If you were to believe some of the gurus, there is only one way to market a college or training organisation.
They say you need to use whichever “shiny new toy” they are promoting this week. The problem is that each guru has a different “shiny new toy” and they keep changing toys every few months.
What they seem to forget is that these toys are only marketing channels. They are a way to get your message out there.
The thing is some of these shiny new toys are very good and some aren’t. But the key thing is to focus on your message.
We all need to remember that however good the channel, however many people are using it, however new and shiny it is … it is useless if you use it to send trivia.
The key to good marketing is to focus on the message.. we need to find the value in our offer, package it in key messages and use a good call to action. Hint: just being new doesn’t necessarily demonstrate the value of a course!
Of course this is simplistic, but it is essentially correct.
Attracting Attention to Your Marketing Message
We all know the old adage that says to get a response from a prospect we need to get in front of them 7-8 times. Whether it is 7-8 is debatable, but what is sure is that people don’t often buy on the first occasion they see you. The key thing here is to attract attention. Without it there is no way that the employer, student or parent will see your message!
In some cases the first point of contact will be your prospectus, online or offline advert, social media ….. whatever it is, it is now essential that you give a clear and consistent message over all media and over time. You need message consistency and repetition.
So, if you are promoting your message by say, email or a newsletter, it is more effective if the message remains consistent.
For example, if your message is one around apprenticeships it is often more effective if you keep providing employers a consistent message about the value of apprenticeships to them in terms of succession planning, skills shortages etc. rather than giving them mixed messages around the technicalities of how apprenticeships work, technical quals etc.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t provide answers to the other questions asked or even about how apprenticeships operate. But there is a difference between the value of an apprenticeship and the details of how they work and how employers work with you. These are details that probably need dealing with on a one to one basis and not via an email or advert.
So the purpose of the email, or other marketing channel, is to provide a clear message around the value of apprenticeships and the call to action is then about contacting you to see how they can tap into these the benefits and/or to learn more.
Does Your Marketing Create Desire?
In other words you have to create a desire to tap into the value that employing an apprenticeship can provide, and show them how to get an apprentice by contacting you.
This basic concept works with virtual any marketing channel, even the “shiny new toys”, provided you are consistent. What employers really struggle with are mixed messages that result if you haven’t thought through the real reasons they should employ an apprentice, sign up to a course or whatever. .
Creating Consistent Desire
If people don’t “buy” immediately it doesn’t mean they will never buy. It may well mean they are not currently in a position to buy. So the key thing is to be there in front of them when they do want to buy.
This means you need to keep putting that consistent clear message in front of them on a regular basis. I don’t mean keep trying to sell to them. A regular flow of valuable advice is the ideal way to keep their attention and to be in front of them when they are ready to buy.
In my own case I do this with this blog, my regular column in FENews, frequent appearances as a speaker at national conferences, in-house and open training events and a regular flow of emails, that rarely try to sell my products or services.
By doing this I find many people approach me when they have a marketing need and that this might be years after we first met. The thing is for all that time I have supported them with free help and advice and proved my value.
You can do the same with employers, business owners, school children …. in fact with any profiled audience. Why not try it?