Hey there, friends and fellow mavens of the digital learning realm! You’ve got your course materials polished and your platform is all set up. But a successful online course is like a compelling movie—it needs more than just a good script and actors; it requires an audience. That’s where our versatile PLAN framework comes in. It’s your roadmap to Prepare your marketing strategy, Lay out the pipeline, Activate your marketing machine, and Nurture & Engage your future learners. Ready to dive in? Let’s go!
Prepare the Marketing Strategy
First up on our journey is crafting the strategy that will guide all your marketing efforts. Since you already have a clear understanding of your audience from the earlier steps in our comprehensive guide, it’s time to focus on your objectives. What are your business and marketing goals? Are you aiming to double your course enrollments or perhaps skyrocket your brand awareness? Be precise. These goals aren’t just wishes; they’re your strategic north stars, steering all future decisions.
With objectives set, it’s time to map out the tactics to get you there. Which marketing techniques will serve you best? Maybe it’s a blend of SEO-rich blog posts or perhaps a sprinkle of influencer marketing. Also, think about your lead magnets. Will you use free webinars, downloadable e-books, or exclusive video snippets to attract your audience?
And let’s not forget the budget. A great marketing strategy is grounded in reality, and your budget outlines what is and isn’t feasible. Align your budget with the tactics and channels that will offer the highest ROI. This is where you blend aspiration with pragmatism, ensuring that your marketing strategy is both ambitious and achievable.
Lay Out the Pipeline
In this phase, your focus should be on outlining the specific steps that guide your prospects from initial contact to becoming paying clients. Think about the touchpoints and interactions that will occur at each stage, whether that’s reading an email, visiting a sales page, or having a consultation call.
If you’re offering a low-ticket item, the process might be more straightforward and automated. For example, you could plan for an initial email that leads to a click-through to a sales page, followed by an automated follow-up email. The key here is to minimize barriers to purchase, allowing for a quick and smooth transaction.
For high-ticket offers, the sales process usually requires more steps and personalized interaction. You might start with an initial email that offers a free downloadable guide, providing value and demonstrating your expertise. Then you could invite the prospect to schedule a discovery call. After a successful call, you’d send them a detailed proposal or direct them to a custom sales page designed to close the sale.
In both scenarios, it’s crucial to know what action you want the prospect to take at each stage and what you will do to facilitate that action. Will you send automated email sequences, use retargeting ads, or schedule personal follow-up calls? Every interaction needs to be planned out to guide your prospect to the next step, ultimately leading to a sale.
By laying out this pipeline clearly, you can ensure that your marketing and sales processes are aligned, structured, and designed to convert leads into clients effectively.
Activate the Marketing Machine
In this step, you’ll be launching your campaign to get people into your sales pipeline. First, ensure your content is ready for distribution and resonates with your brand voice. This could range from articles and blog posts to video content or social media posts. Make sure whatever you’re putting out adds real value for your audience, as this is how you’ll attract quality leads.
Next, decide on the promotional channels that align with your strategy and budget. If you’re using paid advertising, set up campaigns on platforms where your target audience spends their most time—this could be Google Ads, Facebook Ads, or LinkedIn for those targeting professionals in specific industries.
Before going live, make sure all the technical components are in place and fully functional. This includes your CRM system to capture and manage leads, email marketing software for sending out automated sequences, and tracking tools to monitor performance metrics like clicks, engagement, and conversions. Double-check that all landing pages, sign-up forms, and call-to-action buttons are working as intended.
Once everything is set up, initiate the campaign and start driving traffic into your pipeline. Monitor performance closely, particularly in the early stages, so you can make data-driven adjustments as needed.
By activating your marketing machine with all systems checked and double-checked, you’ll be well-positioned to attract and move leads through your carefully planned pipeline.
Nurture & Engage
Once you’ve captured leads into your pipeline, the next critical step is to nurture and engage with them. Marketing is about building relationships, not just making a quick sale. Understand that not everyone will transition from a stranger to a client instantly; people need time to get to know, like, and trust you. To put it plainly, you wouldn’t ask someone to marry you at first sight unless you’re on a reality show. The same principle applies when we meet a new prospect.
Automated email sequences serve as a practical tool for fostering these relationships. Use them to consistently provide value to your leads by sharing insights, tips, and resources relevant to their needs and interests. Personalization is key here—address recipients by name, reference past interactions, and make the content as tailored as possible to individual preferences and pain points.
In addition to automated emails, consider other touchpoints where you can engage with your audience. Whether it’s through a members-only Facebook group, LinkedIn community, or an interactive webinar series, offer spaces where leads can ask questions, share their own expertise, and interact with you and each other. These forums not only provide additional opportunities for engagement but also help build a community around your brand and offerings.
Remember, the objective is to cultivate a meaningful, ongoing relationship. This requires time, multiple touchpoints, and most importantly, genuine value offered from your end. By nurturing and engaging effectively, you are laying the groundwork for leads to evolve into long-term clients who genuinely trust and value what you offer.
And there you have it—a comprehensive guide to launching your online course using the PLAN framework. From preparing your marketing strategy to activating your marketing machine, each step is designed to set you on a path to not only attract but also deeply engage with your target audience. By laying out a well-thought-out pipeline, you create a structured path guiding your leads from curiosity to commitment. And never underestimate the power of nurturing and engaging; after all, successful marketing is about building lasting relationships.
Your online course may be packed with valuable content, but without a strategic plan to promote and sell it, even the best course material can go unnoticed. So take the time to implement these steps methodically, and you’ll not only see an uptick in enrollments but also build a community of learners who value what you offer.
As we often say at Mavenzeal, knowledge shouldn’t just be hoarded; it should be shared and used to elevate others. With the PLAN framework, you are doing just that—sharing your expertise in a way that is both compelling and enriching for your audience.
Here’s to your success and the positive impact your course will undoubtedly have on the learners who enroll. So go ahead, employ the PLAN framework and take your online course from a well-kept secret to a must-have learning experience. Happy launching!