Marketing or sales funnels are a favourite instrument in any marketer's arsenal. They help them visualise buying/conversion journeys and create content that strongly aligns with every touchpoint the customer has with their brand. L&D professionals can adopt a similar approach and take a closer look at the students' lifecycle to create a learning experience that closely matches their needs and preferences.
How Marketing Funnels Correlate with Better Learning Experience
Marketing funnels mimic the journey any customer takes – from being introduced to a product or service to either making or purchase or abandoning their journey for some reason. Typically, a marketing funnel incorporates five stages:
- Awareness: A potential buyer learns about your company
- Interest: They develop an interest in your offerings
- Consideration: That prospect is willing to evaluate your pitch and analyzes the offer
- Conversion: You have convinced the buyer to purchase your product
- Loyalty: The customer is retained and considers re-purchasing from you
Marketing professionals understand that shoppers have different needs and interests at different stages of their journey. Thus, they develop personalized content, specific to their stage, to move the prospect to the next stage. L&D specialists can adopt a similar approach and adapt learning content to the different learner’s segments to organically move them through the entire training programme.
Hence, if you are currently struggling with low training completion rates and perhaps low engagement among students, you should definitely look into how you can tweak your course content to better match the L&D funnel.
Here's a quick example to illustrate such an approach. For instance, you need to upgrade the health and safety training – a course few employees take voluntary, though they are often required to. Here's what you can do to increase adoption and engagement among participants: instead of assigning everyone with all four e-learning modules at once, you can:
- Create and send a quick email intro, explaining the importance of workplace safety.
- Afterwards, dispatch an introductory video that would spike the interest in the subject.
- Follow-up with another quick email explaining the benefits of completing this training module, perhaps with some gamification insensitive.
- Assign the first module to everyone.
- Encourage faster completion through a series of push notifications, emails and gamification.
Content Strategies for Different Stages of Your L&D Funnel
Awareness stage: At this point, your main goal is to pique the learners' interest and make them aware about the available training options; their unique benefits and the importance of completing those.
Develop and send a regular organisation-wide newsletter introducing them to all the training options your company offers. You should segment the email list and create personalized emails, targeting different groups of employees e.g. new hires, mid-managers, seniors when you need to pitch general training initiatives. Also, you can further segment the newsletters by department, skill etc.
Interest: At this point, your main goal is to further reinforce the learner’s interest in training. Again, personalisation will play the most important role. Consider creating a dynamic landing page that will serve somewhat different versions of the same content to different users. For instance, you can create a set of personalized content for each department, highlighting how this particular training benefits them personally.
You can also create a drip email campaign that will send personalized course summaries and intros to targeted employees during a certain period. As well, you can devise a push marketing notification strategy. This way you'll be able to notify subscribers when new materials/courses are being added to the system. Elearning Industry has created a Complete Browser Push Notifications Guide For eLearning Companies that explains all the ins and outs of how these can be set up effectively.
Consideration: At this point, you should help the interested prospects settle on the right type of training. To facilitate decision-making, consider the following:
- Create detailed FAQ pages for core training programs, explaining the benefits and outcomes of the program, plus outlining the course duration and daily commitment expected.
- Add course comparison charts to the corporate Wiki. As well, you can ask the past participants to rate every training, and leave their feedback.
Conversion: If you notice that some important courses are not receiving as many sign-ups as they should, consider hosting a live webinar around them. This way you can more broadly introduce the course, answer the questions from the potential takers and ask past participants to share their feedback. Such an initiative should help prompt some reluctant students towards taking further action.
Loyalty: Lastly, be sure to repeat all of the steps above to increase training sign on rates and consistently drive interest towards newer programmes. Email campaigns and in-browser push notifications, reminding of incomplete training or pitching new courses, are great for that purpose.
The key to creating an effective L&D funnel is analytics. Be sure to track different eLearning metrics such as email open and click-through rates, heat mapping for landing pages, webinar attendance, video views and video drop-off rates. These will give you more insight into how your "warm-up" campaigns are performing, and how students respond to different content types.
Independant inbound marketing consultant with 5+ years in the industry, including coaching and developing e-learning courses. Bylines at the Huffington Post, Tech Cocktail, Hackerspace by Lifehacker among others.