Attracting and converting leads is one of the highest priority goals in marketing. In addition to the typical marketing challenges — driving traffic and engagement, rank first in search engines, increase brand awareness, just to name a few — there’s an extra level of difficulty: not all leads are created equal and highly qualified leads are the most desirable.
We already know that having a brand academy is an excellent inbound way to attract leads with relevant, high quality content, harnessing the power of educational marketing to successfully transform potential customers into fully-fledged business leads who are worth pursuing.
HubSpot is a great example of using content and education (you know, the inbound way) to attract, convert and qualify leads, while setting themselves apart in the market as top players and expert leaders (must confess, I’m a fan!). And their Hubspot Academy plays a great part in this success by offering great training related to their customers’ areas, that help companies grow and their buyer personas to be better at their jobs.
So, how can you generate high quality leads with your own brand’s academy?
You should have two plans. A training content plan, which includes product and related knowledge, and an academy communication plan. While the former will attract and keep your audience, the latter will give you the necessary strategic pillars you need to draw the cohesive action plan you need to communicate effectively with your audience. Your communication plan will help you define your purpose, your audience, your messaging and the channels you will be using to promote your training content. Make sure to include video teasers of your brand academy’s courses.
You should aim for a gated academy, so you can collect contact information and other information that will help you target your sales approach and close the deal later on. Also, you can use the reporting of your training platform increase your knowledge of your prospects, by analysing their learning paths, feedback, interactions with your content and so on. A brand academy is a great lead qualification tool too!
Create high quality content. You need to offer true value: skills training related to your buyer personas and related knowledge that will help them better understand the benefits your product can provide. For instance, on the topic of email marketing, you can create a course on how to improve email deliverability; a course about the new GDPR rules; a course on subject line writing... It’s very important that your audience can feel that your courses will make them better at their job.
Extra tip: Try to stay away from too product training and user guide type content - you should refrain from using too much of it at this stage, so it doesn’t seem “salesy”. You can comprehensively use this type of content when your leads turn into customers (an academy is also a great customer success tool).
A great way to find content ideas for your courses is to visit websites, forums and communities where your buyer personas hang out, find their questions and aim to create content that gives them answers. Inviting someone to take a course that is targeted to their needs is more powerful than asking them to read your blog, visit your site or follow you on LinkedIn.
Remember to be relevant and add value. You should think of your buyer personas when creating your training content and focus on the “what’s in it for them”. You want people to get something out of your training if you want them to recommend your academy (and brand) to others. This is a great way to show your expertise on the field.
Keep it fresh! Make sure you keep your audience engaged with news, articles and new courses. If your training academy includes a community tool, leverage it for less formal information like events, news, articles, awards, achievements.
A great academy can help convert visitors into customers. You should use data from the academy reports (integrate via API or download it directly from your academy) together with your other sources to understand their stage on the buyers' journey and the marketing funnel and follow up accordingly.
Finally, remember that choosing the right training platform to run your academy is key to the success of this endeavour. Make sure you use a platform is easy to use for both you and your audience.
If you make it difficult to access, your audience isn’t likely come back or recommend your academy, regardless of how much value your content offers.
The training experience you offer must show professionalism, so your learners can make the most of their learning experience. Remember that features like metrics collection, interactivity, audience segmentation and notifications are vital to keep your audience engaged and eager to come back. And, of course, make sure you can brand it.
If you have a marketing agency, a consulting company or a video production company, you can also create and manage your client's bugle academy by being a bugle partner. This will add a revenue stream and allow you to leverage your content and video production resources and skills.
Download the Brand Academy Online Academy ROI calculator, do the math, and you may find yet another reason to start your own brand academy.
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Would you like to learn more about how bugle can help you generate more quality leads? Or would like to see how your brand's academy can look like?