Marketing Your Training Program
You’ve created a killer plan for your training program, and you’re ready to roll it out. So how do you get management and students on board? Whether you’re promoting your training program to internal employees, channel partners or customers, there are strategies to make your program more widely visible and accepted.
One of the first things you will need to do before creating the marketing materials for your training program is determining who you are marketing to? Are you addressing executives or management who need to approve the program? Or are you marketing directly to the learners who will be taking your courses? Determining your audience will help you craft the right message.
When it’s time to market your training, be sure to clearly communicate the benefits. That’s right, you may need to “make the case” for why someone would want to take or approve your courses. While there may be many organizational and individual benefits to your training, be sure to focus on the value to your audience. You may even want to develop separate marketing messages depending on who you are marketing to. For example, if you are marketing directly to learners, your message might be different than if you are marketing to the executives and managers who will approve the program.
Explain Benefits of Training for Managers and Executives - When marketing your training program to managers and executives (not necessarily those who will be taking the courses), you want to communicate organizational benefits. How does the training fit within key business goals and objectives. What specific ROI can they expect? Will the training lead to increased sales or revenue? Decreased production costs? Decreased employee turnover? Put yourself in their shoes and demonstrate the business value in your training program
Benefits for Learners - The marketing that you create for learners will have a different message. This messaging should focus on getting them to want to take your training. Focus on specific benefits that individual learners will get from the training. What will they learn? How will this help them in their jobs? Are there any certifications that come with the training? Is there a special guest speaker or is the training conducted in a unique way? Are they required to take this training?
Look at the training from the learners’ point of view and really focus on why they should want to take the course. When possible, cite industry research and other resources to get your learners excited about the training and the value they’ll get from participating.
Research shows that people are influenced most by peers that they trust, so finding champions to speak about your courses is critical to successful training promotion.
As you conduct your classes, survey your participants on their experience. Use these testimonials in your email communications, on your website and in course materials to help add credibility to the power and value of the training.
Your training program is a significant use of resources and money. Keep your stakeholders excited by marketing your program in advance. You don’t necessarily have to wait until the entire plan is ready for release. Take a cue from the entertainment industry. Provide teaser materials and descriptions of the program to help create momentum.
As you develop your plan for marketing your training program, you will want to consider how you want to disseminate your message. When deciding on the format of your marketing materials, keep the following in mind:
- Who are you marketing to and where are they located?
- Do you have a budget for printed marketing materials?
- Do you have in-house talent to write and layout your marketing content?
- Do you have the resources to create electronic media?
Obviously marketing your training program will be easier if you have access to in-house or outsourced marketing resources. But even without significant marketing resources, it is still possible to provide effective and engaging materials. Be creative with the resources you do have. Consider using some of the following to highlight the benefits of your program:
- Email campaign
- Microsite or hidden page on company website
- Wiki page
- Short FAQ document
- Create a blog or develop articles that contain tips to making the most of the training program
- Release short video teasers posted on company site or YouTube
Marketing your training doesn’t have to be complicated. By focusing your message on your audience and being creative with the ways in which you reach that audience, you can help ensure management acceptance and learner involvement.
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