One of the fastest-growing industries today is learning management technology — and it’s not just due to changes in remote working and learning created by COVID-19. For the past several years, the sales of learning management systems (LMS) have exploded. This accelerating growth has heated up the competition among the industry’s ever-expanding number of players.
The global LMS market was valued at $8.76 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow to $38.1 billion by 2027. The percentage of U.S. companies using online learning applications reached 77% in 2017 — and has continued to grow ever since.
According to varying estimates, there are anywhere from 800 to 1,000 LMS companies vying for a piece of the growing learning platform marketplace. Which LMS companies will make the biggest impact and have the greatest success?
It’s likely that among the winners will be the companies that launch successful digital marketing strategies. After all, digital marketing is becoming the dominant form of marketing in today’s marketplace. Gartner says that 80% of B2B sales interactions between companies and buyers will occur in digital channels by 2025.
As your company utilizes digital marketing to gain ground in the LMS sector, you should be aware of several pitfalls that tend to thwart companies’ success and how to overcome them.
3 Digital Marketing Challenges for LMS Companies
1. Going too wide with customer targeting
Many companies are leery of committing to one customer persona. They try to be the right solution for everyone and so they target their marketing campaigns broadly, rather than narrowing in on ideal customers. This results in casting too wide of a net and diluting their message. As a result, they limit their success.
2. Ignoring buyers’ need for unbiased insight
When they create content, many companies go straight to product information, touting their solution as the best one. However, there is a step before this for buyers, where they need unbiased solution insight that helps them better understand their problems and their options.
3. Creating vague product descriptions
Along with weak customer targeting, vague product descriptions also fail to make a big impression. This will undervalue the platform in potential customers’ minds.
Launching a Robust LMS Digital Marketing Plan
How can your LMS company overcome these marketing challenges? By launching a robust digital marketing plan that follows best practices in the first three critical stages of the buyer’s journey — awareness, consideration and decision.
Stage 1: Awareness Stage — Create Clear Buyer Personas
A critical element of successful digital marketing campaigns is the buyer’s journey. This is the process buyers go through to become aware of, consider and decide to purchase a new product or service.
In the first stage of the buyer’s journey, potential customers realize they have an issue that needs to be resolved. They are open to solutions and begin searching the marketplace. They are looking to educate themselves, explore research on the issue, see what analysts are advising and get a feel for the players in the industry.
Your job at this stage is to create and distribute content that will meet their research goals. To ensure that your content has a powerful impact, you need to understand the buyers from multiple perspectives, including business drivers and decision-making criteria. To fulfill this need, marketers create detailed buyer personas for their target audience.
You may have a general idea of your ideal buyer, but that will only get you so far. If you want to increase the likelihood that your digital marketing will grab attention, be read or viewed, and generate opportunities that lead to closed deals, you need to increase your relevance.
Buyers want to work with solution providers who do their homework and know them well. Knowing the concerns and objectives of your exact customer will help focus on a much more specific marketing strategy.
To hone in on their needs and create meaningful buyer personas, you need answers to questions like these:
- What is their job title and role in the company?
- What are their goals?
- What do they value most?
- What are their biggest challenges?
- Where do they go for information?
- What are their decision-making drivers?
- What are their most common objections?
- How do they measure success?
Stage 2: Consideration Stage — Help Prospects Evaluate Their Options
At the consideration stage, buyers have clearly defined their problem and begun researching solution options to solve it. They understand their challenges and goals and are committed to addressing them. They are prepared to evaluate the different approaches to solving their challenge — although they are not ready to commit.
At this stage, companies have to be prepared to meet buyers where they are. Hard-selling tactics will not work. What will impress potential buyers is access to content that helps them evaluate potential opportunities, compare prices and determine which are most likely to be able to fulfill their needs.
Distributing a wide variety of unbiased, informative content will help prospects make more informed decisions and impress them with the company’s industry knowledge. Knowing your exact customer based on your buyer personas helps you create more impactful content.
The best marketing materials to produce at this stage include:
- Comparison papers that share the pros and cons of various options
- Expert guides that provide unbiased insights into the industry sector
- Podcasts where industry leaders provide insight, such as best practices
- Videos that help educate prospects on the value of specific capabilities
Stage 3: Decision Stage — Highlight Your Unique Selling Points
During this stage, buyers determine which solution among many is ideal for their needs. As they gather information to reinforce their preferred option, the content that will deliver the greatest impact will be brand-specific and highlight your solution’s unique selling proposition (USP) and competitive advantages. In other words, now is the time to sell your solution.
To best promote your unique selling points, you need to take the time to analyze each one of them and determine how its USP solves a specific problem or challenge for your target audience. The more specific you can be, the better results you’ll achieve.
Typical content to help prospects choose one solution over another includes:
- Vendor and product comparisons that provide a feature-by-feature evaluation
- Product literature and demonstrations that show how the solution works
- Case studies and testimonials from companies that have achieved solid gains from a specific solution
- Product reviews from respected industry influencers
LMS Companies Digital Marketing for Success
When LMS companies embrace digital marketing, they gain several critical benefits that can help them stand out in a crowded and competitive marketplace. Set yourself up for success by preparing your digital marketing plan for the three stages of the buyer’s journey — with powerful buyer personas, a wide range of educational content and in-depth product content that clearly targets prospects’ pain points.
By taking these steps, you’ll set your LMS company up for launching a powerful digital marketing plan that raises your profile in your industry.
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