Digitalisation generates new business opportunities for trainers. Inspired by the new money making prospects, a number of trainers work hard to create their first online courses – sometimes with rather modest sales figures. When taking your business online, it is not enough to know your substance – you have to change the way you productise and market your offering.

How to generate sales efficiently with scalable online trainings? How to stand out from the huge offering? What are the customers ready to pay for? And how to test and develop your online business with reasonable investments and risks?

1. Build a product that has demand

Do you have knowledge which your customers are interested in, but not ready to pay full price of on-site training? Does your offering include courses or modules that are considered too expensive? Or modules that have more demand than you can deliver on-site?

When launching your online training, make sure you select a topic that has demand. Specific themes are easier to sell and less competed – it is easier to create the best online course of your network about “LinkedIn marketing for consultants” than “Marketing in social media”. Highly specialised expertise is valued, and customers might be willing to pay more for it as they consider it more relevant.

2. Start with the easiest sales

Starting the sales of online training with cold leads requires excellent marketing expertise. Competition for new customers is tough.

Consequently, it is often easier to start the sales from your own customer base than to develop your online business to depend on customers you don’t know. Easiest sales comes from your existing customers – if a customer has already paid for your on-site trainings, he is more likely to be willing to pay for your online training too. Online training is an easy product to sell to complement on-site training or after the on-site module.

As your reputation as an online trainer builds up and you start to gain recommendations, also generating inbound and approaching new customers becomes easier. Don’t forget to ask for feedback and recommendations from your customers.

3. Convert the lost cases into sales

Did someone drop your offer for an on-site training because of the price, even though the product was good? Offer him an affordable online version. If you can deliver a high quality online training, it might generate trust in your expertise and thus readiness to pay for your more expensive on-site training.

4. Continuous value generation for your customers

Maintaining a customer relationship is continuous value generation at its best. Have you ever considered converting part of it into sales? If on-site trainings are the core of your business, you can maintain your customer relationship by offering online trainings every now and then. When there is the next need for more intensive on-site trainings you will be an easy choice for being the provider, as your customer is used to make his purchases from you.

5. Online training as a tool for finding needs

You can utilise online training to recognise the sharpest pain of your customers. Using eLearning you can test the level of understanding and thoughts of the topic, as sophisticated learning environments collect analytics and register the answers for assignments.

If the statistics of your online training show specific pain points and weaknesses in the knowledge of your customers, it makes it easy for you to sell complementary training. When selling your customer a training to meet these validated needs, you also offer him the right remedy for his pain. With the help of analytics you can also identify which of your customer’s employees would receive the most benefit from extra training. Using real data when communicating with decision makers is powerful and polishes your sales pitch.

6. Find out what your customers value

Custom work provides you more revenues. By adding a customised module and smartly timed personal presence you can increase the value of your training remarkably.

You can include intensive coaching telecos in your online course. During those sessions you can focus on the very specific needs that you have observed with the help of analytics and exercises. This is a powerful way to combine scalable modules with highly customised elements.

This combination also enables you to deliver your training with minimal costs, even though it introduces real time trainer presence. Compared to on-site trainings, intensive telecos are easier to schedule and buy as you do not have to find a several hour timeslot that fits all participants.

7. Use your personality to engage customers

Learning is a very personal experience and the personality of a facilitator often plays a huge role.

In online trainings you can make your personality more visible using videos, images and podcasts. Have courage to use you own way to educate and the expressions that are most natural for you. Your customers will engage more strongly with your brand when it is a personal brand instead of a library of educational content. For this very same reason social media has been such a powerful channel for marketing.

Like in any other business, with online training the key is to observe the real needs of your customers efficiently. By combining real time presence and scalable modules efficiently you can deliver products that maximise the experienced value while minimising the costs.