Understanding Searcher Intent is Vital

Searcher Intent, What is It, How Do You Define Searcher Intent?Searcher Intent? What Do Online Searchers Intend

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

The True Purpose of Posters

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

How to Transcribe Audio & Video Quickly & at Low Cost

Transcribe and transcriptionTranscription of Video and Audio is often needed for use on websites and YouTube.

DIY transcription tends to be slow, inaccurate and ineffective. So I recommend using online services such a SpeechPad, simply because they are accurate, quick, inexpensive and they operate 24/7.

Find them at  https://www.speechpad.com/

 

Could Numbers Be Gender Specific?

Research by Wilkie & Bodenhausen (2015) Indicates That Numbers Are Gender Specific

My gut reaction was that this was highly unlikely. But then I thought some more.

My logic was that if this were true then it might influence how we use numbers to influence the purchase of courses .. especially online.

So I'm conducting some research of my own. It's only a simple one question survey but it will cast more light on the question.

Answer this single question and I'll explain the rationale as soon as I have some results.

Click the link below to see the question

Numbers & Gender Research

How to Ensure Your Customer Information is Current

Richard Atkins can be found by performing a Google SearchHow To Update Customer Information

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

How Grow Employer Engagement with Automated Systems

How to automate employer engagement People crave useful information but hate spam

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

The Question “Why?” is Key to FE Management

Why?

It is the most fundamental question of all time. But it impacts FE unlike any other question.

Answer this one question and you have a starting place; a reason to get up in the morning and to be happy at work.

It also gives staff a  reason to give of their best .. and that means an effective college; a Grade 1 college.

Simon Sinek explains the question Why and how it has impacted the power of flight, Apple and much more.

How to Use Employers’ Curiosity Gap To Win Contracts

Lowenstein and the curiosity gap What is the Curiosity Gap and how does it apply to Employer Engagement & Business Development ?

George Lowenstein coined a theory he called the Curiosity Gap. In it he suggests that as soon as we realise there is a gap in our knowledge, we strive to fill it.

In Employer Engagement and Business Development we can take advantage of the Curiosity Gap by using a very simple formula. Continue reading

How to Generate Higher Value Sales on Your Website

How to Generate Higher Value Sales on Your WebsiteHow to Generate Higher Value Employer Engagement Sales ...

Using Figures on Your Course Pages is a Form of Anchoring That Can Be Used to Generate Higher Value Sales on a Website

I've talked about Anchoring [Tversky and Kahneman (1974)] in previous posts.

Continue reading

Negotiation Secrets: How to Negotiate From a Weak Position


Negotiate From a Weak Position
How to Negotiate From a Weak Position

Negotiating From a Position of Weakness is Daunting

But reframe the situation and you realise some strengths.  With nothing to lose there is ... well nothing to lose!

And thinking you've no chance of winnning the other side can get quite sloppy and can underrate you.  This is your hidden secret. With it you can now build a winning strategy

Building Your Winning Strategy

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Why Too Much Action is Detrimental to Success

Action Doesn't mean you have to get caught in the hamster wheel How to Achieve Success in a Busy Action Packed World

All Around Me I See People in Constant Motion. They are in Hamster Wheels of Activity

They are running from task to task, meeting to meeting, often with a phone welded to their ear.

But when you are this busy there is only one certain result. You miss the overview. You fail to learn enough to plan a strategy. You miss out on the crucial elements vital for you to achieve success.

The only results you get are activity and low achievement because when you have your nose to the grindstone life is pretty awful. The problem is that ..........

Constant Action Drives Out Deep, Meaningful Thought

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How to Turn Website Visitors into Students

website conversionTurn Website Visitors into Students

So many people write or blog about the black art of getting more website visitors; but far fewer focus on getting those visitors to become students (customers).

Converting visitors isn't a black art. It's not magic. It's the application of a very simple marketing process.

There are three parts to it.

Continue reading

Value Based Pricing Strategies for FE Business Development

Value Based Pricing Strategies are an FHE business development strategy essential in FE 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.

Continue reading

The Power of Three in Sales & Marketing

The Power of Three in Sales and markletingThe Power of Three Makes Sales More Certain

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. The Power of Three in Selling First Aid Courses

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

Who Needs an Elevator Pitch? Aren’t They Dead?

The elevator pitch is deadThe 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

Use Student Email to Produce a Detailed Customer Profile

Customer profile. Using a Phone Number or Email You Can Obtain Customer Profile Information Direct From the Facebook DatabaseUsing 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

What is the FE Marketing Silly Season?

FE Marketing Silly Season Stay Calm, Don't PanicSeveral 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

How To Coax Reluctant Buyers

Reluctant Buyers Don't Always Explain Their Hesitation 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

Continue reading

Once Upon a Time There Was a College Restaurant

Why some college restaurants need to closeCollege 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

How to Brief a Website Designer

How to Brief a Website Designer. Website Specification is Essential if You are to brief your website designerWebsites 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