The digital learning industry is proving to be an unstoppable force in revolutionizing education -as it is expected to reach the $244 billion mark by 2022. More and more people are looking for courses offered by online learning companies that fit in with their busy lifestyle and offer more freedom and flexibility to learn at their own pace, and online educators are more than willing to provide this need through e-learning courses.
Starting an online learning company has never been easier these days, as it is quite simple to begin selling online videos, training courses, and seminars through an e-commerce platform. It is also an excellent business opportunity for entrepreneurs who want to run their own company – due to there being little capital needed to buy inventory or real estate.
But, though the opportunity is great, the competition is even greater. With just a simple Google search, customers who are eager to learn new skills are met with thousands of options from online learning companies that seem to offer similar programs.
Whether you are still considering launching an e-learning course company, or you have recently broken into this industry, there are some things that you need to know in order to create a company that will attract customers. Let’s discuss.
1. Your Personal Brand Matters as Much as Your Business Brand
People need to trust an online educator if they are going to spend the time and money to learn from them. If you are teaching courses yourself, or your name is attached to your educational brand in any way, you must pay attention to the perception that you are putting out to your prospective students.
As an online educator, you will want your students to think of you as an expert in whatever field you are teaching. In order to create this persona, you will need to take some steps to build your own personal brand.
Since your business is going to exist primarily online, this will also be where the majority of your branding efforts should take place. Be sure that your social media presence creates a positive image; you may even want to make professional profiles apart from your personal ones so that you can have more control over the messages and content you post.
Your personal brand must be believable and respected. Find ways to establish recognition and position yourself as a thought leader in your niche by participating in well-known organizations. Try submitting guest post articles on popular blogs that would interest your audience or launch a blog of your own. Reach out to podcasts that talk about your industry and see if you could be featured for an interview. Attend industry events and see if there are any speaking engagement opportunities available.
There are plenty of ways to start building your personal brand online, but what matters most is that it is genuine and authentic. Before you start anything, be sure that you have an idea of the type of brand that you want associated with your name. Then, make sure that every piece of content you create matches up with that vision.
2. Avoid Trust Breakers on Your Website
Chances are that your prospective students are going to be a little leery of your new e-learning business, especially if it is relatively new and the name is not well-known. Online courses are not always cheap, so people are going to be doing their research and comparing courses until they find one that they believe will fit their objectives.
Since your website is likely going to be among their top resources for learning about your programs, any feature on your website that could cause them to question your authority or quality could be enough to send them looking elsewhere.
First of all, one of the most common first impressions that customers may pick up on from an online learning course is false promises. If your course seems too good to be true, has little to no backed up claims, or just appears to be low-quality, your education program could appear to be a scam.
In order to combat these negative perceptions, your best option is to include trust-building features throughout your website. For example, consider offering a free trial period or money back guarantees if people are not satisfied with their experience.
Incorporating customer reviews is also an effective way to build trust with future students. These days, UGC content from previous customers influences a shocking 93% of all purchasing decisions. Be sure to ask your students to write honest and comprehensive reviews for all aspects of the experience. You can then display this content openly on your website to give future students some peace of mind regarding their decision to take your courses.
3. Find Your Competitive Advantage
What makes your online learning course different from the countless others that eager students could sign up for? Your brand needs to bring something special to the table, and your customers will need to know exactly what that something is.
As an online learning company, there are several approaches to take that can be considered your “secret sauce” competitive advantage. Some of these could be:
- Lower price points or flexible pricing options (pay per course rather than one large fee).
- Learn at your own pace rather than a set class schedule.
- Multiple learning style options to help every student have a better experience.
- Interactive classrooms with live chats, student discussion boards, or even video chats with professors or tutors for one-on-one assistance.
- Community connections within the company via social media groups or in-person meetups.
- Post-educational support that helps students find new job opportunities with their newly acquired skills.
Of course, the list could go on. The important thing is that you find at least one thing to offer students that is beneficial and they cannot find anywhere else. From there, be sure to market this advantage as much as possible so that people in the consideration stage are able to take notice of what makes your brand stick out from the rest.
Becoming a leader in the online education industry is by no means an easy task. Your brand will need to be respected, recognized, and trusted if customers are going to sign up for your courses. Although you may be confident in the quality experience that you offer, new students may not have this feeling initially.
Be sure to qualm any of their worries by building a brand that is worthy of their trust. Establish a personal brand that is just as respectable and knowledgeable as your business. Eliminate anything that could cause customers to question your authority. Include trust builders throughout your website, and be sure that people know exactly what makes your brand stand out from the rest.