Market research, specifically for the education sector, is an essential step in getting course recognition and reach. By tailoring your attempts toward the right audience through conducting the proper market research, you are ensuring the success of your course. By identifying the course's demand and benefits, you will understand how and where to reach your audience best. In this article, we will discuss how to conduct market research in the education industry and why it is important to get this part of the process right.
By identifying the demands of your course, you are one step closer to building a successful course that will directly benefit your audience. Identifying demand is an essential step in building a course, as understanding the extent of your demand tells you if you have a desirable and sellable course. There are several routes to navigate the demand within the education industry.
Look at competition
The amount of competition will show you how many different options for a similar course there are within the market. Usually, there is a correlation that more competitor courses equate to high demand. Conducting a survey of similar courses on offer will tell you about the need for a course like yours and help you identify gaps in the industry that your course can fill. By looking at competitor reviews and trying out their product, you will be able to see what your competition is or isn't doing that can help elevate your course and help you identify your Unique Value Proposition. Competitor analysis is a tool that allows for essential data to be drawn on what you and your competitors have to offer that can help you as an emerging option within your industry.
Keyword research tells you the volume of search terms and how often content is shared on those keywords. By drawing from this data, you can see what kind of words people are searching to get to a course like yours. Average monthly searches will tell you directly how many people are searching for that particular word; we want to find the word that is bringing in the most traffic so that we can identify which part of the market is interested in those courses. To do so, services such as Google’s Adword’s Keyword and SEMrush allow you to do keyword research, giving insights into competitors and the market. Looking at competition within the keyword research will tell you how many other pages are like your own, showing you the level of competition. Looking at marketplace websites and using keywords like eLearning or leadership development will give you a range of relevant courses and eBooks. Looking at these and their reviews will help you determine the potential demand for your course and what areas of the course you might need to adjust to better suit market needs..
Engage in conversation
Possibly the most effective and direct form of market research for demand is starting conversations within existing communities. Engaging in specific communities, blogs, on websites like Facebook, eLearning industry or Quora, and in topics surrounding your course will give you an idea of who your audience is and the demand for the course. For instance, you may join a leadership and development group for experts on Facebook. Here, you can ask questions like what interests you to engage in eLearning or what you want to know about (the given topic) to spike conversations and help you gauge the value of your course to the group of individuals you are likely to target.
Once your course is refined and ready to sell, you can engage in pre-selling. This is the act of laying out your course topic to a section of your target audience on a sales platform to see if it converts. This will allow you to measure the traffic and conversions of your initial audience, which should be directly taken from your target market—giving you a clear idea of how your course reacts in a real market.
Market research will also inform you of who your course will benefit from; this will help you target your marketing attempts to the right people. To identify this, look at like-minded groups and industry influencers and what they are doing online, what they are asking, and what they are interested in. Information like this will tell you precisely the type of person that your marketing needs to target. By gaining this information, you begin to understand your product better and how it will react in the market; by knowing your course, you should know who it is tailored for, who you intend to benefit from it, and the types of learners you are looking for. In particular, you should be able to begin to ask, “what geographic location these people are in?”, “What demographics are you targeting?”, “What types of psychographics does my ideal candidate have?” and so on. The people your course benefits are your target market, so identifying who they are is essential in effective market research.
Once you have identified who it is your course is for, you need to determine how and where to best reach the group of targeted individuals. Actively seeking them out is an effective method of furthering your reach. Looking for channels that are the most leveraging long-term is the best option here. This may not be the most effective route upfront but will be the most sustainable. For instance, instead of advertising to the larger population, try segmenting and doing so towards these smaller, more specific groups. If you already have an audience, referral marketing is an excellent way to gain a customer base. People trust recommendations from people they know; that's why referral advertising is a great option to ensure a long-term and thriving customer base.