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How to generate leads for your online course with LinkedIn

Reading time 9 minutes


For online course creators in the professional development space, LinkedIn is the perfect place to generate leads for your online course.

With a user base of 810 million professionals who are looking to expand their network and skillset, it’s no wonder that LinkedIn is the Ranked #1 social network for B2B marketers. Whether you are looking to run an ad campaign, or connect with potential students LinkedIn has a broad range of possible strategies to help you find the audience you’re looking for.

But LinkedIn only has 810 million users, compared to Facebook and Instagram that is tiny! Why would I spend more money to reach a much smaller potential audience?”

On the face of it, this argument may seem make sense. However, using LinkedIn to market your online course comes with some distinct advantages.

Why LinkedIn is the best platform to promote your online course

Unlike any other social network, people use LinkedIn specifically to find people or content that can assist with career development. Without any cat videos, memes, or non-work-related advertising to distract your audience, LinkedIn users are primed to look for opportunities that will move the needle for them, professionally.

For paid ads, the level of targeting you can achieve with LinkedIn is unparalleled. With a broad range of parameters to choose from, you can find exactly the people you’re looking for.

You can segment your audience based on:

  • Job seniority
  • Job title
  • Skills
  • Interests
  • Traits
  • Industry
  • Company size
  • Age
  • Gender

This level of granularity, combined with the career-focused nature of the platform makes LinkedIn a goldmine that course creators for career-orientated courses can’t afford to miss.

But before you race over to the platform to start ranting about your course to anyone who will listen, you’ll want to keep one principle in mind.

Don’t sell, connect

It should be clear that promoting your course on LinkedIn isn’t about telling as many people about your course as possible. This approach never works.

Your goal should be to connect with the types of people who will need your course. Both by finding where they hang out, and making it easy for them to find you.

If you want to succeed on LinkedIn, your approach should be geared toward becoming a thought leader in your industry. People should be asking how they can learn more from you, rather than you telling them what you have to offer.

With this in mind, here are our 5 top tips for using LinkedIn to promote your online course

1 - Optimize your profile

Before setting out to find your audience, it’s important to optimize your profile first. You’ll want to make the following clear:

  • Your mission statement
  • Skills
  • Education
  • Experience
  • Specifically what you do (your niche)
  • That you are teaching a course

The reason for this is two-fold. You want to make your profile SEO-friendly (and so be sure to use the appropriate keywords) but you also want your profile to clearly articulate your expertise and value.

If there’s one thing to bear in mind while filling out your profile, it is that: your profile is not an ad for your online course. It should be clear that you have an online course and this should be visible and accessible, but your profile should be treated as your credentials, and proof of why you are best positioned to teach a course.

Be sure to include either ‘Educator’ or ‘Course Creator’ in your headline, or add it to your current job description with a link to your course. Beyond this, your profile should be focused on your achievements, experience, and qualifications.

With an impressive profile that clearly outlines the knowledge, expertise and value you have to offer, it’s time to start establishing your presence on the platform.

1 - Establish yourself as a thought leader

By establishing yourself as a thought leader in your industry, your audience will be begging to learn as much as they can from you.

While becoming a reputable thought leader is not a lever you can simply pull, by regularly posting, sharing, and offering insights on what’s trending in your industry, you will grow a base of potential students who know, like and trust you.

This shouldn’t be undertaken on a whim, or without a strategy. The content that you post, share or comment on should be closely related to your online course, and you should include the appropriate hashtags to make sure it finds the right audience. This way, you will naturally draw people who are interested in your insight and want to learn more about what you have to offer.

Thought leadership on LinkedIn is, however, a crowded space. If it’s going to be tough to compete with the top leaders in your niche (who LinkedIn’s algorithm will be more likely to recommend), you may want to find smaller audience.

1 - Join a group

On LinkedIn, there are many high-quality, industry or job-specific groups that are designed for networking opportunities. The internal culture or politics of these groups differ, with varying degrees of tolerance for self-promotion, so it’s important to read the room.

Your focus **is not ****to sell your course. Your focus is to connect with your ideal students, form authentic relationships, and make it easy for them to buy from you, if your course is what they need.

To connect with your ideal students, your goal should be to make yourself known. Share posts, share your thoughts, experience and insights. Always give more than you take. Many of these groups have one day of the week or month where self-promotion is allowed, and here is a great time to promote your course. Of course, this will only be effective if you’ve spent time connecting with people and making a name for yourself in the group.

1 - Create a group

For all the same reasons as joining a group and becoming an authority within it, being a group creator who regularly engages with your followers will automatically position you as an authority.

From this position, you will want to be extra careful to not seem pushy, or overly concerned about promoting your course. If people get the sense that the group is all about you and your course, they will leave for greener pastures.

Your group members should become interested in you, and your insight first. Once they’re interested in what you have to offer, they’ll naturally wander over to your profile and discover your course.

1 - Run an ad campaign

If you have the budget for it, there are a range of paid advertising options on LinkedIn to complement your existing strategy. While it’s no secret that LinkedIn ads are not cheap, when you consider that:

  • The average LinkedIn user has 2x the buying power of your average web audience
  • 4 of 5 LinkedIn members drive business decisions
  • LinkedIn users are on the platform specifically looking for professional development opportunities
  • Demographic targeting is highly specific
  • LinkedIn is consistently ranked as the number 1 B2B marketing platform

With a well-executed campaign, the ROI on those extra dollars will be worth every penny.

Though it should be noted that well-executed is the key phrase, here. There are countless ad types, and formats to be chosen from, and with a high level of granularity in selecting a target audience, considerable time and effort should be put into crafting a LinkedIn ad campaign.

If you plan on DIYing your LinkedIn ad campaign, it’s important that you:

  • Optimize your profile first – Advertising is not a substitute for getting the basics right
  • Figure out what your objectives are. LinkedIn provides three main categories of: Awareness, Consideration, and Conversions. Which of those best describes what you’re hoping to achieve?
  • Choose your target audience – this will include age, job title, industry type, or professional interests
  • Set a conservative budget at first, and scale-up through trial and error.

For a comprehensive guide to using LinkedIn ads, check out this guide here.

Final Thoughts

Depending on the online course that you’re looking to promote, LinkedIn may just be the most effective platform. If your course is geared around professional development, you will receive the most bang for your buck by connecting with, and advertising to people with a higher level of disposable income who are explicitly looking for professional development and networking opportunities.

While each step on this list is important, if you really want the best results, a paid advertising campaign is what will really earn the best possible ROI, as well as massively build your LinkedIn presence, and for this, we highly recommend that you speak with our team of professionals about getting the best possible results on the platform.

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