I’ve worked for and run companies that sell online learning, and over the years I have helped numerous associations and other organizations to develop and distribute e-learning. In many cases, in spite of these organizations having created high quality content that aligned to the needs of their markets, actual sales of the products did not initially meet expectations. Why? In this and the following two posts (Part 2, Part 3) I’ll briefly discuss the “truths” about e-learning sales that I find the most successful organizations understand. The first of these is:
(Note: You can also download a slightly modified PDF version of 3 Tips for Selling More E-learning.)
Most people value high quality content, and most professionals – myself included – will strongly agree that lifelong learning is intrinsically rewarding. But we’re all busy, and we face innumerable choices about how to spend our time, online or off. All else being equal, prospective learners are simply more likely to choose an e-learning offering that validates their time in some way. Usually this means offering continuing education credit (CE, CEU, CME, CPE) or some form of proof that the learner has met a compliance or credentialing (including certification) requirement.
A critical twist on this rule is that the segment of your market that cares the most about credit is likely to be the easiest source of sales. If a particular audience needs a certain amount of credit to obtain or maintain a particular credential, the convenience of e-learning – already a strong part of its value proposition – becomes even more powerful.
Many organizations may be able to take this value proposition even further by providing more convenient ways for learners to manage their ongoing continuing education credits. This might mean facilitating the process of submitting credits to accrediting bodies, or providing a portfolio option that enables learners to accumulate and manage diverse credit activities – not just ones from your organization – in a single place.
In general, organizations should:
- offer credit for e-learning if at all possible,
- forefront the availability of credit in their marketing efforts, and
- target a significant part of their marketing effort to segments that care most about credit.
While all of this may seem obvious, I have found again and again that organizations do not execute as well as they might in this area.
Does the “Validation Matters” key jibe with your experience in selling e-learning? Whether it does or does not, please comment and share your particular experiences. And stay tuned for the next installment of 3 Keys to Selling More E-learning.
Hedgehog & Fox