Let’s face it: No one buys anything based on a brand’s word alone. Customer review sites have changed the way we market to consumers. In a world where we’re more informed than ever before, customer referrals, testimonials and experiences are extremely valuable. Increasingly, consumers see online customer reviews as one of the most trusted forms of advertising.

What does this trend mean for learning and development (L&D)? Much like big box brands, you also deliver a product. Just like any product, you have to market it.

Why Does Training Marketing Matter?

It may feel like there’s little to no need to promote your L&D programs, especially if participants are required to attend them. But it’s important to remember that every participant is a consumer. Your learners are your audience — and you have to earn them. Whether optional or mandatory, if your program is promoted as a fun and exciting experience, your audience will walk in with an open mind and a readiness to learn.

How and When to Leverage Learner Reviews

Positive peer reviews are an effective way not only to encourage new learners to participate but also to build momentum for your training. Use the following best practices to successfully market your next training program using learner reviews and content:

Hear That Sizzle Reel

Best filmed during the program’s pilot, sizzle reels are a great way to showcase your training program in action and capture in-the-moment reactions from learners. Ask participants to give you their “hot takes” in between modules and activities, using questions such as:

  • What’s been your favorite part of this training so far?
  • What’s your biggest takeaway from this training?
  • For product training: What do you like best about this technology/product?

Don’t forget to gather quotes from managers. Promoting your program at every level will help you gain top-down support.

Influencers in the Office

Every company has a group of performers who are uber-engaged and ready to take on new challenges. Leveraging this top talent to help promote your training program can be a great starting place when you want to generate buzz.

If your company has a learning portal or forum to share learning content and resources, ask questions, and read the latest company news, invite your top-performing “influencers” to attend the pilot and post their reactions on the forum. Arm them with key information, such as program dates and registration links, so they can answer peer questions quickly and efficiently.

Trend Alert: Marketing With UGC

A major trend for 2020, consumers increasingly see user-generated content (UGC) marketing as reliable and trustworthy. According to UGC technology company Stackla, “79% of people say UGC highly impacts their purchase decisions” — but only 13% believe a brand’s content is impactful.

You can deliver UGC in several formats, including social media posts, videos and website content. One way you can use UGC in your program marketing is by introducing a hashtag for learners to use when they post about their training experience on social media. You can even set up “photo op” stations for participants to visit and take pictures at throughout the day.

It’s time to start marketing training programs like any other product — with positive peer reviews that speak to the value of your training. Using high-energy, user-generated marketing content, such as sizzle reels and social posts, you can excite and inspire learners and drive future participation in your training programs.