marketing strategy
ATD Blog

How to Increase E-Learning Engagement With Marketing Tactics

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

As employee training and development professionals, we often use best practices from a few common fields, such as psychology, technology, and graphic design, to improve learning outcomes. But to increase e-learning engagement and completion rates, we can also borrow a few lessons from marketing. It may be tempting to simply make courses available on a learning portal, mobile app, or on a webpage, but using marketing strategies can help increase content consumption.

Creating a Learner Persona

The first step to marketing your corporate training is to gather information about the audience to create a learner persona, which is a comprehensive representation of your audiences' common characteristics. For example, a learner persona would include:

  • demographics, such as age, gender, education, location
  • knowledge and skills
  • challenges
  • motivations
  • technology and media preferences.

A well-defined learner persona will provide insight into the best ways to target your learners; however, there are a few marketing strategies that can help to increase content consumption, regardless of your learner persona characteristics.

Aligning With Media

Look closely at the internal and external communication channels that are already a part of your learners' daily routine. For example, you can use messenger platforms like Slack to create a channel for training updates and reminders. Project management software, like Asana, can also be used to assign training tasks.


Most organizations are already accustomed to internal marketing emails and newsletters, so use email to alert learners to available courses. You can also capture social influences by creating share functions through social media platforms to showcase completion badges or suggest content to peers.

Rules of Repetition

With so many distractions vying for your learners’ attention, it’s a good idea to offer the occasional reminder. But repetition is key. The common marketing adage Rule of 7 says a consumer must come into contact with an ad seven times before purchasing. When applied to marketing strategies for e-learning, seven times may be overkill, but the role of repeated exposure for converting buyers (or learners) still holds.


Theories like Daniel Berlyne's Two Factor Theory show that just enough repetition increases engagement. To have the greatest impact, market your e-learning through multiple channels rather than create repetitive reminders in the same channels.

Video in E-Learning

Research from Brandon Hall found that 75 percent of organizations surveyed use video for training and for good reason. Video is easily scalable, accessible, and shareable. Moreover, video can capture the emotions of learners and increase motivation for content consumption. Typically, video is only used for training content, but it can also be used as a communications strategy to build excitement around an initiative. For example, show your learners how it will benefit them through video testimonial of an internal employee.


You’ve put in the work to design an e-learning course using the best in instructional design strategies, but that alone won't drive content consumption. Just as you would take best practices from fields like psychology or graphic design, capitalize on key marketing strategies to increase engagement with your training content.

About the Author

David Peterson is director of learning solutions at AllenComm, where he focuses on supporting strategic relationships with clients helping them create innovative and engaging training experiences. He holds a BS in Marketing and Business Administration and an MBA from Utah State University.

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