7 tips: This is how you stand out amongst your competitors
To get more participants, it is important to stand out, rather than to fit in. If you want to fill your courses with participants, you have to differentiate yourself from your competition. You need to make it clear to potential participants that you are the only choice for them.
How do you go from being one of many fish in the sea to being the fish that everyone wants? This can be a difficult, but not an impossible, task. In this article we will give you 7 tips on how to excel among your competitors and thus, get more participants.
1. Meet your target market’s challenges with solutions
A good way to get more participants is to address and solve their challenges. By mapping out the challenges your audience faces and truly satisfying and solving these challenges, you will be able to stand out in the crowd of course providers.
Let’s look at an example.
It is becoming increasingly popular to eat less meat and follow a more plant-based diet. For those who are used to eating a lot of meat, getting a nutritious, tasty and varied diet without meat can be a challenge.
Matkurs.no addresses this challenge by offering vegetarian cooking courses. During the course, the participants do not learn how to make just one, large meal (as is traditionally the case for cooking courses), but instead learn how to make 20 plant-based snacks. They also learn about the body’s need for nutrients and vitamins, how they can create a varied diet without meat, as well as various cooking techniques for vegetables. The participants are thus equipped with what they need to get started with a plant-based diet.
Thus, Matkurs.no does not offer an ordinary cooking course, but a starter kit for those who want to transition from a meat-based diet to a plant-based diet. Hence, they solve the challenge for their target market.
2. Find and use your USP
USP stands for Unique Selling Point and essentially involves highlighting the unique factors you offer to differentiate yourself from competitors. Why should anyone choose to attend your particular course instead of someone else offering the same, or similar, course? What strengths do you have to play on that your competitors do not have? The more difficult your USP is to imitate, the greater your competitive advantage is.
Do you find it difficult to reach your Unique Selling Point? Ask your previous customers! Why did they choose youin particular? What were they mostsatisfied with after completing the course? This can give you a good idea of what is unique about your course.
Your USP is ideally suited for a well-formulated and enticing slogan. Make sure you use your USP consistently in your marketing communications, making it easy for course seekers to separate you from your competition when they are in the search process.
Need some examples? Surprisingly, it was difficult to find examples of this in the course industry (which means you really have the opportunity to stand out). Therefore, we are highlighting two, more well-known, yet brilliant, USP’s:
- Avis – We’re number two. We try harder
- M&Ms – The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand
3. Stand out visually
Us humans constantly capture visual impressions, both consciously and subconsciously. The visual aspect often makes for deeper and/or longer lasting impressions than words themselves. By distinguishing yourself from your competitors visually (for example through a creative logo or an intriguing design on your own website), you will stand out in the crowd and make sure your potential participants remember you as they move towards the end of the assessment process and is ready to choose you as a course provider.
4. Highlight good customer reviews
Your customer reviews are unique, and no business can steal these from you. Make sure to collect customer reviews from your participants, so that you can highlight the very best ones on your own website and other places you advertise your courses. Nothing is more credible than reviews from previous participants.
An example of a good customer review:
“I have attended a number of different courses in social media, but none that beat this one. Here, I learned not only the basic tools, but the course leader was also generous in sharing his “magic” secrets and helpful tips with us. The course leader was available to us after the course ended, so that those who wanted more specific help with their own social profiles got exactly that”.
5. Provide the best customer service
Providing good customer serviceis not only important for customer satisfaction, customer retention and additional sales, but also for attracting new customers. Do not underestimate the effect of Word of Mouth! Satisfied customers often become good ambassadors and recommend your courses to others!
Unfortunately, good customer service is in short supply. Fortunately for you, this opens up the opportunity to provide such good customer service that you can stand out amongst your competitors.
But how do you provide good customer service? TheBalance provides you with ten tips on how to improve your customer service. This site reveals, among other things, how important it is to keep your promises, to follow up on your customers, and to go the extra mile.
Do you find it time-consuming and complicated to achieve and maintain good customer service? With FrontCore’s course administration system, you can easily set up automated routines for boring routine work, communicate effectivelywith your participants, and maintain high quality courses using a variety of useful features gathered in one, cloud-based solution. Check out our brilliant course administration system here.
6. Be innovative
Innovation is all about creating something new. Being innovative can be both unpredictable and risky, yet also one of the smartest ways to differentiate yourself. If you manage to offer something brand new, something that no othercourse providers offer, you can really hit the nail on the head (or miss completely if you’re unlucky).
Now you might think, “How innovative can one really be with courses?” Well, it is very possible.Bunny yoga is a good example of this.
Bunny Yoga is a yoga course where the participants are joined by adoptable rabbits during the sessions. It was Sunberry Gym in Canada that started with this in 2015 to focus on abandoned pets and raise funds for the charity Bandaids for Bunnies. Participants who fell in love with a rabbit were offered to adopt the rabbit afterwards.
Although rabbits may not be the recipe for success for any type of course, Bunny Yoga became a viral hit that led to long waiting lines on the courses.
7. Be visible
Distinguishing yourself from your competitors does not mean trying to avoid being compared to them.
To be able to stand out in the crowd you must also be present.It does not help to stand out from your competitors if your potential participants do not find you when they are looking for courses. Be sure not only to be present on your own profiles and channels (Website, Facebook, LinkedIn and the like), but also on common platforms for course providers and course seekers.
At Norway’s leading course portal, www.kursguiden.no, more than 2500 course providers are present and over 1 million course seekers look for courses annually. Are you interested in visibility on the Kursguiden? Read more about marketing on Kursguiden here.
There are, of course, a number of other ways you can differentiate yourself as a course business, but hopefully this list gave you a place to start. Feel free to leave a comment in the comments section below if you want to share how you have chosen to differentiate yourself from your competitors!
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Author: Eline Hagene
Inbound Marketing Manager
Eline produces content to help course providers achieve a more efficient and profitable course day. She is certified in the Inbound methodology through Hubspot and has completed a Bachelor of Marketing management at BI Norwegian School of Management. Visit Eline’s LinkedIn profile here.
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