Before I cover some essential rules you need to follow when it comes to maximizing customer engagement in your online courses, let me ask you a few questions.
- How do you feel about your current “course experience”? Do you like it? Do your students like it?
- Are your students actually completing your online course?
- Are students constantly request for refunds?
- Are students experiencing technical issues? Are you doing something to decrease these issues and the time you spend dealing with them?
- Is your current client engagement strategy working for you? Do you even have one?
If you answered NO to most of these questions, I recommend you keep reading because I’m about to reveal the keys to having your clients fully participate in your course, getting big results and primed to continue to purchase your products and services and tell everyone they know about it.
#1) Be Intentional - Engage with Purpose
Engagement leads to loyalty, but it doesn’t happen by chance! Very rarely will someone just love your company and products “just because”. Engagement and brand loyalty comes as the result of intentional and deliberate actions you take as a brand to build a relationship with your clients.
When I’m talking about being intentional, I mean that you should truly know your students. Understand what they want, where they hang out, what they need. It’s not about sending a spammy email once a month that provides absolutely no value. It’s about taking the time to engage with your clients on their terms, when and where they want.
Start by setting customer engagement goals and align them to your business goals. Few other online course creators will take the time to do this, and if you do… It will be an investment well worth making.
#2) Ongoing Engagement
Stop asking all the time and start giving! That’s real engagement!
Ongoing engagement is every touchpoint you have with clients that is not a transaction. This is things like interactions on social media, tutorials, and tips, member benefits for associations, customer feedback surveys, mobile apps, the list goes on… But the idea is that you are providing value on an ongoing basis through multiple channels. And when you start building a reputation for providing value with no expectation of anything in return, people start to actually pay attention to what you have to say and offer.
There’s a really good article by Mohanbir Sawhney, Clinical Professor of Marketing at the Kellogg Business School. In it, he sums up what I’m saying very well.
“The ultimate goal of engagement is to build an emotional connection with the brand. It’s a process that leads to intimacy and advocacy. It’s not a single transaction, but an ongoing conversation. You can’t expect customers to tune in only when you have a product to launch. You need to have a constant presence.”
#3) Focus on Relationships, Not Transactions
We live in a world where over 2 BILLION people a day are online and interacting with businesses. They are constantly bombarded with offers, deals, specials, and sales. Instead of being just another “Can't-Miss This Deal!” company, why not differentiate yourself by taking the time to build a REAL connection with your existing online course customers?
When you show someone that you value them enough to build a relationship, they will respond in a much more favorable way, and almost immediately your online course stands out of the crowd. When you invest time in them, they will invest money with you!
The question then becomes how?
Here are two ways to build students relationships with online students:
- Develop a discussion board/forum questions and interact with your students frequently.
- Share your personal story in a way that students can relate to and find common ground with you.
- What about your course makes you passionate?
- What past experiences influence the way you look at the course subject?
- What struggles have you encountered, and how have these obstacles contributed to your success as a continuous learner and teacher of the subject?
- In return, ask everyone to share their “personal story and goals” with the group in an online discussion.
Here’s an article where I cover a few more strategies to keep your students engaged and build relationships that lead to profits.
#4) Reward and Recognize
Rewards and recognition go a long way! Much further than you might think.
By recognizing individual contribution, you are tapping into the human need for attention and love. If students feel more appreciated and valued, they become more vested in your company and that means a few things:
- They will purchase more products and services
- They will be a brand ambassador for your business
- They will refer to other clients and help current clients
There are a number of ways you can reward and recognize your existing students
- Make your students "famous" by featuring their comments or accomplishments. By giving them public credit, this is a powerful tool to keep them engaged with your online course brand.
- Consider having contests or sweepstakes and publicly posting the winners. Give them prizes and let everyone see that involvement means rewards!
- Give special promotions and discounts to people that “opted-in”. This can be discounts on your exclusive newsletter, special promotions in a FB group, early access to other courses or private coaching with you and your team.
- Use rewards as a way to help students through the areas of the course they find challenging and would rather quit.
- Offer “activity awards”. These are awards for students that take a proactive role in your course and take action when asked. This can be logging in every day, asking questions, responding to a question and other similar activities.
- Give students accomplishment rewards for reaching milestones and successfully finishing tasks. For instance, if a student gets a 70% on a test – they pass. But if you give them a reward for exceeding the standard pass rate, it tends to increase their interest. Accomplishment awards are also great for recognizing their “best score” to date. When students start to feel competent in something, you help them improve by acknowledging when they’ve done better than ever before.
- Timing rewards are great to motivate the students to move through the course. The number one killer of course completion is students that stop logging in and start slowing down. You can set up achievements at crucial points in the course to keep them engaged and moving.
All of these ways to reward and recognize student are ways to celebrate success! Success can be finishing a course, getting results based on what you taught them, getting a 100% on a test and much more. We want to always reward our students, even for small wins.
#5) Ask Lots of Questions! Always Gather Student Feedback
One of the best ways to keep clients engaged is by simply reaching out and asking for their opinion. And when you do that, engagement isn’t the only benefit. This gives you the opportunity to gain real insights into how your products and services are being received. It allows you to adjust, tweak and make things better. And better means more profit!
But you can’t just sit back and hope people will give you feedback, you have to ask for it! Sure, some people will offer it, but most will remain quiet unless you ask. By taking the time to implement a strategic customer feedback program, this will increase student engagement and give you a much clearer path forward for future courses, products, and services.
Wrapping It All Up.
The common thread between all these rules is the idea that client engagement matters! No matter the frequency, method, strategy, approach… It’s important to remember that clients are the lifeblood of your business and your business can’t afford to ignore the people you have in your pipeline already.
By following these 5 rules, you’ll be able to increase customer engagement, which will lead to higher brand loyalty and revenue for your online course business.