Your 2021 Game Plan - LERN 2020-2021 Exclusive LERN Member Only Report Do not share outside of your own organization.
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Your 2021 Game Plan Exclusive LERN Member Only Report © LERN 2020-2021 Do not share outside of your own organization. “Information That Works”
Your 2021 Game Plan © 2020 LERN. Exclusive to LERN Members. Do not share outside of your organization unless you want your dues to triple. Your 2021 Game Plan Contents Executive Summary What Classes to Offer How to Promote in 2021 Executive Summary Table of Contents Part I. LERN’s Pandemic View Part II. Budgeting for 2021 Part III. Stress Big Institutional Financial Contributions
Part I. LERN’s Pandemic Perspective Our perspective on 2021 is for you to assume the pandemic continues throughout 2021 for your program and your community. Even if your institution begins holding in-person classes again, we suggest you assume that in-person classes can be cancelled or put on hold at any moment, thus also cancelling, postponing or putting your in-person classes on hold. Plan that: The pandemic will still be here. Anticipate the current situation to be here for all of 2021. If the pandemic is over at any point in time, or over for your community, there is still a good possibility it will come back. A recession will still be here. It may last beyond the pandemic. It is not yet a Depression. The recession following the pandemic of 1918 lasted 18-24 months. Plan on a recession marketplace through 2021. Both of those real-world situations means that you need to be proactive in budgeting and planning for 2021. You and your institution cannot wish away the factors hurting registrations and income. Your boss and your boss’ boss cannot demand or legislate that you meet an income goal that the marketplace cannot support. Your superiors cannot prevent a business loss (businesses lose money in two out of ten years) without hurting future growth and success and creating even bigger losses. While you do not want to invoke budget cuts before your income declines, for many to most all programs income has already dropped or plunged.
Part II. Budgeting for 2021 Your 2021 Market You have to budget and plan for what the market will give you, which is less than it has. You cannot budget or plan to get-back-to-where-we-were or increase income and registrations. You cannot control the marketplace, not before, not now. So the market is smaller now - - your market is smaller now. You have to budget for what the market will give you, and then do cost cutting (or budget losses) to operate within that lower income. Accept lower income You begin by budgeting a drop or steep decline in income. You know what Fall 2020 income was. You use that lower income to budget income for 2021. Then you accept that lower income reality and make expense cuts and/or budget a loss. You and your organization should NOT anticipate or force any more income than what the market is currently giving you. Talk the Business Cycle Your program and your institution exist in two very different financial worlds. Your program exists in the external marketplace. Your institution exists in a nonprofit or government-supported sector in which income and expenses are expected to be equal and balance out at the end of each and every year. You need to talk to your superiors about the business cycle that exists for every organization operating in the external marketplace. In the real-world marketplace, income goes up and down depending on the economy of your community, which in turn may be influenced by your national economy. Successful businesses know and plan to lose money in 2 out of every 10 years. They take a loss in some years, knowing there will be good financial times coming. Regardless of whether they understand or accept it or not, you keep reinforcing these real-world realities that they (and your program) cannot change. You need to budget a steep decline in your income for 2021. That means cutting programs, expenses and even then you may very likely have a financial loss in 2021. If income is good, or comes back, you are lucky and then you can plan on a bigger program. This is not pessimistic or demotivational. It is what every business experiences periodically. Instead, it is a recommendation and approach for positioning your program for greater success.
Part III. Stress Big Institutional Financial Contributions The year 2021 in particular is also a time to stress and highlight your financial and mission contributions to your institution. Stress: ₋ Present financial contributions that your institution may miss, not calculate, not recognize ₋ Past financial contributions over the last 10 years. ₋ Based on your past performance, your expected future financial contributions and financial situation over the next 10 years. Repeat Your Financial Mission And it is a time to communicate over and over again your mission and how your mission is central to the mission, and financial health, of your overall institution. Your ‘budget’ is not what is central to your institution. It is the unseen and unreported impacts, both financial and non- financial, to your institution. There is a financial reason for your institution as to why your program exists. Your Big Contributions by Institutional Setting Community Colleges. ₋ A minimum of 5% of your noncredit students later become first-time credit or degree students over the next 1-4 years. ₋ Continuing education students vote 20 points higher for local taxpayer support than the general public. Universities ₋ A minimum of 5% of your noncredit students later become first-time credit or degree students over the next 1-4 years. Public Schools ₋ Community education students vote 20 points higher for local taxpayer support than the general public. Recreation Departments ₋ Recreation participants vote 20 points higher for local taxpayer support than the general public. Plan Now for Your Future Big New Growth Online This is the beginning of the new era of online learning. Now is the time to explore creating one or more online courses or programs that have a global niche, a niche your program can dominate and generate $200,000 of revenue a year with a 50% operating margin.
What Classes to Offer in 2021 Section Two of Your 2021 Game Plan © 2020 LERN. Exclusive to LERN Members. Do not share outside of your organization unless you want your dues to triple. What Classes to Offer in 2021 Table of Contents Summary Part I. How Many Classes to Offer in 2021 Part II. Class Formats to Offer for 2021 Part III. What Kinds of Classes to Offer Important: Your print brochures for 2021 go hand-in-hand with your offerings for maximizing success. See our LERN Recommendations, Exclusive to LERN Members.
Summary Here is a one-page of highlights. We encourage staff to read the full report below. How many classes to offer Reduce course offerings to your most profitable 50% of courses. Use either your pre-pandemic course offering numbers, or better, your Fall 2020 numbers to determined your most profitable (or least losing) best 50% of courses and offerings. Of the new reduced total of how many classes to offer for Each Session in 2021: Repeat Classes, 70% New Classes, 15% UGotClass Certificates and Courses, 15% Total: 100% Class formats to offer in 2021 1. Offer most-to-all of your community classes in a Live Online dual format. 2. Few to no In-person classes. 3. Convert and offer professional development courses to Asynchronous Teacher-led online courses. 4. Expand your offerings of UGotClass/LERN online Certificates and Courses. 5. A few free activities may still be a community service. What kinds of classes to offer Lean towards more professional development (work related) classes a)If you offer both personal development and professional development types of classes; or b)if you are open to adding professional development classes to your product mix. In the pandemic, we are also seeing a need for people to engage socially and relieve their stress levels with personal development courses. There are a number of ‘hot’ or ‘bright spots’ with personal development classes, but personal development courses across the board are likely to be less profitable. New and Hot Tips LERN Exclusive: price your Live Online (Zoom) class format the same price as your in- person class price. Virtual Hybrid: especially for professional development courses, some but not all of your courses and certificates may be best offered in the Virtual Hybrid format. Part of the course is offered in real time, as a webinar. Part of the course is asynchronous in the online classroom. Hot new UGotClass certificates include our new SQL Certificate, and Coding Certificate. Do a Print Brochure “See our website” for more or details has failed miserably, according to programs that tried it. Post cards and digital marketing do not come close to replacing your print brochure. Cut the number of pages to half or fewer. Cut your print brochure distribution to 25% to 50% of usual. But do a print brochure.
Part I. How Many Classes to Offer in 2021 Reduce course offerings to your most profitable 50% of courses. Use either your pre-pandemic course offering numbers, or better, your Fall 2020 numbers to determined your most profitable (or least losing) best 50% of courses and offerings. Of the new reduced total of how many classes to offer for Each Session in 2021: Repeat Classes, 70% New Classes, 15% UGotClass Certificates and Courses 15% Total: 100% Repeat Classes. Pick out the most profitable classes. If you can see a trendline (down or up) for the course during the pandemic, take that into consideration. Courses trending up. Include in your definition of most profitable those courses that have been trending up. If a course is trending up over the past two to three sessions, it likely will continue that upward (and thus more profitable) path. Trending down but still profitable. Some profitable courses may be trending down, but if they are still profitable, include them in your analysis of your most profitable courses. New Classes. Yes, continue to have 20-25% of your local originated (and UGotClass) courses be new in 2021. Reason: your most likely participants, your best potential attendees for 2021 are people who have attended before, your past participants. They want new. They want to see your offerings as continually of interest.
Part II. Class Formats to Offer for 2021 1. Offer most-to-all of your community classes in a Live Online dual format. For 2021, most-to-all of your community (personal development, leisure, fitness, avocational) courses should be available online. Either have your in-person classes in a dual format (In-person & Online) OR just offer Online classes. Pricing the Live Online (Zoom) Format: price the Live Online Zoom class the same as your in- person class price. Successful programmers have implemented this LERN Recommendation for Fall 2020 and found the same pricing to be profitable and fair. This means you need to convert most-to-all of your in-person courses to online. You have two different online formats to choose from for a given course. One is Live Online (Zoom) and the other online format is Asynchronous Teacher-led. You can, and should, determine which online format is best for a particular course. If you have the opportunity to use both online formats, use both overall, but just one online format per course. The Live Online (Zoom) format has proven popular with students, and easiest for in-person instructors to do. It is best for personal development, leisure and avocational subjects. It is good for hands-on classes like arts and music. 2. Few to no In-person classes. Offer few to no in-person classes. If you are offering any strictly in-person classes, available only in-person and not also available online, a)offer only a limited number; and b)be prepared to cancel them all should pandemic circumstances dictate for your community. Some communities and thus local institutions are ‘open’ and available for in-person classes to be offered in 2021. If you are in such a community: ₋ Offer only a limited number of strictly in-person classes. You cannot afford to have your in-person classes cancelled. You have to serve your community, be visible, and do a print brochure. You need to be able to continue your program even if you have to cancel all your in- person classes. ₋ Choose only strictly in-person classes that are a)popular during the pandemic; and b)not also available as a Live Online or asynchronous class - - that is, convert as many of your in-person classes to a dual format with the Live Online format as possible. ₋ If you are offering in-person classes, do not print your brochure more than 10 weeks out from the start of the first class. 3. Convert and offer professional development courses to Asynchronous Teacher-led online courses.
Any in-person professional development courses or hybrid (part in-person, part online) should also be available in a totally online format. Emerging Hot! Virtual Hybrid Format. Part of the course is offered in real time, as a webinar. Part of the course is asynchronous in the online classroom. LERN has used the Virtual Hybrid format for years for some of our offerings. Some courses and certificates may be best offered in the virtual hybrid format. Not all of your online courses are suitable to this format, but it is a feasible way to combine the real-time experience with the anytime experience. Back to Asynchronous online courses. The full definition and description of this format is “asynchronous, teacher-led, with a start and end date.” This is a 20 year proven format for professional development. It is the format used for millions of college students before (during, and after) the pandemic. Convert only courses that you expect to have a lifespan of three or more years into the future. It is not worth the investment to convert a course that may trend down in months. In general, convert courses with a higher dollar course price, and one that has the potential for 10 or more students each time it is offered. Do NOT develop and offer self-study (start anytime, end anytime, no teacher) online except for situations with an already proven track record of profitability. They have a high drop out rate and are not able to be priced high enough to be profitable. The types of courses best suited to the Asynchronous Online format are professional development and related courses, such as Certificates, industry specific and subspecialty courses, and career preparation. Topics that match Asynchronous Online format include writing, data analysis, time management, and about 9,000 other subject areas. LERN has a course and book on the online course model. We also have a program and certification on the market research and development of continuing education online programming. 4. Expand your offerings of UGotClass/LERN online Certificates and Courses. Offer most to all of our Top Ten Certificates. They are popular across North America and generate high dollars for you, being priced on average at $495 US. If you currently only work with forprofit online providers, at least offer 5 of our Top Ten Certificates. LERN relies on UGotClass income to keep your dues low and benefits high. You can at least do your part and offer five of our Top Ten Certificates. Here’s the Top Ten UGotClass Certificates for 2021 based on registrations, popularity and profitability. #1 Data Analysis Certificate #2 Certificate in Project Management #3 Digital Marketing Certificate
#4 Bookkeeping Certificate #5 Social Media for Business Certificate #6 Certificate in Mastering Excel #7 Supervisory and Leadership Certificate #8 Six Sigma Green Belt Certificate #9 Accounting and Finance for Non-Financial Managers Certificate #10 Graphic Design Software Essentials Certificate Hot! Moving Up ₋ SQL Certificate ₋ Coding Certificate Registrations have surged upward for our UGotClass/LERN online Certificates and Courses. Partner programs are setting all-time records. The classes never get cancelled and never have a waiting list. Your revenue share as a LERN member is an unbelievable 50% if you take the registrations, and a much-higher-than-the-for- profit-vendors 40% if LERN takes the registration. Our Certificates, which generate two-thirds of the registrations, are priced around $495 U.S., so you receive substantial revenue and the ROI on your brochure space is excellent. Our Top Ten Certificates generate 60% of the registrations, so you only have to promote 5-15 Certificates to tap into the market in your community for professional development. 5. A few free activities may still be a community service. Consider a few free activities that will be seen as a community service. Not just because they are free, but also because no one can predict future attendance, keep your investment of staff time very low for free activities unless it is clear they will be high-mission and popular. Also keep them few in number because pandemic-fatigue or an opening of your community may diminish or negate the need for a free online pandemic community activity, event or service. If the need continues, you can always add more and promote them via email (unlike your paid classes, which need to be in a print brochure).
Part III. What Kinds of Classes to Offer Lean towards more professional development (work related) classes a)If you offer both personal development and professional development types of classes; or b)if you are open to adding professional development classes to your product mix. In a recession (we are in a recession) we know from past recessions people are more interested in work-related courses that can boost their career. Professional development courses therefore can also be priced higher than personal development courses. Professional development courses have a higher Operating Margin averaging 50% than personal development courses, which average 40%. So professional development courses are more profitable. In the pandemic, we are also seeing a need for people to engage socially and relieve their stress levels with personal development courses. There are a number of ‘hot’ or ‘bright spots’ with personal development classes, but personal development courses across the board are likely to be less profitable. Be more selective in your offerings of personal development classes if you have that option. Professional development Here’s areas for you to look at your data as well as explore. 1. Your strengths. You have a past record of professional development courses, what were the most popular and profitable, look at your data on continuing to offer programs that traditionally have been your strength and profitable. 2. Career enhancement. There is a big sector of the workforce with jobs and time for professional development to enhance their skills and position themselves for career advancement in their current and/or related area. 3. Career preparation. There are a lot of people out of work. Do another analysis of where the jobs are. Do another look at occupations and jobs that can be done virtually, with the prospective employer not necessarily being in your own local community. Personal development From successes programmers shared with us for their Fall 2020 classes, here are some hot or bright spots in personal development classes. We are not able to report all of these are ‘hot’ classes, but we can say programs reported having more or best success with these classes. Older Adults Online “Ageless Yoga” and “bone busters(?) In-person arts and crafts In-Person “Sew Safe Masks.” Make your own customized mask. How to Fix Things Around the house…. Fixing anything and everything. Had a waitlist. Bike Rides. Talk to people while riding. Had 150 volunteers, plus bike riders. Child Care (paid with CARES Act), from 7 am to 6 pm
Anything Outdoors (numerous programs reported this trend) Bonfire (had 50 people) Volleyball outside Golf Tennis Pickleball Dog & Puppy Obedience Online/Virtual (Live Online/Zoom) Fitness Online Yoga Online (hot) Virtual Foreign Language Photography Online Art classes – watercolor (instructor has a second camera on her drawing/painting board) Online piano lessons Culinary (cooking) lessons online Combo: Cooking with foreign language about cooking (same culture/language) Virtual dance – adults with disabilities. Also Father-Daughter. Also Mother-Daughter. The big draw is dressing up your kids and having a photograph of them all dressed up. Defensive Driving - - online or in-person Write Your Will; Retirement Planning; Investment Planning; other financial planning courses Winter 2021 (Plan to Offer) Winter Archery Campfire with hot chocolate For Kids Lego Robotics
How to Promote in 2021 Section Three of Your 2021 Game Plan © 2020 LERN. Exclusive to LERN Members. Do not share outside of your organization unless you want your dues to triple. How to Promote in 2021 Table of Contents Summary Part I. How to Design Your Print Brochure in 2021 Part II. Target Your Brochure Distribution Part III. What Digital Marketing Works for 2021
Summary Here is a one-page of highlights. We encourage staff to read the full report below. The Print Brochure (Still) Works The evidence and data is in for the historic Fall 2020 session. The print brochure continues to be essential for almost every program. What Does Not Work Substituting other marketing, whether digital or print, does not replace the registrations and income you will lose from dropping your print brochure. From the results of the Fall 2020 session, programs have reported to LERN that other promotion strategies do not replace the print brochure. The Three Strategies for Your Print Brochures in 2021 The three basic strategies are: 1. Cut the number of pages to half of your normal pre-pandemic brochure by offering only the most profitable 50% of your courses. 2. Reduce the number of pages even fewer than half with LERN’s 11 ways to trim your brochure pages without losing registrations. 3. Keep running full course descriptions. Keep and increase your visuals. Keep doing a quality brochure. Target Your Brochure Distribution Your new 2021 brochure distribution strategy is to cut the number of brochures you distribute by half or even by a fourth, depending on the results of your carrier route distribution analysis. 1. Keep mailing twice to past participants. 2. Get a Free LERN Carrier Route Analysis 3. Do NOT cut randomly. 4. Target Your Best Carrier Routes Add Digital Marketing Digital Marketing supplements your print brochure. The top 3 strategies: Step up email. Upgrade your website. Develop a conversation with your customers with social media.
Part I. How to Design Your Print Brochure in 2021 The Print Brochure (Still) Works The evidence and data is in for the historic Fall 2020 session. The print brochure continues to be essential for almost every program. Every program reporting to us says that without the print brochure, registrations and income are down significantly, a drop in income far worse than the cost of the brochure. There’s no way to come out even, or ahead, on cutting the cost of the print brochure and losing 9 times that much (the average ROI for your print brochure, and in fact the average return on advertising for all businesses) in income. The print brochure continues to be the most productive way to generate registrations and income. If you are considering not doing a print brochure in 2021, email LERN at email@example.com and ask for the link to our new publication written specifically for these pandemic times on Why You Should Not Eliminate Your Print Brochure. The publication is Free and Exclusive to LERN Members, like you. What Does Not Work Substituting other marketing, whether digital or print, does not replace the registrations and income you will lose from dropping your print brochure. From the results of the Fall 2020 session, programs have reported to LERN that these promotion strategies do not replace the print brochure. ₋ Post cards do not replace the print brochure for registrations.+ ₋ Flyers or shorter brochures without complete course descriptions do not replace the print brochure. ₋ Listing just course titles without course descriptions does not work. ₋ Digital brochures on your website and emailed do not replace the print brochure.+ ₋ Telling people, even in a print brochure, to go to your website for more courses, or course descriptions, or dates or anything else does not work. ₋ Pure digital marketing (email, social media, online paid ads, website) does not replace your print brochure. +If done in addition to your print brochure, post cards, digital brochures, and digital marketing all are good if they supplement (and not replace) your print brochure. The Three Strategies for Your Print Brochures in 2021 The three basic strategies are: 1. Cut the number of pages to half of your normal pre-pandemic brochure by offering only the most profitable 50% of your courses. 2. Reduce the number of pages even fewer than half with LERN’s 11 ways to trim your brochure pages without losing registrations. 3. Keep running full course descriptions. Keep and increase your visuals. Keep doing a quality brochure.
Keep Doing These Things Keep coming out with your print brochure on your normal regular schedule. That ideally is four times a year. Increasing your print brochure from fewer than four times a year to four times a year is still a good way to increase registrations and income, even now. Keep running your full course descriptions with a minimum of 40 words, and maximum of 120 words. Include your logistics of day/time, place if relevant, instructor name and price. Keep the good graphic and marketing tag line on your cover. Keep your cover looking familiar to your past participants. Keep the back page as a marketing page, with visuals and aimed at marketing your classes. Keep page 2 with your welcome page, highlights, and a message. Keep page 3 as your Table of Contents page. Keep or increase the number of visuals in your print brochure. The new research done by LERN Senior Vice President Julie Coates indicates that visuals are better than words in generating registrations. Use more and smaller (to conserve space) visuals and fewer words (but not fewer than 40 words). The 11 Ways to Cut Brochure Pages Without Hurting Registrations First, get printing estimates. Check with your printer and find out how much it would cost to print the same size brochure, same number of pages, same number of copies. That’s your starting point. Then Get Estimates for Fewer Pages. Ask your printer for additional estimates, one for 4 fewer pages, and one for 8 fewer pages. If you have had a carrier route analysis done by LERN, ask for same number of copies. Second, Get FREE Carrier Analysis. IF you have NOT had a carrier route analysis from LERN, get one done - - no cost to LERN members. LERN’s exclusive carrier route analysis can generally cut your brochure distribution by up to 20% without losing registrations, and often gaining registrations and income with our more targeted data. If you already have had a LERN carrier route analysis, keep mailing or ask for a revised analysis given the current situation. If you have not had a LERN carrier analysis, get one. And with LERN’s recommendations on trimming brochure promotion, then ask your printer for estimates for 10% fewer copies, and 20% fewer copies; for both 4 and 8 fewer pages. Third, Cut the number of brochure pages. You can list the same number of courses and offerings, with almost the same amount of space devoted to each course description, in fewer brochure pages. It is critical to income generation and registrations to keep course descriptions for all of those courses making you money, including logistics.
Also important are keeping images, registration page, and following the A-I-D-A principle with a high quality cover, generating interest with your Contents page, and encouraging people to register. You can cut the number of pages in your brochure- - without losing brochure quality, registrations or income – by maximizing the use of brochure space. Here’s how. 1. Make logistics run-on copy. Eliminate space between course code, day, time, location and price. Do not start a new line for any of the logistics. This wastes valuable space without increasing registrations. Instead, use a comma or semi-colon between course code, day, time, location and price. But do not start a new line or have space between them. This will save lots of space without hurting registrations. 2. Reduce blank white space. The research is inconclusive as to whether white space increases sales. That means there is no proof white space generates more money. But white space does cost you money. In these times, fill every page with course descriptions, marketing copy, images, testimonials, calls to register or anything else that might lead to a registration. 3. Get rid of the ‘widows.’ After you get the first draft back from desk topping, look for any words at the end of sentences that are the only word on that line. The rest of the line is white space. The single word on a line is called a ‘widow’ in the printing trade, because it is alone on the line. Edit your course descriptions down just enough to move that widow to be on the next line up, saving you a whole line of space. If you eliminate 14 or so widows, you have enough space for a whole additional money making course. 4. Trim course descriptions slightly. The standard LERN recommendation is for every course to have a 40-120 word course description before counting the words for logistics. The course description is absolutely critical to generating income and registrations. And the instructor’s name, even if people do not know the instructor, is still important. In these times, you can cut the number of words for a course of average profitability from 120 words to 80 words. Do NOT cut the number of words in your course descriptions below 40 words. That is at the point the print experts say you will lose the reader and hurt registrations. 5. Don’t cut copy and words for high profit courses. Your high income, high profit courses are generally those with a high price. Don’t cut the course description copy for your most profitable courses. High profit courses, usually priced over $200, should get more space than lower margin courses. A rule of thumb is 2-3 column inches for higher priced profitable courses. SuperStar hot offerings making the most money and profit for you are worth even more space.
6. Cut more words from descriptions of lower priced courses. In general, courses priced under $100 are less profitable than your higher priced courses. If a lower priced course is generating big registrations and making big money, don’t cut the number of words in the course description. Leave it just as it is. But for those other lower margin courses, you can trim the words in the course description to around 60-80 words without losing registrations and income. The rule of thumb is 1- 1.5 column inches of space for the course description of a lower priced course of average profitability. 7. Look at three columns. For 8.5 inch X 11 inch size print brochures, move from two columns per page to three columns per page. Do a sample desktopping of just one page and see all the space you save. Setting copy in three columns is also going to save you space with images, icons, subject categories and more. 8. Consider letter size 6X10 size brochure for community programs. To save money on bulk postage, switch from 8.5 X 11 to 6 X10 for community programs in the United States. For professional development programs, keep the brochure size at 8.5 X 11 as the image for business and those in the workplace favors the 8.5 X 11 over a smaller size. 9. Use slightly smaller images. Do not skimp on images. Ideally you want one image for every two pages. Visuals engage the reader and draws the reader to your courses. Two things. One, make sure you have a 1-2 line caption under every image pointing the reader to a course on that page. Two, you can reduce the size of images by either having three columns per page, or by wrapping copy around the image. For smaller images, try for less cluttered and simpler visual images. 10. Keep that cover high quality. Do not lower the quality of your images, especially on the cover of the brochure. 11. Consider changing your type font. Most all sans-serif type fonts not only take up more space, but are less legible to the eye, according to the research. A serif type font, such as Georgian or New Times Roman, will both increase legibility and reduce space in your brochure, especially in the leading. One sans-serif type font that appears to be fine is Calibri. Run a sample page in your brochure in 2-3 other type fonts and see what the type font, and changing the leading, does to saving space without reducing legibility. If you have a specific question about your brochure or program, email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. There is no charge for answering your questions for LERN members.
Part II. Target your brochure distribution. Your new 2021 brochure distribution strategy is to cut the number of brochures you distribute by half or even by a fourth, depending on the results of your carrier route distribution analysis done by LERN. 1. Keep mailing twice to past participants. Absolutely positively keep mailing your brochure twice to each past participant and inquiry on your mailing list. This is the most cost effective, biggest ROI, you can possibly make to generate income with the least cost. The second mailing should go out 1-3 weeks after the first mailing. Ideally, the second mailing should go out 4 weeks before the first classes start. 2. We Repeat: Get a LERN Carrier Route Analysis If your program is in the United States and you do household mailings, you must get a FREE carrier route analysis done by LERN. This analysis will cut your promotion costs and target your best potential customers and participants. 3. Do NOT cut randomly. Do NOT cut brochure distribution randomly or across-the-board. That will decrease income and registrations needlessly and cost you more in lost revenue than you save in promotion. 4. Target Your Best Carrier Routes From LERN’s analysis of your best carrier routes, target only those carrier routes that give you the best return. Determine your best carrier routes in two complementary ways. One, determine how many brochures you can print and distribute given a reduced promotion budget, somewhere between spending half your normal print and distribution run and one- fourth your normal run. Two, determine your ROI from each of your top carrier routes and consider that. That is, if you are getting an excellent ROI from distributing to a given carrier route, consider that excellent return and think about including/expanding your print run IF you are an getting excellent ROI from carrier routes further down the ROI list.
Part III. What Digital Marketing Works for 2021 Keep doing and expand - - given your limited staff time and money - - your digital marketing. Remember that digital marketing does Not replace your print brochure. Digital marketing complements your print brochure, but does not replace it. Here’s the top Digital Marketing strategies for 2021. Email With so many people working from home right now, as well as looking for opportunities for learning whether for professional development or just fun/escape/mental well being, test sending out emails to your customers more frequently, such as once a week. Segment your email lists. You should spend the time to segment your list, so that people are not receiving emails about programs for which they have no interest. For example, don’t send older adults emails about your kids’ programming unless they are already on your kids’ email list. Website Here are the things to do, and not do, with your website right now. Don’t highlight COVID. Do not highlight COVID and not having in-person classes available. Get rid of the red background and the !! Everyone knows COVID is here. It is a negative message and you need to be positive right now. Present a positive image. You are a solution, not part of the problem. Show that on the home page for your program. Highlight online offerings. Highlight your online offerings, and then redesign your navigation to move people quickly to your online offerings. Reduce visibility for irrelevant information. Increase visibility and upgrade your ‘Contact Us’ page. Invite people to contact you. Offer as many options as possible to contact you. Post photos of staff. Every inquiry is a potential customer, and you need every participant you can get right now. Don’t send them anywhere else on your website, take the registration and get the person enrolled. Follow up by sending your current brochure first class; then send an email one day after getting the inquiry. Unpaid Social Media Whatever staff time you can devote, you most likely will find an audience for your social media posts. With social media posts, feature information, happy news, and other non-sales pitches. This is an opportunity to engage with both current and potential participants. Paid Online Advertising In normal times, generally just larger programs with marketing staff venture into paid online advertising. So if your program does not currently have expertise in this area and have a little money: Test, test with small amounts of money. If you like the return, do more. If you don’t like the return, stop and don’t invest more money. It’s probably not working for you.
SEO Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an area where more programs need to devote some staff time because the return on this unpaid no-cost way to promote is good. You want to do SEO for major big dollar programs and get in the first page (top ten) listings for your geographic area. If you don’t have time now, put SEO on your “To-Do” list, as this unpaid digital marketing is no- lose for your program.
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