The popularity of online education is growing at a tremendous pace, and the quarantine period has shown how relevant this direction can be for business. Many people have realized in practice that you can study anywhere, without being tied to a location and without losing the quality of the presentation of the material.
But the growth in demand could not but affect the supply. Advertising online courses requires a competent approach and relevant experience. We have this experience. We’ve already promoted many online schools, and in this article I’ve collected proven online course promotion techniques that will help marketers and online education business owners effectively grow and engage an audience.
1. Contextual advertising.
The fastest way to get traffic and first customers to your site. But at the same time one of the most expensive, tk. auctions are overheated and often the CPC is too high. Advertising an online school on Google Ads will work well if you are faced with the task of recruiting students in a short time or completing a group.
You can reduce the cost of a campaign if you spin ads for low-frequency keywords, as well as search for potentially converting, but non-obvious queries with a low level of competition. Automated phrase selection tools such as Serpstat.com, Keys.so, etc. are well suited for these purposes.
2. Targeted advertising.
The main platforms for targeted advertising are social networks. – VK, Facebook, Instagram or Odnoklassniki. Targeting is based on displaying ads based on the interests and various characteristics of the target audience. For example, you can show ads for interior design courses to women between the ages of 20 and 25 who are interested in interiors, fashion, and the creative arts.
The advantage of promoting online courses using targeted advertising is a low entry threshold for a budget and a good hit in the target audience if you have a clear understanding of the portrait of a potential client.
3. SEO promotion.
Search engine optimization takes time to build, but then, it allows you to get free organic traffic much cheaper than from contextual advertising and without having to pay for each click. This option works well if you are focused on developing your online school in the long term. For one event, event, one-time SEO course, it is not very applicable.
SEO jobs require more attention to the technical side. Also, this option is great for online schools with a lot of courses and directions.
For example, for the Skillfactory school, we collected thousandth semantics, worked on landing pages. And here is the result we managed to achieve in terms of traffic from search engines:
If you start advertising online courses with a landing page, it is better to use context and targeting to drive traffic.
4. Publications on thematic sites.
These can be niche or business publications, general media, blogs and others, around which your target audience can potentially be concentrated. By publishing articles that are interesting for the target audience on such sites, in which there is a mention of your school or specific courses, you can get conversions and conversions in registration.
An important condition: you need to avoid explicit advertising, as this can, on the contrary, cause a negative reaction. Strive to create exactly useful, informative and interesting content.
5. Advertising in Telegram channels.
This is a relatively new channel for attracting traffic, which is not yet used as actively. But it has a number of important advantages:
good price / performance ratio; low competition in most niches; good coverage rates; high-quality audience.
6. Crowd marketing.
There are communities not only on social networks. Thematic forums are doing quite well today, accumulating an audience of tens and hundreds of thousands of visitors. And you can work with them using the crowd marketing method. – hidden technology or «partisan» marketing in the form of responses-recommendations for a specific product / service / service.
The list of target resources for crowd marketing also includes Q&A sites, such as Yandex.Q, Mail.ru Answers, Habr Q&A, etc. Sometimes there are special sections of this type on large thematic sites or regional portals.
In general, the operation algorithm will be as follows:
create an account for an expert representative; we define target topics for us; upgrade your account and insert links to the site / landing pages; promoting responses with likes and comments.
Regarding the last point, here you need to have either several affiliated accounts at hand, or use some kind of microtask exchange like Qcomments.ru.
7. Yandex.Directory and Google My Business.
Even if you are completely focused solely on online learning, registering with map services also makes sense. You can rank higher for geo-queries. You can get a nice snippet to attract additional user attention in the SERP, and much more.
You can register for these services completely free of charge. It is important to have some kind of physical address, it is not necessary that you conduct face-to-face training there.
8. Aggregators and catalogs of companies.
The trend of the last few years – dominance of aggregators in many niches, rather than single sites. In most cases, they are better at revealing user intent, and search takes this into account in their algorithms. Instead of fighting them, a better strategy – use them for your own purposes. After all, the presence in each of these aggregators potentially gives you additional place in the search results.
Usually, the position in a particular category of a typical aggregator is determined by a rather limited number of factors: the completeness of the profile description, rating and the number of reviews. You can also and should experiment with paid pinning in the first places in these aggregators.
9. Advertising on YouTube.
Youtube – it is the second largest search engine in the world after Google. Instead of the usual sites and articles, the content is presented in the format of channels and videos.
You can launch advertising on this site directly through the interface of the Google Ads service. Not everyone uses this opportunity, but as part of the strategy for promoting an online school, advertising in video is definitely worth testing.
This is where you need to test different ad formats, and experiment with different types of creatives. To understand which will be most effective in your case, you can only experimentally.
10. Development of your own channel.
One thing – buying ads in other people’s YouTube channels, and quite another – development of your own. It is extremely complex and requires a lot of investment to get started. But this will provide an opportunity to get a much larger audience coverage and in the long term this channel will be very profitable. As with SEO, it will be possible to get thousands of free organic views.
You can record short training videos, tell interesting facts, explain how to use the product, share industry news, and more. YouTube channel – a great way to promote your online school if your goal is to build a loyal audience around your brand.
11. Promotion on Instagram.
You can buy ads from bloggers, or you can simultaneously (or instead) develop your own page, collecting an audience and then turning it into customers. For example, share tips, little extracts on lesson topics, write down stories with feedback from people who have completed a particular course. Growth potential depends a lot on the area of your study.
Clients can be found here for courses in almost any direction. But keep in mind that the bulk of Instagram users are people between the ages of 20 and 35. And most of the audience is women.
12. Advertising in communities.
You can find thematic groups on almost any topic on Facebook and VK, in some niches there are hundreds of them. And placing ads in such communities, by direct agreement with administrators, can be a good addition to targeting. All other things being equal, you can get a great return for the same money.
13. Content Marketing.
If the task is not only to get visitors / conversions, but also to develop a brand, build an audience, increase company awareness and generate repeat sales – content marketing is becoming a very important area of work. You can share useful material in your field, post snippets of paid courses, tell your student success stories, etc.
The problem is that everyone writes about content marketing, but few know how to put it into practice. In order for you to understand the topic in more detail, I recommend reading the following articles from our blog: «Content Marketing: How Not To Lose Money and Time?» and «Reach and impact – the main tasks of content marketing»…
14. Email Marketing.
When it comes to internet marketing, having a good subscriber base can be kind of «golden share» for school. Email marketing has a number of important benefits:
people who are on your recipient list have already shown an interest in you and voluntarily provided their address; the letter goes directly to the addressee, bypassing intermediaries in the form of other platforms; You can automate mailing, customize email chains, etc. You are less likely to lose your audience due to changes in algorithms, platform shutdown and other similar things.
You can always agree on advertising integration in someone else’s mailing list, exchange of mentions and other methods of cooperation. When promoting online courses, this area of work is definitely worth attention.
15. Connection to CPA networks.
Cost Per Action (CPA) – it is an advertising model in which payment is made for a specific user action on the advertiser’s website. For example, registering, downloading a file, submitting an application, purchasing an item, etc.
Most often, work is carried out through intermediaries in the form of CPA networks, which bring webmasters and advertisers together, track statistics and do all the things to ensure effective work.
Of the minuses, the main one for the advertiser is that the administration of a normal CPA network usually requires a large enough amount to connect to the system.
16. Advertising with bloggers.
The audience of some bloggers, in terms of volume and quality, can leave far behind the audience of many media. But on Runet, only a few entrepreneurs and marketers use this direction to develop their business. Here it will be more difficult to calculate the return, but if you get into the target audience, you will not have to count it, and the investment will pay off immediately.
You can collaborate with the owners of offline blogs, YouTube channels, Telegram and the authors of popular Instagram accounts. Below you can see examples of how such integrations might look:
17. Affiliate program.
In order for as many people as possible to share information about your online school, it is worth giving them some financial incentives. The best way to do it – share a percentage of sales. To do this, you can launch an affiliate program.
The algorithm of the affiliate program can be described in three simple steps:
Provide each partner with a unique identifier code. Track every person who makes a payment using this code. Transfer the promised percentage of sales to your partner.
It can be technically difficult to implement such a system so that all steps are performed in an automated form, so this promotion option is not suitable for everyone. There are also ready-made platforms for affiliate programs on the market, analyze them and perhaps you can find a suitable solution for yourself.
18. Launch a podcast.
Audio podcasts can help grab the attention of an audience that doesn’t have enough time to consume more familiar content (text and video). You can listen to them on the way to work, school, doing housework and other chores.
Podcasts can be a great tool for selling online training courses. You just need to plan well what information you will provide for free, and what will be included in the paid course.
19. Offer to try it for free.
If the full course consists of three dozen lessons, you can make the first 2-3 of them completely free. This may be enough to close the objections of potential students and convince them of the quality of the material.
Also, the test period can be offered in exchange for a review, subscription to a newsletter or other similar actions. In this way, you will benefit too, even if he never ends up becoming a client.
Another good way to convince your potential students and prove that you are offering valuable knowledge. — offer a free mini-course. For example, beautifully packaged as a series of emails, you give people “try” your basic tutorial.
Such a small sample can convince them to buy an already full course.
20. Find partners for cooperation.
Look for those who are not your direct competitors, but who work in a related field. So you can agree on mutually beneficial cooperation.
For example, interior design courses + a turnkey apartment renovation company or programming training courses can mutually cooperate with IT companies from their city. After all, the best graduates can be employed there.
21. Participate in activities.
Even if you are promoting exclusively online learning, this does not mean that your marketing efforts should be limited to only the Internet. Sometimes going offline and making more personal contacts can work well in addition to online advertising.
Thematic conferences, meetups, exhibitions and other similar events can be an excellent opportunity for additional coverage of an audience with whom it would be difficult to connect with other methods.
It’s not enough to create a training course or launch an online school, just create a landing page for this business and wait for random sales. Even despite the rapid growth and boom in this area. As with any product or service, you need a marketing strategy that will help you engage your audience and convert as many of them as possible into customers. This will make your courses not only interesting and relevant, but also profitable.
Based on our experience in the field of online education, in this article I have listed more than two dozen methods for promoting in the digital space. You can use them without any problems. You need to start small, gradually expanding the number of channels and comparing them in terms of efficiency.
Do you have any idea what other channels might be worth including in the article? Write in the comments!