Practical tips and hints to help you market learning

Ali Soper from MicroLearn explains why a drip feed approach to marketing learning works better than just one big bang. She shares some practical ideas to successfully market learning.

When planning and executing marketing campaigns, consider a mix of communications, using a variety of media to ensure your approach is targeted and relevant for your staff. Stick to the key messages you want to share across the organisation to position your learning initiatives for your audience.

Understand your audience
First consider what will work best and most effectively for your workforce. Is there an existing means of communication which is most likely to reach their desks? Is there a medium that in all likelihood will be ignored? If you understand your audience, you can more successfully target and communicate with them.

Go to them – don’t expect them to come to you
If you know that your staff are too swamped with emails on a regular basis to pay attention to them, could you better reach them with a poster above the kettle in the coffee area or on the back of a cubicle door? Maybe your workforce is encouraged to join an internal messaging channel, which is popular? Advertise where your staff and volunteers are most likely to be.

Set some goals
The second consideration is how much these ideas and initiatives may cost. Charities are great at not letting a lack of resources get in their way! Set SMART goals for your projects – where your objectives are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound – to help you remain focused and have the best chance of success.

Mix things up
Here are just a few communication methods you could consider:

  • Newsletter articles
  • Posters
  • Emails
  • Leaflets
  • Desk drops
  • Banner exhibition stands in key areas
  • Seminars to win over change leaders, who will then act as champions
  • Seminars for learners
  • Social media posts
  • Pop ups
  • Internal messaging channels
  • Webinars
  • Word of mouth

A mix of different forms of communication can help to generate interest and share your message, so here are some other possibilities to think about:

  • Include information about L&D initiatives in new employee inductions
  • Provide rewards for people/departments who champion learning and encourage a learning culture. 
  • Provide case studies of successful learning opportunities, where the benefits are clear, to create a positive upwards spiral.
  • Create a forum where staff can leave feedback, reviews and recommendations, to involve and enthuse learners to participate and help to develop the programme organically.
  • Chief Executive statements and letters, selling the benefits to learners.
  • Monthly promotions, like a module or resource of the month, based on an awareness day or global event.

Design matters
Take time to think about creating high impact communications using high quality imagery. These don’t have to be expensive, as there are a lot of images free online, or perhaps you can take your own photos or use images from your users. As an example, a well-known leisure organisation showed learners using digital learning on laptops in various locations, such as in the wild or up a tree. Be creative and tie these in with your key messages, which in this case may be that you really can learn anywhere!

Get buy-in from the top
Utilise all the possible methods available to you to maximise the success of the initiative company-wide. It could be effective to use seminars to influence leaders, for example. Winning over senior leaders is an important part of changing ingrained company thinking, and gaining acceptance for a new way of learning throughout an organisation.

The personal touch
If your workforce is dispersed or divided amongst a number of locations, aim to spend time in each office space where possible, delivering seminars and providing demonstrations. This works well alongside high-visibility digital campaigns, which overcome geographical boundaries. You can share the same message across regions, time-zones and continents instantly. 

The drip feed effect
It’s essential to sustain energy and buzz about the learning you’re offering, if you want it to have a meaningful effect on the overall culture of the organisation. When you’re considering the planning and implementation of your campaigns, plot your marketing communications over a reasonable length of time, which helps to sustain and boost messaging throughout your training cycle and beyond. 

What is key here is not to do everything within two weeks and then just stop. This will inevitably have negative results: your organisation will not see that all-important return on investment as the initiatives are not adequately endorsed and promoted long-term.

The secret to successful marketing communications is a drip, drip rather than a big bang. For a major initiative like an all-new learning portal or a brand-new library of content, think about an initial campaign in terms of 9-12 months. Review the campaign after the initial launch and repeat what works well, modifying what was less effective, in order to sustain success.

About Ali Soper

Ali Soper is the Creative Director and Cofounder of MicroLearn, a passionate team of eLearning creators, developing stunning, engaging and effective microlearning resources. Ali’s career in eLearning first began as a creative developer, building professionally deliverable eLearning content at Jenison Digital Learning. She refused to believe that ‘click next continue’ was really the best way to learn. Alongside her father Steve, the pair cofounded MicroLearn in 2016 to deliver top class, bite-sized content which helps people to work better, safer and smarter in the age of the skills economy.

 

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