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Eugene Cheng is the co-founder and creative lead of HighSpark (formerly Slide Comet), a strategic presentation consultancy serving Fortune 500 companies like Panasonic, Dentsu, Nike. A self-confessed presentation obsessive, he relishes in building compelling visual content for his agency’s channel and his personal channel on SlideShare and is also a Keynote Author ( top 1% of SlideShare).

Marketing a course is hard especially if you don’t already have a list. Most people try selling on FB or Twitter or paying for ads.

Getting the word out in the marketplace is a complicated feat especially if you have limited resources and lack the technological know-how of marketing your next online course.

For a low-cost way to target your audience, I highly recommend you give SlideShare a shot – a platform that sees more than 70 million visitors a month with 500% more business owners than all the other existing platforms like Facebook Twitter or Linkedin.

The Case for Slideshare

market online courses with Slideshare

Over the past couple of years, I’ve gotten more than 2M views on my agency channel and more than 400+ subscribers every month as a result. Now take a second to imagine what that could mean for you filling up seats to your course.

High Authority

Slideshare is a high authority site (top 100+ in the world) and sees more than half its traffic from direct search. This means that traffic you get from it are people actively looking for the type of content you put out.

Visual Content

Visual content has seen a crazy amount of uptake. For instance: Researchers found that colored visuals increase people’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80%. ( Source: Xerox )

This is precisely the reason why entrepreneurs are rethinking and tweaking how visual content marketing strategy can overhaul their business – with the integration of Slideshare.

What this means for you is a new and powerful medium to build your brand and market your course.

Embeddable Links

Another great feature is that you can embed links and strategize call to actions within your presentations to drive traffic to and from your SlideShare.

market online courses with Slideshare

With extensive traffic, lead generation opportunity and brand-building capabilities, there’s real cause for you to start exploring SlideShare as a course-marketing medium.

1. Just Start Collecting Leads!

If you’re familiar with the AIDA framework in funnel marketing, you’ll hardly ever get a sale from the get-go if your audience member has never come across your work or your brand before.

market online courses with Slideshare

The concept behind the AIDA model, which is an acronym that stands for Attention-Interest-Desire-Action, is a system used by the best influencers in the industry to build their revenue funnels from scratch.

This sets up your target audience to take part in your online course.

The AIDA system runs this way in the case of SlideShare:

  1. You start by capturing your target audience’s attention. Your SlideShare’s cover page needs to be arresting and motivate audiences to interact with it.
  2. Next, you build up the momentum or interest by getting them hooked into the course offering through your SlideShare’s content. Engaging them to be curious or excited about what you have to offer.
  3. Moving your audience further down the sales funnel, your presentations go about stirring up desire – a link to your opt-in page from your SlideShare.
  4. Driving your leads towards signing up and sealing the deal – target conversions or action. This can mean a sale of a lower-ticket product or even your course.

It’s funny how some people put tons of effort into creating content for SlideShare but never collect information about their viewers.

market online courses with Slideshare

Trade emails for free stuff

SlideShare’s LeadShare is meant to help you collect details of your leads. The problem is that the cost-per-lead is really expensive ( i.e. $8 per lead ).

Creating your own landing page using software like Leadpages or Pagewiz is a more cost-efficient way to start collecting those leads.

By incentivizing them with lead magnets or free valuable stuff and subsequently moving them down your funnel, you’ll have a much higher chance of selling your course as opposed to going in Rambo with “Buy my course” on your t-shirt.

Embed anywhere

Of course, the beautiful thing about SlideShare is that it’s embeddable on different sites. Sites you own and those you don’t.

market online courses with Slideshare

Imagine your SlideShare on multiple platforms collecting information for your lead magnets on auto-pilot. This works especially well when you’re able to get guest post opportunities on high-traffic blogs and related sites.

Talk about scaling up your marketing efforts for your course.

2. Be Strategic with your Links

Just because viewers are unlikely to purchase your course from the get-go, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t, at least, try to sell to audiences that are ready to buy.

The great thing about SlideShare is that you can place multiple links throughout your deck. So it pays to be strategic with the real estate in the pages of your SlideShare.

You can place live links starting from the fourth (4th) slide up until the end by adding them through software like Keynote or PowerPoint to make these clickable within the SlideShare.

The type of links that you use will be dependent on your ‘objectives’. In this case, it could be a variety of things that eventually lead to the sale of your course:

a)  Link to your course or other purchase

Linking to your course is the most obvious and direct way to lead a viewer to your landing page to try to sell them your course. Unfortunately, they’re not always ready to buy, even for those that are actually interested.

market online courses with Slideshare

Make each slide irresistible and worth the click. Do deep linking to ease your audience towards more valuable content.

You can embed videos of a pilot course tutorial or a free trial to give your audience a teaser of what they will expect from the full course.

Try offering a discount especially for SlideShare users who find out about your course through the platform. This gives them an impetus to start taking action on the spot instead of looking to find out more if they are already primed for the purchase.

b)  Link to your lead magnet

The open end of your funnel is going to be your best bet at getting their details and eventually selling them the course through a nurturing email sequence and a line of lower-ticket products. This is one link you can’t do without.

market online courses with Slideshare

Try to lock in the course offer by enabling a free download of your Slideshare presentation in pdf form which also increases opt-ins. You can also offer pre-orders of an ebook or a course primer.

You must look at content marketing as a marathon, not a sprint. In most cases it’ll take some time to see the results. So be patient if you are not immediately getting enough leads on the first deck.

To increase your chances, be sure to make your links to lead magnets are really obvious – think big buttons and visuals. Additionally, don’t ask for too much information unless you’re trying to qualify them.

The less information you ask for- the more likely people would want to participate.

Once you get their email addresses, you can start shooting emails and remarket your course offering or future SlideShares.  You may not get to close the deal today but it doesn’t mean you won’t get a ‘YES’ later.

c) Link to a sharing enabler

market online courses with Slideshare

If your viewer isn’t ready to buy, why waste the engagement? Enable them to share your SlideShare through a well-placed link to a service like ClickToTweet. This way, even if they decide not to purchase your course, you’ll, at least, get a shot at their friends or colleagues.

Be strategic with where you place these, though. ClickToTweet buttons are better placed with quotable slides with brief phrases.

Using these outlets, you get to spread the word without breaking a sweat. No leads are wasted with the right strategy in place.

3. Preview the course

An indirect way to prime the person viewing your presentation is to include material from the course that you’re putting out.

Don’t give away the whole forest of course, but give them just enough value to whet their appetite to start finding out more about you and your course.

You can insert actual slide content from your online course (assuming you use slides) to give them a taste of what you have to offer and also to boost your credibility as an expert in the industry. Knowing what’s actually in your course helps them to reduce the mental obstacle of perceived risk before making a decision to spend money on your offering.

Giving your audiences a taste of what’s to come will help you create hype for your upcoming course and make them more open to your ideas.

4. Get discovered through SEO

50% of SlideShare’s traffic comes via direct search traffic. This is great news because if you optimize your SlideShare for the right keywords, you’ll be able to attract a crowd that is actively searching for the content angle that you’re writing and perhaps the course topic that you’re putting out.

Hours of burning the midnight oil with creating content would lead to minimal results if you fail to optimize your SlideShares for SEO – to get it right on the front page of major search engines.

The easy way out of course is to pick popular keywords. Unfortunately, many people try to weigh-in for competitive keywords making it extremely difficult to rank.

Opt for the low-hanging fruit instead.  Beef up your presentations by selecting keywords that have medium to high traffic and low competition to squeeze generous link juice from a high authority site like Slideshare.

Check out Google Keyword Planner and search for long-tail keywords that may not have significant monthly searches but has lower competition.

market online courses with Slideshare

Ranking for the right keywords doesn’t just drive targeted traffic to your SlideShares and boost brand visibility, it also ensures that you are attracting the right people who are actually interested in your course offering and subsequently drive more opt-ins or sales.

Here’s what you have to do to increase your Slideshare presentations’ discoverability:

  1. Hook your audience with a compelling title that has the right keywords. Your headline will appear as the main header in search engine result pages (SERPs) as well as in your Slideshare presentations’ URL. Make sure that you use the right keywords along with a striking headline to capture the attention of your target audience right away.
  2. Create a relevant description. This is your time to play up with words – be sales-y but keep it short. Incorporate the right keywords to generate traffic.
  3. Use tags. You can easily draw in organic traffic with the use of meta-tags. You can integrate up to 20 tags per presentation. Include terms that will amplify your presence on SlideShares internal search function for your angle and improve discoverability of your slides.
  4. Transcript. Make sure that your presentation is keyword-rich and there is variation in content to improve its searchability factor.

SlideShare is an excellent platform that’s worked for not just me but many others to generate leads, rank on SEO, and it can help you garner interest for your course if you know how to optimize it to your advantage.

The distinction here is to remember that SlideShare is not yet a silver-bullet solution, but when used in conjunction with your other marketing touch points, it can pack a powerful punch in marketing your course.

If you’d like a starting point to better presentations online and offline, we made a template based off our SlideShare that got 20,000 views and 300 social shares within a week for you to swipe for FREE!