Your It's a Money Thing Academy is all set up and your courses are ready. Now comes the hard work: getting people to sign up. This article outlines a plan for getting your first students to join your Academy.
Build an internal audience
The best place to start is with your credit union staff. Let them know that you have a new offering and that you would like them to sign up and view the content. Depending on how internal communications works at your credit union, you could:
- Send personalized email invitations to each staff member.
- Send an all-staff email bulletin encouraging everyone to sign up.
- Post an article on your employee intranet that encourages staff to sign up.
- Bulk add staff to the Teachable system. Here's an article with instructions on how to add students and another article on how to enroll those new students in your courses.
Once your staff members have had a chance to experience the Academy and courses, encourage them to share with family, friends and your credit union members. Your It's a Money Thing Academy is a valuable free resource that staff can be proud to share and recommend.
Build an external audience
When offering courses, it all comes down to having an audience who trusts your organization. It’s critical to convince your audience that your credit union has useful knowledge to share.
How do you create this kind of reputation and build that audience? In a nutshell: you start sharing your knowledge for free, and positioning your credit union as a leader in the financial services industry. And since your credit union is an It's a Money Thing subscriber, you already have a whole library of great content to share. Because your credit union truly has valuable knowledge and insights to share, you might start building an audience faster than you think!
Here are four tried-and-true steps to begin building an online brand and providing value to your future audience:
- Start a blog for your credit union. Fill your blog with quality content that educates (and ideally also entertains) readers. Again, this is a place where your It's a Money Thing content can shine! Get involved with your credit union community. Interview local experts in the communities that your credit union services and share news. Do you want to go beyond just writing? Consider starting a podcast or video channel as well.
- Create and maintain social media accounts for your credit union. Make posts of your own and share others’ posts. Again, focus on quality—the It's a Money Thing social media graphics are great content to share with your growing audience.
- Network with your local education community. Build connections with your local school district administrators and educators and local literacy groups. Let them know that you have a robust free financial education resource that follows National Financial Education Standards. Encourage teachers to use your Academy in the classroom.
- Network with your community newspaper. Build a relationship with your local newspapers by writing and issuing a press release. Offering financial education to the young adults in your community is newsworthy, and while there’s no guarantee they’ll devote space to your press release, you’ll be building a relationship by promoting your credit union as a source of information about young adult financial literacy and education.
Here are four articles that will help you use your It's a Money Thing content outside of your Academy.
Creating an email list
An email list allows your credit union to maintain a connection with your members and potential members in a way that’s hard to do otherwise. When you periodically send emails to readers, you (a) remind them that your credit union exists, (b) can update them on your latest posts, events and offers and (c) can invite questions and replies to start one-on-one interactions.
However, most people will need an incentive to give you their email: they won’t just enter their address in any pop-up box they see. That means it’s up to you to provide an incentive. Here's a couple suggestions:
- Create a lead magnet. Basically, you’ll offer the reader a special, irresistible piece of content in exchange for their email address. This could be an ebook or an exclusive offer from your credit union. One way to create an ebook would be to combine all of your It's a Money Thing handouts into a single PDF document. Add a page or two about your credit union and, presto, you have an valuable lead magnet!
- Host a free workshop or webinar that people can sign up for by providing their emails.
Launching your Academy to your email list
Now that you have an email list full of people who value and trust your credit union, it’s time to let them know about your new It's a Money Thing Academy. Warm up your readers by getting them thinking about the problem that your courses solve. Then, introduce your Academy and explain what it’s about and how it can help them.
You should build an It's a Money Thing Academy landing page on your credit union website that shows the benefits of signing up for your free educational content.
Obviously, none of this will happen overnight. Building authority and gaining a following takes time. If you have a head-start on the process, great! If not, there’s no better time to start than now.