Having a command of key digital marketing tools is essential for being a successful edupreneur.
If you want to succeed in the education business, you have to be prepared to market your online courses and other offerings effectively, and that means more than just blatant promotion. It means cultivating a relationship with the right customers.
While it’s true that technology tools alone can’t do this for you, they can certainly help a huge amount with the three steps that lead to a sale:
- Traffic generation
- Initial conversion
- Lead cultivation
This is just what it sounds like – generating traffic to you, meaning visitors to your website who are likely to be interested in the value you offer. Sounds simple enough, but how do you find these people? Or more importantly, how do they find you?
You certainly want to devote time to actively raising awareness about you and your product. That might include, for example, speaking at events (online and off) related to your topic, getting interviewed on podcasts, and guest posting on other peoples’ blogs.
It might also mean judiciously running ads through Facebook or Google.
Those are all important things to do – especially when you are just starting – but for the greatest success over the long term, you want to attract people to you because they are actively looking for the sort of high value content you offer.
To do that, there’s really nothing more valuable than understanding search. What are people searching for? What words are they using? What’s bringing them to your competitors’ sites?
For that, you need digital marketing tools like SEMRush. With SEMRush, all you have to do is type in your website address or the address of your competitors, and you can see which pages are most popular and which search terms people are using to find your site and your competitors’ sites. This is absolutely invaluable information for knowing what content to publish on your site and what words to use in your site content and any ads your run.
SEMRush can do a whole lot more than that – and it does have a bit of a learning curve – but if you want to build a real edge over time as an edupreneur, one of the best pieces of advice I can give you is to start using even its simplest capabilities now to guide your content strategy, and then build your skills with it over time.
Check it out . Seriously, you will be glad you did.
Attracting people to you is great, but until you know who those people are and have a way to communicate with them, traffic is of limited value.
Yes, you will always manage to convert a certain percentage of your site visitors into course buyers right away, but that percentage will probably be in the low single digits. You need a way to demonstrate your value and get people to hand over an e-mail address so that you can continue the conversation.
That requires a “lead magnet” of some sort – i.e., something people will sign up for. Many of the tools already described throughout this document can help with that. Examples of what a lead magnet could be include:
- One or more videos – usual of a “how to” nature
- A document
That’s your “offer”, but then you need a way to alert people to the offer, showcase its value, and make it easy for them to provide their contact info. There are two main digital marketing tools we rely on for this at learning Revolution:
OptinMonster enables you to easily create highly visual forms that you can be embedded into one or more pages across your site or configured to pop up after a visitor spends a certain amount of time or takes certain actions on your site.
You can track the results and easily try out different variations (“split testing”) to see what works best. Also, you tell OptinMonster where forms should appear and can easily turn them on and off, making it much easier to manage your marketing without a bunch of manual, page-by-page changes on your site.
LeadPages can also be used for pop-ups, but the main thing I use it for is to easily create targeted landing pages to showcase important offers, particularly ones that may require a little more “selling” that you do with just pop-up or embedded form. LeadPages offers a ton of time-tested templates you can use as a starting point for creating your landing pages and the results make you look like a real pro, even if you have zero design skills.
Of course, once you capture contact information from an OptinMonster form or LeadPages landing page, you still need a way to communicate with your prospects on an ongoing basis. So, let’s talk about lead cultivation.
Your e-mail platform will be the most important of your digital marketing tools here. Whether you use OptinMonster, LeadPages, or other options for collecting contact information, that information should feed automatically into your e-mail platform – all good conversion tools have plug-and-play integration for doing this – and then your e-mail platform should automatically send one or more e-mails to deliver access to whatever offer you have promised and start building a deeper relationship with your prospects.
There are many options for e-mail platforms and the general range of features most offer is pretty similar. Some key things you want to look for when choosing are:
- Integration: Whether the e-mail platform will integrate easily with the course platform you are using (or considering using). The most popular ones, like Mailchimp or ConvertKit, usually will. If there isn’t a direct integration, you can usually use Zapier, but make sure you are clear about how to do that and whether any costs will be involved.
- Automation: One of the most valuable capabilities of any e-mail platform is its ability to automate communication with your prospects – e.g., send messages at pre-determined times or based on actions the user takes, like whether not they open or click a prior e-mail. Be sure to think through the sorts of automations that could be valuable to you and make sure any platform you are considering can support them.
- Deliverability: Platforms do vary pretty widely in how successful they are at actually getting e-mails into your target customers’ e-mail boxes, so definitely check out some of the latest stats.
If you are just getting started with an e-mail platform, Mailchimp is one of the best all-around bets. As your list grows and your need for digital marketing tools becomes more sophisticated, consider one of the two following providers:
If you are a solo edupreneur or represent a very small business, ConvertKit is a great choice. As the name of the product suggests, it’s really geared toward helping you convert your prospects int customers. How? By giving you tools to easily tag your subscribers and automate personalized communications and downloads. It also integrates easily with just about every major course platform.
Active Campaign takes automation to even higher levels than ConvertKit, including the ability to track website activity and present personalized content. It also has a customer relationship management (CRM) system, making it possible to coordinate any direct selling you do with your marketing activities. Basically, it’s on par with major marketing automation systems like Hubspot or Infusionsoft, but more affordable and (at least in our opinion) easier to get up and running on.
You can, of course, also use the e-marketing tools that are included in many course platforms. Keep in mind, though, that most of these will be pretty limited in their capabilities and/or you generally have to be on the higher priced plans to get the full capabilities. The main exceptions are the all-in-one platforms like Kajabi and Kartra, which offer full-fledged e-mail systems as part of their standard packages.
Master Digital Marketing Tools
The bottom line is that digital marketing tools are essential to your success as an edupreneur. If you don’t master them yourself, you need to work with people who have mastered them. For guidance on how to put these tools to work in the most strategic way, be sure to check out the collection of marketing posts on the Learning Revolution blog.