Rolling out a new training program takes a lot of work. You have to outline your objectives, interview SMEs, create stunning graphics, and schedule all of your workshops and instructor sessions. But the last and most important step is the one that often gets overlooked... you have to get people to actually take it!
Almost as important as the training itself is how you communicate and tell people about it. Without a strategy your new training may not reach its full potential, so let's see how taking a few tips from the world of marketing can help your new training campaign be a success.
How can marketing help your training efforts?
In a snapshot, marketing is the process of getting clients or customers interested in your products and services. In this case, we want to get your associates excited about their training. Marketing may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re creating your training plan, but it may be just the thing to help you drive the engagement and completion levels you’ve been looking to reach. The right strategy will help generate buy-in from managers, convince associates of the value in your curriculum, and create a better overall workplace culture.
5 Elements of a Good Marketing Campaign:
1) A Defined Audience
A Target Market is a group of consumers who share common interests and characteristics that would make them more likely to buy into your product or service. When it comes to marketing your training, your target market are the associates and managers who this training would benefit.
The first step in marketing towards your Target Market is to get to know them. What’s their day to day look like? Is it hectic and busy? What challenges do they face and what aspirations might they have?
Creating a brief profile, or learner persona, for your target audience can help you answer some of these questions and give you a better idea of how to message and market your training. For example, if you know your managers complain that their associates are too busy to take time for training, emphasizing that your latest sales module takes less than 10 minutes could be a great strategy for increasing buy in.
2) An Advantage & Offer
In traditional marketing, the “Advantage” is what provides consumers with a reason for buying a product. Does the product transform a time-consuming, tedious task into something that takes just minutes? Does it have more features than the old model?
Similarly, your campaign should focus on the Advantage that associates will get from taking your training! As much as we wish it wasn’t the case, most people see training as a mandatory activity that they begrudgingly have to complete. What reason are you giving your audience to complete this training?
Some common reasons might be:
- This training will open up career opportunities for them
- The training will help make their job safer
- The training will help make them more efficient in their day-to-day tasks
And don’t forget how your managers and leaders play into your marketing campaign! Their approval and advocacy will help funnel down your message and importance of the training to the rest of their teams. So think about what advantages your training will offer to managers.
Here are some common examples of advantages that resonate with leaders:
- This training will increase sales
- This training will lead to less shrink (less wasted product/ loss prevention)
- This training will build associates' experience and brand knowledge
- This training will build necessary skills and introduce new skills to utilize in their daily tasks
3) Brand Awareness
Behind any product or experience is a brand that is making a promise to its consumers. Think of some of your favorite brands and why you gravitate towards them. Do their products carry a promise of quality that’s hard to beat? Do they give back to a cause that’s important to you?
Even if you aren’t selling a product, your company also has a brand and culture that carries a promise both to your customers and to your employees. Tapping into that brand message in both your marketing message and your training materials can help connect your associates and engage your associates with that mission. That connection has a lot of value, from helping improve your retention rates, boosting performance, and helping your associates become ambassadors of your brand. Think about how your training taps into your company’s values and communicate accordingly.
4) A Hook
The Hook grabs the attention of your audience and makes them want to learn more. This could be done with a catchy slogan, visually appealing media assets that are displayed to your associates, or simply by -once again- articulating the brand value and the advantage/offer to them. Consider what’s going to help identify your training and make it stand out!
5) Consistency and Repetition
Sending out just one email about your latest training offering unfortunately isn’t going to be enough to increase your engagement. According to the marketing rule of 7’s, it takes an average of 7 times for a viewer to see a piece of marketing material before they decide to interact with it. Therefore, consistency is a huge part if you want to see your engagement go up. Keep on putting these reminders and promotional materials in the face of your audience members.
Vary Your Communication Channels
Now that you know the elements of a successful campaign, let’s talk about the different ways you can get your message out! We recommend using a few different communication methods to help widen your reach. Your market research that you conducted prior to this will be able to give you some ideas on which method may work the best for your associates.
Email blasts: Sending an email blast to your intended audience is one of the most common ways to market your training. If you have an internal newsletter for managers, you could also include information about your training there. However, while emails are one of the easiest methods, it may not be the most effective as many people tend to ignore or forget about emails in their inbox.
Messaging apps or forums like Slack or Microsoft Teams: There are many apps out there that companies use to message internally and create companywide announcements. These apps are similar to a text message and in result end up having much higher open rates than email. According to Thena AI, Slack content click rates can be as high as 80%. Messaging apps or forums also allow for associates to ask questions and create a dialogue!
LMS announcements: Your associates are already logging into their LMS to complete their learning, why not tell them about the other opportunities available to them! Many of our customers also use the announcement page inside their LMS to make their companywide announcements.
Team meetings: Whether it’s a store-walk or a team/department meeting, see if you can promote your latest training offerings for the first or last 5 minutes of a meeting with your audience. Sometimes getting in-front of people is the best way to capture their attention.
Training ambassadors (Peer to Peer): Try to find advocates to help encourage others to take your training. This might be your managers or associates who have previously completed the program. An ambassador can spread your message in a far more authentic and relatable way to their peers. You can even consider collecting testimonials or recording interviews to communicate your campaigns message to your associates in a more candid way.
Media (Posters, banners, flyers, and manuals): Create some interesting graphics and catchy slogans, the goal is to really create something that cannot be ignored. We’ve seen some of our client’s partner with their marketing teams to create posters to hang in the breakroom to announce the launch of new training initiatives! This is a great way to keep your message top of mind.
Whether you’re launching a new leadership and mentoring program, or you’re just trying to get all of your annual compliance training done; effectively marketing and communicating your training is an important step to raising your completion rates and creating a culture that celebrates learning.
Looking for help creating a new training program or ideas on how to promote training in your organization? Contact us today!