Editor’s Note: This article was submitted to us from Nick Morris, the Co-Founder & Director of a London based clothing brand. In this article Nick shows us why partnering up with companies that sell consumer products can be a great way to gain exposure for your courses and add additional value to your students. Take it away Nick!
Who said online courses and consumer products don’t go together?
One of the ways we have partnered with an online education company, as a clothing company, is to link our clothing with online, live education. At first, this seems an odd mix, you might even say that’s crazy. However, all you need to answer is what do online courses have to do with you?
When we were starting Innerstand London we found expanding our skill sets hard and had to work out how to tackle many of the challenges faced when you are a small business, which forces you to become resourceful in finding out what you need to know. We did lots of research and spent a lot of time studying different courses. We learned so much from taking online courses that we decided we would like to give our customers an opportunity to have this experience as well, so they can follow what they’re passionate about and go straight to the experts.
So, we approached an online educator to make this happen. I must explain here the main reason this makes sense for us, is because Innerstand London stands for more than just an ordinary item of clothing. We are for the visionaries. In doing so, it shows people we mean what we say when we want to help bring about positive change and offering courses is just one of the ways we’re trying to achieve this.
Our adage is ‘why understand when you can Innerstand’. To us, the word itself means to perceive a deeper meaning, interpret something in a more meaningful, spiritual way and become aware of the deeper significance of things. It’s what our customers like about us.
A big part of our philosophy is to inspire positive change. We believe by offering courses to help people follow their passion and curiosity, it’s achieving the mission of personal growth which leads to positive thoughts and actions in the world.
This helps us stand out as a brand from other clothing companies, searching deeper into how fashion impacts every action of our daily lives. Taking bold steps such as this, uniting education providers with companies that they believe in, we hope to inspire others to take chances, open doors, make a change and bring harmony to everything around them. In doing so, we believe we are taking a small step in bringing that to life for people.
How is this relevant to you?
This is something you can do! One option is to partner up with a consumer product company to offer your courses to their customers (as we have done). Or, instead of the product company promoting your course, you could offer a consumer product as an additional bonus included with the purchase of your course. To get the best results, it would make sense to do something in line with what your course or courses are about.
This gives you a reason to talk about your ‘why’ (if you haven’ already, check out Simon Sinek’s TED Talk). An opportunity to connect with your audience on a deeper level and talk about your story, explaining how this new partnership you’ve struck is helping achieve why your company exists
One idea would be to link specifically to a particular item for the course you are offering. This could be part of the initial marketing offer to grab people’s attention and demonstrate how you’re not just thinking about giving great courses but also want to help them achieve this by giving them with what they need.
Another idea would be to link more generally than with a specific item and instead link with a company, a bit like we did, where you understand your customer base and know what they like and are interested in. Then you could value add more generally by creating an offer that appeals to your customers by bringing them offers and deals associated with your newly partnered company, which gives them a range of things they can choose from.
It could also work with providing offers on additional reading material or books to go alongside your course. This could be one of the ways you bring in customer’s attention with giving them a physical item to go alongside their online learning.
We believe these physical items will act as triggers in getting students of the courses to bring learning to the front of the mind, when they see the item they will associate it to the course and where they got it, especially if it was great value. Also, these associations will be prevalent in their down time and/or places where they are mingling with other people so will be more likely to talk about it causally, which means all this has huge potential for quality word of mouth.
Our approach was taken more generally as our customers have varying interests so our offer covers over 30 courses in a range of subjects to cater to as many as possible in their interests, passions and curiosity.
We’re hoping to generate even greater buzz as the word spreads. Our customers like the fact we are adopting a new and innovative way of bringing them value whilst shopping with us that they would not expect from a clothing company.
Ultimately, we believe all this will increase your exposure in your target marketplace and increase take up on to the course or courses you offer.
Any more ways we could use this idea?
Absolutely, as a course provider, you can work to establish relationships with consumer goods companies to get them to promote your courses with their products, just like we are doing.
It makes sense to consider your target audience, also how it adds value to the consumer goods so the company you connect with has the benefit of promoting you. Why would someone want your course if they’re buying a consumer good item? Answer this and then you have a starting point.
Many of the great selling points above will still relate to this way of doing it. There’s still the association with product and course and added value, so the customer has the trigger, the physical product and could recall the very interesting additional course they got with that.
The power of word of mouth is huge and by setting the scene so you can maximize the potential for the word to spread is a great way of bringing customers value and trying to bring you into the limelight for others to see.
There’s also the affiliate commission to consider. Depending on negotiations and the relationship you strike with another company, there’s the commission on sales to think about. When coming up with your initial offer to customers you could factor in potential future benefits to adding even greater value initially if there’s some recompense coming down the road and both companies find it agreeable.
How we chose an online education provider
We had to consider who to approach and what kind of education we wanted to offer and that would make sense with our brand.
It all starts with our customers and understanding what they like. Ultimately we wanted to give them a range of learning opportunities to add even greater value to the clothing range.
So, a few key points we like:
- We loved the fact that all lessons are delivered live, meaning our customers could ask any questions straight away during the lesson. It also allows them to make every lesson different as new developments happen out in the real world.
- The fact that we have experienced many of the courses ourselves so know first-hand the quality and the value that can be gained out of them.
- The customer service of the education provider, from our experience is very good. We’ve always had quick response times to questions and they have always been helpful.
Now it is up to you
We believe that partnering with consumer goods companies as an online course creator has huge potential for you and could really improve the buying experience for your customers. So go ahead! Start reaching out to consumer goods companies that offer products your students would be interested in, and create some win-win partnerships!Why Online Courses and Consumer Products Make a Great Combo @Innerstand_LDN Click To Tweet
Nick Morris is the Co-Founder & Director of Innerstand London, an all new fashion & lifestyle brand born from the idea that clothing should be fair to all with messages that make you think. They will not stop at just clothing to make a difference in the world and are always looking for new and innovative ways to bring huge value to your everyday life.
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