A lot of businesses don’t have the budget to spend thousands of dollars growing their online course profile. Usually, they’re looking for tactics to do more with less. The good news is that a lack of funds doesn’t mean you can’t attract new enrolments. In fact, there’s still a lot you can do without spending a cent, it just takes a little time and creativity.
If your online course isn’t producing the revenue to employee a professional digital agency, we’ve put together a handy resource guide to get you started. With these five tips, you’ll grow your online traffic, boost your student intake, and ultimately take your course to the next level. Soon enough, you’ll be earning enough to hire an online agency to do it for you.
- SEO to drive traffic
When you start promoting your online course, one of the best ways to attract new students is by showing up in internet search results—preferably at the top of the page. Some studies show that ranking on the first page can increase your website traffic by as much as 50%. However, in your website’s early days, achieving a high ranking on Google simply isn’t realistic. It takes a lot of time to build that online clout. For now, the only way to do it is by paying for PPC ads.
If you’re looking to show up at the top of the page organically—and save some money—you’ll need to do two things: optimize your website for SEO and start posting new content regularly. While there are plenty of guides online to help you do this yourself, here are some of the highlights:
- Review and analyze your competitor’s keywords and phrases
- Pick which key words you want to rank for
- Use those keywords and phrases throughout your website (including page titles, headers, page copy, meta tags, etc.)
- Submit your website to search engines to make sure they start indexing it
- Content marketing will build trust
It is important to post original and unique content regularly, it will help your organic search ranking. However, the value of top-quality content goes so much deeper. In fact, one study demonstrated that trust is a key component of consumer decision-making. Customers simply trust brands that publish original content over those that don’t.
There are multiple types of content you can create, including blogs, videos, white papers, eBooks, infographics, case studies, podcasts, and more. The key to success is finding out what works well for your particular niche and your specific audience. While some content can require a lot of research and resources to produce, the time spent can be well worth the effort. Not only will people be more open to learning about you, they’ll also be eager to start a genuine conversation. And they’ll likely be repeat visitor to your website. Content can be the beginning of a long-term relationship with your students that can reap valuable rewards.
- Incorporate social media to gain a following
Gaining a social media following is valuable, however, make sure you actively and frequently engage your audience. Think of it as one more tool in your arsenal of marketing tactics. You want current and potential students to really get to know what you are all about—and you want to engage with them in a way that’s not all about getting them to enroll, so think about posting content that inspires them and gets them involved, rather than constantly posting updates about your course. This will naturally attract their interest and make them curious about what you have to offer.
Before you jump in and create a profile on every social media website, investigate which social networks are popular with your potential students. Then, post links to your original content, and even helpful articles and content that aren’t your own. Other ideas to keep followers engaged include running contests, offering exclusive promotions, posting polls, and posing questions to the community to encourage engagement.
- Email marketing
Email marketing is an effective method for keeping customers engaged and driving enrolments. While there are numerous messaging platforms, email is still a staple of everyday life for most people. So if you don’t have an email database, it’s time to start building one.
To begin email marketing, start by testing the approach that works best for your students. A weekly email can be seen as too much by some people, while bi-monthly or a monthly email works better for others. Your email message also depend on your audience. If you want to use email to increase enrolments, test all kinds of campaigns, like limited-time specials, coupons, and first-time enrolments. And don’t forget that email doesn’t have to be about revenue. Sometimes the most effective campaigns are those that simply remind people that you’re there, you’re an expert resource, and you’re here to help when they’re ready.
- Go mobile
These days more than half of all internet traffic comes from a mobile device. Moreover, 57% of customers won’t recommend a business if its mobile website is poorly designed. So if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re losing out on a huge percentage of positional students. Luckily optimizing your website for mobile isn’t very difficult—it involves installing specialized code on the backend or transferring your website to a newer template. Once that has been actioned, there will be a bunch of features that make it easier for people to navigate via a mobile device.
Here are a few other mobile-friendly website features to keep in mind:
- Don’t include flash videos.
- Only use correct sized images and don’t make them too big.
- Feature larger tap-able buttons. (Embedded links are often too tiny to click with fingers.)
- Ensure navigation menus are manageable. (Large drop-down menus fill the entire screen.)
When using these tips to optimize your online course, you’ll soon be getting more students enrolling in no time.