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13 smart marketing ideas to sell training courses

If you’re looking for ways to market and sell training courses then you’ve come to the right place. These 13 effective marketing strategies will have a big impact on your sales, but not on your wallet.

We work with hundreds of training businesses who are looking for ways to stand out in a crowded market, stay relevant in a rapidly changing industry, and reach new audiences to help scale their business. They’re looking for innovative ways to market training courses that won’t blow the bank.

And because training providers are juggling a million balls already, we thought we’d take care of this one thing. We’ve pulled together a list of ways you can do exactly that.

Let’s get started on these 13 effective marketing strategies that won’t have a big effect on your wallet!

Ways to market and sell training courses

  1. Email marketing

    If you already have a database of email addresses, then it’s the best place to start focusing your marketing efforts. Email campaign tools are relatively cheap and easy to use – check out Mailchimp, Campaign Monitor and Hubspot. And most can be integrated with your existing software, such as Arlo.

    Arlo’s CRM and automated emails will make your email nurture programs a breeze to create. With all customer information in one central hub, including course completion, location, level of qualification and more, it’s easy to send automated, targeted emails to promote upcoming courses that are relevant to their needs.

    Make sure the emails are as personalized as possible – greet your customers by name, and only include content that’s relevant to them. Experiment with various messaging and subject lines and measure the results to see what works best. Ensure the emails are on brand, and always ensure you have a clear call to action. Implement these simple tips and you will significantly increase your chance of conversion.

  2. Make friends (BEST friends) with Google

    To get ahead of your competitors in Google results and increase your organic website traffic, you need to be at the top of your search engine optimization (SEO) game. An easy way to get a boost in Google’s search rankings is to make sure your business is showing up across the whole Google ecosystem.
  • First off, you’ll need to create a Gmail account (if you don’t already have one), to manage all of your business listings and accounts. This is free, and easy to do.
  • Create a free Google My Business account, and make sure you verify it. This will help you show up in Google Maps searches and in the local section of search results.
  • Sign-up to Google Analytics if you haven’t already. You’ll need to add a line of code to your website to complete the set-up, but there’s plenty of advice online about how to do this. This will give you valuable insights into how your website is performing.
  • Sign-up to Google Search Console, and connect it to Google Analytics. GSC will give you insights into how your website is performing in Google’s search results, and tips on how to improve your SEO.
  • Use Google’s performance tool Lighthouse. This will give you a gauge on the technical health of your website, and areas where you can improve.
  • Create a YouTube account for your business and consider publishing short videos. These could be teasers about your upcoming courses, or short snippets of existing courses.
  • Consider Google Ads. These are the paid Ads, so there is an associated cost here, but it’s a proven way to get to the top of search results and reach potential customers that are in buying mode. Google Ads experts offer free help in this space, so it’s worth setting an initial consultation to see what could work for your business.

Case Study

International TEFL Academy increased revenue by +340% with Arlo.

  1. Make your website sell for you

    A well-designed and mobile-friendly training website and online registration will get you big points with Google, helping you get straight to the top of those search results. Using a known and trustworthy website platform, such as WordPress, is a good place to start. From there, you need to ensure your website is easy to navigate, with course catalogs and relevant filtering, page loading times are fast, and online registration and checkout processes are smooth and simple.

    Arlo’s web services team can create a cost-effective, on-brand training company website that will see you at the top of your game. Check out the Ultimate Guide to Websites to learn more and see examples of best-practice websites that help market training courses.

  2. Start a blog

    Google loves well-written, helpful, relevant and up-to-date content. By adding a blog to your website and publishing valuable content that’s relevant for your target audience you’ll get a major SEO boost and increase traffic to your website. There are plenty of resources online on how to write blog posts for SEO, or you can browse Arlo’s own blog for inspiration!

  3. List on a course marketplace

    Sites like findcourses.com and training.com.au are designed to help training providers promote and sell training courses. Having your courses featured here can be a great way to catch the attention of someone who’s already in the market for some training. Interested buyers can search and filter by everything from topic, certification, region, industry and more.

    These sites usually take a commission from each course that you sell, or they will charge you a fee to feature your course in their directory. Either way, having your course listed with these sites is a great way to ensure you’re found by those who are actively searching.
  4. Embrace SMS marketing

    With SMS marketing software like ClickSend, Burst, HeyMarket and more, you have yet another channel to stay in touch with existing customers and promote and sell training courses. Most of these SMS applications integrate with other software, such as the Arlo training management system, so you can create automated workflows, removing the need for any manual work. For example, you can automatically send an SMS to past registrants based on license expiry dates, new courses, next level qualification and more.

  5. Get social. Social media that is!

    Create business accounts for the leading social media sites – like, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter. Build a community by encouraging your existing customers to “like” your page and leave reviews. 

    Publish content regularly, including blog posts, upcoming courses, business updates and wider industry news (remember, the content you share doesn’t always have to be your own!). Add a social share widget to your WordPress website and your courses and blog posts will automatically be published to LinkedIn and Facebook, automating the process for you. 

    Encourage engagement – by asking customers to share or like a piece of content, you’ll increase your reach to new audiences.

    If you want to take it a step further, consider paid advertising on social media. It’s a relatively cheap way to advertise and you can target the ads so you’re only paying to reach a relevant audience who is potentially interested in your courses. Use a conversion pixel to ensure smart re-marketing and further optimize your spend.

    Like Google, Facebook and LinkedIn also have free resources and experts to help you get up and running.

  6. Push your USP

    A USP is your unique selling point for anyone not familiar with the acronym. Any successful training company by now will have researched their competitors, researched the market and identified their ideal customer. They will have asked and answered questions like; what makes you different from your competitors? What gap are you filling in the market? What problem does your course solve? What value does your course offer to your ideal customer?

    All of this information should help create clarity around your unique selling point. Once you’ve nailed that, push that point until the cows come home. Use it on the homepage of your website, on your course listing, use it in your social media marketing, on fliers, brochures, and in your emails. Make sure that message is communicated clearly, delivered consistently every time, and is in your brand tone of voice.

    It sounds simple, but it will make you stand out from the crowd.

  7. Reviews

    We’ve mentioned it a couple times already, but this one’s a big one. Encourage customers to leave you reviews after they’ve finished your course. It can be as simple as sending a follow-up survey asking for their feedback, which you can then publish on your website either as a quote or a case study, and share on your social media channels. Or, send an email to request that your customers leave you a review on Google, Facebook, or a course marketplace listing.

    People are more likely to buy a product or service that has been recommended by a family or friend, and they’re more likely to trust a brand that has positive reviews.

    If someone is considering signing up to your course, a positive review may be the just the thing that gives them the final push.

  8. Offer blended learning

    Not traditionally “marketing” per se… but we couldn’t create a list like this and NOT include blended learning. Blended learning is a great way to create differentiation from your competitors in a crowded market, scale your business, increase course capacity and drive profitability. All of the results you’d expect from a good bit of marketing! 

    Not sure what we’re talking about? Learn more about blended learning and how it could help you sell training courses to increase the profitability of your business in the Ultimate Guide to Blended Learning.

  9. Thought leadership

    By creating thought leadership content for external publications you position yourself as an authority and expert in your industry, create trust, increase brand awareness and reach new audiences. It also makes great content for emails to your database and to share on your social media channels. And a bonus? Backlinks on high authority external websites will give your own website a good SEO boost!

    Don’t overthink it – reach out with a simple, straight-to-the-point email to relevant industry publications, news sites, blogs and relevant local bodies to see if they are interested in publishing guest content. Pitch an idea that will add value to the reader, the publisher, and your training business. Write about something you know well, but make sure it’s not a sales pitch. Provide plenty of links back to helpful, relevant content on your website, and if they allow it, provide a call to action at the end of the article that drives them to purchase a course.

  10. Give away free stuff

    By free stuff we don’t mean key rings or keep cups. To market training courses, give away business insights, give them a taste of the courses that you offer, and use the opportunity to grow your brand. The idea here is to provide some value to your ideal customer to build brand awareness, trust and keep top of their mind for when they’re ready to book a course.

    Look for conferences, workshops, events, local meet-ups and the like that are relevant to your customers. Ask to sponsor the nibbles and drinks, use the opportunity to network with potential customers, provide printed handbooks with helpful information, or offer to be a guest speaker to share some valuable business insights.

    Want to take it a step further? Give them a discount code for a percentage off when they book their first course with your business.

  11. Create a referral program

    We’ll say it again – consumers are more likely to buy a product or service that has been recommended by a friend or family member. That’s a level of trust that no brand can ever compete with, so how do you tap into that? With a referral program.

    Offer your existing customers a discount, merchandise, or some other reward for referring friends and family. You can do this by way of an email campaign, and advertise the program both on your website and social media channels. Check out Arlo’s referral program for inspiration. It’s truly powerful stuff!

This is a BIG list. We know. And a day in the life of a training provider is busy enough as it is. How can you possibly add more tasks into the mix? That’s why a training management system like Arlo is designed to do some of this heavy duty lifting for you. 

Everything from automated emails, to CRM and segmentation, best-practice training websites, search engine optimization, blended learning and SMS marketing. You can manage it all from Arlo.

And one of the best features of all? Arlo’s powerful reporting engine, so you can measure performance and see the results of all of your hard work. See Arlo in action with a 14-day free trial.

how to create a course to sell

Get the full guide

Find everything you need to promote and sell your courses in this Ultimate Guide to Course Marketing for training providers.