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Understand Your Audience, Sell Your Online Course

There is a fundamental rule in successful marketing – know your audience. Understanding who you are marketing your online course to is imperative in order for your efforts to thrive. But this is something that you have to already have in consideration well before you build your sales funnel, design ads, and push them out – this is the kind of thing you should already know when you are designing your online course.

In this article we will explore the concept of identifying your target audience with a “customer persona”. What elements to consider when crafting up your customer by essentially getting in their shoes and understanding them and their needs. This is an important step to take in order to properly market your online course, and we will show you how to do just that.

So read on, dear creator, and learn how to understand your target audience for a successful, high-converting sales funnel.

Customer Persona, What That Is and How to Create One

defining my audience, understanding audience

A customer persona can be regarded as a vignette into the life of your target audience. What their demographic is (age, sex, etc), geographics (where they live or are from), and psychographics (what their interests and motivations are, goals, challenges, pain points – the problems you are trying to solve). The more detail you have, the better your marketing campaign will be. 

Let’s get into the mindset together with the following scenario.

Suppose you are an avid gardener, and you have created an online course that teaches proper gardening techniques. You have years of experience and you want to share your knowledge with the world! So let’s think about the potential customers that would be interested in learning these techniques. 

Generally speaking, we can probably assume that the age range of people interested in cultivating and growing their own food or florals may be older – possibly going into retirement age, and looking to stay active by taking on a new hobby. You also have to consider what is going on in the present day. With the rise of awareness about the contamination of foods with carcinogens, such as dyes like yellow #5 and red #40, you can also suppose there would be a growing interest among younger generations, maybe in their 30’s and onwards, to take matters in their own hands with what they are consuming. 

Now, let’s create some potential customer personas so you can better visualize how to create them for your online course.

Maria is a 59-year old Italian woman who loves flowers. She lives in a condominium in south New Jersey with a wooden deck, and loves decorating it with potted plants. They make her happy every time she sees them. Ever since her son died, she has been struggling emotionally, and when she tends to her plants it gives her a sense of calm and serenity. Maria isn’t the most technologically savvy, but she enjoys scrolling through websites on her iPad, and has been looking for ways to cultivate flowers, strawberries, and other small potted plants to fill her home with joy. She has noticed that even though she waters her plants regularly, they are not thriving for more than a couple of weeks. It is important for her plants to thrive, because it deeply affects her when she has to get rid of another potted plant because it wilted away. She follows a few gardening and nature pages on Facebook, but so far, nothing has been too effective.

Analysis:

In this example, you gave your persona a name, age, location, and a general description of their life and mindset (demographic, geographic, and psychographic). Now you can imagine the importance of gardening to her, and why keeping her plants alive is so critical after the loss of her son. You have introduced a problem, and a motivation or goal, of learning how to properly care for her plants. This is something you can address with your content! Like a video reel that explores this exact topic that she can find on Facebook, or a blog she could discover while googling “how to take care of plants” or “what to do when your plant begins to wilt” and such other concerns. At the end of the video reel, include the call to action (CTA) to follow your page for more tips, and at the end of the blog article you could also bring attention to your online course for in-depth gardening and planting tips.

Let’s do another one:

Justin is a 30-year old American man who lives in upstate New York. He is currently in a CNA program, working towards building a nursing career, and has been exposed to many chronic illnesses that are a result of poor diet and lifestyle. Justin and his girlfriend bought a house with an acre of land, and as a healthcare professional, his goal is to live a healthy and abundant lifestyle. He works out 3-5 times a week, frequents the farmer’s market, and has been cultivating his land to grow foods at home. Because he is working and studying, his concern is to find reliable resources on how to grow your own food, so that he can effectively do that on the side of his already busy schedule. 

Analysis:

This is another example of someone who is seeking gardening guidance. You build the persona by illustrating what their life looks like, and what they’re motivations are in order to understand their specific needs. This is why giving detail is so important! In Justin’s case, he is a healthcare worker who wants to lead by example, and also is very methodical in everything he does – because his career requires that of him. Content like “gardening basics” as a blog article, with photos and examples of simple foods to grow for someone starting out is a great place to start. And you can retain interest from your growing followers by building upon a strong foundation of those basics with more complex techniques as their experience and knowledge grows. 

Depending on the topic you are teaching, it is recommended to write 3-5 customer personas. You have a target audience that has different people with their own motivations that lead to the same goal: learning how to properly cultivate a food or flower garden. In your course – or courses – you can have one that focuses on food cultivation, and another that is all about floral growth. For people that want one or the other, they have the option of signing up for either course, and you can offer a package deal for those who want to learn both!

Final Thoughts

You might be thinking, “ok, but how am I supposed to just make someone up and have it be believable?” Here’s a pro-tip: think of someone you know that may be interested in the topic that you are teaching. You can create a survey and send it to your friends or family to see what their responses are if you are having trouble illustrating this on your own – and that is valuable feedback that you can use to hone your content and coursework! And if you already know someone close to you with this level of detail, then you can use that as groundwork to create a customer persona.

Regardless of where you are in the scope of your sales funnel for marketing your course – whether you are still creating the course itself, or need some inspiration for relatable content – creating a customer persona is a key element to your online course’s marketing strategy. If you need more guidance on this exercise, we’re here to guide you! Schedule a call with the team at CourseCamp, and we can analyze your customer’s needs, aid you in creating your ideal customer personas, help you with creating a well-designed survey to send out to potential customers, and more. If you need support in other areas, such as: graphic design, copywriting, ad creation, A/B testing, or other aspects of your marketing strategy; we are happy to help you help others.

Are you ready to market your online course? Let us take care of that for you, your students are waiting!