LearnHack #2: 5 guerrilla marketing tips for e-learning

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Published on 08/12/2016

bob01This is Bob.

Bob has just enrolled a number of users in his brand new e-learning course. He sent emails to the entire mailing list of people who should experience the pure pleasure of his masterpiece.

At the end of the day Bob checks his LMS for learning statistics and reality punches him straight in the face: no one seems to care about e-learning.

In the next couple of days, Bob sends out a number of additional reminders and emails with an ever more threatening tone of voice and waits for the magic to happen. On the night of the deadline, Bob finds himself in a local pub, lamenting the low e-learning engagement and thinking about the meaning of life.


Bob is not stupid. He’s just doing things the way he’s been doing them for years. Don’t be like Bob! Be different!

Now more than ever, e-learning needs marketing to attract its customers. It’s rather unlikely your L&D department can afford Don Draper to do his magic—so you’ll probably have to get your hands dirty and work things out on the budget.

Here are 5 guerrilla marketing tips that can get you instant results:

1. Use posters (pull up banners, etc.)

Posters are great and it’s a shame no one cares about them unless you use them in an unusual way, such as for scenery for a photo where you put your head in.


This kind of poster not only grabs people’s attention but also builds hype about the training as people will probably share funny photos with their peers.

2. Hijack whiteboards

Companies are usually full of whiteboards that are rarely in use 24/7. Why don’t you use them to grab people’s attention?


3. Create a real newsletter

Why don’t you turn your email reminders into real newsletters? There is an endless list of things that may actually be interesting to read and can be used to direct readers to actually complete the online training:

  • An interview with someone who has already completed the training (stories about our peers are always fun to read).
  • A leaderboard with the top 5 employees who completed the training (make your nerds shine)!
  • An interview with someone who owns the training content to provide some additional context about the importance of the training (to fill some empty space in the newspaper).
  • An infographic about the training topic (because people like infographics).
  • A comic or any other picture that goes along with the newsletter content (Read more about using comics in our post Evil learning content)

4. Create a buzz

Start a teaser campaign a week before you start your training. Facilitate curiosity and talk about what’s coming. You can use jumper stickers, posters, or if you’re doing a course about health and safety, use some fake body parts you could easily get on eBay.


5. Brainstorm

I intentionally left this one up to you and your imagination. Look around you and use your companies’ resources. Thinking of gate-crashing a senior exec party? Maybe not. But maybe you want to use big screens to present information? Use them! Is there a social network within your company? Start posting! Is there overlap with another internal initiative? Find overlaps and cash in on the messaging that is already hovering around. It will be beneficial to both your budget and your people when communications are streamlined.

Be weird and whacky

Advertising equals show business and your goal is to entertain. This approach may very well push you out of your comfort zone, but that’s a good thing! You don’t want to spend your life doing the same things over and over again. The worst that can happen is that your idea will be a total flop and in that case, you can always fall back on (boring) emails. But for next time, give yourself a chance and try something new and different.

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