You may have an outstanding training solution – it answers all of the issues your organisation has been facing and tackles performance issues head on. You’ve probably identified which of your people will benefit from the programme and are ready to get them on board.
But how do you engage them effectively?
In a time where every L&D professionals dream is for learners to want the learning, to request it and engross themselves in it, it’s an opportunity to step back and assess the push-pull culture most organisations still adopt.
This culture may not be out of choice. It is likely that old habits die hard, and many learners are still reluctant on the uptake of certain programmes. So, rather than simply telling an employee they need to attend a programme, it is important to give them reason and encouragement in a way that inspires them to adopt the idea as their own.
How do you achieve this? By embracing your inner marketer.
Since the beginning of the 20th century marketers have been looking for ways to sell products to consumers. The evolution of marketing has meant many things, but we are in the best position ever, with the integration of digital marketing and outstanding content and tools.
With so much information available, and so many talented marketers around, it is vital to utilise this to create a strategy that will engage your people in their learning.
Here are some points to consider when pulling together your learning marketing strategy.
What is your story?
What are the reasons for introducing this learning solution? Perhaps it will improve management processes or reduce absence levels.
Spin that on its head and think about your audience
You know your reasons for undertaking the learning, but why would your people want to participate? Perhaps it will result in reduced stress during difficult conversations, or enable them to upwards manage more effectively. Identify these reasons and use them.
Where do your people spend their time?
Don’t just think that they’re at their desk – think outside the box. Is there a particularly busy meeting room? A tea-making station? Perhaps a break room where they eat lunch or even a lift they use to get to their desk after meetings.
On top of this, think about online activity. Do you have internal company social media accounts, or a busy intranet? Assess who spends their time in these places so you know exactly how to target your audience.
Know your voice
Any marketer worth their salt will tell you that good content tells your story, educates your audience and services your customers. A business without a content strategy is one without a voice – remember that if your audience can’t hear you, they won’t buy from you. This is also true in L&D. You need to have great content to sell your programmes, and you need to get that content to your audience. Tie this with the point about knowing your audience to understand exactly what content will appeal to your people, and use it to your advantage!
Think about your resources
Your new content may catch the eye of your target audience, but you need to think about what the next stage is. As consumers we no longer go from initial awareness to purchase in one big jump. The buying process is much longer and complex, and this situation is no different.
Make sure you have plenty of information and resources available for your people. Having a great hook and introduction isn’t enough – you need to reel them in and get their buy-in in order for them to take the next step.
Don’t underestimate the power of a great experience
Even when you attract the perfect people for your programme, a great experience remains the most powerful thing to repeat business. If someone gains something invaluable from their training and enjoys the experience, not only will they be more receptive to future learning campaigns, but they will tell their colleagues.
This is human nature. People talk, sometimes face-to-face and sometimes online, and word-of-mouth truly is the best marketing tool. You want people to talk about the good things (don’t think they won’t talk about the bad too – just try to make sure there’s nothing bad for them to talk about), you want them to spread the word, you want them to be your learning advocates. To achieve this, give them an experience they won’t forget.
Stephanie Morgan FLPI, Director of Learning Solutions, Bray Leino Learning
Sharing ideas and observations to help improve performance.
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