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  • Writer's pictureRaya Manova

7 Steps to Successfully Market Your Learning & Development Program

Learning and Development programs are crucial for any organization's success. However, it's not enough to just create and implement these programs; they must also be effectively marketed to ensure maximum participation and return on investment.

While you don't have to be a marketing guru, it's a good idea to look into how you can start marketing your learning content. In this blog article we have outlined the 7 key steps in putting together a Learning & Development marketing strategy.


Step 1: Identify your target audience

The first step in marketing your L&D program (or anything really!) is to identify your target audience. Who are the people that would benefit the most from the program? What are their needs and pain points? Where do they like to "hang out"? Once you have a clear understanding of your target audience, you can tailor your marketing efforts accordingly by selecting the right marketing message, channel, tone of voice, etc.

EXAMPLE: If your L&D program is designed to help managers improve their leadership skills, your target audience would be managers. You would want to focus your marketing efforts on this group, using messaging and materials that specifically address their needs and pain points. This means using channels such as managers' email distribution lists, Slack channels for managers, management meetings, or other leadership forums to promote the program. Managers are also oftentimes busy and running in and out of meetings, so producing shorter, bite-sized content might work better for their schedules.

Step 2: Define your program's value proposition

Next, define your program's value proposition. What sets it apart from other L&D programs? How will it help your target audience achieve their goals? By clearly communicating your program's unique value proposition, you can increase interest and participation. There is a saying in marketing that people don't buy products, they buy better versions of themselves. If you want them to join a learning program, you need to explain how completing that program will change their life. (Not to get too dramatic here, but you get the point.)

EXAMPLE: If your L&D program is focused on teaching employees how to use a new software tool, your value proposition might be that the program will help employees become more productive and efficient in their work. You would want to highlight these benefits in your marketing materials to encourage participation.

Step 3: Create engaging marketing materials

Once you have a clear understanding of your target audience and your program's value proposition, it's time to create engaging marketing materials. This can include email campaigns, social media posts, flyers, videos, and more. Be sure to use compelling imagery and copy that speaks directly to your target audience.

EXAMPLE: If your L&D program is aimed at improving communication skills, your marketing materials might include testimonials from past participants who have seen improvements in their ability to communicate with colleagues and clients. You could also use graphics or video to illustrate the benefits of the program. Make sure you use language and tone of voice that is appropriate for your audience. If you're targeting senior management at a pharmaceutical company, then using emojis and tech slang might not be the best choice.

Step 4: Leverage internal communication channels

Don't forget to leverage internal communication channels to promote your L&D program. This can include company-wide emails, intranet posts, and even word-of-mouth. By enlisting the help of your colleagues and managers, you can increase awareness and participation in your program.

EXAMPLE: You could ask managers to promote the L&D program during team meetings or include information about the program in employee newsletters. You could also create a referral program that incentivizes employees to encourage their colleagues to participate in the program. If your office has TV screens installed in rooms, you might run short promo videos or create a static image to be displayed on them. Just make sure you select materials that make sense for your target audience - if you are targeting retail employees in stores and they spend all day on their feet and not in front of a screen, then perhaps staff meetings at the start of the day would be a more appropriate channel to share any learning updates.

Step 5: Utilize external marketing channels

In addition to internal communication channels, it's also important to utilize external marketing channels. This can include professional networks, industry events, and even paid advertising. By getting your message in front of a broader audience, you can attract new talent and increase the overall impact of your L&D program. It is a fabulous way to showcase the great development opportunities offered at the company. Also, employees who have missed the internal communication about the events, would be able to catch up on what has been going on via external channels.

EXAMPLE: You could talk about your L&D program on social media platforms like LinkedIn, where you can target users who fit your ideal audience profile. You could do this prior to or after the event and even share testimonials from attendees. The great thing about professional networks is that you can start a conversation around a topic and get in direct contact with potential new joiners.

Step 6: Measure and analyze your marketing efforts

As with any marketing campaign, it's important to measure and analyze your efforts. Track metrics like open rates (of emails), click-through rates (how many people actually visit the promoted link), and overall program participation rates to determine what's working and what's not. Use this data to optimize your marketing strategy and improve the effectiveness of your L&D program.

EXAMPLE: You could use Google Analytics to track the performance of your website or landing pages where you're promoting your L&D program. If this is hosted entirely on an internal company platform, then work with IT or the LMS vendor to see how you can access analytics for the relevant pages.

You could also send surveys to participants to gather feedback and identify areas for improvement in the program itself.

Step 7: Improve and adapt your marketing strategy

Finally, remember that marketing your L&D program is an ongoing process. As your organization and target audience evolve, so should your marketing strategy. Continuously monitor and adjust your efforts to ensure maximum participation and impact.

EXAMPLE: You could schedule monthly or quarterly marketing review meetings and update your promotional materials and strategies to keep them fresh and relevant. You could also experiment with new marketing channels and tactics to see what works best for your organization and audience.

Marketing your L&D program is just as essential to its success as the actual design and delivery of it. By identifying your target audience, defining your value proposition, creating engaging marketing materials, leveraging internal and external communication channels, measuring your efforts, and continuously improving your marketing strategy, you can ensure maximum participation and return on investment.

Final words of advice: don't stress if you're not able to incorporate all 7 steps right away - Rome wasn't built in a day, after all! Just pick one and implement it successfully, then move on to the rest. Good luck!

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