Marketing Plan Nuts & Bolts
If you run in fear from the concept of a marketing plan, you can relax. The marketing plan we are going to go through together is a simple, “get-it-done” type of plan. No fancy marketing terms or complex systems.
We will create a plan that is effective yet easy to manage and maintain. You won’t build a plan that is so complex that you don’t understand it let alone be able to keep it going.
I am all about Keep It Simple for Success here.
With that in mind, there are really only two moving parts to a marketing plan:
Once you have these two parts down, you will be in a position to get the word out about each great course you create.
Marketing Platforms & Tools
Marketing is the act of distributing a message to your target audience. In order to do that you need distribution tools. These tools fall into two categories:
- Social Media Platforms
- Email Systems
You already know the social media platforms – Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
As for the email systems, there are too many to even list but we will establish criteria for you to use to evaluate the right platform for you.
What social media platform should I use?
The simple answer to that question is, “Use the platform that your audience hangs out on.”
Pretty straightforward right? You can publish in Instagram all you want but if your audience is older then they will never see your messages.
I am a bit biased when it comes to social media because I love Pinterest. Pinterest is not a true social media platform. Instead it is a visual search engine. When you publish a pin it is searchable and “lives” for years.
When you post on Twitter it lives for a few seconds. Facebook lasts for a few minutes. Then your post is buried by the stream of new posts.
Pinterest can support a wide range of course topics but it is definitely skewed to a female audience. If your course audience is mostly male, don’t bother with Pinterest.
However, if your topics are in the areas of lifestyle, health, fitness, home, family, hobbies, cooking or DIY, you will find Pinterest is a great platform for you.
If you are teaching any thing related to blogging, building an online business or time management, you will also find a big audience on Pinterest.
If you aren’t sure if your audience hangs out on Pinterest, log on to Pinterest and do a search for keywords related to your topics. Look at the results for quantity and quality. Don’t look just a pins, click the Board and People buttons to see if there are a lot of content curators interested in your topic.
If you like what you see, then incorporate Pinterest into your marketing plan. If you only a handful of pins about your topic and then a bunch of completely unrelated pins, then I would hesitate to spend time building a Pinterest marketing strategy.
How many platforms should I use?
You do not need to be on every social media platform out there. You will drive yourself crazy if you try.
Instead stick to one platform until you have it working well for you and then you can branch out into a second platform.
Having said that, if Pinterest is your main marketing platform, I would spend a little time on one other platform. As I said before, Pinterest isn’t really a social media platform, it is a visual seach engine.
You won’t be able to build relationships on Pinterest very well. I use Facebook as my social platform to network with other women in my industry.
Think about the people you would want to partner with on course promotions and where they hang out. Facebook is definitely for the “old school” folks. Instagram is for a younger audience and may be a better fit, depending on your topics.
Again, don’t over do it. One or two platforms max.
Aside from your social media platform, you also need to invest time in building your own email list.
This list belongs to you and can’t be taken away. Remember, any social media platform could shutdown your account at any time. Also the platform could completely lose it’s market – remember MySpace?
Therefore, you want to invest in building an email list that you own. Your list is your more valuable business asset…or at least will be once you have subscribers on it.
Which email system should I choose?
Your first instinct might be to go with a free platform and there many of them.
I have tried Mail Poet, Constant Contact, Get Response and Mail Chimp. In the end, I went with a more comprehensive program.
While I loved not paying for Mail Chimp, I hated the extra work I had to do to make the platform work for me. In the end, my need for efficiency won out of economy.
This is a decision you will need to make for yourself.
If you do decide to invest in a paid service, I recommend (and use) Convert Kit.
What I like about Convert Kit is the ease of adding sign-up boxes to my site. If you have been following along the path set out on the home page, you have seen multiple download sign-up boxes. Each one took me less than a minute to create, customize and publish on my site.
That is so worth my monthly fee. There are also a lot of great customization options so that you can tailor your email content to your students. You can ask students in welcome email about their level of knowledge.
For example, you can have them choose beginner, intermediate or advanced. Once they make their choice, Convert Kit will automatically tag the student so that in the future they will recieve emails targeted to their level.
You could easily market your advanced courses to the right students and send other emails to your beginner students. What a huge value this is. I love automation and shortcuts.
Again, there is nothing wrong with starting with a free version and then growing into a paid version. If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of switching email services mid-stream, then I highly recommend starting out with Convert Kit. It will save you time and help you start building trust with your students.
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