Sell Your Online Courses Using...Social Media

Brainstorming to create social media campaign to sell courses online

It’s hard to imagine life without social media – and for some of us, it would be hard to imagine running our businesses without it too. A recent report shows 83% of female internet users and 75% of male internet users have social media profiles. In other words, you avoid it at your peril!

Social media is a valuable channel for marketing and selling your online courses – both for acquiring new customers to buy your online courses and for engaging with existing ones who have already purchased your courses. Social media marketing also works well to reinforce other marketing channels you are using such as email or blogging.

In this article, we’ll show you how to:

  • identify and engage with your ideal customer on social media
  • build your presence on social media
  • use paid social media advertising to sell courses online

If you are thinking about using social media to sell courses online, here are 6 key things to consider when you are getting started.

1. Identifying your ideal customer

Start by figuring out what your ideal customer looks like. Ask yourself some basic questions– what’s their job title, what industries they work in, what size company do they work for, how old are they, and so on. This is the first step to creating your buyer personas.

This will help you to work out which social media platforms your ideal customers are active on and what types of content are relevant to them. Then you can focus your efforts on creating content that will help you to effectively market your online courses to your ideal customers.

2. Engaging and building your presence

Set up business accounts on the social media platforms your ideal customers use, then start engaging them by sharing content relevant to their needs. This content should also intersect with the online courses you are selling.

For example, if you’re selling online courses on how to plan large-scale events, you might share articles that include tips for budgeting and running a successful event. These articles might be from your own blog, or from someone else’s. You shouldn’t be afraid to share other people’s content if you know it will be useful to your ideal customer (and you acknowledge the source).

Post regularly to build your company’s online presence. You can either log in each morning or, even better, use a scheduling tool to pre-plan your weekly posts. This allows you to focus on measuring which content is getting the most engagement.

3. Pay, but not for likes or follows

Paid social media advertising can be highly-effective for generating leads, but it can take up a lot of time. A great way to start is by promoting the content that is getting the most engagement from your audience. This will amplify the reach of your successful content and attract more people who look like your “ideal customer” to like/follow your company.

The one thing you should never do is pay for likes or follows. The whole point of building a social media presence is to attract an audience that is interested in what your company offers. If you buy likes/follows, you simply don’t have that any more.

Spend your marketing budget on promoting specific posts each week to build your follower base instead. At the end of the day, it's not about how many followers you have; it's about how relevant those followers are to your business.

4. Reaching new prospects

You’ve already identified certain features of your ideal customer – their job title, industry, company size, age, and location. Now you can target them on social media! Most social media platforms offer an advertiser portal where you can create paid advertising campaigns and target specific audiences using demographic features. Some platforms, like Facebook, even offer the ability to target audiences based on purchase habits and interests, which can be very handy.

When you target these new prospects, focus on introducing your business and raising awareness about the need you meet rather than straight up selling your online courses. For example, if you want to sell courses online to people on time management, you could create and promote a time-tracker template that people can download when they submit their email address. This content educates new prospects about the value of the online courses you offer by highlighting how they could be spending their time more efficiently.   It also provides you with an email list of people who are likely to be interested in your online courses, who you can now retarget.

Social media engagement concept to sell courses online

5. Retargeting

Retargeting is a specific type of marketing that lets you target prospects that have visited your website and already know about your business. Most social media platforms allow you to target prospects that have visited any page on your website, or narrow your focus to people who have visited specific pages on your site (like the shopping cart). Some platforms require you to install a tracking pixel on your website to get this information, while others allow you to set up the rules yourself using specific URLs.

Although there can be a bit of work involved in setting up a retargeting campaign, the effort is almost guaranteed to pay off. The people you target already know about your business and have expressed an interest in what you offer. This means you can hit them with more direct ads asking them to buy your online course today – and they will be more likely to respond. In fact, retargeting provides an average ROI of between 5 to 10 times marketing spend when done well.

6. Lookalike Audiences

Setting up tracking pixels on your website for retargeting also opens up another potentially lucrative audience type – the lookalike audience. This is a tailored audience similar to one you have already created using a tracking pixel, email list, or website interactions. Lookalike audiences are only available on Facebook in the social space, but on the wider web you can use them for Google Adwords and Display (where they are called “similar audiences”). This is usually more effective than targeting brand new prospects, and provides you with a cost-effective channel for reaching people likely to be interested in buying your online courses.

 Now get started!

Sometimes the best research comes from biting the bullet and actually starting. Set aside some time and just do it – set up your page, start sharing your content and measuring the results! Then create a test campaign and set up your audience targeting.

It’s important to be ready to test, measure and modify your campaigns and audience targeting based on the results you get and it can be a long journey. But it’s ultimately worthwhile and you will reap the benefits in amazing online course sales!

Ready to sell your courses online? Sign up for a free trial of CourseGenius and get started today!

This article was originally published on Inc.com in two parts on 1 February 2017 and 8 February 2017

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