To maximise online bookings, training businesses need to develop a multi-channel marketing strategy that turns their website into a lead generation hub and, then, seals the deal by converting visitors into paying customers.
In this article, we’re looking at seven marketing strategies training providers can use to sell more courses online and maximise the ROI from every channel.
#1: Turn your website into a lead generation hub
The most important marketing strategy for training providers is to turn your website into a lead generation hub. This means bringing in relevant traffic from multiple sources (search, social, referral, etc.) and capturing them as leads that you can nurture into bookings.
Here’s a quick summary of the key strategies to implement here:
- SEO: Capture leads who are looking for information about training requirements, new regulations or advice on training their team.
- PPC: Drive traffic from high-intent searchers who are looking to book places on a course now or in the near future.
- Local SEO: Drive traffic, phone calls and visits from people looking for training courses in the areas you operate.
- Social media: Build brand awareness among relevant audiences and drive traffic with organic and paid social campaigns.
- Remarketing: Show ads to previous visitors as they continue to browse the web and bring them back to your site with a more compelling offer.
- Email marketing: Convert traffic into email contacts so you can send them messages directly and nurture them along the booking process.
Take a look at our article, How To Drive More Traffic To Your Course Booking Website for more info on how to turn your website into a lead generation hub with these strategies.
#2: Integrate an online course booking system
With your course pages pulling in traffic from inbound marketing sources, you need an online course booking system to convert visitors into paying customers. This allows visitors to book places instantly without calling up to confirm seats are still available.
As we’ve explained in a previous post, a quality course booking system should include the following:
- Seamless integration with your website
- Live course availability, updated in real-time so visitors can book with confidence
- Customised checkout pages that fit with the design and experience of your website
- Payment processing integration so you can accept instant card payments
- Customer account portal so your customers can manage their bookings
Here at Dante, we customise the booking system (and the rest of our software) to meet the needs of each individual customer. Keep in mind, not all TMS providers offer this service any most that do charge significantly more for their onboarding, setup and integration fees.
You can take a look at our pricing page for a simple breakdown of how much our training management system costs.
#3: Learn lessons from the best eCommerce websites
In order to maximise bookings on your course pages, treat them like eCommerce product pages and take lessons from the best online retailers. Help visitors make booking decisions by providing all of the information they need about your courses, outlining the key benefits they’ll receive upon completion.
Imagine a consumer looking to buy a new car or TV and having to compare specs to make sure they’re getting the right product for their needs. This is the level of detail your course pages should provide, including high-quality images where possible (venues, certificates and images from previous courses, etc.).
Optimise your titles and subheadings to include keywords, show reviews and testimonials from previous customers and certifications to show you’re a legitimate course provider. Once again, make sure you’ve got a quality course booking system that shows how many seats are still available and provides an integrated checkout system for a smooth experience.
#4: Reduce your loading times
Slow loading times impact page views, user satisfaction, bounce rates and conversion rates in the worst possible ways. According to 2018 data from Pingdom, the average bounce rate for pages that load within two seconds is 9% but this figure jumps up to 38% once loading times take longer than three seconds.
That’s a scary statistic if your course pages are taking more than three seconds to load because low page views and high bounce rates suggest the majority of users are quitting the session before taking action and, in some cases, before the page even loads.
That’s bad news for online bookings.
Google recommends page load speeds of 2.5 seconds or faster and it also expects interactive elements on the page to respond quickly and that page layouts are stable, meaning page elements don’t move around after they load in the browser. Take a look at the Core Web Vitals report in Search Console for more information on this.
#5: Promote in-demand courses with PPC ads
PPC ads can get you to the top of results pages and drive traffic from visitors who are ready to book places. To maximise ROI, you’ll want to prioritise in-demand courses that are most likely to capture clicks and conversions once users click through to your course pages.
One potential issue you may experience with this is that your competitors are also promoting the same or similar in-demand courses, which pushes up the cost of clicks on competitive keywords. So, you’ll have to find the right balance between investing in your most valuable keywords without pricing yourself out of auctions against competitors with bigger budgets.
Keep in mind that having high Quality Scores in Google Ads can help you win auctions against rivals who bid more than you on the same keyword. It’s not as simple as the highest bidder wins in PPC and you can jump ahead of bigger rivals by running quality ad campaigns with high-performing landing pages.
#6: Generate leads from SEO & content marketing
While PPC campaigns can drive high-intent traffic that’s ready to make the booking, your SEO and content strategies are geared towards capturing leads from prospects at earlier stages of the booking process. Generally, these leads are in the research stage of this journey and you can connect with them by answering their questions and offering valuable advice.
At the broadest end of your SEO and content marketing strategy, you can introduce your brand to a wider audience by publishing content that matches their interests. However, you can also target more qualified leads by producing content that’s hyper-focused on specific needs. This starts with in-depth audience and keyword research to understand what your audience is searching for, especially the long-tail keywords that reveal their biggest needs, concerns and desires.
For example, you may find some of your audience faces anxiety about regulation changes that requires widespread retraining of their team. By understanding the issues your target audiences face, you can provide content that offers value and adapt your messaging to address their specific needs.
#7: Retain, cross-sell & upsell customers
The final strategy we want to discuss today covers the latter stages of the customer experience, which comes after the initial booking. We’re talking about customers who have already booked at least one course, possibly several, and your aim is now to ensure they continue to make bookings from your business in the future.
This requires a mix of quality customer service and timely interactions with customers to keep them engaged with your brand and motivate them to make further bookings when the time is right.
Email is generally the primary channel for this but you can back up your email marketing efforts with content, social and PPC campaigns designed specifically for customers who have already booked with you. For example, you can create remarketing lists in Google Ads for customers who have completed previous bookings and show them display ads asking whether they need to refresh their training after a set time frame.
Is Dante the perfect training management software for your business?
Contact Dante Systems to find out more about our training management system and discover how we can help you drive more revenue and business growth by increasing the productivity of your workflow. Request your free trial with no obligation or credit card details required. Telephone: 0117 405 8158. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.