A 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.
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.
Keeping In Contact With Customers & Prospects Without Email
In this post I want to share a recording I did with my colleague Ian Brodie. Ian is Mr Email and wrote the definitive book on the subject. So me saying I don’t use email is an interesting proposition for an interview.
Did sparks fly? Of course not.
But you might find a few thoughts that create flames for you and your business.
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 →
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.
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.
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.
Knowing Our Customers Social Media Profile is Essential for Cost-Effective Marketing
I’ve talked about profiling our customers social media responses before, And you probably realise I have concerns about the volume of poorly used social media being used by providers. Customer profiles are a vital marketing tool.
It isn’t that I’m totally against social media. It is that far too often the wrong platforms are often used, messages sent tend to be a bit vanilla and there are far too few calls to action for my liking. Certainly social media is meant to engage. But it should never bore. And every marketing campaign should have some measurable outcome; preferably a sale of some sort.
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.
Stefan is very thorough in his research and understanding of a clients requirements. He has a proven record of delivering comprehensive strategic marketing plans that address education / FE issues critical to the ongoing success of a ...MoreStefan is very thorough in his research and understanding of a clients requirements. He has a proven record of delivering comprehensive strategic marketing plans that address education / FE issues critical to the ongoing success of a college. I would recommend considering Stefan for any project that involves strategic planning, communication or digital marketing.
I have worked with Stefan and have learnt a lot from him. He has extensive knowledge in digital marketing and he is keen to share his passion for the kind of deep audience insights that digital marketing can offer. ...MoreI have worked with Stefan and have learnt a lot from him. He has extensive knowledge in digital marketing and he is keen to share his passion for the kind of deep audience insights that digital marketing can offer.
His enthusiasm for marketing is infectious and he is a joy to work with.
Stefan is very thorough in his research and understanding of a clients requirements. He has a proven record of delivering comprehensive strategic marketing plans that address education / FE issues critical to the ongoing success of a ...More
I have worked with Stefan and have learnt a lot from him. He has extensive knowledge in digital marketing and he is keen to share his passion for the kind of deep audience insights that digital marketing can offer. ...More
Stefan has a brilliant insight into the world of FE Marketing! I love discussing new marketing ideas with Stefan and value his professional opinion on efficient systems, processes and strategy.