Proof of Concept: What It is and How to Do It Right
Before developing an idea into a product, there’s a crucial step that every business must take: executing a successful proof of concept. Learn more.
It goes without saying that teachers and professors weren’t prepared for a global crisis that would require a pivot toward virtual learning. “Surprised” is probably an understatement — schools and institutions around the world are shutting down at a rapid rate in an attempt to contain the coronavirus outbreak. It’s no surprise, then, that MarketWatch has dubbed this time as “online education’s moment” — a time where this particular industry can help minimize educational disruption.
This also sheds light on other education sectors that have been online for a while — Udemy, for example, offers online classes aimed at professional adults and students. Then there’s Duolingo, a language-learning platform, and Masterclass, which provides courses covering everything from cooking and writing to acting and photography. In a situation where most people are confined to their homes with nowhere to go but the web, now is prime time for any online education brand to make a positive impact.
Think about it — you’re not bound to supply chain disruptions or manufacturing woes; the internet is already familiar territory. It’s time to use this advantage to provide an outlet for others to learn and blow steam through engaging in hobbies.
It’s true that during times of economic uncertainty, people are more careful about spending money. Many brands are aware of this, so they’ve reduced their paid media spend. While it’s tempting to follow the same train of thought, consider thinking of it this way: As ad inventory increases (more people spending more time online) and competition and allocated marketing budgets potentially decrease, inventory becomes cheaper.
What this means is that with more people online and more spaces to place ads, it’ll be less expensive to stand out. Now is the ideal time to reach new people with brand awareness campaigns — since the first coronavirus reports, we've seen cost per thousand impressions (CPM) decrease by 15% across our networks.
Don’t underestimate the power of first interactions with customers. By creating brand awareness and connecting with customers, you have the opportunity to increase customer lifetime value (CLV) and decrease customer acquisition costs (CAC). Essentially, you’ll be top-of-mind with consumers when they are ready to make a purchase.
In addition to people who aren’t familiar with your brand, you should also focus on building brand loyalty. Yes, it’s essential to plant new seeds, but you also have to take care of your existing garden. Your customers are your most valuable asset — it’s more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep one. Here are a few ways to maintain customer retention during hard-hitting times:
When it comes to your retargeting strategy, it’s important to be smart with segmentation so that your marketing dollars are spent efficiently. For example, you could target specific site segments or upload CRM lists and have ads that focus on high-value courses to maximize cash flow in the short-term.
It may also be worth it to look into lapsed signups — reach out to people who may have signed up a year or so ago to reengage them and remind them of new classes or package offerings.
In the current state of the world, people have a lot on their minds. It’s vital to be mindful of this, and think of your marketing strategies in the context of, “How can I help my customers? How can I reduce their anxiety?” It can be difficult to straddle the line between being compassionate and keeping afloat, but you’ll find that sweet spot by being creative and taking note of other brands’ innovative approaches.
Offer a freemium version. As mentioned earlier, people are hesitant to spend. A freemium plan is an excellent strategy to consider because it’s a cross between “free” and “premium” — people are getting your core features at no cost and can choose to increase functionality by paying the subscription fee.
Repackage useful content. Sharing free, helpful content builds great word of mouth and value during times of hardship. A great idea is repurposing online courses into helpful blog posts or social media tips. Or, if your primary audience is K-12 students, you can create downloadable worksheets to enhance their learning experience.
Think outside the box with your messaging. People are cooped up indoors, and their regular lives are severely disrupted — they can’t go to their favorite restaurants, painting sessions, or hip hop classes, but they can take an online course for cooking, painting, or dancing. They can find alternative versions of their usual hobbies and end up falling in love with them. Children and teens may not have access to their tutoring classes anymore, but they can take supplementary online courses to fill this gap. The key when pivoting your message is to identify peoples’ current pain points and solving them. Ask yourself, again and again, like a mantra: “How can my brand help? How can it fill a need during these challenging times?”
For additional reading around how your business can prepare for a new normal, download your copy of Tips for Acquiring and Retaining Customers Through Economic Change.
Last updated on August 16th, 2022.