We read a lot about SEO and ensuring that we use the right keywords in our content to ensure we come high up on the Search Engine Results Pages. But to do this, and get highly ranked, we need to know what the online searcher intent is.
Are they just merely curious, doing actual research, want to buy, want to recommend to a friend or something altogether different? People's intentions are not always obvious, so, when writing content, we need to make some assumptions if our webpage is to match their actual needs. Continue reading →
Posters are a popular way to disseminate information. But they often miss the point
Whenever we produce a poster it is easy to say they are for information. But is that all they are being produced to do?
Let's take a very simple poster .. or sign. If it says To the Beach it is providing information. But the information is useless unless we add an arrow. Even then the sign has failed if it does not get people to act upon the Call to Action we have provided. Continue reading →
We all know Customer Information or customer intelligence is vital. But keeping on top of change is hard.
For example how do you know what is happening in a customer's business? Things like new staff, new premises, new products and services, new contracts plus all the problems they can encounter.
You could spend days each month checking for Customer Information in newspapers, websites, brochures, social media and much more .. and still not keep up on one customer. And what happens when you have 20 or even several hundred clients? Continue reading →
This simple fact means that keeping in regular contact with people, especially busy employers, is much easier than many people think.
All you need to do is to send them regular emails packed full of really good advice that is of specific interest to them. This sounds time consuming, but it really isn't if you use an Autoresponder.
An Autoresponder is what your email uses to send an "out of office" message. It responds to an incoming email. Or in this case someone signing up to a newsletter. It then sends out a message, either at a predetermined time or whenever you prompt it to. Continue reading →
Value Based Pricing is an Alternative Pricing Strategy Few FE Providers Use
Most FE Providers ignore Value Based Pricing Strategies and go for Flat Pricing with a single option. For example, a course is charged at £195 per person. There are no other options.
This is a quick and easy way to quote but it means you are going to be compared with your competitors on price. And that means someone will always try to do it cheaper and, even if you get the work, the margins are very slim.
The Power of Three is a very simple idea that can really provide improved sales and marketing results.
What is the Power of Three?
The power of three is simple, but lets start with the number one. When you offer people one option .. or a take it or leave it option .. they have no choice and there is a high chance you fail to make a sale.
But give people several options and the choice goes from deciding if they want your course to deciding which option they want.
Sadly FE rarely offers people options that could sell more. But they could if they follow this advice.
Examples of the Power of Three Options
Say you are selling a First Aid course.
Lots of colleges sell these courses and buyers decide on location and price. Where several providers exist in a buyers area they then often buy based on price alone.
The Power of Three says you should offer the standard course at a given price but then offer two further options. These could be based on anything to providing free coffee and or lunch to things like online QA after the course. Continue reading →
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 →
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.
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.
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 →
As Principal I employed very few consultants but did employ Stefan on the basis of a clear ROI.
I would recommend him to any college, university, business or Government agency as a reliable consultant who will become indispensable.
Ioan Morgan CBE Latterly FE College Principal & CEO
He certainly does what he says on the tin...... I've worked with Stefan for many years and he has an uncanny knack of cutting through the ****, focussing on the essentials and coming up with creative and inexpensive marketing ideas that work.
Stefan isn't called the 'Marketing Magician' for nothing you know !
His ability to see marketing solutions that really work is second to none, without spending a fortune.
I think Stefan's great strength is taking problems and solving them, in a clear and positive way, without a whole lot of jargon.
I recently had the pleasure on working with Stefan on publishing a new marketing book. "Creating Business Growth" quickly became a Bestseller in several countries around the world. This project came together and was guided from concept to successful completion by a true leader. That leader is Stefan Drew. Stefan is an experienced marketer and I highly recommend him.
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