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How to Make an Effective Course Marketing Video (In 3 Parts)

Nic Lyons

January 11, 2022

In the world of Snapchat, streaming television, and short attention spans, video can be an entertaining and engaging way to tell potential students about a course. A course marketing video can boost awareness of your course offerings and encourage registration. But any old video won’t do the job. Videos work best when you include the right elements to capture the attention of learners and invite them to enroll. 

Three simple ingredients turn a simple course marketing video into a course registration magnet—the hook, branding, and call to action. Leave one of these essentials out of the mix, and you probably won’t see maximum results. So if your course marketing video efforts aren’t raking in the registrations, check that you’ve optimized all three parts. We’ll show you how. 

How to Make a Course Marketing Video 

You might think making an effective course marketing video has to be expensive. But the truth is, most people carry a powerful video marketing tool in their pockets. A smartphone can help you produce high-quality video without a massive budget. Of course, if you have the resources, you can also hire a video marketing creation company to help you with graphics, animation, scriptwriting, and production. 

The videos you produce can be short (two minutes or less) and simple to share on social media. They can be longer and more in-depth to share your story with already engaged audiences. You can even stream them live to invite more audience interaction. Which style you choose depends on the platform and your available resources.  

But the most important point is this: whether you have a big budget or small, whether you’re creating for social media or local television, every course marketing video needs the same three elements to be effective. 

1. A Hook: Snag Attention

How do you stop audiences from scrolling past your video on social media? How do you captivate them so they actually watch your commercial instead of taking this opportunity to grab a snack? In short, how do you make sure they watch your course marketing video? 

With a hook. Like a fish hook on the end of a line, the hook is designed to snag audiences and make sure they don’t let go. Your hook can come in several forms: 

  • Ask a question: “Looking for a new career?” 
  • Share an interesting fact: “One of the most toxic mushrooms in the world grows right here in Maine.” 
  • Present an arresting image or visual gag. 

Insurance companies are particularly good at the arresting image method. You can probably think of at least one commercial where the setting and characters were so incongruous that you just had to keep watching to find out what on Earth was going on. 

Most importantly, your hook needs to be calibrated to your target audience. If you’re making a video to promote acting classes for kids, you’ll need a hook that captures the attention of parents. For a video promoting a trending workforce development course, you’ll need to attract people who are considering a career change. 

2. Branding: Tell Them Who You Are

Have you ever started to tell someone about a funny or poignant commercial you saw, only to realize that you couldn’t remember what the ad was actually advertising? A really effective course marketing video doesn’t just entertain your audience, it links your brand with the course in the viewer’s mind. To do that, you need branding. 

Let’s be clear here. Slapping your logo on a splash screen at the end of the ad is not enough. Branding is most effective when it’s infused into every frame. And no, that doesn’t mean you just stick your logo in the bottom corner of the screen either. 

To really infuse brand in your videos look for opportunities to: 

  • Use brand colors. Graphics, wardrobes, and decor in your brand colors subtly link message and brand. 
  • Wear or use swag. If you have T-shirts, coffee mugs, or other gear with your logo on it, make sure your actors use and wear them. 
  • Establish a sense of place. If you have a distinctive setting, like an office or building that students might recognize, use it in your ad to establish your brand on location.
  • Mention your tagline. If you have a tagline you use on course catalogs or other marketing materials, find a way to work it into your ad. 

It is possible to go overboard with branding, so make sure each choice you make is intentional and serves a purpose. 

Remember that your tone and word choice are part of your brand as well. Use language that matches your other marketing materials. If your brand tends to be fun and playful, your video ads should be too. If it’s serious and trustworthy, strike the same notes in your course marketing video. 

Although you might create several course marketing videos for different courses and audiences, you want to keep things consistent where you can. Using the same structure for each video, or including the same branding elements, can help create a recognizable pattern for your audience.

3. Call to Action: Invite Enrollments

Finally, ask viewers to act. It’s easy to watch a video and immediately move on to the next piece of content. There’s always more content to watch. If you want audiences to actually do something with the information you’ve shared, you need to ask. 

Your call to action should invite them to do one simple task. Which one you choose depends on your goals and your format. Here are a few examples to get you started: 

  • Click to Register Now – This works for social media and in places where you can include interactive elements like links. 
  • Visit to Register – This CTA is perfect for television ads and other non-interactive placements. You could also include a QR code that viewers can scan to reach your site. Just make sure you leave it on screen long enough to be useful.
  • Share This Video With a Friend – This less-direct CTA can help you increase awareness but may not translate to registrations.
  • Comment Below – Another awareness tactic that can help get your video seen by more people. 

The best CTA’s tell the viewer exactly what to do. You don’t just tell them to register now, you tell them to click to register. Keep your CTA’s as simple as possible. 

Don’t give viewers options. You may think that asking them to register now or share this video with a friend is a smart idea. After all, some people might not want to register but know someone who will. The problem with that line of thinking is that it leads to overwhelm. The result? Viewers skip to the next video without taking action. 

So make sure your call to action is clear, actionable, and easy to accomplish immediately. 

Make the Most Out of Every Course Marketing Video

Of these three essential elements, the hook is probably the most difficult to get right. It takes some creative thinking and a good understanding of your audience. The nice thing is, once you find a hook, branding, and call to action that works, you can use them as a template for future videos. Over time, audiences will start to recognize your unique marketing signature. Doing the work up-front can increase your registration numbers for course after course. 

Nic Lyons

Nic is skilled in scaling start-up edtech and education organizations to growth-stage success through innovative marketing. A former journalist and copywriter, Nic holds a postgraduate certificate in digital and print publishing from Columbia University School of Journalism's publishing course.

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