More often than not, L&D professionals are still order-takers and, as a result, create one-off learning solutions that are quickly put together with no real thought or engagement. If a marketer were to reach out to a prospect once because they visited a website or filled out a form, and then never contacted them again, what do you think would happen? Most likely, nothing. The prospect isn’t engaged, and the marketing team didn’t understand the prospect’s needs and pain points. They couldn’t deliver valuable content to move the prospect along in the marketing funnel, and the company won’t be able to make the sale. Take this scenario and apply it to L&D: We take an “order” and offer the training; the learner comes, sees, takes a quiz and leaves. That’s the end of the training, the engagement and the knowledge-sharing.
What Is a Marketing Campaign?
For marketing professionals to keep track of prospective clients, they leverage campaigns. A campaign is simply a defined series of activities using various marketing channels and media to deliver content. Marketing doesn’t just use email, advertising and social media but also word of mouth and influencer marketing. Campaigns can have different goals, such as increasing awareness and engagement, building a brand image, introducing a new product or increasing sales. For example, marketers might share a video on social media. Once the prospect is more informed about the product and has submitted a form, marketing will share a white paper in email. If the prospect has been quiet for a while, meaning they haven’t opened any emails or visited the website, marketing will nudge them and try to raise their interest level again. Based on their needs, marketing offers relevant content just in time, moving them along the funnel at the same time.
Creating a Campaign
Marketers follow five simple steps when creating campaigns:
- Set campaign goals and measures of success.
- Define the target audience.
- Develop a clear message.
- Review and select the right type of media.
- Track success.
Taking a closer look at the steps marketers take when creating campaigns, you will see that L&D professionals follow a very similar process: needs analysis (set goals, define target audience and decide on delivery channels), content development (develop message) and evaluation (track success). In order to bring the idea of campaigns into L&D, let’s take a look at drip campaigns first.
Engage Learners Through Drip Campaigns.
Marketers use drip campaigns to send their prospects information repeatedly over a long period of time. A campaign might be a series of automated emails that are triggered after a certain period of time or sent based on actions a prospect takes, such as attending a webinar or making a purchase. These campaigns are not limited to emails and could include a number of other delivery channels.
The concept of a drip campaign can easily be translated into L&D to help us engage learners not only for one learning session but on an ongoing basis. Onboarding is an excellent place to introduce drip campaigns to your organization.
Leverage a Campaign to Onboard Learners.
Onboarding is one of the most crucial training programs your organization has. Setting the tone in the first couple of days and weeks is essential to employee success. However, onboarding can be overwhelming, with new people to meet, new concepts to learn and new products to master. Every new hire comes to an organization with a different background and different knowledge level about its products and services, yet we often put each through the same onboarding program.
Without having to completely redo your current program, by leveraging a drip campaign, you can add elements that will allow you to distribute just-in-time and role-specific content. For example, let’s say a company starts competitor training with a face-to-face kick-off session to cover the top five competitors. Then, learners receive five separate emails, each detailing one of the competitors in more detail. The content is tailored to the new hire’s job role, meaning a sales rep receives different information on each competitor than a new marketing hire does, thus increasing the interest and engagement level. Each email is accompanied by an automated chatbot message to push out an asset the competitor distributes, such as a webinar or white paper. Finally, a face-to-face session completes the competitor onboarding and sets the tone for further sessions.
One advantage of a drip campaign is that you can leverage your existing marketing automation tool. You set the campaign up once, and the platform will trigger “drips” until you tell it not to. Of course, you will still have to ensure that the content is up to date, but that’s no different than any other learning program. Furthermore, you will be able to track learners’ activities, such as email open and click-through rates, and engagement.
Think About the Learner First.
Leverage the steps a marketer takes in creating a campaign, relay it back to what you already do every day and think about the learner first. How can you engage the learner, and what other delivery channels besides e-learning can you use to teach about a new product or service? How can you space out content over time and add an element of repetition? The solutions are endless. Give this concept a go for your next learning project, and see how you can delight your learners.