Author Archives: Stefan Drew

Does Your Web Design Company Tie You To Them .. Or Grant You Total Freedom?

Does your websdesigner tie you up in knotsA Website Is Essential for Education Providers .. Especially FE Colleges. But Often a Web Design Company Tie You to Them And You Don’t Realise Until It Is Too Late

This is how it works. Some web companies quote and tell you that you will have full control over the website once it is launched. But over the last few years, we’ve seen too many instances where that wasn’t true. Let me show you how a Web Design Company Can Tie You to them.

Many college sites pull in course info from the MIS system. It’s often a problem syncing the two together and the web design company will use a piece of software to do this. Often it isn’t until part way through the design process that they tell you about the need to use it. And they will blame your MIS system.

And because you are working to a deadline its easy to believe they have a solution and go down that road.

The problem comes when you want to take over full control of the website. The bit of software that links your MIS and website belongs to the web company. They insist you need to pay them a maintenance fee to keep the syncing running. And that’s how they stay in control of everything. In the worse cases, the company will then discover new problems when you want to upgrade plugins etc. The plugin will clash with their piece of software and you will need to pay them to modify it!

How Else Does a Web Design Company Tie You to Them?

Another trick unscrupulous web designers do is to quote for hosting the site. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this. But we’ve seen one case recently where the bill for hosting was £10k for a three years contract. When we looked at the external host they were using we found a huge discrepancy. The hosting company were charging £250 a year. The extra £9250 over three years was the admin fee the company were trying to charge.

There are a great number of really good web designers available to colleges. Not all are of dubious reputation. The problem is working out which ones are straight and which ones are out to rip you off.

At times like this, it pays to use an external consultant to advise on what to look for. After years of working with straight designers, and finding far too many that aren’t straight, we are happy to advise any college.

Discover more about college website problems on this site 

Or visit Underfunded Education for advice on how to get the best from small budgets

 

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Does Your Agency Tie You into PPC by using their platform and not yours?

Valuable data shouldnt be given away to PPC agencies PPC Agencies Can Save Time & Money Or Tie YOU into Their Advertising System Without Escape

I see plenty of instances where providers are using marketing and PPC Agencies. Sometimes the results are good, sometimes not very good at all. But there is something that many providers miss when signing up to an agency. It is who owns and controls the data that is being gathered and the results of all the money you spend on ads.

It works like this. To place PPC ads you need an account. The account is the platform where all ads are placed and the results are stored. These results are powerful. They enable us to determine what to tweak, what to improve and what worked well. They also allow us to re-run successful ads at any time in the future.

So ownership of the platform is vital.

The problem is many agencies prefer to run your ads on THEIR platform. That means you have no access to YOUR results. You are therefore tied to them for future advertising. Of course, they don’t tell you this at the outset. And if you query it they tell you all sorts of stories about h0ow using their platform is lower cost, that it is optimised and other bullshit.

Protect Yourself from Unscrupulous PPC Agencies

YOUR Data is valuable. Ensure you keep hold of it and never allow an agency to steal it or control it.

There are more FE related posts on our sister site  …. so go to UnderFundedEducation.co.uk 

 

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Project Management: How to Manage Complex Business Management Projects Without Getting Stressed

Project Management_ How to Manage Complex Business Management Projects Without Getting Stressed.jHow to Manage Complex Business Management Projects is the topic of my latest book. It’s available on Amazon

at  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07B79K534

 

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The Impact of Snow Days on Student Learning and Provider Financial Viability

We Don't get Snow Days Where I Live! Snow Days Can Cost College and Training Providers Dear

The following video details the impact closure on snow days has, how to overcome closure due to snow days and some of the research carried out in the US into closure due to bad weather.

The findings might surprise you .. they did me. And America’s solution to snow days, Make Up Days! Extra Days when colleges and schools open to make up for lost time.

If you want to read about the topic in more depth you’ll find an article in my regular column on FE News

https://www.fenews.co.uk/featured-article/16330-the-impact-of-snow-days-on-learning-and-financial-viability

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FE Project Manages Specific Tasks Every Day .. Here is the Success Secret

Project Management is key to FE management success

Trello FE Project Management Example

Everything we do in FE seems to be a project. From teaching and marketing to building a new campus.  It’s all about Project Management.

But often our project management skills aren’t great. We could do much better at Project Management. At things like initiating, planning, implementing, controlling, and completing specific processes required to achieve specific tasks.  And we need to remember that everything needs to be achieved within a specific time frame and to budget. Continue reading

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How to Market a College Restaurant

 How to market a college restaurant The college restaurant is an essential part of the catering and hospitality offer in many colleges. And in an age of underfunding it can also be an essential profit generator. So How to Market a College Restaurant is the question many HODs and FDs are asking.

Sadly, many College Restaurants fail to attract sufficient numbers of customers. They don’t provide the necessary amount of experience the students deserve, or the level of income and profit generation expected.

So how can customer numbers and income be increased? How do you successfully market a college restaurant? 

These are the questions I set out to address when I wrote my latest book. And although I wrote it from the perspective of any Restaurant, Coffee Shop, Café, Tea Rooms, Pub, Wine Bar and Other Food and Drink Outlet, the advice is highly relevant to a college restaurant.

To write the book I’ve visited college restaurants, plus commercial premises in the UK, Spain, Portugal, USA, South Africa and Eire. I’ve also sought the advice of restaurant owners, MDs and managers across the globe.

Here’s a Contents list to indicate what this 36,000 word book, How to Market a College Restaurant, covers.

Content 

Why This Book Exists

Introduction

A dream comes true

Advertising

Most People Think Advertising is Marketing

Three Types of Advertising

Brand Advertising

Direct Sales Advertising

Relationship Building Advertising

AIDA Stands For ….

What is Marketing?

Location (Place)

Customer Profiles

More About Surveys

Cuisine Type

Customer Service

Dress Codes and Staff Dress

Traditional Marketing

The 4 Ps

Price

Portion Control

Values, Keywords/Phrases e.g. Locally Sourced, From Our Garden or Greenhouse

Traditional Advertising

Who is Your Next Customer?

Referral Business

Networking

Reputation

PR – Public Relations

Magazine Articles

Video PR

Why Drive Away Business?

HARO, ExpertSources and Other Directories

Campaigns and Events

Brochures, Leaflets and Printed Materials

CRM

Websites

Multiple Offers

SEO – URL Keyword Phrases and Content

Simple SEO Actions

Wi-Fi Bandwidth is a Marketing and Operations Issue

Online Menus and Ordering

More Online Menu Advantages

Pagers Versus Text Notifications

The Internet of Things (IoT)

Beacons (aka Proximity Beacons)

Storytelling

Upselling

Customer Service Subtleties

How Hotel Restaurants Can Look Disorganised

Understanding Hospitality Trends

More Hospitality Research Abstracts

Other Information Sources

Payment Trends

External Events

Digital Marketing

Social Media

Facebook

Twitter

LinkedIn

Pinterest

Snapchat

Instagram

YouTube

Personal Profiles

Groups

The Controversial Question of Photography

The Consumer Buying Process

Social Media to Raise Awareness

Social Media Advertising

Third Party Sites … TripAdvisor, Toptable etc.

Google Maps ….. Bing, Safari and More

Getting Google Reviews

Increasing Prices

Tipping Policy

Quirky Marketing Ideas

Cooking Aromas

Lighting

Views of Food, Kitchen and the External View

Sound, Music and TV

The Bill and Recipe …. to CRM

Your Perfect Marketing Plan

Want more information on restaurant marketing? check out this link http://providermastermind.com/?s=restaurant+

You can find more of my FE articles on the FE News website

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How to Use Chatline Data to Improve Recruitment

How to use chatline data to recruitChatlines Are Usually Seen As Communications Channels. But Did You Know They Contain Huge Amounts of Data That is Vital to Recruitment and Sales? Here’s How to Use Chatline Data to Improve Recruitment.

Yes, it’s true the data that your website chatline collects could be vital to your recruitment process. It can inform you about the type of questions being posed, the seasonality of the questions (different questions get asked in August and September than in February) and this may impact the way you post on your website or social media.

In fact, I’d be worried if it had no impact!

Learn More About Chatline Data Use

To learn more follow the link below to our sister site and implement the lessons provided in the YouTube video

How to Use Chatline Data to Improve Recruitment

You can find more of my FE articles on the FE News website

 

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Selling Benefits Is Wrong! Highlighting Risk in Commodity Buying & Selling

Avoiding Risk in Commodity BuyingWhy Selling Benefits Can Sometimes Lose You Sales … Especially the Risk in Commodity Buying .. and Courses are a Typical Commodity Buy

Enlightened salespeople will tell you to focus on sales benefits and not features .. ie sell the sizzle.

So you are encouraged to focus on the increase in sales that your software produces rather than its powered by twin-axial quadrons.

Or on the companies that use your software and how its impacted their bottom line.

95+% of the time this makes sense .. until it doesn’t. And when it doesn’t it costs you sales. Continue reading

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What Crows Can Teach Us About Marketing

What Corvids Can Teach Us About MarketingTool Making Is What Differentiates Humans From Non-Humans ….Or That Is What We Used to Think. But Crows Can Teach Us About Marketing

When I was young I read about humans having an opposing thumb which meant we could make tools. Coupled with a larger brain than other species that was apparently what made us human.

How wrong we were! Continue reading

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GDPR courses or event costing £750

GDPR could prove expensive for colleges. Are you spending too much?

GDPR could prove expensive for colleges. Are you spending too much?

GDPR is Vitally Important for FE .. & Could Prove Expensive

We have seen GDPR posts everywhere in the last months. And for good reason. This regulation is going to hit the sector very hard. For ages, we’ve kept all sorts of lists of people that have shown a vague interest in our offer. They’ve been kept by MIS, the marketing department and countless staff have kept their own private lists, often because they don’t trust the others to do their job properly. Continue reading

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Will AI Create Jobs and Training Opportuniites?

Will AI Create JobsHow Will AI Impact Future Employment & Training Opportunities? Will AI Create Jobs?

 Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robots were meant to improve efficiencies and save mankind from mind-sapping boring and repetitive jobs. But the media is now full of fear. People are afraid of unemployment and it is AI and robotics they blame when jobs are lost.

But is AI really to blame? Or should AI and robots be welcome? Continue reading

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Is Education Shackled to Blockchain?

The future of Education Could be Closely Linked to Blockchain. And BitDegree and MicroDegrees could also be part of the future.

I’ve written about this in more detail in my latest FE News Exclusive Article

https://www.fenews.co.uk/featured-article/15795-is-2018-the-year-of-education-blockchains-bitdegrees-microdegrees

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Are You Answering Your Phone?

Do yopu answer your phones? Unanswered Phones Represent the Biggest Marketing & Recruitment Leakage in FE

I’ve written about unanswered phones before. It is no good spending £000s on marketing only to ignore the calls when a prospective student calls.

Sadly the blight of unanswered calls continues. In the last two weeks, I’ve repeatedly called two providers that have failed to answer. One just lets the phone ring and ring without going to answerphone. The other plays back testimonials (with background noise) for several minutes before saying it has not been possible to connect you and cutting the call. Continue reading

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Marketing Principles Beat Tactics

Marketing Principles Beat Tacky Marketing Tactics Hands DownEvery Week I See Shiny New Marketing Toys Being Recommended. Too Often They Focus on Tactics NOT Marketing Principles

There is a big difference between a tactic and a principle. Both can work short term, but principles are far longer lived and can last forever. Continue reading

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It’s Education: But Not As We Know It

Education is Changing: How Long Will Colleges Survive?

Its easy to think that colleges and the type of courses they offer will never change … or need to change.

But the world changes at an increasingly fast pace and new competitors appear as if from nowhere. And they are creating change, even if we don’t recognise it.

Continue reading

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Marketing Thought: There are Few Alternatives to a Budget

Stella* called me and booked a 1:1 …. she had severe marketing issues and her turnover had droppped £3 million in five years. Her turnover was had fallen by 50% to £3m.

Stella’s largest competitor has a £55m turnover and puts 2% into his marketing budget plus he employs a team of 10 marketing professionals.

Continue reading

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Which Colleges & Universities Impress You With Their Marketing?

I Love Learning How to Improve Education Marketing

So, I’m currently planning visits to a number of colleges and universities worldwide.

When I visited Cambridge University it snowed.

In Miami the sun shone and we felt as free as the birds.

 

Which international colleges and universities excel at marketing? What do they do different to their competitors? Where do you recommend I visit?

Please email me with your answers or invites. StefanDrew(@)gmail.com

 

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How Bots Can Improve Website Design

how bots improve website design Chatlines and Chatbots Can Provide Data Capable of Being Used to Improve Website Design

We all plan for our website to be perfect. But perfection is hard to attain and the best we can often hope for is a high quality site that answers all the questions we expect out target audience to ask.

But sadly we often miss essential questions. Especially those seasonal questions that come through by phone or chatline, but otherwise get missed.

How Questions Improve Website Design

If you take all the questions you are asked in a week or month (download them from your chatbot into a spreadsheet is a good idea). Then analyse them you will see certain trends developing. Continue reading

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Using Fractals in FE marketing and Sales

20% of Your Businesses Are Probably Responsible for 80% of Your Turnover …. and Fractals Dictate There Are Huge Profit Opportunities With The 20%

Definition of a Fractal: a graphical curve or geometric figure, each part of which has the same statistical character as the whole.

Businesses and people are predictable, far more predictable than many people think. Economist Vilfredo Pareto was aware of this and described the Pareto Principal with regards income distribution.

But it applies to other situations as well. The Pareto Principle is actually a fractal in that the same relationship exists as you drill down through your business. 20% of your customers will either buy 80% of your goods or contribute 80% of your profits. And if that 20% you’ll find that 20% of them are super customers and contribute 80% of the 80%  ….. well you get the idea.

It takes some doing getting your head around this but it is important that you do because when it comes to profit not all customers are equal.

In business fractals are all around you. Take football, a huge number of people watch the game in the pub. It cost s them a glass of beer. Of these people 20% can be persuaded to buy a ticket to go to a game. 20% of them will buy a season ticket. 20% of them will take a box. And a few of them will buy a club!

Of course 20% doesn’t hold true in every single case but you get the idea I’m sure. There is a,ways a percentage that can be unsold to the next level.

So what are up you doing to tap into these sales?

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Six SEO Things Google Doesn’t Care About

Can Anyone Guarantee Getting you On Page One of Google? How easy is it to get on Page One of Google? Google Doesn't CareSEO is a Black Art Laced with Science, Smoke, Mirrors and Things Google Doesn’t Care About.

Its easy to believe the old myths about SEO and what Google is looking for but most of this is pure myth.

The reality is that Google is looking for just one thing .. User Experience (UX).

If it provides searchers with a better UX then Google is interested  .. otherwise .. Google Doesn’t Care.

Check Out the Video to see the SEO Myths

Have you visited our UnderFunded Education site?

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