You’ve created a course that perfectly addresses an employee skill gap and tackles specific pain points, but the uptake has not been what you expected. Even with a few lines about it in the newsletter, your course might make less-than-optimal impact.
Getting employees to learn shouldn’t be that hard, right?
The problem is that some organizations do not realize how powerful internal marketing is for learner engagement. Employees will not always come running when the latest courses are released. They have far too much work to bother with taking on training that does not seem valuable to them. As a result, learning and development (L&D) teams must place a higher priority on marketing their learning programs to see employees engage with their new training offers.
Luckily, there are actionable steps that you can take to market your training and shift employee uptake from dismal to optimal. You won’t even need to call your marketing department for this one! Follow these six steps to successfully market your internal learning solutions:
1. Understand Your Organization
Make sure you’re well-acquainted with your organization’s current situation, mostly because you need to know what is competing with your training solution for the learners’ attention. These distractions range from their regular work to other training programs. What is the climate of their work environment right now? Are there any new workplace disruptions? It’s important to be up to date on all the changes going on in the business environment before creating any marketing strategy.
Your analysis should include stakeholders, management, supervisors, departments and business functions. Stay up to date on organizational goals, structure and culture, too. They will also inform your marketing strategy.
2. Map out Goals and Objectives
Taking time to map out goals and define measurable outcomes and timelines is an essential part of any successful business process. When marketing your new learning solution, these goals and objectives will serve as the structure of your strategy is built and will also be your key performance indicators (KPIs). They are essential for keeping your team on track and accountable throughout the process.
The goal of your marketing strategy is most likely to increase awareness and buy-in and to improve learner engagement. With that goal in mind, you should be able to work backward and figure out the steps you need to take to achieve them. You’ll do well with just one or two clearly defined key objectives; this number is likely realistic and achievable. Also, be sure that those objectives are aligned with organizational goals. You’ll stand a higher chance of success that way.
3. Define Your Target Audience
Whom are you creating your course for? Who stands to benefit the most from it? You’ll need to answer these important questions before setting out to create your course. Even though all employees can benefit from any type of training, it’s important that your efforts in course creation and marketing are specifically tailored and targeted to the right group of learners, which is where learner personas come into play.
The learner persona represents your specific audience, including a breakdown in demographics, skills, motivations, pain points, etc. You can gather all of this information using in-depth surveys and focus groups. Then, you can convert that learner persona into a buyer persona to determine how to sell your course.
4. Outline Your Unique Selling Proposition
With clarity on whom you’re “selling” to and what your end goals are, it’s time to create the messaging that can help achieve them. What makes your course unique and worth investing in rather than anything else on the intranet and internet? The answer to this question is your unique selling proposition (USP). It’s the message that will resonate with your target learners and that should be at the forefront of your campaign.
Researching learner pain points beforehand will help in this step. If you can figure out what your target learners are struggling with and find a way to tackle that problem with your new course, you can use that information in the marketing message your course stands on.
You might find yourself developing more than one marketing message when comparing learning needs with your training benefits. However, it’s best to narrow it down to one concise message that will evoke the desired emotions and encourage a specific action — in this case, signing up for the course.
5. Choose Marketing Tactics to Suit Your Strategy
Now that you’ve outlined your key marketing message, the next step to tackle is how you’re going to communicate it. Which internal and external communication channels will you use to spread the word? From your learner persona research, you should have information on where your employees spend the most time online. Target your efforts there.
It’s important that you make your decisions based on impact and regular traffic. If the answer is email, include the announcement in newsletters or email signatures. It could also be your online chat platform or social media. A landing page on the intranet dedicated solely to the key message could work.
Also, decide the frequency you will be pushing your message: daily, weekly or monthly? You should use the same strategy to tell your learners about new details relating to the course, remind them about events and encourage participation.
6. Evaluate and Refine
After delivering your campaign and course, you’ll need to figure out how to measure their impact. It’s important that you use metrics that tie back to your main goal to determine the success of your marketing strategy. Those metrics should also be tailored to your organization.
Feedback and evaluation are good ways to support the statistics. Encourage and provide channels for collecting feedback on your marketing efforts. One way to start out is to ask your learners how they heard about your course. The answers to this question will help determine which of your communication channels is performing the best. Listen to what your learners, your stakeholders and marketing experts have to say, and use that information to work out the kinks in your strategy.
Internal marketing might become a little complicated, and it requires some effort, but employing these marketing tactics can simplify it for you. Knowing your learner, becoming acquainted with their pain points and providing training benefits that tackle them head-on will improve learner trust and engagement. Set realistic goals and implement the right measures to accomplish them. And, don’t forget to sustain your efforts and be ready to change tactics if need be.
With your insider knowledge as the learning professional, you’ll be able to market your learning solution without a lot of help from the marketing department.