The live webinar, which was a reprise from the session that I was honored to present at the Augusoft User Summit this past November.  The live webinar was held February.   

These questions were asked on the webinar, but due to technical difficulties we couldn’t answer them “live”, so we’re using this blog post to answer them.  I invite you to listen to the webinar recording as well, to get some ideas and tips that can move your CE program marketing forward.

If you have questions, please ask them by posting a comment to this thread.  We will monitor and ensure that we get answers posted in a timely manner.

I've embedded a recording of the webinar if you were unable to attend, and would like to watch it:


Question:  How many eblasts would you recommend for each campaign?

Answer:  The number of emails that are part of a campaign depends upon your goals for the campaign.   The issue we see with most CE programs is that the emails that go out are all “sales” messages.  You want people to “register now.”  There is very little variation at all.  Most of the messages are broad based with many different classes and links so people can register. 

The problem is that if people don’t want to register now, there isn’t anything for them to engage with.  Sending broad emails can be a way to find out people’s interests.  Once you know what they are checking out, then you can focus on specific messages that are tailored to them.

If you can uncouple your email messages from your registration terms, then you can open up more communication opportunities and engage those who DIDN’T register but showed some interest.  You could look at what information could you share with them about the classes while they are happening – encouraging them and their interest, so they don’t miss out the next time.  In this case, you could have many personalized and automated emails that would make up the campaign.

If the messages are straight “register now” messages because you have a new term starting, then you are working against the clock.  It won’t be advantageous to send multiple broad “register now” emails, but if you pay attention to what people show interest in – and “peel” those people out of the herd for personalized follow-up (which are email messages that can be triggered and automated), then you can send them more specific messages along their lines of exhibited interest, and vary the messages – almost sending one every other day.  You cannot send as frequently with only broad based messages, so you can only send the broad messages to the “herd” (those people who are not opening or not clicking through your email) once a week, and you’ve got to vary the subject line, and some of the messaging, even if you give them the same classes to register into.


Question:  How do you avoid your email going into the SPAM folder?

Answer:  We just wrote a blog post about this.  Click here to read it.  We also offer you a download of spam words that contains links to other lists of words to avoid in your emails.


Question:  What should someone look for when they are thinking about purchasing an online marketing tool?

Answer:  Think about tracking and capturing activity that “goes beyond the click” – to know when leads are visiting the site, what they are looking at, and what is capturing their attention.  Email Service Providers do not allow this type of tracking.  While email service providers allow you to see whether someone opened or clicked through an email, they do not allow you to see anything other than that.  For example, what did they do AFTER they click through a link?  How many visits to your website have they made?  And what did they do?  Have they downloaded anything?  

Each of these things can help CE orgs learn about their students and potential customers.  The information can be invaluable in quickly creating segments of interest, and create the ability to target leads more effectively. 

Google analytics doesn’t give you this information either.  Google analytics gives you traffic and visits in the aggregate, but not by specific lead.  So what you can do with that information is limited when it comes to quickly creating a targeted segment for a personalized email message.

Let me ask you this:  You have a class that is going to be cancelled if you cannot get it to a minimum acceptable registration level within 5 days.  How quickly, given the information that you have available, create a list of folks who have taken similar or related classes, or clicked through emails where the links they clicked indicated interest in the class or type of class that you need to fill.  If it takes you longer than a couple of minutes, you likely will NOT do it.  You just don’t have time.  You want tools that allow you to do this type of search, and assemble this sort of list within 5 minutes or less. 

Most CE organizations do not have the staff to run time-intensive marketing programs.  This is the reason why email marketing is the most prevalent type of marketing pursued by the majority of CE organizations.  If those same CE organizations could have access to the tools that would allow them to target more effectively and easily, and automate messages in certain cases, and could significantly reduce the number of classes that are cancelled, and otherwise bolster registration levels, without any additional headcount, what would that be worth to the organization?

To here the experience of Pierpont Community & Technical College's experience in their first three months having comprehensive metrics and tracking, click here.


Question:  Does Facebook integrate with all online marketing tools?

Answer:  Not necessarily.  While Facebook can be a great source of engagement for your student population, and also a source of new student sourcing (through the use of Facebook Advertising), there are a lot of ways to track what’s happening with Facebook in terms of engagement.  It’s a nice-to-have feature to understand how social media is helping grow your CE business. 

To participate with social media, you first must have content that engages your target audience.  That content can be used in your marketing in many ways – but without it, you will likely not have coordinated marketing activities, but rather disconnected messages because you think you need to participate everywhere, but don’t design the ways the interactions will progress, so it’s like throwing spaghetti at the wall to see whether it sticks or not. 

We’re interested in increasing the odds that your marketing will be effective and gain in effectiveness by building the content that you can leverage, grow, and measure the impact and effectiveness of that content. 


Question:  You mentioned the online marketing certification. Is that something you offer? 

Answer:  The curriculum that I developed, called the Digital Marketing Certification Curriculum is offered through the Online Marketing Institute.  You can check it out here.  There are seven sessions that cover the gamut of digital marketing from understanding your audience/customer through lead generation, email marketing, lead nurturing, metrics, etc.



If there is one thing that I can assert you should really pay attention to, is to develop the muscle of building calls-to-action that go beyond what you've always defaulted to - which in the case of continuing education organizations is "register now".  In the case of most businesses, it's "contact us" or "request a quote".  If that is all you ask for, people will begin to tune you out.  Content is immensely more important, and tailoring that content to your leads in ways that they value will pay dividends.

If you haven’t watched the webinar, you should watch the video (embedded above).  If you have a question abour your online marketing challenges, please ask it using the comments area below.  We will monitor and respond to all questions submitted.