The Elevator Pitch is Dead
Do you recall the elevator pitch?. You had to tell people about yourself in the time it took to go a few floors in a lift or on an elevator. My US friends need to translate .. what Americans call an elevator we cal a lift in the UK.
Most people focused on something like "I'm Stefan and I am a marketing consultant". It was all about the speaker and very boring.
A better concept is to talk about what they need. So when I meet a principal in a lift I get a better response if I say something like, "I'm Stefan and I've just increased applications at x college buy 30% and cut their marketing budget by £100k. Would you be interested in learning how we did it?" Continue reading
Using a Phone Number or Email You Can Obtain Customer Profile Information Direct From the Facebook Database
OK, thinking about your customer profile; you probably know how you can target audiences and create lookalike audiences using an existing email list.
But did you know you can take an audience segment and get audience insights for that list? This is powerful customer profile data that really helps you boost sales and marketing.
You might decide you want to know more about 16-18 year olds that are on engineering or beauty courses.
Or perhaps you want to target employers that attended a particular event or college webinar (you are doing college webinars aren't you?).
Once you do this you open the door to seeing where they live, their gender, age, interests etc. Continue reading
Posted in 14-19, Advertising, Apprenticeships, Business Development, Business Strategy, conference management, Employer Engagement, event management
Tagged customer profile, employer engagement, facebook, student profile
Several FE marketing colleagues contacted me during the FE Marketing Silly Season
All were highly hacked off.
What is the FE Marketing Silly Season? Why were people hacked off? They were hacked off simply because they had worked hard all year and felt that their professionalsim was under attack.
And what is it? The FE Marketing Silly Season is when provider senior staff look at numbers and decide that action is needed. By that I mean an extra marketing push is needed. My colleagues tell me that the senior staff then come up with all sorts of marketing initiatives and insist that the marketing department implement them immediately. Continue reading
Whether Encouraging Prospective Students or Employers We've All Sensed Prospective Customers That Are Reluctant to Proceed.
When Reluctant Buyers voice their issues it is relatively easy as we have been trained to handle the situation; we know about sales objections and how to handle them. The real problem comes when we just sense their reluctance but it is left unsaid.
So what do we Brits do? Often we leave sleeping dogs to lie. We don't like raising problems. this is mainly because we try to avoid conflict at all costs.
The result is the meeting or negotiation goes well, there is no conflict and we part "good friends". But the student never reappears or the employer doesn't place the order for training or doesn't proceed with taking an apprentice.
Everyone has wasted their time. It is a lose lose situation.
Handling Reluctant Buyers Unsaid Sales Objections
College Restaurants are about to hit the news. Some providers are about to announce expansion plans with city centre commercial premises .. and others are quietly closing their restauarants.
Neither route is necessarily the one other providers should follow. But we all should ensure our commercial activites are there for the right reason. And that has to be to provide our students with the very best training and education we can provide. They deserve no less.
Sadly many providers close over the summer period and, whilst i agee that staff need a break, I'm not convinced college restaurants should close over the summer.
You can read more about my views in my latest FE News article entitled ........Why Some College Restaurants Need to Close
Websites Cost a Lot of Money, So Correctly Briefing Your Website Designer is Vital if You Want Value for Money from Your Designer
How to Brief a Website Designer
Over the last ten years I've specified a lot of education websites. I've also reviewed a lot of website specs drawn up by providers. So How to Brief a Website Designer is now second nature to me; but lots of people struggle with it. Specifying the website is key to getting your site right, but it needs detailed and concise specification.
A lot of good web designers tell me that too many clients haven't much idea what they want in a website except it should be a "good site" or a site like one of their competitors.
No designer can give you value for money with such an imprecise specification. The good ones will probe for detail but the unethical designers (and there are a lot of them out there) will rip you off by fulfilling your imprecise instructions at high cost (then blame you for not briefing them properly).
Website Specification Detail
In the last few years I've specified many websites and my experience is that a specification needs to be at least 30-40 pages in length to be detailed enough to provide a designer with sufficient information. And I don't mean a document full of screengrabs of sites that are liked or disliked; I mean hard facts.
It is necessary to specify your customer profiles, the products and/or services you wish to offer, the Calls to Action you require to be followed and the apps, plugins and functions you wish to provide. In most cases it is the function we wish to provide e.g. an appointment booking system, rather than the actual app or plugin to be used as the designer should have a more up to date knowledge of these and how they will interface with other systems and functions. Continue reading
Risk Management: Unseen Risks in Your Department Could Crash The Organisation.
Imagine the scene. Late Friday night your servers go down. No one notices and even if they did the premises are locked and no one can get in to repair the problem.
On Monday someone spots the problem but it is impossible to remedy the fault as your IT server back up has failed.
You no longer have a website .. the MIS system has also packed up .. and you can't access any of your files. In fact the total IT system has collapsed and can't be repaired.
So the organisation closes down and you are left without a job!
I've recently surveyed a lot of providers and this scenario is possible in many of them.
In my latest FE News article I highlight some of the reasons this can happen and how to prevent it happening to you.
To discover more read FE At Risk: Clear & Present Danger
Audio Transcriptions: Being able to post a transcription of a video, keynote speech or lecture has many benefits.
Cost has always been a factor in obtaining audio transcriptions as has making recordings. But the costs have now virtually disappeared and recording the words has never been easier.
Let's take the words first. The simple way to do this .. if you don't have access to a lot of expensive kit is to use a mobile phone and a low cost Lavaliere microphone. I personally use the PRO70 (£111.28 the day I wrote this post), but there are other options. Lavaliere mics plug into your Android or iPhone and will record either sound only, or sound and video.
Psychological Nudging: The Government's Behavioural Insights Team, aka The Nudge Unit, has been in existence for many years, but few people know of it.
However it can teach FE a thing or two about marketing and business development.
Psychological nudging is used by government to encourage us to do things we might not otherwise want to do. Things like pay their road tax.
A few years ago the Nudge Unit suggested that DVLA changed their normal long-winded letter to suspected non payers and sent a very simple message to those suspected on non payment. It simply said, Pay Your Road Tax or Lose Your Car.
Payments from previous non payers doubled. And when a photo of the vehicle was added payments tripled.
Outside of government nudge methods also work. Where honesty boxes are used the level of non payment significantly drops if you put an image of a pair of eyes next to the box! Continue reading
The Lifetime Value (LTV) of a Customer is Important. So Using the Supermarket "Lost Leader" Concept to Grow Your Provider Business Is Essential.
So often a course fails due to low numbers. You have nine people signed up and you need ten to be viable. So you send nine people away unhappy because you ignored Lifetime Value.
Often it feels like this is the only way forward. It makes economic sense. OR does it? Continue reading
How Often Do Your Clients Become Past Memories?
For example you might have had students from a particular business for years and then they suddenly stop enrolling one year. Or maybe a school was an excellent feeder for years and then started to tail off. The answer could be coffee!
The schools issue is not so common with most providers as they often have a dedicated schools liaison person. And that fact indicates the problem with the former. You see if no one is tasked with keeping in touch with current customers they soon get forgotten. It isn't enough to think that your courses are great and they will keep on coming. All it takes is for a competitor to appear and woo them away from you.
But if you keep in touch with them on a regular basis then they are far less likely to disappear. Ideally you should be sending them some useful snippets of info, or some top tips relevant to them, on a regular basis.
Internet Marketers Claim Email Lists Are Where The Money Is To Be Found.
In fact many internet marketers spend huge amounts of time, money and effort building their "lists" .. of email addresses. They can't contemplate marketing without email.
And while it is true that email is an important facet of marketing, I'm not convinced it is the "be all and end all" it is often claimed. In fact I've ditched my lists and CRM in my own busienss and have developed another strategy which, for me, works even better and is less effort.
What are trivial colleges?
Why will they close?
My recent article in FE News explains all
Trivial colleges will become Extinct First
Have you ever wanted to email someone but didn't have their email address?
Frustrating isn't it.
The person you need to contact could be the MD of a large company that you can supply apprentices to. Or they could be the perfect guest speaker at an event you are running. But if you can't email them you have a problem; especially if the gatekeeper assiduously guards them.
You could look for them on Facebook or LinkedIn but that takes time. Their website might only have an info@ type addresses.
Finding email addresses
So check out emailhunter.co .
Demonstrate Your Value
When a client next asks for a quote try this.
Tell them that rather than spend half a day quoting for their work you have a counter proposal. You are willing to come in for half a day and demonstrate your value.
Tell them you are willing to come in and run a half day taster to help them see what you can do to help them. All they need to do is to line up some staff that will benefit from attending.
That way they will get some benefits anyway, and a quote never provides benefits .. just figures. And you will both see what it is like to work with one another.
This approach is unique and sets you apart from those just providing a quote but no evidence of their value.
If the prospect doesn't want to go for this option then just quote as usual.
Could Area Reviews, poor financial track records and being digitally challenged spell the extinction of the FE college?
That is the argument of some private providers I had lunch with recently. They thought FE colleges had real problems with the calibre of governors, a marked lack of understanding and reluctance to use digital and much more.
Have they got is right or totally wrong? Most FE staff have strong feelings over this but tend not to voice their views too loudly. What is your view?
The full article can be found in my regular column on FE News.
Colleges and Universities mainly use the .ac.uk domain names reserved exclusively for them. But they can also use other domains (urls) at their description and other training providers frequently prefer to use .co.uk or .com addresses for their websites and emails.
But what if the domain you want isn't available? Well, you might still be able to pick it up. Some addresses aren't used, people just buy them with a view to sell them. They cybersquat on them. Agencies that do this will offer urls at exorbitant fees. Think carefully before paying them. How much are they really worth?
Some addresses have been used but are going to expire for various reasons. It might be the businesses has ceased trading or changed business direction. In that case you can buy them once they are available.
Frequently I'm Told Employers Will NOT Pay a Premium .. or sometimes anything at all.
That's NOT True
Employers will pay much more than most people think when buying courses for themselves or highly valued staff.
The trick is to tap into what they value or need most.
Employers are people and people value the little extras in life .. such as
Luxury (the feeling of)
Process (if it’s unique)
Passing Responsibility (the transfer of it…to you)
Think about the businesses that YOU pay a premium to…
What do they give you that makes you happy to pay extra?
Coffee shops; most charge a high premium on coffee fees. In return you get a distinct ambiance, great coffee, comfortable seating and (usually) good music.
Apple, Their computers and phones are really expensive. You can pay 100% - 400% premium on their computers. But in return, you get a Apple shops which provide a much better experience, a great feeling when opening the box plus good customer service.
Even the simpler, more innovative design implies clarity.
What Employers Will Pay For
Employers will pay extra if you provide some, or all, of the above.
The first step is to answer the phone correctly. These people are responsible adults that run businesses. Far too often when I speak to providers on the phone I feel like they are treating me like a school leaver. There is no need to be abrupt or appear superior!
I'm sure staff don't set out to appear like this .. but sadly some definitely come over like this.
So start by thinking about the people you are dealing with and what they expect. Provide this as a minimum and then try to exceed their expectations. You can then base your prices on this level of service and see significant income improvements.
You will also stand out from the crowd when bidding against other providers.
Do you only offer the usual courses. You know, the usual list of manual handling, health and safety courses, food hygiene and all those other courses you can find on 90-95% of provider websites?
This employer market is limited and incomes restricted.
But there is another way where incomes and profit grow at an exponential rate.
You see while very few ever look beyond offering this shortlist and, if asked for something out of the ordinary, just say they there is no call for it. The really smart providers do something entirely different.
They make significant profit.