Striking the right chord with a new group of learners is never easy. Everyone has different backgrounds, qualifications and preferences when it comes to the optimal ways of learning.
Course creators, however, face an interesting challenge here: they need to learn how to “speak” to all those different types of learners. Arguably, the most effective way to do so is to deliver content that resonates with all their unique needs and wants. A copy that makes them nod their heads and be more perceptive to the information you are about to deliver next. Such initial agreement later aggregates their loyalty and passion for you, and your material – an emotional hook essential for those planning to up-sell additional training.
So how do you foster such “in tune” feelings among your audience?
1. Start with an Audience Avatar
Any marketer will tell you that powerful content is the one created with very specific personas in mind. In e-learning, the same approach applies. If you want to capture new learners’ attention, you need to know who they “look” and “act”.
So first, you can create an audience avatar based on your assumptions and preliminary research of your target audience. The essential tidbits you should capture in your audience avatar (the learners you plan to serve) are as follows:
- General demographic details (age, location, occupation, dummy name)
- Main pain points – what issues do they currently have and how they are impacting their life e.g. struggling to meet the set sales quotas; measure marketing KPIs etc.
- Learning habits – do they prefer audio/text/video learning; have they previously signed on for any MOOCs; what did they like or didn’t like.
- The kind of words/messaging and tone that resonates most with them. You can mine for Voice of Customer data online to capture that.
- What are the biggest drivers for them to complete your e-course e.g. walk away with skills that can contribute to a salary increase.
To create truly comprehensive audience avatars, you should continuously refine your data and add new points based on the feedback received from your course participants.
By knowing exactly who your audience is and what are their needs and preferences, you can develop various content types, align your messaging and marketing activities to resonate with different audience segments and convert more participants.
2. Drill Down to What Purpose You Serve
Does your content speak straight to your learners' biggest woes and struggles? Can they understand the main purpose behind your training and what will they get out of it? Your content should be aligned to server very specific personas (as identified in the previous steps). The next step is to find the right vocabulary to communicate the main value behind your course.
First of all, think what kind of transformations your product provides. Does it help learners understand a new complex system? Get better with sales? Or achieve something else meaningful? For example, James Cook University has taken a clear stance of how their online MBA for Canadians helps participants develop a valuable new skill set; enjoy a global, capstone experience and pursue higher earning positions post-graduate (with numbers to back up their claims). This page is tailored for a very specific audience and speaks directly to their needs and anticipations.
There are a few specific copywriting techniques you can use to make your content even more relatable and purpose-driven:
- Open with a hook. What you state in the first screen will either encourage readers to scroll further or alienate them for good. Through a statement that will immediately communicate the relevance of what you have to offer to them. Instantly showing that you "get" what they are struggling with will create a sense of empathy and encourage those browsers to stick around and listen to what else you have to say.
- Ramp up anticipation. Instead of telling what they are expecting to hear (e.g. that becoming better in sales takes time and education), shine a different light on things and guide them towards taking another stance: e.g. you can close X% more sales by mastering just one technique explained in your course.
Show the transformational effect of your training. Address those pain points they are currently dealing with and show how your course addresses those and what difference can it make. This reinforces the value of your e-course and presents them with a clear, achievable goal they can focus on.
3. Weave in Emotions
Emotions are another powerful avenue for connecting with that someone sitting on the opposite side of the screen. Experiment with going deeper, and eliciting certain emotions with your content. Some of the most shared viral ads relied heavily on emotional content, specifically the feelings of friendship, happiness, warmth and inspiration. A separate study also concluded that ads with purely emotional content generate twice the profit of ads based on rational content.
Bold brands have even chosen to capitalize on the negative feelings (sadness, anger, fear etc.) to create a stronger connection with viewers. For instance, an award-winning Always’ Like a Girl campaign, featured a famous insult to capture the viewer's’ attention.
You can follow the lead and sprinkle different emotional triggers in your marketing materials to create a stronger emotional bond. Speak to their fear of missing out on something; share how much happier they can become after completing your course.
Create an experience your audience cannot ignore – the one that reverberates with their biggest ambitions and aspirations. Build up their anticipation further using the right hooks and addressing their needs through your copy. At the end of the day, it’s hard to pass on an offer that feels perfectly tailored for you.
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.