Students can only register for the classes they know about. To enroll more students, you have to get the word out about your course, but if you’re not a professional marketer, helping students find your classes online might seem like an overwhelming task. The good news is it doesn’t have to be.
Terms like algorithm, search engine optimization, and CTR might make your head spin. That’s okay. There’s still plenty you can do to help make your classes more visible online. It starts with thinking like your student. Where do they spend time online? What do they need to know about your course? Which words and images will capture their attention? These tips will help you answer those questions so you can reach your online class registration goals.
1. Include keywords in class descriptions and titles
Think about how students look for things online. For example, what if they were looking for an art class? They might start by typing “art classes” into their favorite search engine.
That will probably pull up thousands of results. So how might they narrow it down? Well, they would probably add some keywords like “drawing” or “painting” to their search.
When a student searches for a class, their search engine uses keywords to decide if your course is relevant to their search. So before you even post a class description, brainstorm some keywords that students might type into a search engine if they were looking for a class like yours? Include these words in your course name and description. Well-chosen keywords can help improve search engine results for your class.
2. Choose relevant categories and subcategories
If you’re creating or adding your course to an online catalog, relevant categories and subcategories will help visitors understand your offerings quickly. The keywords you identified earlier will likely come in handy here. They often make informative categories and subcategories.
Using keywords in this way is also beneficial for search engines trying to understand what your course is about so they can serve up relevant search results to students looking for classes.
Additionally, when students browse your course catalog, categories make your course easier to find. You may have lots of classes in a given category, but they also may cover a broad array of topics. Subcategories are usually specific and help students clarify class details without reading the whole description.
So our beginner drawing class might be under the “art” category with “beginner” and “drawing” as subcategories.
3. Use visuals to capture attention online
Standing out is always a challenge online. Students might be looking at dozens or even hundreds of courses. Adding an image can help draw their attention to yours.
Adding smiling faces to your class listing or online course catalog is often a winning strategy. Choose people who look like your students. A picture of young women doing yoga may be eye-catching, but it probably isn’t the right choice for a basic fitness class designed for male seniors.
Of course, you can probably find a stock image online or in CourseStorm’s built-in stock library, but a candid shot from one of your classes could be even more effective. You won’t have to wonder if you’ve accurately represented your students. Plus, it gives new students a sense of what the class really looks like. Just remember to get permission from the professor and students before you share images of them.
4. Highlight any local connection
Even if you’re teaching an online class, students tend to enroll in classes close to home. Search engines like Google also take location into account when they show search results. So include references to local places and people wherever relevant in your course description.
You can also seek out local message boards or event listings. Your local chamber of commerce and other community organizations may be willing to spread the word about classes that could be of interest to their audiences. Just ask.
5. Make your class an event on Facebook
Your students are probably on social media. Meet them where they are by sharing your classes on your social media profiles. In addition to posting the class in your regular newsfeed, you can list it as a Facebook event. Events have their own tab on Facebook so people in your area can easily discover your classes. You also get the added boost of showing up on people’s timelines when their friends express interest in your course.
6. Use #hashtags where appropriate
Each social media platform has its own best practices for posting and making sure your post is seen. Instagram and LinkedIn both use hashtags to help people find content. Think of hashtags as extra keywords you can add to your post.
You don’t want to include hashtags in your course descriptions, but you can add them to a social media post about your course. On Instagram, you can use up to 30 hashtags. It’s a good idea to put them in the first comment to avoid cluttering up the main post. On Instagram, hashtags don’t have to refer just to the post itself. They can also describe the person who might be interested in a class like yours.
For example, a course on writing aimed at teens might benefit from hashtags like:
#teenwriter #teenwritingcommunity or even #reader.
LinkedIn recommends limiting your post to just three hashtags. Don’t just pick the ones that sound good. Use the LinkedIn search function to find hashtags with a good number of followers.
7. Get instructors involved in sharing your course
Instructors can help increase the visibility of your class by sharing them with their own audiences. They might not think to do this unless you ask, so ask! Reach out and ask them to like, comment, and share your posts about the class. Encourage them to make posts of their own about it, too. You can even provide sample content that they can customize and share.
Try these tricks to boost class registration
The point is, you don’t have to be a marketing expert to achieve your student enrollment goals. These easy tricks will help more students find your classes online. And getting your class seen is the first step toward increasing enrollment.
Try a few and see what a difference they can make for your class registration results.
When you manage class registration with CourseStorm, you get a suite of tools to make your courses more visible online. We offer enhanced search engine results, auto-formatting when you paste your courses into social media, and much more.
Contact our team today and find out what CourseStorm can do for you!