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How 1% Improvements Can Translate Into Millions Of Dollars

Enrollment Resources illustrates how little effort it actually takes to be more successful than your competition

Original Photo by Patrick Perkins on Unsplash

I have a story about ‘1%’ and how it can be the difference between mediocrity and excellence for a school.

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Why Andrew Will Never Get Fired From His VP Marketing Position

I gave a talk at a Marketing Conference recently. I began by asking a question of the participants that went something like this:

Imagine you are running a marketing department (most in the room were) and you’re allowed only one excellent skill set (the rest being meh) to help you as you try and meet your objectives. Which of these would it be?

  • Tremendous design skills
  • Tremendous copywriting or persuasive communication skills
  • The ability to split test
  • Building brand through excellent social media campaigns
  • The ability to find pools of interest, media buying

After allowing the audience to debate amongst themselves for a few minutes, I asked for ‘pitches.’ Some said Design was crucial to get people to notice ads at all; others said Copywriting was crucial to present an argument for someone to take action. I heard a compelling argument about how filling a trout pond with more trout gives you a better shot at catching fish, i.e., Media Buying. And there was some gibberish about Social Media. Read more

What risk mitigation questions are you asking?

We were having a beer together lately, reflecting on our relationships with our clients. We landed on the insight that in addition to schools buying services based on benefits, they also buy on risk mitigation. Let’s say a marketing company promises a school a big benefit. If promises are not kept, a nightmare could unravel before your eyes: your school is financially compromised due to some crazy-assed idea a vendor brings you that was poorly thought through and/or implemented. Many purchasing our services are senior staff. School leaders don’t need their well-developed careers partially ruined by having a vendor not come through on a promise or do something unethical. Read more

Embrace Disruption

Seventy percent of companies within the Fortune 1000 did not exist 10 years ago. The disruption and consumption of 100-year-old enterprises are now commonplace. EDU is like the Telecomm industry 15 years ago. The natural lifeforce of Western Commerce is many companies looking to take advantage of inefficiencies (ie: Uber, Craigslist, Udacity).

Tip:

Embrace this disruption by doing an do an ‘amazing’ job of filling needs. There are many ways to do this: competency-based learning, blended learning, flipping classrooms, day 1 externships, employer-funded training, etc. Put safety nets in place, then attack with aggressive split-testing.

[Podcast] Which Test Won – 8 Surprising Marketing Split Tests

In this webinar recording, Shane & Gregg share the results from eight actual client marketing split tests and discuss the critical role of conversion rate optimization in marketing.

Check out our Podcast #29: “Which Test Won – 8 Surprising Marketing Split Tests” to learn helpful education marketing strategies. With 1 click you’ll have access to over 30 podcasts featuring industry insiders espousing their wisdom to you – for free!

Listen to the Podcast Now!

[Video] Testing Your Way to the Truth

In this short (4:25 minute) video, Shane Sparks explains how schools can break away from third party lead generators and the long-term benefits of split-testing.

Recorded at the 11th Annual Pacific Institute’s Best Practices and Business Conference in April 2014.

Shane discusses how fundamental your product offering is and the consequences of giving marketing to 3rd parties. Marketing is about “testing your way to the truth”, Shane shows some neat examples of split testing, including a 20% improvement conversion rate just by changing the color of a button on a call-to-action form.

Transcript

My opinion is we’re at the end of about a 10 or 15 year marketing experiment that has failed for the crucibles, and what we’ve done is we had really taken away responsibility. We had to market our own businesses and given that to third party people in the form of lead generation, and the result of it, the consequence for our sector is we’ve commoditized our businesses, we’ve commoditized our schools. As a result, the result of that is that we’ve had a product erosion, which sucks.

The good news is that the path to prosperity and the path to improving our station in our marketing starts with product. It’s the systems, the people, it’s the experience we deliver, it’s fulfilling the promise of creating a transformational experience for the students that attended our schools.

Fundamentally the question we all have to ask ourselves about our businesses is, fundamentally, do we have something worth buying? Is it worth it for somebody to invest their time and their money in our enterprise and do we deliver on the promises that we make in our marketing? Fundamentally this is about product. Can we deliver on what we promise in our marketing or is it just lip service? Is it just words that somebody wrote in a board room or an ad agency wrote on a whiteboard somewhere?

That’s the challenge we have, product, and product extends from how you first engage prospects, that lead generation stage, and that extends all the way through the admissions process, the delivery of our programs, the job placements, externships, the career services part through graduation and continuing education with our graduates. When we nail it, when we hit product right, when we do it right what happens is that an abundance of new opportunities come to us because we succeed on social media, we increase our referrals, we establish our brands as a premier place that people want to go. It’s an attraction strategy. What’s awesome about it is that it comes from fundamentally doing the right thing so your people can get behind having an exceptional organization.

Marketing doesn’t have to be that hard. It’s basically psychology and math. It’s responding to the unique wiring that we have as human beings. I’ll give you an example of that. We have a client where we’re testing an advertising campaign. It’s landing pages, and we’ve been testing three different photos–they’re all very similar–that advertise the program. What we found is that one photo in particular of these three resulted in a 50% higher conversion rate, so people were 50% more likely to take action, and all that changed in the ad was this one little photo. So the math and the lesson on that is that when we find the thing that is psychologically resonant with somebody, when we find that, and assuming that we’re measuring it so that we can actually know that this is an improvement, we create a permanent result. We’ve permanently created an innovation that we can use for years to come. So fundamentally marketing is just about testing your way to the truth.

Another example would be on, most businesses have some kind of sign-up form, so there’s something that is “fill this form out and click a button.” After a number of tests we found that having a button that was red vs. Blue created a 20%, it was actually a 19.65% lift in conversion rates. We created almost a 20% improvement and all we changed was the color of the button and so when you do the ROI on that, it costs, well, nothing really or maybe a $100 to get somebody to make a red button, but the return on that is permanent. That’s a permanent 20% improvement in conversion rate, and the only way you find it is through testing.

Notes & PPT: The Art & Science of Testing

How can a single sentence can increase conversion and two other surprising test results

On December 18th, 2012 and again (due to overwhelming requests) on February 14th, 2013, Enrollment Resources co-founders Gregg Meiklejohn and Shane Sparks conducted a Webinar presentation on the Art & Science of Testing. Read more

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