Online Education Providers Need This Marketing Strategy Right Now
The elearning industry has been growing for the past two decades. Before the pandemic it was estimated that the industry would grow 8% worldwide in the next 5 years. Now, with the pandemic, the industry growth has accelerated. Education across all levels of learners is available virtually, from online preschool classes with Outschool to an online Bachelor's degree from an Ivy League school. MOOC Coursera recently raised $130 million due to its recent surge in Coursera for Campus and online coding Lambda School raised $75 million for its income share agreement tuition.
This is an amazing opportunity for established online education providers who have seen a jump in demand. But this demand is not going to sustain itself as new competitors come into the market and eventually in-person learning becomes acceptable again. Online education providers can't get caught up in the demand of today. They need a marketing strategy that will keep this momentum more steady over time.
In general, marketing strategies usually focus on finding new customers or getting the word out about a company. But this surge is helping many online education providers with little marketing support. Instead, online education providers need to focus their marketing strategies on retaining and growing the customers that are coming to them now. How do you keep these customers after the initial demand diminishes? Beyond providing superior service that meets their needs, customer retention marketing strategies need to be put into motion to continue to grow your relationship with them.
What are some customer retention marketing strategies to implement now?
1. Information Gathering: While you have this captive and excited audience, learn more about them. You want to find more people like them and you want to continue working with them. Conduct interviews, put together a survey, ask them to evaluate your product. And make sure your marketing team has this data. Oftentimes information is gathered from the sales or delivery teams who are closest to the customers. This data is so valuable for a marketing team to plan messages and outreach campaigns.
2. Content Sharing: Stay in touch with your newest happy customers. Send them newsletters with your thought leadership content, invite them to webinars, and let them know when you've won an award or been published in a press outlet. The more personalized (based on the information you gathered from them in step #1), the better.
3. Sales Team Empowerment: The sales team member who has the 1-on-1 relationship with the existing customer is your key to getting more business. Marketing needs to help the sales team by arming them with information that will make the timing and message of their next outreach successful. Establish a process for keeping sales and marketing informed of their activities, whether it's regular meetings or notes and tags in your CRM. Personalize marketing newsletters and invitations with the sales team's names and create materials that are catered to the customer.
For organizations who have been working in online education, now is a time of tremendous growth. Taking steps to ensure you have marketing strategies for continuing the growth that is coming in now will benefit your company months from now.