A learning center is a place on your website where your best content lives and is organized in a way that makes it easy to find the content that answers the questions of your prospects.
A true learning center makes it easy for users to find, within seconds, the content that will answer their questions.
Filterability and search-ability mean that your killer content will no longer be hidden or buried. Visitors will be able to easily jump right to what they are looking for.
A learning center on your site can be useful not only for your visitors, but for your sales team as well. Your sales reps can use your learning center to quickly find answers to questions being asked by your prospects.
A great learning center will likely have a variety of content types, such as articles, videos, webinars, and ebooks, that are categorized and searchable.
In order to get your content ready to create a learning center, there are a few steps you need to take:
Inventory the content you already have
Identify gaps in your content
Categorize your content
Let’s take a closer look at each of these steps.
1. Inventory the content you already have
Inventory all of the content you have and what topics you have already covered. Have you covered the Big 5 questions that you get from your customers? Do you have any Selling 7 videos? Do you have any podcasts? What about other resources such as landing pages, calculators, ebooks, or white papers?
There are different ways of going about taking inventory. Some content management systems will allow you to export your data with titles and links into a spreadsheet.
If you have less content, you may be able to just manually go through your posts to see what you have.
Some of the information you may want to include in your inventory are:
Type of content (blog article, video, ebook, etc.)
URL for the resource
Resource CTA (read more, watch now, etc.)
Resource topic category
You can even add things such as how long the resource will take to read (factored by word count) and target persona for the resource.
Once you have an inventory of content that you have, you can decide which content is best suited for your learning center.
A learning center will allow you to serve visitors the type of content that is best suited to them. Some people love to read, while others prefer to watch videos or listen to podcasts. Still others like interactive content, so be sure to include a variety of content types.
You may not have all of these types of content yet. In the next step, you will identify those gaps so you can create needed content.
2. Identify gaps in your content
What content do you still need to create? Are there gaps? Perhaps you don’t have content that covers all of the questions that your visitors may have. Maybe you have a lot of content about your products, but none that covers the cost of those products. Are you missing videos or any interactive content?
Make a list of content that still needs to be created and add it to your editorial calendar. You will always be creating content that will be added to your learning center, but in the beginning, you will want to be sure you are covering, or have a plan to cover, content that addresses the questions your prospects are asking most about your products or services.
To find out what content your prospects are asking, you will want to talk to all of your client-facing personnel to see what questions they are hearing every day.
3. Categorize your content
You will want to make it easy for your visitors to find the topics that they are interested in, so they will need to be able to filter content by category.
RetroFoam Michigan provides foam insulation for people in Michigan’s lower peninsula. They add their most asked questions to the top of the page to save their visitors even more time. They also feature an easy search function.
Users can filter by topic as well as resource type so, for example. They can choose also to watch a video or see a checklist about their topic choice.
Lastly, they have a link to a handy calculator that helps visitors calculate a budget for their project.
The G Suite Learning Center is from Google Cloud. They allow you to search by the product you want to learn about. They also have a section that provides tips, links to certifications, and a way for users to contribute.
Our learning center at IMPACT allows users to search for information with an easy search function as well as by categories that are arranged by what problem visitors are looking to solve.
This makes it simple for our visitors to find what they are looking for. It also makes it easy for our sales team to quickly identify articles that will be helpful to send to prospects asking questions to give them just what they need.
All of the examples feature an easy search function and the ability to search by topic.
Pulling it all together
At this point, you are ready to set up your learning center. This will require some technical knowledge, so you may need help.
How you set up your learning center will depend on your platform. For example, if your site is on WordPress, you may automatically filter data using custom post types. If your site is on HubSpot, you will need to manually add your data to your learning center via HubDB.
We know that over 87% of the buying decision is made before a prospect ever contacts you. Creating a learning center is a great way to help out your sales teams as well as your prospects by educating them and helping them make an informed decision to buy.
Whether you choose to create your own or use one of our handy templates, you should get started! As Marcus Sheridan puts it, “This is what consumers want, and just like everything else in the digital age, industry leaders will be made by those that can do it well, and do it first.”