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How to estimate and optimise your e-learning training budget?

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Provide training and make some money: isn’t this what everyone wants from their training offer? Blended learning and e-learning courses have overtaken classroom-based learning since 2022 in this respect, as they have the advantage of reducing costs.

In the world of online training, estimating and optimising your budget may seem an arduous task. Don’t panic! By adopting effective strategies and making the most of available resources, you can achieve a balance between efficiency and profitability in your business.

Here is some practical advice to help you succeed!

Define the fixed costs

To estimate your budget, start by identifying the fixed costs you will have to pay each month. These may, for example, concern your business infrastructure, such as your computer equipment, Internet connection and office costs, depending on your chosen set-up.

Next, and most importantly, come the recurring expenses linked to the business itself:

  •      your subscription to an online training platform, from €70 depending on the functionalities and number of learners;
  •      your hosting fees if you have your own website, which can vary from €5 to €30 per month depending on your supplier and choice of options;
  •      your subscription to software tools: administrative management, sales management, etc.

These costs can quickly build up, so optimise your budget by choosing a platform that centralises several functionalities. Digiforma provides a comprehensive solution in this respect. Digiforma includes remote training, sales and administrative management and digital attendance sheets. Added bonus: annual billing enables you to save up to 15%.

You can also use free platforms like Google Classroom or Open edX for smaller courses or pilot projects.

Bear in mind, however, that your training offer must enable you to monitor learners and create attractive content.

Evaluate the variable costs

While your fixed costs are determined by your needs, your variable expenses will depend on your goals, particularly in terms of content development and promotional strategy.

Content creation and development

If you create content yourself, evaluate the time and resources required for research, drafting text, creating visual media, making audio/video recordings, post-production, etc. If you outsource this stage, ask professionals for quotes and take these costs into account in your budget.

In any case, content creation is a key aspect of e-learning and the Internet has understood this perfectly. Hence, a multitude of free or inexpensive e-learning content creation tools are available to produce attractive and engaging training materials:

  •     audio recording software such as Audacity, to enrich your lessons with audio comments and even podcasts;
  •     rights-free image banks like Pixabay, if you want to avoid purchasing licences for images or graphics;
  •     free graphic design tools like Canva and Pixlr, to create attractive visuals without having to invest in costly software.

You can also save yourself time. Instead of constantly creating new content, you can reuse and update existing content. You can, for example, update and adapt your PowerPoint presentations to convert them into online training modules. If you have written articles for your blog, feel free to transform them into lessons or instructional videos. You can take it further still and adapt your existing training modules to create more advanced lessons or reach a new audience.

You can offer different levels of courses, for example: 

  • beginner level to introduce a subject;
  • intermediate level to develop a skill; 
  • advanced level to help professionals to gain a deeper understanding of certain subjects or teach them a method in full. 

Lastly, draw inspiration from other free or inexpensive resources to enrich your course content with videos and tutorials, etc. YouTube videos and MOOC (massive open online courses) can be real goldmines in this respect. 

Promotion and marketing

You may have a high-quality training offer, but you will only ensure it achieves the success it deserves by promoting it.

Nowadays, with a society ruled by social networks, it is vital to actively use these channels of communication. Choose the networks best suited to promoting your business. Instagram, for example, offers various ways of getting your message across (publications, stories, hashtags, etc.), as well as being a platform conducive to partnerships. LinkedIn, on the other hand, enables you to reach a professional community, useful for building up a network or targeting purely professional subjects (think of LinkedIn Learning, for example). 

Social networks also serve as advertising agencies, as most offer paid, targeted campaigns to enhance your visibility. Again, you will need to define your budget according to: 

  1. The type of ad: ads vary in terms of format (images, videos, carousel, etc.) and advertising objectives (awareness, engagement, conversion, etc.), which can have an impact on cost.
  2. The targeting of web users: the more specific and precise the targeting, the higher the cost. Targeting can be based on users’ interests, demography, online behaviour, etc.
  3. The competition: if your target audience is very competitive, the price of displaying your ads may be higher. 

Good promotion will help you to attract more learners and ensure a good return on your initial investment.

Promoting your training offer is crucial. As is having a website that showcases this offer: follow our advice to create your website effectively or use the services of a professional. As well as setting you apart from the competition, your website is where you can express your values and the benefits of the training you provide. 

Tracking and adjusting your budget

Your budget estimate will vary according to your specific situation, but is essential for saving time and money in the long term. Keep precise registers of your actual expenses day in day out, throughout the year, and compare them with your initial budget. This way, you can identify discrepancies and adjust them depending on your needs and experience.

Estimating and optimising your training budget involves three considerations: platform, content and promotion. It is up to you to use them wisely in order to maximise the efficiency and profitability of your business. Beware, however, of keeping too tight a hold on the purse strings: a high-quality offer often requires an investment to demonstrate professionalism and ultimately ensure its appeal.

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