How to strategically market your continuing education courses.
Offer the right course, in the right place, for the right price, at the right time. It is that easy, right? The answer is yes, so long as you focus on the how, specifically the 4 “P”s and how they relate to continuing education.
Product refers to the item or service being sold. In this case, your courses. Being able to accurately describe your course and why it’s unique is imperative to successfully marketing it. You will always yield more profits if your product meets the various needs and preferences of your licensees. Having a clear vision for each course’s content and understanding your licensees will help ensure you market your courses efficiently and effectively.
Place refers to the point of sale, where a buyer can get the product. With continuing education courses, it‘s all about access. The more ways that you have available to access the content — live courses, online courses, etc. — , the more opportunities you have to market and register participants. For live activities, the challenge is offering the course in a convenient location at a convenient date and time. Online options can lack the in-person connection that many people prefer for learning. Offering more than one distribution channel allows licensees to find and take your courses when and where they want, easier.
This said, online options comes with a perk; links and buttons and links from different pages to your website, as well as other websites, will give the search engines more opportunity to for your courses to be found. A store display shows products off in the best light, and you would use the same philosophy when sharing and marketing your courses. Advertise to the largest audience with the best targeting possible, in the best way possible.
Price speaks for itself. Licensees sign up and take courses, and so what you charge for that “product” is what matters. You can use several types of pricing strategies, depending on your overall business plan, the product, and the place. Pricing can also differentiate and enhance the image of a course in comparison to the competition. If you get the price right in combination with the product and place, you can expect growth and profits. If you get it wrong, you may lose business and struggle to compete.
One thing to remember is that some of your products might “double-dip.” What I mean is your courses may be applicable to multiple industries. Many professionals hold dual licenses, and if they find a course that will meet both requirements, the value of that product has just increased. In addition, if you have a very specialized subject matter that is generally only available through a live format, you may find developing an online equivalent will add value due to ease of access.
Promotion, the last P, refers to all the activities undertaken to make the product known. Every time we have said marketing so far, we have been referring to this: advertising, word of mouth, press reports, incentives, commissions, awards to the trade, etc. Use many different promotional channels as you want to reach the maximum number of participants, but use them wisely just because you throw a handful of darts at the same time does not mean you will hit the bullseye.
If your CE activity will meet a particular license requirement, then time your marketing campaign to coincide with the professional renewal deadlines for the biggest bang for your buck. Alert the professionals of the opportunity to register for your course when it is most advantageous for the professionals, when they may need it most and don’t want to hunt one down. Annual compliance deadlines are a great to use as timetables to implements targeting promotional campaigns. Capitalize on it on this and focus your marketing on how the content will be beneficial.
The 4 Ps in Practice
Promotion heavily relies on really maximizing the other three Ps.
- You have to know the product, meaning the courses, industries, and requirements well to know what you are marketing.
- The place relies on knowing the audience and why the course will meet their needs, allowing the right platforms and types of courses to be made to maximize on the effectiveness of the product.
- The price will greatly relate to the quality of the product, where it is being placed, and the functionality, accessibility, and uniqueness both offer.
- Promotion will then take all these aspects and package them effectively with language, images, and access that will ensure licensees see your courses when they need to, and will understand why they need them.
All of these are selling points that will help convince licensees that your courses are the ones worth taking.