Reality is setting in. The Coronavirus – COVID-19 – is not going away. Any time soon at least. We are now starting to understand that this time of reduced personal contact, is, the new ‘normal’.
And with the first few days of working from home now out of the way, many of us are asking ourselves,
“How can I make best use of this time? Can I upgrade my skills, enhance my expertise, or deepen my knowledge base? Is there some research I’ve been putting off, before making a purchase decision? And how can I confirm I have been using my time wisely and productively?”
Chances are, if we’re asking ourselves these questions, our customers, or prospective customers, are too.
The next level of Engagement Marketing
There is much to be said about Content Marketing, and the value of blogs, articles and white papers. But there may be another option we’re not considering, another level of engagement.
Why not consider creating an online learning experience?
Yes, an actual formalized learning module. One that transforms value-added content into an educational format, allowing our audiences to upgrade skills and knowledge, complete with a test for comprehension, and some form of certification, however modest, which confirms the productive use of their time.
You may already have the content you need
The content may be drawn from existing information you have published, or can be easily researched, to supplement the content you already have. It may simply be a case or reformatting, or reorienting how that information is presented, within the context of a learning module.
In the private sector, the content may be information that consumers of your product or service would like to have to enhance their own buying decisions, starting with basic ‘how do I go about determining what my needs are’, ‘what are the essential qualities to look for’, ‘how can I frame my purchase decision based on my available resources’ and ‘what warranty or service options should I consider’.
In the association or not-for-profit sector, the content may be based on recent advocacy initiatives or updates regarding legislation or regulatory policies. In this case, the content would be pertain to ‘what are the main areas affected by the new regulations’, ‘what is the time frame for implementation’, ‘what sources of information are available’ and ‘what are the options available to stay informed and updated’?
Formalized learning to facilitate the buyer’s journey
Essentially, by educating our audiences, we engage them on the journey from interested spectators, to actual participants, in the experiencing of our product or service. By assuring them they are taking the necessary steps to improve their own product knowledge, diminish the friction or anxiety caused by uncertainty and apprehension, and demonstrate value.
After all, we all want to understand and explore our purchase options as fully as possible to assure ourselves prior to actual acquisition or purchase. What better way to help people overcome this apprehension related to a sense of incomplete knowledge, than to actually allow them to acquire the information, and then test themselves to confirm comprehension and preparedness.
Formalized learning modules present information in an idealized format. Learning modules improve and confirm retention, rewarding learners by quantifying the experience, through self-assessment, and certification to confirm completion. And, of course, formalized online learning modules offer obvious engagement metrics which can be monitored, assessed, and with permission, used to help prospective, interested, users to become full-fledged customers, members and donors.
Learning and Engaging Online: The New Normal
The reality of Life with COVID-19 is that more and more product research and content acquisition will move increasingly online, and away from the person-to-person exchange of sales-related information that, traditionally, has taken place, in-store, at offices, or at meetings and conventions. We need to consider new ways to engage and add value, to engage audiences and create customers.
During these challenging times, your audiences want to use their time productively. Turning content into Learning Modules can offer them a very valued, and valuable, experience.
And Remember: Be safe – practice safe hygiene, avoid large crowds, protect your love ones.
Paul McKay CAE, is Senior Consultant with McKay Associates, specializing in advocacy, marketing and development. Get in touch via LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mckay-associates