Training Programs

A Complete Guide to Marketing Your Training Program

Training comes with challenges – there can be decreased utilization and a lack of momentum after a while. So how do you get people excited about training? You market it, of course!

Marketing Training Through the Employee Experience

A 2018 LinkedIn Workplace Learning Trends report found that 94% of employees would stay longer in companies that are willing to invest in their professional development. Marketing your training program to current employees and promoting it to future employees can increase employee retention. Training helps employees achieve their personal goals and growth. They can grow in their current roles by polishing their skills and even grow into new roles within the company.

But your marketing shouldn’t stop there. You can use your strategy to reach prospective employees as well. By using social media channels such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to promote your training program, you can drive top talent to your organization. Younger workers are looking to be sufficiently trained in their careers, so being upfront about your program can draw them in.

What Does Marketing Training Mean?

It’s important to understand what marketing your training program actually means. It simply means communicating the value of your training program to leadership, managers, and employees. You can accomplish this through the conversations you’re having, messaging you’re using, and the distribution of available resources.

Marketing to Leadership

Organizational leaders are always working to improve business processes, develop company goals for the future, and assess current performance. To get their buy-in to a training program, communicating the value comes first.

Consider including talking points on the skills that are relevant to them as well – setting goals, developing leadership skills, change management, etc. By doing this, you can expand you program company-wide and get everyone on board.

For more tips, check out our infographic “How to Gain Leadership Buy-In for Your Training Program.”

Once you have their blessing, use them as a marketing tool to reach other employees! Having them send emails about training to all staff or record a simple video introducing your new initiatives.

Marketing to Your Managers

Once you’ve got leadership buy-in, it’s time to work with your managers to help them understand the reasoning behind the training program. They are the ones making sure employees are completing the training and are their main point of contact.

Speak to them about raising employee performance and productivity, setting goals, and compliance. Also, let them know that they aren’t overlooked because there are leadership and management-specific courses and lessons available that they can use to grow in their roles too.

Marketing to Your Employees

Whether it’s IT, Sales, Marketing, or an organization-wide initiative, you’ll need to market your training program to individual employees. Employees need to understand the why of training and what’s in it for them before they will be willing to dedicate time and effort to it. ​They’ll likely have varying interests, so consider speaking to career objectives such as decision-making, time management, and office etiquette.

Ultimately, you want to build a culture of learning while getting buy-in across the organization. ​

Understanding the Why

You might think that marketing your training program is something that can wait or just be an added task, but it is integral to the success of your program. You have to emphasize how necessary it is. Here’s why:

  • Create Awareness – Employees won’t use something that they don’t know how to use or don’t know exists. ​Communicating with them ensures everyone knows which resources are available.
  • Drive Utilization – Making sure employees know how to log in and navigate around your learning platform and expectations surrounding training. Send ideas to help them find time to fit training in and encourage not only completion of assigned work but exploration of training topics for their own development.
  • Instill a Culture of Learning – With awareness and utilization comes a culture of learning. A learning culture means that employees have a growth mindset and actively develop themselves and each other through sharing information. Our LMS and LXP both encourage exploratory learning, where employees can search for the content that they want to learn more about. Employees working in this type of culture use training to help overcome challenges.
  • Attain ROI – When the above elements are in in place, you will begin to see an increase in ROI from training. Putting in the time and resources to market your training program will be worth it as employees strive toward organizational goals and their full potential.

Common Mistakes With Marketing Training

There are some common mistakes you can make when promoting your training initiative to the company.

  1. Just marketing a program launch: Only putting excitement and effort into the launch of your training program isn’t enough. All that fun stuff (parties, roll out, etc) felt good, but that kind of energy needs to stay present. Employees will get busy and inevitably forget but keep the momentum going through continuous marketing efforts. ​
  2. Not planning ahead: Having an unorganized plan rarely pays off. Maybe you feel like you’re not an expert in marketing or there aren’t enough hours in the day but being unorganized will only add to your feelings of being overwhelmed. Developing clear objectives and goals will help your program take off and be more likely to find success. ​
  3. Stagnant strategy: One-size-fits-all never fits all, so if what you’re trying isn’t working, try something different. Simply sending the same e-mail every month can become redundant and employees are likely to just delete it over time. This doesn’t reinforce the impact or importance your training program has to offer. Instead, try creating marketing materials that have purpose, a call to action, and personalization. ​
  4. Over- or under-communicating: There needs to be a balance in your communication. Under communicating can lead to forgetting training programs exist and overcommunicating can lead to annoyance and burnout​. It’s important to find the right cadence for your organization.

With a partnership with BizLibrary, you get dedicated support from our Client Success team. They are there to help you avoid these mistakes and provide support and resources to help you achieve your program goals and organizational goals.

How to Market Your Training Program

Having an organized plan is crucial to the success of promoting training to employees. There are a few simple steps to take to develop a strong marketing plan.

Know Your Audience

Understanding your audience and what they need and want is the first step to developing a strong plan. Are you trying to reach all learners? Just managers? Sales team members? Knowing who you are speaking to can help you reach them on a personal level. Sending out different communication to different levels within the organization can help keep interest and engagement.

Establish Program Goals

You can’t determine if your program is successful without determining appropriate key performance indicators first. This is where setting goals comes in. Your entire marketing strategy will stem from your program goals, so you’ll need to make sure that they align with the organization’s overall goals. These goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely.

Why is it important to set goals?​ By setting program goals from the start, it’s easier to align your initiatives to them. This also helps you stay on track as you manage and create your marketing plan. ​

​Knowing your goals helps you send out the right materials to employees. You will be able to create impactful messaging instead of using that one-size-fits-all approach. You need to set goals to determine metrics to accurately measure success. Is it increased utilization and awareness? An increase in positive customer reviews? Keep in mind that the materials you send to employees should reflect the goals your organization needs to meet.

Create Your Plan

Now that you have your goals established, you can begin to design, plan, and execute your marketing strategy. When thinking about how to communicate, it’s important to consider the following:

Purpose of outreach. Do you want to inform learners of newly released content, remind them to complete compliance training, instruct them to take a survey, create buy-in for a new training initiative, increase awareness of your program, or improve engagement? Knowing this will help facilitate what’s next.

Method of outreach. You’ll need to consider which avenue is the best to communicate the message you are sending. Newsletters, flyers, emails, and presentations are all excellent options, but you will want to vary how you communicate to keep your employees interested and training top of mind.

Time frame. Create a calendar that can help you decide on the right cadence of communication –weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc. Try blocking out time in your schedule to plan and devote time to training.

Put Your Plan into Action​

Now it’s time to put your plan into action and get employees engaged.

Start with a theme! BizLibrary sends out monthly client marketing templates with a theme. It’s a fun way to play on company goals, holidays, topics of focus, etc. to keep learners engaged.

Don’t forget about the resources you already have internally. If you’re hitting a creative roadblock, solicit from your program champions within your organization. Maybe someone is a great designer or excellent speaker. Use the resources within your organization to make this program shine. Even if you just want to keep it simple, you can. Just keep your information focused, easy to read, concise, and add a bit of flair with fun colors or shapes.

Consider branding your program. Many of our clients brand their program by adding University after their name. This adds an extra level of excitement and recognition among employees.

Use gamification! Show a leaderboard of who has engaged the most or completed the most lessons to help drive up utilization, as many people love healthy competition. Offer badges or certificates when employees reach a certain milestone to instill pride.

Find a champion for your program. This is someone (or a group/department) that has high engagement. They can act as an advocate for the program when talking to their coworkers.

Get Feedback​

Once you’ve launched your marketing plan, you’ll need to ensure that your strategy has been effective. Sending out a quick online employee survey is a great way to measure the success of your marketing efforts and learn what’s working and what’s not.

Ask questions like what topics they found relevant, what they want to learn more about, and where they heard about the program.

We are here every step of the way to support you in your training journey. From our monthly client marketing templates to our library of training program resources. Talk with an expert to learn how BizLibrary can help you make training a fun, engaging experience for your employees.

For more information on marketing your training program, check out our webinar “Training Program of Dreams: If You Market It, They Will Come.”

Training & Development Industry Researcher | Angie researches and writes about the impacts of employee learning on organizations and individuals. She looks at L&D and HR issues and industry trends and helps them understand how to create better training programs that grow their employees and their business.