When you can’t compete on price for your training services
Five marketing strategies to get more learners and repeat business without competing with low quality, fast turnaround, competitors
It’s that time of year in Australia when training providers vie to convince people that garnering new skills will lead them to a better life. Whether it’s a qualification or a New Year’s resolution to get better at computer skills, or to take a brave step to go back into the classroom for the first time since leaving school to brush up their literacy and numeracy skills, people are either faced with a plethora of choice or have no idea where to start. Whatever the scenario, competition in the training market entices people by attractive fees, the shortest time possible and the minimum of effort. This is an issue with a system that at times seems to wear the teeth of a toothless tiger. Training providers that have values embodied in quality of the training product fail to compete well in this paradigm.
The clues to why some training providers have been successful are evident in the paragraph above; they have managed to satisfy three important decision making factors of time, money and effort and are pitching to a market looking for short term results. They have found a lucrative niche. So why aren’t the ‘quality’ focused training providers faring so well?
It’s fair to say that government policy doesn’t always get things right but rules around quality standards and contestability should not be scape goats of a sector that is also lacking the marketing expertise to attract and retain its customer base.
Below are strategies to compete for long term results:
1 Customers buy
Don’t send out a promotional flyer and expect people to flock to enrol unless you are the “go to” experience they are looking for and there’s no other competition. Gone are the days of selling. The advent of social media has stregnthened the ability of people to make choices. Even then, it may take six to seven points of contact to get the trust and interest of your target market. Look to the internet marketers who are experts in nurturing potential clients. Emulate their strategies into your own, both online and offline.
2 Create your funnel
The art of reciprocation states that if you give something of value for free, people will feel obliged to reciprocate. This is a technique used to get people to make the first purchase. It’s the first step of developing trust in a process that could take the prospect on a long term relationship with your organisation. Give away something – a checklist, a video, a how to guide, even a sausage sizzle. Get their details and interests and follow up.
Consider the range of options available to your prospects. Can you offer them the next step and the next? Give them pathways and services that get the results and aspirations they are looking for. Increase the lifetime value of your clients.
3 It’s true to say that the money is in the list. All training providers are sitting on lists. Are you able to segment those lists? Are your data collection strategies also providing you with the information that’s going to give you a competitive edge? Don’t rely on government prescribed information requirements. These serve the government. It’s not too difficult to get alternative feedback information if it means the difference between business growth and failure.
4 It’s a crowded market place out there. You’re not just competing with other training providers, you’re also competing with alternative priorities. Are your copy writing strategies focused on the avatar of your prospects? Do they know they need the products or services you offer? How can you get their attention? Have you put the value of your services in front of them as part of their decision-making journey? What are you doing to build the trust so that they choose you and not a lesser alternative?
5 Ask the gurus and they say we are all in the business of marketing. I heard somebody say we are actually in show business. There is some truth to these statements. Training providers are in the business of improving social and economic aspirations through education and training. Yet without good customer service and all that entails embedded in training and assessment, your business will fail. Top and toe this with encouraging more people to buy your programs and services and upselling existing learners, and your training organisation has a marketing imprint throughout everything it does.
Making your organisation stand out from the crowd requires you to find your ground and stamp your authority. Once you find your authority and gain the trust of a continual stream of loyal customers who spread their satisfaction by word of mouth, money, time and effort become secondary to trust, quality and service. Which kind of results are you looking for?
Pat Grosse knows the training sector inside and out. She stepped out of the role of Regional Education Development Officer at the end of 2009 to use her skills on the outside of government.
In a previous incarnation, Pat developed and promoted training courses. It was not unusual to advertise each course in four locations and deliver in eight. Success was attributed to some extent to the systems in place to capture client expectations, feedback and ideas for further training. The database became intergenerational in that participants in the early days became managers who, in turn, directed their staff to training.
Pat has witnessed the crisis facing training providers who have been impacted by changes to government funding conditions and works with clients to refocus their energies on marketing and customer service.
Pat and her team at The Community Entrepreneur are offering marketing workshops for training providers and community learning organisations, starting in Victoria and NSW. We are able to deliver public and private workshops. Pat is also available for speaking presentations. Contact Malcolm on firstname.lastname@example.org, phone: 03 9028 8012 for more information.
Marketing Mastery Workshop
for Training Providers & Community Learning Organisations
This workshop will show you answers as to why you are not reaching your target market and will provide sure fire solutions to get them through the door and into your programs.
Are you struggling to get numbers for your courses? We will show you the reasons why people are not buying from you and what you can do to fill your programs. We will tell you what businesses and community stakeholders are looking for. If it’s results you’re looking for, then this workshop will more than deliver.
In 2015, the Community Entrepreneur team surveyed and interviewed 160 businesses and community stakeholders. Feedback was so enlightening; we will feature the key messages in the workshop alongside current marketing thinking and our own experiences of working with businesses. You will leave the workshop with new insights and renewed motivation to get those learners through the door.
You will come away with:
- Insights into current marketing thinking and buying behaviour
- A new mindset
- A plan to get people through your doors & into your programs
- A systems approach to getting your marketing model to perform for the results you are looking for
“The most outstanding impact was when colleagues told me at the first break that this was better than they thought it would be. Even the next day we were getting calls about ideas from the workshop”
Jemma, The Volunteer Resource Bureau