How many executives are there in the world? There are 45,508 companies listed in the stock exchange around the world. Then if you consider all the other companies that are not on the stock exchange, there are millions of executives in the world that are all interested in keeping themselves current.
How do you find the right executives for your particular program?
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.
Steps to Reach the Right Executives for Your Program
It can feel challenging to enter this highly competitive field, but with the right targeting and messaging, your program will thrive-
1. Figure out what executives would benefit from your program the most
Obviously, look at the title and industry they are in but then dive deeper and look for common denominators -
- Location - State, Country . . .
- Company size
- Years at company
- If they have taken other executive education classes
Once you have a clear picture of your target audience, you will be able to research what marketing materials and channels they are on to utilize.
Fill out this Target Audience Worksheet.
2. Who benefits from your program the executive or the employer
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 a 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. Whom do you need to convince? The individual or their boss?
3. Use the above information to create content that will resonate with your target 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. A great way to do this is with testimonials from previous delegates speaking about the positive impact on their job. Also, if the program will help you achieve certification that is needed for you to be a Thought Leader in your position.
If you are targeting a course to individuals, consider the investment they will need to make versus the rewards. Often, a substantial 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.
If the program is 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 works at a higher level than their peers.
- 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 quickly? How does your program benefit the individual?
4. Reaching your audience at the right time
Whether enrollment in the course is by self-funded individuals or delegates from business, the timing of your message is crucial. It would be best if you gave them enough time to see your promotion and get the money together to commit to taking your program and be ready to start the class on time.
If you are trying to reach 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. Your messaging must be consistent
Today people are inundated with emails, and they get promotions pushed on them from all different directions. To be successful in promoting your executive educations program, you must implement a cohesive, strategic marketing campaign so that you can educate the individual on why they can not live without this program. 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!’
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 are 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.
You can achieve this in a variety of ways – from email series to combined display advertising, postal, email campaigns, and social media – talk to me about the success I have seen with certain combinations of media in the past.
A Word of Warning
No matter who you are preparing a campaign for it is 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. You must use legal sources, data and current best practices to execute the campaign. Data should be clean, up to date, CanSpam, CCPA, and GDPR compliant – your reputation is on the line.
Would you like other ideas?
Donna Peterson is a b2b specialist who increases her clients profit while saving them time. To get actionable marketing tips & techniques follow her on LinkedIn, Facebook and/or Instagram.