15 Ways to Promote eLearning Programs
by: Catherine Franz
Pre-note: In this article, teleclass is an example used to illustrate one type of eLearning market. The tips work the same for other eLearning programs, including, but not limited to, teleseminars and ecourses.
In the mid-1990s, the teleclass format began and was named, distance learning. During these early years, learning institutions, particularly universities, were chief users of this format. Mainly due to the large equipment investment needed at that time. Now, due to technology changes and cost reduction, people can give and attend ePrograms without leaving their chair or selling their first child. No parking challenges, auto expenses, or travel time required. Another benefit to learning by phone is that your listening skills will reach new heights quickly.
In 2003, technology allowed a single conference line to expand from 30 to 150 participants per line. Affordable conference lines were previously only available in certain states, Florida and Nevada. Now other states, like New York, are jumping in on this bandwagon with affordable rates.
Currently, a 24/7 conference line, is available to rent around $600 a year. An alternative is to rent the line by the hour. This can range between $10 to $20 per hour depending on the service features desired. You can also share a line with one or two others to reduce your cost. I recommend finding line-share partners who are in other time zones, it makes sharing easier.
Zero-cost teleconference lines at available at http://www.mrconference.com and by other vendors. Most of these services have flaws that range from automatic disconnect if no voice is detected every 8 to 10 minutes, to being blocked from entering the call because of overstressed lines. I recommend the leader dialing in 5 to 10 minutes early to secure the line, however, this doesn't mean that all participants may not experience over trafficked busy signals.
Actually, teleprograms will not take the place of "being there" for all people. The skills and experience of the teleclass leader or host can also make or break the learning experience. There are just as many teleclass leader styles as people. If you have never experienced a teleclass, I recommend attending four or five before deciding if the format is or isn't for you.
15 Tips To Help Promote Your eLearning Programs
1. If you produce your own eNewsletter, electronic newsletter, or eZine, electronic magazine, or printed newsletter, add an eLearning announcement section.
2. Contact other newsletter editors and ask to have your program announced in their issue. You can swap ad space, your ad for their ad, exchange ad space for participation, offer a commission option, purchase the ad, or pay per click-through. I don't recommend paying for click-throughs unless excellent tracking systems are in place. In order to attract, make sure their target market and yours match.
3. You can also use pay-per-click through search engines like Google's AdWord program. If you go this route, I suggest you purchase an ad analyzer software (about $100) or a service (average $19.95/month) to maximize time and reduce mistakes.
4. Place notices all over your web site -- especially your main page -- about the program. Remember: posting announcement notices is actually passive marketing. You will still need to pull visitors to the site.
5. Write and distribute Internet articles on the same subject. Unable to write, hire a ghostwriter. Allow four to twelve weeks for this process to begin pulling visitors to your website. The number of articles distributed will proportionally be your return. My low end measurement has been: 1 article = 10 visitors or more = 8 new eNewsletter subscribers = 1 sale. High end: 1 article = 350 new visitors = 125 new subscribers = 10 sales. This is now one of the top five Internet promotion building attractions.
6. Since ePrograms don't require people to be physically present, attendance is now open internationally. Thus, you will want to distribute information about your eLearning opportunity globally. Find places in other English-speaking countries like the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. If you speak a foreign language, you can even offer the same program in that language. Spanish speaking ePrograms are in high demand.
7. Mention your eProgram on other ePrograms you attend. You can slip it in with a question or when presenting your personal information to the class.
8. Add a promotional paragraph about the program to all your outgoing e-mails, called signatures in Outlook. Choose HTML design in your software and add a picture of the leader/host along with a link to where someone can register or find out additional information.
9. Join market-rich discussion lists, billboards, or chat rooms. If direct solicitation isn't permitted, sell gently through your signature or indirect questions.
10. Write a press release for each eProgram. Become a member of PR Web http://www.prweb.com/. Membership is fr*e*e. This number one website attracts a very high percentage of media personnel.
11. Accumulate a list of all the local newspapers that offer fr*e*e community event announcements. Inquire into their deadline and submission requirements. You will also want to ask how can may confirm receipt of your information. They don't intentionally leave information out, however, they move at a fast pace and things do get lost in the shuffle. Special note: Most community list ads are for fr*e* events.
Use a three-ring binder to record the advertising information. You can also save the information in your e- mail software, like Outlook, and your Internet browser software, in a separate "Community newspaper" section. However, if the hard drive crashes, make sure the information safe. Due to the value of this information and the amount of time you spent accumulating it, you still may want to keep updated printouts just in case. Even a backup diskette in the binder. Having a paper version also helps when the computer is off or you need to transport the information. This is also a great item to delegate to a virtual assistant.
12. Add your announcement to your telephone answering script. Change it whenever you are offering a new eProgram. Give instructions as to how to register -- and it's important to make this as easy as possible for them. Don't forget some marketing tidbits of "what's in it for them (WIIFM)" to register and do it now.
13. Use fr*e*e ePrograms or offers to provide a taste and attract participants to register for longer paid programs. Offers can include: ebooks, ecourses, special reports, or even a professional white papers. Offering a transcription of the program or an audio copy is another great offer.
14. List your class in teleclass directories. Some directories require that you attend their particular teleclass-leading course. A big downfall in time and expense in the short-run, however, good investment for the long term. Here are a few directories to get you started:
- http://www.Yahoogroups.com -- over 30 places to post your eProgram listing.
15. If you give speaking engagements or even when you participate in other events, seminars, workshops, give out flyers on your eProgram. Works well in networking groups too. Take the flyers to the libraries, senior and civic centers.
FYI, names of ePrograms can seem confusing at times, however, there is a standard for what to expect depending on the name. A teleseminar usually has very little interaction between leader and attendees. It is set up to instruct and participants to solely listen. Sometimes a brief Q&A period is spaced in-between subtopic changes.
On the other hand, a teleclass provides more time for participant to participant or participant to leader interaction. It has a higher ratio of free forming. A teleclass format copies more of the workshop atmosphere. A teleprogram, is a teleclass delivered over a period of time, like a class at a learning institution. The term eProgram is a compilation, or overview term, of all electronically delivered learning programs.
About The Author
Catherine Franz, a Business Coach, specialized in writing, marketing and product development.