Online learning is growing in popularity as a way to learn. It has affected how we learn all sorts of new skills, especially in my area of digital marketing. In this article I have chosen to look at one particular example, which is an organisation that I am still closely involved with known as Wealthy Affiliate University.
In this article I have decided to analyse what makes the Wealthy Affiliate model a successful way to learn about marketing.
All whilst still working on your own digital business. I have broken the article down into the following sections;
- On-line Education & Training
- On-line Digital Marketing Training
- Wealthy Affiliate – A unique model in digital marketing training
- Digital Marketing – Model of the Future
On-Line Education & Training
Learning new skills has never been easier in this technological age and this now includes learning technical skills through online courses, such as digital marketing training.
Traditionally many of these skills would have either been taught in a classroom context or learnt as a team member within a marketing company.
However, for a small scale business or independent marketeer, trying to learn and work on their business at the same time often proved very difficult.
On-line Education Development
There has been a lot of change in education and training over the last 10 years. The increased use of the internet has been one of these key changes, and it has changed the way people view learning courses.
Nowadays participating in classroom discussions, accessing course materials and submitting assignments can all be achieved from a computer space at home.
As expectations rise from potential learners, this places additional pressures on learning institutions and centres to meet these demands.
So what has actually changed in relation to business education and teaching digital marketing?
On-line Digital Marketing Training
One such organisation that has actively embraced learning through on-line platforms in digital marketing, is Wealthy Affiliate University (or WA)
They started out in 2005 as a small company in Victoria British Columbia, Canada. Initially WA offered information on keyword research but then quickly realised that they had developed a following that wanted good reliable business advice, on a regular basis.
As a result they established a community forum, which has gradually developed over the years to enable members to develop and share their own training materials.
All this can be achieved through the platform, where members can also blog about current issues as they occur linked to their progress in the marketing sector.
According to their website;
“Our training platform is unique, easy to use, and truly remarkable in that you will learn in real-time as the Internet changes.”
The constant streaming of training and blog information is quite an achievement given that members also have to subscribe and pay to use this platform.
So what is it about the wealthy affiliate model that encourages and achieves such a high level of engagement and still charges those that produce the material for their contribution?
Wealthy Affiliate (WA) – A Unique Model in Digital Marketing Training
In order to understand how the model works it’s first necessary to analyse all the services that WA offers.
Only then is it possible to try to understand why members would continue to stay with the platform and contribute to its further development.
Wealthy Affiliate has its own web hosting platform and encourages members to use this platform to host their own business. You can have up to 25 own domain addresses, and this is perhaps the first clue in their success;
- they promote big and are aiming at retaining businesses and entrepreneurs, even after they have achieved their initial start up success.
The next part of their model is they have another associated company Jaaxy, which is an online keyword tool.
This means that can they teach about keyword use and also provide and have developed their own online tools at limited cost or with free versions available to support members.
Within the WA platform there is a free keyword tool as well, so members have access to multiple tools to enhance their SEO work.
Similarly the programme teaches about affiliate marking and therefore every member of the site can become an affiliate of WA.
The university provides an easy to use dashboard with easy access to your stats and banners, so you can track and earn a commission for any referrals. Members are taught how to build a site and how to use the affiliate links following a step by step tutorial.
Many members choose not to promote WA, but all the tools are there to teach you what to expect with any affiliate marketing company.
The final component in their model is the learning programme. An online programme broken down into modules and levels that leads every member from absolute beginner through to developing an established website.
The training covers everything required to take an internet business through its start up phase and begin earning. You can see the programme outline in this article for Module One.
Digital Marketing Mentoring Program
It is at this point that many training organisations would lose their clients because they have reached the end of the course. However this is not so at Wealthy Affiliate.
For many members this is almost the beginning of the next phase, which is contributing towards the ongoing development and promotion of the WA university. But why would they do that?
Wealthy affiliate promotes an ethos of ‘pave it forwards’ in other words you assist others and someone will assist you when you are in need. There are several methods of engagement on the site;
- a live chat feed
- the opportunity to write blogs
- ask questions
- a private messaging system
- add comments to discussions
Members are encouraged to participate by means of a ranking system. The more you are active the lower your rank.
The training programme operates in a similar way in that credits are earned depending on how many people viewed and engaged with your training content.
These credits are banked within your WA account and can be redeemed for cash.
Digital Marketing Model of the Future
The model at WA is worth considering because it works at many levels. It is successful in providing training, but it also offers and manages much more than that.
- It retains membership even when people are earning off their own sites.
- It encourages and manages to acquire training input from active affiliate and online entrepreneurs on a daily basis.
- It has a on-line 24/7 support programme offering advice and answering questions all run voluntary in addition to their own paid staff.
As expectations continue to rise, along with the costs of online education, then future training programmes have to offer value for money.
Has Wealthy Affiliate just raised the bar in digital marketing training? As we move forwards into 2017 that is going to be a key question that the business industry and the education sector need to answer.
Other articles that may be of interest on this site are;
- FREE Digital Marketing Level 1 Training Module
- Digital Marketing at Wealthy Affiliate University
- Jaaxy a Powerful Keyword Search Tool
I hope you enjoyed the article and if so please feel free to share on your own social media sites.