The aim of these guidelines is to provide general guidance for new partners about course Marketing and key timelines and does not intend to be prescriptive in any way.
- Identify objectives, target audience and marketing opportunities
- Develop course marketing plan and identify key channels
- Identify key moments that are relevant to your audience(s)
- Identify learner stories and engage with the community
- Monitor feedback
1) Identify objectives, target audience and marketing opportunities
Ideally when submitting a course idea you will have thought about your objectives and how you plan to meet them.
Think about the following:
- Who is this course aimed at?
- What is the desired outcome?
- Are there any relevant pathway courses?
- Are there any special requirements?
- Does the course have an international appeal?
- What are the key messages?
- What relationships can I build to support me with course promotion?
- Do I have a budget?
Refine your key messages as you go along but remember to get involved in the process and talk to your Project Team. This way you’ll be able to feedback early in the process and ensure you have everything you need to promote the course.
2) Develop course marketing plan and identify key channels
This is when you should start thinking about how you’ll get those thousands of learners to join your course. Resource and budget availability will dictate how you structure your Marketing plan and what you should be focusing on.
You may have a small team and unable to do any paid activity, but you can certainly think big and be creative.
Think about the following:
- Where can I find relevant learners?
- What’s the best way to reach them?
- Which messages will appeal to them the most?
- Do I need different key messages per channel?
- Do I need different key messages for different groups of learners that this course might be relevant to?
- Which channels will give me better return? (high impact / low effort)
- What great examples have worked out for other partners in the past?
- Which of my current networks should I tap into?
Remember the importance of prominent links on your organisation's website as a key driver for enrolments, as well as emailing and reaching out to your current network and promoting the course during events.
Consider PR; social media promotion; website highlights with a dedicated page to your courses on FutureLearn; emailing staff, prospects and alumni (if applicable); open days and other relevant events; potential partnerships; outreach opportunities, etc.
Liaise with the MOOC team to get a range of assets you can use to promote the course. Re-purpose what’s already being created and make sure your trailer really sells the course and its USP in an engaging way. Original, quality, relevant content is essential.
3) Identify key moments that are relevant to your audience(s)
Make sure you make a big splash within your own networks when your course goes live but also think about how you might tap into local media and other influencers that can support the course promotion.
Other key moments might be; when your course content links in with national/international days and/or weeks Eg Earth Day, Mental Health Awareness Week; The start of the academic and calendar year; The anniversary of the course going live etc.
4) Identify learner stories and engage with the community
You should be ‘listening’ to what learners on your course are saying. Not just on the platform but also on social media, blogs, etc. This will allow you to identify stories with potential to support promotion, enhance and highlight the quality of learners’ experience during your course.
If you spot interesting learners on social media, reach out to them and ask them to get involved, to share their story as many others are currently.
5) Monitor Feedback
Take a look at the data from the post-course survey to ensure you use that feedback to improve the next run of the course.
What kind of people signed up for your course? Did this match your initial expectations and marketing efforts?
There is much we can learn from survey data, mainly qualitative information, which can be useful to support decisions for re-runs so go through it and take appropriate action.
Once you evaluate the course success against your initial objectives and key metrics, you should make changes to your marketing strategy, assets and activities.
One thing to keep in mind is that you may need to explore alternative channels and come up with new creative ideas on top of the standard course promotion activity that you should do for every course. Assess whether your channels are saturated and innovate. Think outside the box, explore other channels and approaches. Make sure you use this powerful asset you didn’t have access to when you first launched the course – data about your learners and their motivations – and make the most of it.