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5 Steps to Improving your Executive Education Programs' Marketing

Education is a lifelong pursuit for many people. We go to school, study hard, earn the grades to take us to University, then most people head out into the working world. Education however, doesn’t stop there.


Continuing professional development goes hand-in-hand with working at the top of your game – no matter which industry you’ve chosen as your niche. Employers look not just at your school or University qualifications, but at your level of investment in ongoing development. Technology and best practices are continually transforming, and nobody can afford to be working on outdated learning.


Steps to Promoting your Executive Education Program

It can feel challenging to enter this highly competitive field, but with the right targeting and messaging, your program will thrive-

1. Isolate your Niche

A niche is not necessarily a specific industry, it could be mid-level executives in a specific town or city. Whatever your niche is, it’s important to identify it early on. In fact, preparing a buyer persona will help you to do this.

The key elements in your buyer persona can be directly translated into criteria for list rental – location, age, gender, industry, level of seniority, job title and more.

2. Who Wins?

Think carefully about how your program will benefit the individuals in your chosen niche. Are the benefits primarily for the business they currently work for, e.g. specific to an industry, team leadership, etc.? Or, are you offering a course that will help the person accelerate their career; for example, implementing strategy for competitive advantage or women leadership programs.

Sure, there can be a cross-over here, where both the individual and their current employer benefit, but you’re looking to identify the motivation behind their decision to invest in your program. Who do you need to convince? The individual or their boss?

3. Sell with Stories

Use this knowledge in your creative by targeting the right audience. If the decision maker is the current boss and the influencer is the employee – use messaging that draws the employee in but gives them clear direction on how to convince their superiors of the benefits. Or go straight to the source and target the decision maker. A great way to do this is with testimonials from previous delegates speaking about the positive impact on their work and profitability for their company.

If you’re targeting a course to individuals, consider the investment they will need to make versus the rewards. Often, a large financial commitment is easier to obtain for corporate funded training, but if you’re asking for an individual to part with several thousand dollars – you need to make it worth their while.

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If you’re selling to individuals your creative needs to shout the benefits. What will they gain from your program? Will they expand their opportunities, grow their professional network, be part of an insider group who work at a higher level than their peers, or will they be able to charge more for their services? The list of benefits could be (and should be) long – a great way to deliver these messages is in a video – real life success stories, focused on the individual – do they have a better lifestyle, are they reaching their financial goals more easily? How does your program benefit the individual?

4. Timing is Everything

Whether the course is attended by self-funded individuals or delegates from business, the timing of your message is crucial.

If you’re aiming at the corporate funded market, consider when the business is setting budgets for training and staff development. You want to be on their radar before this happens – you don’t want to be just asking for a piece of the pie – but helping them choose the right size of pie!

If your target audience is self-funded, consider the investment-level required. Is it reasonable for the individual to make a snap decision? Are you asking for a few days of their time and a few thousand dollars, or much much more? If you need a commitment over a long period, say 2 days per week for the next 18 months and tens of thousands of dollars, then your campaign needs to reflect their level of investment.

5. Drip, Drip, Drip

So, we’ve discussed the need to time your message correctly, but in reality, your message needs to be delivered again and again, in a variety of formats, to really draw your audience in. People are unlikely to react to your outreach until they are exposed to it multiple times. 

It’s unlikely that an individual will wake up on a Monday and set the intention to sign up for some professional development training. A more likely scenario is they see your advert and it sets them thinking … 'could I???' You then need to be ready with a follow up message that convinces them ‘yes I can!’

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Once your trainee is on board, you then need to stay in their line of sight throughout their decision-making process. After all, they’re more than likely going to look elsewhere too – we all do. Whether they're buying a new television or joining a mentoring group, they are very likely to research their options first. Make sure you stay on their radar.

This can be achieved in a variety of ways – from email series to combined display advertising, email campaigns, and social media – talk to me about the success we’ve had combining media in the past.


A Word of Warning

No matter who you are preparing a campaign for it’s essential that you’re mindful of the local law. Many courses are now offered online, opening the audience up to an international marketplace. While this is super for reach, there are a few danger zones to avoid.

Reputation is everything to universities and other higher education establishments. When they entrust you to promote their next program, you must use legal sources, data and current best practices to execute the campaign. Data should be clean, up to date, CanSpam and GDPR compliant – it’s their reputation on the line.


Next Steps

Talk to me, Donna Peterson, about your education program. Let’s discuss how I can help you deliver a campaign that not only reaches the right audience, but nurtures leads into customers.

Call today 860-210-8088 OR

Send me an email-

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