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Finding your needle in a haystack!

So, you have a great business and you are offering amazing courses … but it is as good as a hidden treasure or undiscovered island…unless you tell the world about it. Shouting from the rooftop may not work, you need marketing. When it comes to marketing there are two approaches to the marketing: traditional or offline and secondly online or digital marketing.

What is traditional or offline marketing?

Traditional or offline marketing involves ads that we come across in our daily routine such as billboards, fliers, radio or tv ads etc. Here are six main types of traditional marketing:
Broadcast Marketing – This may involve advertising on television and radio, etc.
Mail Marketing – Sending brochures, catalogues, seasonal greeting postcards, etc.
Outdoor Marketing – Such as billboards, fliers, etc.
Print Media Marketing – Such as advertising in magazines, newspapers, directories, etc.
Telephone Marketing – Such as telemarketing, SMS marketing, beacon marketing, etc.
Affiliate or Network Marketing – Offering incentive to individuals or even third-party businesses for
promoting products and services

Traditional way of marketing has worked so far, it still works but evolution of internet technology
has spurred new methods of marketing, rendering traditional or offline marketing as less effective
and more costly in comparison to internet or digital marketing.
Below is a chart showing major challenges faced when using traditional marketing for promoting a
business:

 

 

 

 

 

 

In today’s age and time, speedy interaction with prospects of any business is very important. Everything needs to be instant. Offline marketing lags in that aspect, then there is problem in measuring the ROI, unless you ask further question to those who respond to the advertisements, it is difficult to determine whether they responded to the tv ads or pamphlets etc.

The biggest challenges for offline marketing I see are targeting and expansion. It is easy and cost effective to do traditional marketing in a local community, but if you want to expand reach of your marketing campaign to an entire city, state, country or global level, costs of marketing can blow out of proportions, and then it is time consuming.

Secondly targeting, let’s say your training institute offers courses for working professionals. You find out that there are 100000 working professionals in the central business district, but you don’t know that who and how many of those 100K working professionals are looking for courses to further their career. So, you need to print at least 100K fliers, hire personals to go out and distribute the fliers. Still there is no certainty that each of those 100K working professionals in that area will get the flier.

Have you heard the saying “out of sight, out of mind”? Marketing is all about continuous exposure of your courses offering to the prospect customers. In order to stay in front of eyes of the prospect customers you need to continually promote your courses. Imagine repeating the above fliers campaign at least every week. Imagine the time required and the cost.

You could buy prime time on tv to run tv ads and promote your training institute courses, but the challenge is that no one switches on a tv to find out about training courses. Not every training institute uses tv ads to promote their business and end user is not able to fine a comparison of different providers and their offerings… tv media lacks such crucial information.

I could go on talking about the challenges with offline marketing, don’t take me wrong, it still works, but in today’s context it has become very expensive and least effective.

That brings us to the second approach in marketing i.e. digital/online marketing

What is digital or online marketing?

Digital or online marketing refers to the marketing that a business conducts through the Internet or electronic devices such as mobile phones. It may include creating a website for your training institute and attracting internet traffic to your training courses offered on your website. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and paid advertisement can be leveraged to direct interested buyers to their desired courses. Below image will show some of the most popular digital marketing channels:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are indeed lot of ways a business can leverage digital marketing, but here I will mention only few that are most common and popular:
–  Website – this is literally like your business front, like your store but it is located on internet. Unlike your brick and mortar business office or shop, it is open and accessible to global audience for 24/7. Interested customers can access it, browse your course offerings, obtain required information at any time at their convenience without you being present in your store. They can even register for courses and make payments while you may be sleeping in
your bed.

–  Content Marketing – Creating online content such as blogs, useful articles, info graphics and informative videos about the products, services, courses and solutions you offer to provide value for prospect customers is a way to market your courses.

Social Media Marketing – This is another very popular and effective way of marketing. Social media such as Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram etc are among the most popular channels to reach your targeted audiences.

PPC & SEM Marketing – These are paid advertisement marketing methods where you can advertise your training courses directly to the interested buyers.

Email Marketing – Imagine having an email list of people who are interested in the type of training courses your business offers… You can directly engage those people, send them your offers, lure them with tempting promotions. Email lists are considered critical business assets for email marketing.

There are lot of other ways to conduct digital marketing. Digital marketing is a huge topic, in out next blogs we will discuss about best digital marketing channels and methods suiting your training institute. But before that we must establish that why you should choose digital marketing than offline marketing to promote your business.

The dilemma – traditional or digital marketing…or both?

Here are few stats about the usage of internet among the population. More than 80% of shoppers do their research online before investing in a product or service. Almost 70% of U.S. adults use Facebook on a regular basis. Around 90% of B2B marketers are actively using LinkedIn for marketing. Mobile devices will be accounting for over 80% of digital ad spend by 2020. Around 90% B2C businesses report social media as being the most effective content marketing tactic.

According to a www.emarketer.com report, in the US annual budget for offline ads spend is declining while budget for online marketing is increasing tremendously. Below is a chart about total media ad spending comparison between Traditional vs Digital in the US in billion dollars.

 

 

 

 

 

Source: emarketer February 2019

There are lot of statistics and data available suggesting that internet usage for bother consumers and businesses is growing at exponential rate. But the question is does digital marketing solve the challenges faced by traditional marketing and offer any better solutions?

Lets look at three challenges faced by traditional marketing that we discussed above.

Measuring ROI – In internet marketing each campaign can be tracked from lead generation to conversions and at the end a business can measure the cost of campaign and the revenue from that campaign. That helps in future marketing strategies.

Targeting – digital marketing enables marketer to target each campaign at specific audience based on locality, ethnicity, profession, interests, and even best time to reach the desired audience. That ability makes campaigns much more effective, there is no leakage of resources and ads spend on audience who are not interested in your courses.

Expansion – Digital marketing campaigns can be targeted at small communities or localities but at the same time can be targeted at much wider or even at global audiences with just some clicks of mouse. That flexibility is not available when doing traditional marketing. There is lot of data and statistics available to effectively construct and plan marketing campaigns.

A lot more can be said in favor of digital marketing over traditional marketing. However, each business may require different type of digital marketing or some time even a combination of digital and traditional marketing depending on the nature and products and services offered by the business. In our next blogs we will discuss about best digital marketing approaches for training institutes.

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