Congratulations! You have your new academy with great courses for your audience. Now, it’s time to get your audience’s attention and engagement to make it a success. Here are some practical tips on how to do it.
First and foremost, it is important to keep these things in mind both for your academy and for each of your courses:
1. If your audience doesn’t know your academy exists, they will not use it
2. If your audience doesn’t consider your training offer relevant, they will not engage with it
3. If your audience doesn’t benefit from your courses - meaning, actually understand the benefits and value them -, they will not take them (unless they’re mandatory, but being forced into doing it may not produce the best results)
Seems quite straight forward, right? Interestingly, these are the most common reasons behind low engagement. If you think about it, relevancy and improving oneself (personally and professionally) are the two main reasons why people search for and consume training. This applies to all audiences, including internal audiences such as your employees.
So, when defining your training offer, make sure to keep in mind this question: “will my courses and other training content help my audience be better at what they do or help them get closer to what they want to achieve?”
7 Tips to increase your audience’s engagement with your courses
1. Communication is key
Let’s face it, communicating your academy and your courses is the basis to keep your audience engaged. There’s really no way around it. Even if you have the best, most relevant and beneficial training in the world, if your audience doesn’t know it exists and is reminded of that with some regularity, usage and engagement is likely to be low.
There are several ways to do this, and many of them are not difficult to achieve. It is important to have an organized plan of the communication you need to do for both the academy and the courses. And that is not just about the launch, but about continuation and regularity.
Here is a guide on how to create a communication plan – even if you are not a marketing guru – that you can make as simple or complex as you wish. As long as there is a plan in place and someone accountable for putting it in action, you’re sure to make it work.
From an Academy launch in an event to adding a poster next to the coffee machine, the important thing is to spread the word!
2. Location, location, location
Make your training available where it is needed. Location is a key rule for more than just real estate. If you make your training content available where people need to find it, engagement is sure to increase. This means you need to make your training accessible where your audience is: in your intranet, in your product, in your website page, in your back office…the possibilities are endless. If you use an online training tool like bugle, you can easily add the academy and the courses’ direct links (pretty much) anywhere.
Here are some examples:
- make the academy and courses available in your intranet, in an easy to spot location, so that your internal team can easily know of their existence and instantly access them
- add links to your academy in your website pages, to explain your products and brand to your prospects
- add links to your product training directly in your product to educate your customers (and staff) on how to use that specific feature or module
- add links to your Operations back office so that your partners can access critical business training information
3. Make the benefits clear
Aside from the location where you communicate your training, the way you communicate is also important. The key thought for this point is to always present the benefits from the point of view of your audience: what will they gain from the course. Remember before when I mentioned relevance? If your courses are not relevant to your audience, this part of the communication will be a hard sell.
So, when creating your message go for: “this course will help you manage your leads more efficiently and achieve your quota quicker”, or “this will help you have better results in your email communications”, or “this will allow you to know this company better and understand the community you are part of”, “previous audience members who took this course increased their performance by 20%”.
You can also use testimonials from who has already completed the course and felt the difference in their work or life.
You can leverage different formats to convey your message, from videos that can be used as course teaser, or key people explaining the benefits - the CEO, the VP of Sales, your Customer Success Managers, an external expert… depending on your audience; you can create or add to an existing regular email communication.
The possibilities are endless so, it’s up to you to get the ball rolling.
4. Reward engagement
There are many ways to reward engagement with your training. For creating a championship based on training engagement and scores, a rewards programme, or something much simpler like offering tickets to an event to the top 3 engaged audience members.
Keep in mind that rewards don’t need to be monetary. There are many things people value (both your internal and external audiences) like getting certificates, being mentioned as the top participant, getting a funny t-shirt or mug. Be creative and, in case of doubt, just ask what they would value.
5. Ask for feedback and act on it
Another great way of keeping your training audience engaged is for them to feel like they are part of the process. You can achieve this by asking your audience for feedback and by inviting them to make suggestions on the sort of topics that they find important or relevant.
It is, however, important that you actually act on it. This doesn’t mean you need to act on every single suggestion, of course, but make sure that the suggestions that you do act on are visible to all, by letting everyone know that a specific course or update was made based on their feedback.
6. Training ambassadors
This is especially important for internal audiences. What are Training ambassadors? One person or (ideally) more that represent the Academy and incentivize the other colleagues to do the training and be involved in the academy activities. It’s important that at least one of these ambassadors is a member of the leadership team – if you can get the CEO to it, even better! It is also great to have peer ambassadors – invite members of the team that are well regarded by the colleagues and very sociable to carry the flag of the Academy as well.
So, what can these ambassadors do for the academy? The ambassadors can record videos inviting to the academy and explaining its benefits, they can start positive conversations and convey feedback, entice healthy competition for other to do more training as well, encourage others to participate more and pave the way for a learning culture in the company with their example and testimonials.
For external audiences, you can invite known experts in the field of the training topic or use your team as well – it is a great way of showing the people behind the brand.
7. Create a sense of urgency
This is a basic marketing move: to create a sense of urgency that will make your audience move quickly to be able to have access to your training. This can be done by making the courses and other training content available for a short period of time, or available only to the first 50 people (for example) that enroll in the course (even if you make it available again in the future).
These are some of the most effective tips to increase engagement with your training but with creativity and communication plan, you will be able to increase and maintain your audiences’ engagement with your training.
Other content you may find interesting:
How to implement a learning culture in your company
How to get your team onboard with training without making it mandatory
How can your company training entice learners’ interest and foster engagement?
5 ways to increase customer engagement
10 Tips to make training more engaging and effective
Would you like to learn more about how bugle can help you offer great customer training?