie Garcia, Director of Marketing, and Dr. Kristen Wall, MA, EdD, Director of Learning & Development, recently unveiled their insights in a webinar that is available to watch on-demand. Dive into some of their strategies and tips below!
Periodically evaluating your audience’s interests, needs, and preferences is imperative while planning your marketing strategies. New audience segments can emerge while existing ones decline, and regular evaluation allows you to identify those rising opportunities and shift focus when needed.
Consider is that the competitive landscape. Monitoring what your competitors are doing can open new avenues for you to differentiate yourself and stand out from the crowd. Take a look at what your competitors have been successful with, and adapt those strategies to fit your audience, your mission, and your organization’s tone.
Technology is another thing you must continually evaluate as your offerings expand and your members are looking for more learning opportunities. For example, twenty years ago we didn’t have social media to market ourselves and look at us now! Almost all of us are utilizing social media to promote our brand, services, company cultures, and more. Staying on top of these digital marketing innovations allows you to enhance your targeting and engagement.
One of the most important things to assess is data. Data provides insights into what is resonating with your audience. The results of the analyzing of your data, especially when it comes to data from your learning management system (LMS), should be informing updates to your segmentation and outreach.
If you aren’t sure where to start when it comes to refreshing your audience, or you haven’t had the time to define your segments and build personas, this is a great place to start.
Break down your marketing audiences in three ways: Target Market, Segmentation, and Personas.
At the highest level, you have your target market. This is your total addressable market—folks with potential interest in your organization and your learning offerings. These are people of all levels of interest and experience, whether they are members or not.
A step below target market is segmentation. Segmentation divides your target market into subgroups based on common attributes like demographics and behaviors. Some examples of segments your association may encounter could be active members, prospective members, students, or even enterprise teams.
Finally, we get to personas—more specifically buyer personas. Buyer personas are detailed presentations of key marketing segments brought to life as fictional individuals. Developing association buyer personas allows you to have a deeper understanding of the characteristics, needs, motivations, and behaviors of your audience. This will make your life much easier when it comes to crafting marketing messaging. You’ll have the ability to tailor your strategies and messages to resonate with the personas you’ve developed.
Let’s begin by highlighting the differences between two common audience segments for member-based organizations: member and non-member. Many marketing strategies and tactics for these segments could potentially overlap, but it’s likely your messaging and positioning will need to be different for each audience because your objectives and goals differ for each.
To create marketing for members, you need to focus on ensuring that you’re keeping them engaged in your organization, coming back for more, and ultimately renewing their membership. You can also expand your non-dues revenue by selling additional learning content or programs to your members. You want to make sure your members are aware of all the amazing learning content that you’ve created!
For non-members, you want to create marketing that focuses on converting them to members and raising awareness of your organization with. Other segments or markets you may be marketing to are potential sponsors or partners—the messaging may be different for each segment, but your marketing should always demonstrate the value of you eLearning and answer the ultimate question: what’s in it for me (or WIIFM)?
How can you get folks curious about what you have to offer? How can you get them to take that next step to want to learn more? How can you boost your engagement with your marketing and get those clicks, likes, and subscribers? Let’s dive into some great ways to address all these pain points.
This is where you can get really creative! First, it’s important to have an LMS designed for associations that can support flexible pricing options. We’ll dive into that more in a bit, but first let’s take a look at some tactics.
We’ve put together a free resource for you to help you begin your eLearning Marketing journey. Our eBook, eLearning Marketing Guide for Associations, goes much
more in-depth on everything we’ve touched on in this post, plus even more eLearning marketing tactics to try and an in-depth guide to creating a marketing strategy. Download our free eBook today!
Your LMS is the primary hub for your eLearning offerings. It’s the platform that hosts and delivers your content. When thinking about your LMS, think of it as a marketing asset. To effectively market your eLearning your LMS must do the following:
Marketing is very visual, and as marketers, we’re giving people those visual cues to help them connect the dots between marketing assets. It’s critical that your LMS site reflects your organization’s branding—this makes it easy for learners to understand where they are, why they are there, and what to do. A few things that you can do to make sure your LMS is optimized to market your programs are:
The way that you break down your offerings is a vital part of your marketing strategy. The goal should be reducing the barriers to access for your learners. Make it easy for learners to understand what you have to offer by categorizing your learning products by use case or even your marketing segments. As we touched on earlier, bundling will help organize, simplify, and enhance your learning products' perceived value. Lastly, the value and purpose of your program should be clear to your learners. Consider adding value proposition language throughout your LMS to address specific demographics.
The last piece of the puzzle is making sure you’re using features in your LMS that not only help make your life easier, but also make your learner’s lives easier.
Using reporting and analytics tools in your LMS is one of the best ways to get insights into your learners. You can gather the data from learners to refine your marketing strategy.
Finally, make sure you’re using an LMS with built in tools to make your job easier – like AI! Here at Blue Sky eLearn, we’re integrating AI into our platform in some exciting ways. Most recently adding AI-Powered Assessment Questions that make it easier for admins to create relevant assessments in literally a fraction of the time. (Sound like something you’d benefit from? Reach out to us today to get a demo of this awesome feature!)
Cassie Garcia, Director of Marketing at Blue Sky eLearn
Cassie brings nearly a decade of B2B marketing experience to her role as Director of Marketing at Blue Sky eLearn. With a background in Communication Design, Cassie has led high-performing marketing teams to creatively engage audiences and drive measurable results for companies of all sizes.
At Blue Sky eLearn, she oversees marketing strategy and content creation that supports the company's mission of expanding access to online education. Cassie is also dedicated to empowering mission-driven organizations to effectively promote their learning programs through marketing best practices and strategic insights for the Path LMS platform.
When she’s not in the marketing-zone, Cassie enjoys catching Portland Trail Blazer games, gardening, and cooking.
Dr. Kristen Wall, MD, EdD, Director of Learning and Development at Blue Sky eLearn
Dr. Kristen Wall, MA, EdD is the Director of Learning and Development at Blue Sky eLearn. Holding a master's and doctorate in Adult Learning, Kristen specializes in bringing effective assessment strategies and qualitative research to enrich the learning programs of Blue Sky eLearn clients.
Starting as a junior high teacher, Kristen's journey led her to higher education, where she empowered countless online adult learners for over 15 years. Her passion for faculty development flourished, providing engaging learning opportunities for over 800 adjunct faculty members teaching 2,600 courses annually.
In 2018, Kristen embraced a new adventure as a consultant, and destiny led her to Blue Sky eLearn, where she now thrives as the Director of Learning and Development. She’s worked with associations in a diverse group of industries, from medicine and healthcare to insurance and state government.
Beyond her professional pursuits, she finds joy in hiking, travel, and detective novels.
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