Course Online, E Learning, Learning Management System, Online Course, Online courses, Online Teaching, Uncategorized

What’s the difference between Master Shifu and Mark Manson? Master Shifu didn’t have to market his lessons. 


In the real world, Mark Manson had to build a following on his blog over several years before he could publish a global bestseller, charge for access to his website, and create successful paid online course.


But as an online teacher in 2020, your marketing path isn’t as difficult as his.


Since the pandemic, listings for teaching-related roles on Indian job portal naukri.com have increased four-fold. Every other connection on LinkedIn is either teaching or learning new things online.


The surge only means that the initial phase of convincing a new audience about the credibility of the offering is over, it is now just about convincing them that your personal offering is worth their money and trust.


Secondly, everyone is a social marketer today. Your social media profiles are essentially marketing for yourself, so you’re not exactly new to marketing. If you too have a great online course but not a great marketing plan, here’s where you can start.


Homework for marketing your online course


1.Establish your expert authority

How to Market Online Course and Boost Sales 1

You are the face of the online course. You need more than just a LinkedIn profile to convince students. It starts with simple things such as posting advice on social media and engaging in conversations on Quora and Reddit.


There is something for you to capture on each platform. Make a list of your achievements and promote them strategically on each of them. More importantly, keep reading and sharpening your skills to stay fresh and updated. 


2.Profile your target audience

Online Course

Every good marketer starts with profiling their target audience. Determine who your best prospective student is, and create a few sample profiles based on the following questions.

  1. What age group do they belong to?
  2. Where do they live?
  3. How much do they/their parents earn?
  4. What are their hobbies?
  5. What kind of content do they consume online?
  6. What attracts them to your subject matter?
  7. Who makes buying decisions for them and how?

Once you establish your online authority, it’ll be easier for you to 

interact with, study, and profile your target audience.


3.Identify problems and solutions

Online Course

Once you know your target audience, you will understand what exactly they need in your subject area that they aren’t getting from your competitors.


Let’s say, you’re a soft skills instructor. There is no dearth of your kind. But you find out that middle-aged professionals with a considerable amount of work experience, mothers returning after a break, or people making drastic career changes all have their specific needs. 


Is there anyone who is catering to the nervousness that comes with being out of touch for a year or two, or the uncertainty of changing industries at 35? Can you delve deeper and tackle these? 


Conduct thought experiments, talk to your audiences, and zero down on a core purpose for your course that you can spell out in one comprehensive sentence.


For example, “My course will help busy working mothers learn a set of 7-10 quick, healthy recipes that they can prepare for themselves and their children”.


10 Ways To Market Your Online Course

Online Course

Once your homework is done, you can start drawing your real marketing strategy. If you’re completely new to marketing, take it as you are learning something new yourself in the process of teaching something new to others! 


1.Optimize your website

If you create a course on any popular online course marketplace, you will have to play by their rules at every step of the way. With a customizable platform such as FreshLMS, your website will become your voice. Everything from the colors and fonts you to lesson plans will be an extension of your marketing plan.

Think about how each of these decisions reflects upon your brand, and make the most of the following features of FreshLMS

  1. Heavy on-course personalization
  2. Ideal user journeys 
  3. Prompt quizzes and assessments
  4. Custom domains for every course
  5. Effortless payment unification
  6. Smart third-party integrations
  7. Completely Whitelabel and re-brandable features
  8. Next-gen reporting and analytics 

2.Start your own blog/podcast

Think carefully about everything from the name of your blog to the content. Once you build a strong following for your blog or podcast, your expertise will be established. Prospective students get a glimpse of your teaching abilities from the way you explain concepts in your articles and podcasts.


3. Sales funnel 

A sales funnel, as technical as it sounds, is a very simple model depicting a consumer’s journey from knowing about your product to finally buying it. The generic sales funnel is divided into 5 steps. 

  1. Awareness
  2. Opinion
  3. Consideration
  4. Preference
  5. Purchase


Create a custom funnel for your target audience, and decide the

touchpoints you can explore at each step. For example, your blog 

might be the prime touchpoint for the awareness phase, while 

social media can help your target audience in shaping opinion.


4.Social media strategy

It’s time to use your personal accounts to market your online course, as you are the essence of your offering. These 5 platforms are a must in your marketing plan. You can add other niche platforms depending on your course content and audience.


  • Facebook: Audiences across age groups and professions are active on Facebook. You can explore features such as Facebook Live, Stories, and interest-based groups to drive your course.

A business page linked with your Instagram business page could also be a good idea for targeting the right people.


  • Instagram: An Instagram page is a must for creative course teachers. That doesn’t mean business and strategic online course cannot be marketed on this platform.

With features such as QnA, polls, and the immense creative potential of Instagram, it becomes a great place to interact with your audience and register yourself in their minds.


  • YouTube: You can treat YouTube videos as practice course videos. You could even upload these and send them only to a select few people for feedback. Or you could publicize them on all other social platforms and gauge reactions from your social circle as well as the audience on YouTube at large.

  • Twitter: Twitter can serve the same purpose as your blog or LinkedIn page, in a limited number of characters. Comment on new developments in your course area and use trending hashtags, mainly to add to your credibility and online exposure.

  • LinkedIn: If not to connect with your audience, LinkedIn is surely a great place to connect with fellow teachers and experts, to keep track of businesses in your field. Having an illustrious  LinkedIn profile in addition to creative Instagram pages and blogs can help in adding to your professional credibility.

5.Give and take: testimonials and guest blogs

You can give influencers in your field free access to your course and ask them to publish an honest review on their pages. Additionally, you can contact credible blogs and pages, and find out if you can publish a guest blog, a guest post, a handle takeover, or a video post based on your subject matter. They should generally allow you to promote your social handles, website, and other content.


6.Collaborations

Online teaching need not be a solo endeavor. Through social conversations, you can get in touch with fellow teachers, combine your strengths, and publish collaborative content. 


If you are putting together a comprehensive cooking course and know an expert baker, you could have them conduct one special lesson in your online course. Collaborations help both parties and give them access to each other’s audiences.


7.Live webinars and events 

Live webinars can give you a good classroom test. Reading your blogs and posts is one thing, but watching you speak and interact is what can truly convince people that you can be a good teacher.


Once you have a good following on your blog and social accounts, host a live webinar, and look for opportunities to take part in events as a speaker, panelist, etc.


8.Discounts: to offer or not to offer

Even after being one of the most successful teachers in the world, Mark Manson sells online course in a package along with exclusive blog articles and other content. Discounts and offers are not necessarily a bad idea, whether you’re starting out or are established.


They only increase the number of registrations, which means increased exposure that helps branding in the long run. Just make sure to not over-discount and maintain your standards.


9.Audience interactions

Audience interaction doesn’t just consist of personal responses to messages and comments. It also includes regular QnA sessions, actively seeking feedback, sharing positive feedback that you receive, and rewarding loyal audiences. 


Rewards can be something as small as sharing screenshots of their positive feedback, their well-made assignments, or sharing personalized advice. 


 10.Paid ads 

This step is not extremely necessary, but it can provide a great reach. Paid Google ads, social ads, YouTube ads, and website ads give you great access to your audience.


Spending money to make money might not be everyone’s idea of a great marketing plan, and you can take your time to evaluate this option. 


Final note

Your marketing plan is almost as important as your online course design. The good thing is that none of the above mentioned online platforms are alien to you. A few more days of racking your brains and you will have made your perfect marketing plan.


So go on, become the world’s next favorite music teacher, business strategist, brewer, or any other kind of teacher and enter the marketing hall of fame simultaneously!

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Online Teaching, Course Online, Learning Experience, Learning Management System, LMS

Remember how vlogging took off in the 2010s with the advent of smartphones? Only a decade before, we couldn’t have predicted the phenomenon. Something similar is happening with online teaching in 2020. The unprecedented pandemic and lockdown have given a new life to online teaching and learning. Online courses were Googled 100% more than before between just March and April this year.


Does online teaching suddenly seem to be a very lucrative career? The truth is, it was so even before 2020. After all, it takes only a little more than time, knowledge, and an internet-connected device to pursue it. 


Online Teaching In 2020

Online Teaching 2020

While the upsurge in online learning was majorly attributed to the lockdown, we can safely assume that the boom is here to stay, since audiences are realizing the advantages of online mediums. There are multi-faceted innovations taking place in this field, which make this year a good time to start your online teaching career.

  • The AI&ML edge: There is an active discourse on the usage of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI&ML) to develop online teaching. Gamification is being touted as a giant leap in holding the interest of young adults and school students. 
  • Google Classroom is the new school: Since schools have indefinitely shut down, plenty of schools are moving lectures, assignments, and all other activities to Google Classroom, Zoom, and other popular platforms. There is a generation of online learning-ready adults being prepared, which bodes well for online teachers. 
  • Collaborative learning redefined: In the early days, there were doubts expressed about the isolation of an online student. With new-age tools such as Slack, Trello, etc. which help students interact and work with each other, collaborative learning doesn’t have physical boundaries anymore. Students from across the world can share thoughts and ideas with each other, providing them a new worldview.
  • Credibility: Online courses will no longer be looked at as a lesser alternative to your CV. With Ivy League universities opening up to digital learning, online courses now carry as much credibility as offline ones do, with lesser monetary investment. It’s a win-win for students across the world. 
  • Endless tools: If we make a list of every single online teaching tool available right now, it will be a never-ending list. Tech companies have risen to the occasion and made a plethora of tools with various use cases available to online teachers. These include everything from video editing software and video calling apps, to digital whiteboards and social apps. 

Apart from your knowledge, your time, and your basic internet device, you need some add-ons to be an online teacher. If you have tried a few webinars and classes, you’ll realize that you can do just fine with the basics, but perhaps not in the long run. Here’s some help with sifting through the heaps of hardware and software tools available for online teaching right now. 


Hardware tools for online teaching

You need a good laptop that doesn’t crash with an internet connection that doesn’t lag. After some research, you’ll find courses out there with YouTube influencer-grade quality videos. Remember that your audience now streams sports, movies, and everything else in HD. If you’re planning to seriously take up online teaching, a few hardware investments would help your course get a professional and credible makeover. 


1. HD webcam: Your laptop/computer’s webcam won’t provide the quality that an external HD webcam can. Since it’s not a physical class, video and sound quality is what decides the quality of interaction with students. Plus, external webcams can provide a greater field of view, which is necessary for classes such as dance which require a lot of room. Here are some of the most preferred models. 
  1. Logitech C922: This is the highest order of HD webcams. It costs a lot, and delivers a lot including the field of view, vibrant colors, crystal clear video at 30fps, background replacement technology, HD glass lens, built-in mic, et al. Buy it only if you’re an established online teacher. 
  2. Logitech C270: This is the perfect webcam for beginners. It provides good low-light performance, recording at 720p, a 60-degree field of view, a built-in noise-reducing mic, and a universal clip for convenient attachment. It’s a few notches higher than your integrated webcam. 

2. Professional video lighting: Since you’re competing with the Pewdiepies of the online world, professional lighting is a must. It’s not rocket science, a few online videos will teach you the trick. Remember that even if you’re using colorful lights for your background, stick to white for the foreground to maintain clarity, make your face look fresh and vibrant. Here are your best options:
  1. Small ring light: This little wonder can be used even for mobile video calls. It is compact, comes with a tripod for flexibility, and its brightness can be adjusted. There are other features such as 3-color lighting mode, USB-powered LED, low heat output, and an energy-saving mechanism. 

  2. Mount Dog Softbox light: Investing in a beginner-level softbox will add a nice natural touch of lighting to your face, which is what makes it perfect for portrait shots. It is a tool used by both photographers and online content creators. It is compact as well but will take a little more investment. 

3. Earphones/headphones with mic: Teachers spending hours being plugged in should prefer lightweight, compact headphones with a mic. In order to avoid saying, “Can you hear me now?” and fiddling with your basic earphones, laptop audio, and speakers, you need a good pair of earphones with a mic. Generally, Sennheiser, Sony, and JBL are the safest and most credible choices for any kind of audio equipment. Here are some options. 
  1. Sennheiser PC 3 Chat On-Ear Headphone: These compact earphones provide noise-canceling, a wide frequency response range, and stereo sound. They are reasonably priced as well. 
  2. Sennheiser CX 150BT: If you don’t want the weight of headphones and would prefer wireless earphones with a mic instead, these will do the job. They come with superior audio, Bluetooth connectivity, and a three-button remote. 

  • A good quality smartphone: Suppose your laptop breaks down, or your Wi-Fi isn’t working. You never know when you might have to take that impromptu mobile class. It would only be wise to invest in a top-notch smartphone with an excellent camera and audio quality. Our suggestion would be to go for the top-notch models instead of compromising. Second-hand and refurbished options can be great for cost-saving. These are our picks. 
    1. iPhone: You can easily get an iPhone 7 or lower for less than Rs.40,000 these days. If you can invest in a higher model on an EMI basis, there could be nothing like it. If magazine shoots can be done with an iPhone, online classes surely won’t be a lot of trouble. The video quality of an iPhone coupled with the audio quality of AirPods can give you a great makeshift mobile lecture in times of need.
    2. Google Pixel: Instagram bloggers have created entire careers out of professional-grade content shot with a Google Pixel. You can easily buy a refurbished model for half the price. Of course, the higher the model version, the better. But even earlier models of the Pixel have excellent cameras and speakers. 

  • Virtual whiteboard: This is especially necessary for teachers who are used to a physical classroom. Writing on a board can not only make concepts clearer but can also make it easier for you to structure your lessons. Here’s the trick: You don’t need a full-fledged whiteboard, you can use an iPad or a digital drawing pad that will help you scribble conveniently without moving. Here’s our recommendation.

Wacom One by CTL-472/K0-CX: A favorite amongst graphic designers, this drawing board is pressure-sensitive, cordless, battery-free, and measures only 6inchesX3.5inches.


Software tools for online teaching

software tools for online teaching

 

 1.FreshLMS: is your dream Whitelabel and re-brandable platform where all your other resources come together. With the amount of autonomy and flexibility we provide over your custom website and custom domains, you can create your dream, personalized course. We’re talking integration of custom course structures, payment methods, lesson designs, control over interactions, pricing, and much more! Pricing is another positive of FreshLMS over online teaching marketplaces that have templatized course structures, marketing plans, and pricing structures.

Online Teaching

2.Canva:  is Photoshop for non-designers. It can help you design everything from logos to presentations with ease. Canva has various templates that will mean much lesser aesthetic efforts from you. If you invest in a paid version, you will have access to more than double the number of amazing templates, fonts, 100GB storage, priority support, and much more.

Online Teaching

3.Prezi: Forget Microsoft PowerPoint, Keynote, and Slides, Prezi is where professional creators make presentations. It provides excellent video, design, and conversational presentation services. 

Online Teaching

4.Camtasia: This video recording and editing tool is excellent for teachers who want to provide tutorials and demonstrations. It has custom video templates, animations, effects, music, and audio features.

Online Teaching

5.Audacity: When you use Audacity, you can do an amazing range of things with audio such as live recording, cutting, copying, splicing, and mixing audio, changing pitch, and even adding effects. The best part? It’s free and legal! 

Online Teaching

6.Zoom: is a must for live lectures as very few other software provide the kind of flexibility and add-ons that Zoom does. You can scribble, annotate, divide students into groups, and even make do with a slower internet connection. 

Zoom Online Teaching

7. Slack: You must have seen Slack being used in offices. It is a very convenient way for your students to remain in touch with you and each other. You can collaborate, send files, post updates, and connect via call as well. If you don’t want your students flooding your WhatsApp with queries, give them a dedicated space such as Slack. 

Online Teaching

8.Hootsuite: is your go-to marketing dashboard, where you can create and manage social media content, engage with audiences, align your marketing plans, monitor, and analyze them as well.

Online Teaching

But, before you make an investment…

Ask yourself if you’re in it for the long haul. Don’t start making serious monetary investments before you’re sure about your emotional investment in the long run. Teaching is an art, and like all other artistic professions, takes equal parts heart and brain. How would you know that you’re ready for the long haul? Just dip your toes for a few weeks. We mean, try a free FreshLMS subscription and start doing your thing. If it goes well, you know exactly what to do next.

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