Now that you’ve identified the skills your community needs, you can begin the process of marketing. Your training program should be marketed to the companies and organizations that are likeliest to need it. Having already extensively researched the needs of your community, you can use that data to determine the best audience for your course.

Targeted marketing is your best bet. But how can you determine which companies to target? Where would you even begin–cold calls? Don’t worry, we have suggestions that will help you find the perfect students for your new contract training course.

1. Develop a Profile of the Ideal Student

Create a student who is perfectly suited for this course. She is excited about learning and loves her career. Why does she need the information this course offers? Is she trying to advance her career or maintain a license? Determine her reason for wanting to take the course. Is the course mandatory or optional? If mandatory, she might be hard to engage. If optional, the she’s invested enough in her career that she’s pursuing additional education. How long has she been in the industry? Is she a veteran executive or a new hire? Your profile should also include generation, education, socioeconomic class, job title, and the like. Once you’ve determined who your course is for, you can look for h

2. Research Specific Needs of Local Companies

Now is the time to listen to the local scuttlebutt to get the dirty details on your local corporations. Which companies have high turnover? Which local companies are currently hiring? Which companies are in evolving industries that need to adapt to the needs of the modern day? Which industries or companies are undergoing a change in regulations? Companies with high turnover rates and companies that are currently hiring need onboarding–perhaps your course would help? Companies in dying or evolving industries will need training for their new processes. Industries or companies that are facing major shake-ups in federal or state regulations will need new compliance training. Likewise, companies that have faced recent scandals (violations or harassment) might be open to additional training sessions on keeping compliant with corporate policy.

3. Identify the Problems That Your Course Can Solve

It’s true with consumers and corporations both: sometimes they don’t realize that a problem they have long taken for granted has a solution until you present that solution to them. Additionally, people and businesses alike sometimes don’t know what they need until you show them. A small company is rapidly expanding, but their human resources department may be overwhelmed. You could offer them a more organized onboarding program. A large company will be affected by new, complicated regulations and must comply within thirty days. Your institution just happens to offer a course that can cover the material in a few weeks. A firm’s executive staff is retiring en masse this year–looks like the junior executives will need some leadership training soon!

4. Network

Ask your school’s career center for potential consumers. They might even be able to introduce you to a few HR representatives (potential clients). Reach out through your alumni network and contact individuals who now work in corporate education or human resources. Determine which companies would employ your ideal student, and you’ll be off to a great start!

Once you understand your target audience, you’ll have a far easier time marketing your course. Companies need your services, even if they don’t realize it yet. Educate them as you would educate any of your students!

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Author Rick J. Stern

Entrepreneur Rick Stern built Xenegrade Corp with a focus on service to educational organizations. With an MBA from Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester and over 20 years continuing education management, his experience provides valuable insight into the needs, demands, and trends of the continuing education market.

More posts by Rick J. Stern

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