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Identifying and Reaching Untapped Short-Course Markets

| 2 Min Read

As the short-course element of your education business continues to expand, it can become difficult to continue to reach new learners and sustain your rate of growth, especially in the face of other organisations who are attempting to compete for access to the same pool of potential students. Once you have reached this stage, it is often worth investigating the possibility of branching out and exploring new and less mature markets. 

In this article, we delve into the several methods of identifying and reaching less developed market segments/opportunities for short courses, outlining strategies to uncover new opportunities and maximise your enrolment numbers.

1) Identify Niche Markets

Appealing to niche markets is one way for short course providers to stand out amidst competition. These markets often revolve around narrow or specialised subjects or address specific needs within certain demographics. By honing in on unique topics or addressing specific pain points experienced by people in this market, institutions can new value by providing tailored educational experiences.

One approach to identifying new niche markets is to analyse emerging trends, technological advancements, or societal shifts. For example, the rise of artificial intelligence has sparked significant interest in related fields such as machine learning and data science. Offering courses in emerging areas, such as these, can often mean the demand levels are higher thanks to an under supply and provides increased potential for a first (or early) mover advantage.

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2) Target New Demographics

Each demographic possesses distinct learning styles and preferences, presenting opportunities for educators to create tailored and specific learning content that meets such needs. Factors such as age, socioeconomic background, language proficiency, and geographic location significantly influence the needs of each group of learners. By understanding these needs, institutions can tailor their course offerings to resonate with diverse audiences.

For instance, working professionals will often prioritise flexibility and practicality, preferring courses that accommodate their busy schedules and offer tangible outcomes, while more mature-aged learners might benefit from face-to-face courses that take time to offer more individualised support.

Furthermore, geographical considerations play a pivotal role in when, where and how learners can access learning. Considering digitally supported versions of traditionally face-to-face courses, creates more accessibility in areas which would otherwise have sparse access to quality courses is one method of opening up new avenues for growth. Taking advantage of these opportunities across your digital platforms enables institutions to transcend geographical barriers and cater to learners wherever they might be.

3) Focus on Alumni

Alumni are a valuable segment of the education market. Equipped with prior institutional experience and, frequently, a desire for continuous learning, alumni present a compelling target audience for short courses. By offering specialised programs designed to augment their skills and keep them abreast of industry trends, institutions can forge even deeper connections with former students.

Access to alumni networks also provides invaluable insights into evolving industry demands and professional development needs. By leveraging alumni feedback and preferences, institutions can tailor their course offerings to align with market requirements, thereby enhancing alumni engagement and fostering a culture of lifelong learning.

Additionally, incentivising alumni participation through exclusive discounts or networking opportunities can help build a sense of community among your audience. By nurturing these relationships, institutions not only tap into a potentially lucrative market but also solidify their commitment to alumni success.

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4) Drill Down to Find New Ground

Unearthing under-serviced education markets requires a multifaceted approach that encompasses data analysis, market research, and strategic foresight. Institutions possess a wealth of data, ranging from student demographics to enrollment trends, which can offer valuable insights into emerging opportunities.

By turning back to internal data sources, institutions can identify the needs and emerging trends within their existing student and alumni cohorts, helping build the ideal customer profile. This help informs the positioning of your promotional activities, and through leveraging digital tools such as keyword research and analytics enables institutions to have a much clearer insight into market demand and further tailor their promotional efforts accordingly.

By identifying these less mature market opportunities, you can potentially reach a new body of learners, build engaged learner and alumni communities, and position yourself at the forefront of your market, delivering courses that will make a difference to previously underserved market segments and helping to drive the growth of your short course business holistically.