Launching your eLearning at your organization can feel like rocket science, one wrong move and BOOM! Don’t let your initiative go up in flames, plot a course for success among the association stars with these six tips.
- Match the courses to the learners
If you’ve done your market research you know who your target audience is. Make sure you match your course offerings to the needs of the learning audience. Do they need CE credits? Provide them with courses that fulfill these requirements. Consider an informal survey for members and non-members regarding the courses they need and want, and the preferred method of completing those courses, before launching. This will help you gain critical information necessary for launch success.
- Determine positioning and marketing message
You’ve likely heard the phrase “sell benefits or solutions not features.” This is very true. You can position yourselves as the association with online learning, or you can position yourself as the association that understands that time is precious and members need the information on their own time. Like an astronaut learns their rocket, you have to learn your audience.
From your positioning, you create your messaging. You might say “We’ve got eLearning, get your certifications online now.” Or you could say “We’ve got your needs in mind. Now getting your certifications easier and more convenient with online member education.” One of those statements sells benefits. Which resonates with the association member?
- Set a goal
How do you know if your launch was successful if you haven’t set any goals? Setting goals will help you evaluate whether the launch was successful and where it could be improved. Is your goal to get a 1,000 users in a year? This is the time to establish the tools and procedures needed to achieve your initiatives and measure their effectiveness or to re-evaluate your launch goals.
- Get association ambassadors talking
Thoroughly explain your online education program to your staff so they can talk about your eLearning launch with friends and family who might be interested in your association. Get the word out in the press. Industry relevant publications and places where you can share or aggregate your blog posts will provide an additional source of exposure. Current members are also a source to go to, to get your message out to the world. You don’t have to drift out in space all by yourself, assemble a team to help spread the word.
- Generate buzz
Get your membership team on board. Tell your support staff what’s on the horizon. Tell your most active members about your eLearning plans but swear them to secrecy. These should be your early adopters, the people who must be on the cutting edge, putting their footprints on the moon first. They won’t keep the secret. In fact, they’ll be so impressed that they were trusted with the secret plans that they’ll run to tell everyone what they know because they’re the special few with inside information. Capitalize on the people you got talking and expand your circle of association ambassadors. This is also the time to start teasing the new initiative. “The future of continuing education is now! Are you ready?” Statements like these build excitement and mystery and encourage those who know the secret to tell because they know what that future of learning is.
- BLAST OFF
Make sure you time your launch so that you get maximum exposure and attention. Launching around any major holiday should be avoided as your audience is distracted by other things and cannot give your new eLearning initiative the attention it deserves. Times when a member might need to renew credentials however, is a great time to launch your online learning courses. You might tie your online learning launch into a conference, or yearly meeting for maximum exposure and results.
To avoid the BOOM and reach the stars have your LMS ready, your partners screaming upload that course catalog, and your members foaming at the mouth in anticipation. Then plant your flag on planet eLearning and take bow.
Ready to start offering members access to courses online? Check out our LMS for associations.
If you’d like additional information about implementing eLearning at your association, check out our resources page.
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