The hard part is over.
You've got leadership buy-in for customer education, put together an awesome team, created content, implemented your LMS and launched your academy.
Now comes the next—and arguably most important—task: Getting your customers to engage with it.
It’s time to market your customer academy—here are 3 smart (and not super hard) ways to do that.
1. Send Emails
I get it.
Marketing has come a long way, and there are a lot of cool tactics out there that you can use to promote your academy to your customers.
Those are all in play and could be effective levers to drive academy engagement. That said, don’t discount the trusty-old email, especially when you’re just getting started.
How to Use Email Marketing to Promote Your Academy
There’s no right or wrong way to tap into the power of email marketing to promote your academy. That said, a few use cases stick out:
- Launch Emails: Send emails to let your customers know your academy is live.
- Re-engagement Emails: Send an email (we call this a nudge) when a customer stops engaging with your academy for a pre-defined period of time.
- Engagement Emails: These are similar to re-engagement emails; however, unlike those, which get customers to re-engage with content they’re already familiar with, engagement emails point to net-new content, like a new course or certification.
This example from Jasper, which I received after signing up for a free trial, falls into the “engagement” category:
Here's an example of what that could look like inside Northpass:
Spread your wings with email marketing, but as you do, keep one thing in mind: personalization.
Regardless of the reason why you’re sending the email, make sure it’s contextually relevant to your customers. Jasper’s email, for example, accomplished this by linking me to content that met my unique use cases for the software.
If you can’t personalize each email, see if you can take some extra time to segment your customer list and customize the emails by interest or challenge.
Pro Tip: Use a learning management system (LMS) to automate your emails so your admins don’t have to spend hours sending them out individually. For example, you can set up an automated email to go out whenever a customer gets stuck on a course for more than 3 days.
Here’s an example from Grammarly that I received after not using it while I was on vacation. It’s short and sweet, caught my attention, and drove me back into Grammarly.
2. Post on Social Media
It's been said 8,785,405 times before—and I'm sorry for saying it again—but bringing your marketing strategy to the channels your customers are actively using must be your #1 priority.
That means social media.
On launch day, let your network know what’s up—something as simple as "hey, look what we've been working on" can go a long way.
Remember that getting your customers to initially engage with your academy relies on letting them know it's available.
As time goes on and your academy evolves, post about new courses, content, and certifications—and how all of this new stuff can help them be more successful with your product or service.
Take it further by showcasing top-performing customers—think of these like case studies for your academy—to show others the real-world benefits. (Even better, post a video testimonial, resource permitting.)
Heck, take it another step and start a company-wide hashtag that generates conversations and brings your community—customer or not—together. The power of brand-building and word-of-mouth marketing shouldn’t be lost on you in 2023.
Pro Tip: Don't be afraid of social ads. While not the most conventional way to get your customers to engage with your academy—and it might seem like a steep price to pay—they can be an effective way to break through the noise and deliver your message.
3. Enlist Your Sales and Customer Success Managers (CSMs)
Your customer academy is your cup of tea, and its long-term success rests on your shoulders (and your ability to keep proving ROI of customer education).
That said, it doesn't have to all fall on you. When it comes to promoting your academy and driving engagement, don't discount your colleagues as a way to amplify your message, especially those in Sales and Customer Success.
From a sales perspective, onboard your sellers about the academy—just like you would a customer—and help them understand how to introduce it to prospects during the sales process. Not only can the academy act as a much-needed competitive advantage since you're showing you’ll deliver post-sales value, but it can also accelerate deals.
For example, if a prospect comes to a kick-off meeting with existing knowledge of the product and benefits—knowledge they got from a public-facing academy—sellers can bypass these talking points and dive into higher-return conversations that close deals, like showing them case studies or advanced use cases.
At the same time, make sure your CSMs have an intimate understanding of the academy, how to talk about it, and how they can use it as a lever to generate better customer outcomes (e.g., product adoption, fewer support tickets, etc.).
While an email may be a customer's initial meeting with the academy (they could have met it during the sales cycle, too), CSMs are often the first to bring it to life. Because of this, long-term academy adoption rests on your CSMs' ability to demonstrate value and help customers navigate those first few steps into it.
Pro Tip: Make your academy a HUGE part of the customer onboarding process by making it clear from the start that these resources are available for them to help them succeed.
It's All About Value
You poured countless hours and resources into building your academy for one reason: To help your customers realize the value of your product or service.
Think about the strategy you use to promote your academy the same way.
It’s all about showing value.
Whether you do that via an email, social post (or ad), or one of your sellers talks about the academy’s benefits during a call, the objective is always the same.
Now that your academy is live, it's your job to make sure your customers know it’s there for them.