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.
Marketing a College Restaurant: This is Often Low Down on the Priority List in Many Colleges. But When You Effectively Promote the College Restaurant The ROI is Huge
To simplify the college restaurant marketing process I use simple templates to determine answers to a series of questions that lead towards the marketing plan. The templates vary from college to college but you’ll get a feel of what I’m looking for from these typical questions. See Below …. 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 →
Psychological Nudging: The Government’s Behavioural Insights Team, aka The Nudge Unit, has been in existence for many years, but few people know of it.
However it can teach FE a thing or two about marketing and business development.
Psychological nudging is used by government to encourage us to do things we might not otherwise want to do. Things like pay their road tax.
A few years ago the Nudge Unit suggested that DVLA changed their normal long-winded letter to suspected non payers and sent a very simple message to those suspected on non payment. It simply said, Pay Your Road Tax or Lose Your Car.
Payments from previous non payers doubled. And when a photo of the vehicle was added payments tripled.
Outside of government nudge methods also work. Where honesty boxes are used the level of non payment significantly drops if you put an image of a pair of eyes next to the box! Continue reading →
For example you might have had students from a particular business for years and then they suddenly stop enrolling one year. Or maybe a school was an excellent feeder for years and then started to tail off. The answer could be coffee!
The schools issue is not so common with most providers as they often have a dedicated schools liaison person. And that fact indicates the problem with the former. You see if no one is tasked with keeping in touch with current customers they soon get forgotten. It isn’t enough to think that your courses are great and they will keep on coming. All it takes is for a competitor to appear and woo them away from you.
But if you keep in touch with them on a regular basis then they are far less likely to disappear. Ideally you should be sending them some useful snippets of info, or some top tips relevant to them, on a regular basis.
Have you ever wanted to email someone but didn’t have their email address?
Frustrating isn’t it.
The person you need to contact could be the MD of a large company that you can supply apprentices to. Or they could be the perfect guest speaker at an event you are running. But if you can’t email them you have a problem; especially if the gatekeeper assiduously guards them.
You could look for them on Facebook or LinkedIn but that takes time. Their website might only have an info@ type addresses.
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.
I could probably be described as an old dog but I love learning new tricks. I love to learn how to market more effectively and with the rate that marketing technology is changing that means learning lots of new tricks.
But it needn’t be as time consuming or expensive to learn as many people think. In this video I show how I’ve taken one simple marketing channel and learnt more at no cost. In this case it is how to use VFX .. Video Special Effects . In this case I wanted to learn how to track moving images and add a special effect to them. A few years ago this would have been difficult to do as each frame would have been dealt with separately. Now it is possible to automate the process and track a moving object for the whole clip length … and do it in minutes.
Learn more in the video below. View time .. less than 5 minutes 30 seconds
Follow-up is a superb way to increase your sales and profits and is very easy to understand and undertake.
So lets start with the Follow Up basics.
You’ve met someone and they have shown genuine interest in what you have to offer. You exchange cards and part company with promises to get back in touch. But clearly you will not be doing any business if you don’t get back in contact.
Sadly that is where many potential business opportunities fail. No further contact is made.
Now it might be that you feel getting back in touch feels a bit pushy. OK, but if you aren’t prepared to push at this stage there is no business to be had. You have to make the effort to get back in touch.
They’ve been told it will save money and give them access to a wider marketing skill base.
I think both of these reasons are flawed. But the truth is worse than that. In this video I go into the pros and cons of outsourcing. You can read more of my thoughts on outsourcing marketing in my recent article on FE News.
Major costs are incurred in aggregating the course and other information required. More costs are incurred in designing the hard copy publication. Printing is a huge cost. And distribution, especially via the post, can add another huge bill to the total cost.
My recent article on FE News had the phone ringing and was shared over fifty times. In it I said that FE needs to rethink their business model and offer people what they wanted rather than what providers thought was needed.
I agreed that qualifications were important but suggested that not everyone wants a qual. Some people just want to be able to apply new skills very quickly and others were looking for a leisure experience.
I provided three examples of FE businesses that were thriving and had no government funding and no Inspection hassles.
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.