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How to market your digital training programs within the organization

Usually, when you invite people over for a meal, you expect them to eat what's on the table and compliment your cooking. That is expected due to the established social convention. Most hosts strive to make everything tasty and aesthetically pleasing – guests have to feel special. All of this becomes completely useless when you're preparing meals for kids. Especially if they are your own. I'm not bringing this up to complain; it's similar to what internal L&D teams have to deal with when it comes to digital learning in their organizations.

Designing the best modules does not guarantee that enrollment and completion rates will be satisfactory. Digital learning needs to be sold, and here’s how to do it.

Make people aware of the programs

Any decent marketing campaign begins with making people aware of the new products or services on the market. In the case of digital training content, there are a few boxes to be checked.

The first would be getting the right sponsors – employees who have a certain standing in the organization and their colleagues look up to them. They can get the word out about your programs.

The L&D department should partner up with other departments and find the company's most relevant programs at that time. Learning is a support function, so it needs to align with all organizational goals and advertise itself as such.

While we are talking about getting on employees’ radars, having a few well-designed teasers will surely help.

Read more: Learning from marketing: 3 Tips for L&D professionals

Find the right partners within the organization

L&D specialists are usually quite skilled in various areas of the business, and that can take them a chunk of the way, but when the goal is to implement a new digital learning strategy or program, it’s best to team up with the professionals.

First and foremost, the corporate communication team has the capacity and infrastructure to promote anything related to the company. They know how to do this in the most appropriate form, at the best time.

Read more: On designing a great L&D communication plan

Taking it one step further, it’s important to get the different regional managers and HR business partners’ buy-in. It often happens that something that is very well regarded "at the headquarters" receives a very different reception at a branch level. It could be because the message is unclear, or people are skeptical about something that’s threatening to take up their time without an obvious benefit.

L&D and HR need to go hand in hand

In many organizations, these departments have more or less merged. HR is responsible for the acquisition and retention of talent and L&D has to find the best development avenues. Therefore, any digital learning endeavor has to be closely tied to HR plans and objectives.

When it comes to the deployment of organizational learning programs, the two departments are not just partners in name; they really need to function as one. Even if the job descriptions and performance KPIs are different, L&D and HR specialists have the same goal – to provide a high-quality workforce that smoothly moves towards reaching the business objectives.

I am mentioning this while speaking about the internal marketing of digital learning because there is no better advertising for it than to list it as a benefit in a job offer or career path discussion.

Read more: How HR and L&D departments can stay on top of career mobility

Advertise the success stories

People value their time and energy very much. If you want them to invest any of it into your digital training programs, it’s important to let them know that they are worth it.

Just as customer reviews and celebrity endorsements are present on most promotional websites, your internal training programs’ celebration-worthy successes need to find their place on the company’s intranet, newsletters, and other communication channels.

Managers who can vouch for significant improvement in their teams or individual employees who have had professional breakthroughs after finishing a learning unit can be very persuasive.

Read more: Characteristics of a successful virtual leader of an invisible team

Closing thoughts

Promoting a digital training program internally is more like convincing children to eat their dinner than setting up an appetizing buffet and waiting for people to appreciate it. It takes a joint marketing effort from several departments to make that happen, but once it catches wind, it’s all smooth sailing.