Although often used interchangeably, sales and marketing plans are different documents that serve different purposes. Both are vital for your institution to stay on track when it comes to recruitment and internal marketing efforts. Do your sales and marketing plans have all of their essential elements?
What Should Be in Your School’s Sales and Marketing Plans?
Marketing plans serve two main purposes: they identify target markets and develop strategies for recruiting potential students. Sales plans then detail the strategies your institution will use to sell programs. Therefore, a sales plan is a vital part of your school’s larger marketing strategy.
Marketing Plan “Musts”
To identify target markets, a marketing plan should utilize Google Analytics and knowledge of industry trends. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What countries comprise the majority of current traffic?
- Has this traffic changed in the last year?
- What has caused these increases/decreases?
- What target markets are missing from our reports?
- What’s our full list of target markets?
- Are our multilingual pages for each of these markets optimized?
- Does our web traffic reflect our recruitment efforts?
- Do our social media efforts cater to these markets?
- Do any ads we ran or are running currently cater to these markets?
- Do our bookings reflect our traffic?
- What countries had significant increases or decreases in bookings this last year?
- Do our marketing efforts align with these increases? (In other words, have we identified emerging markets based on interest/bookings?)
- How are we promoting each program?
- Are we promoting each program to its specific target market? Specifically, how are we doing so?
- How can we do things better than we have in previous years?
- Are we collecting testimonials, photos, videos, and other marketing tools (such as newsletters) in the best way possible?
- Are we establishing a longstanding relationship with students after they leave our program?
- Are we tracking student success in the best way possible?
- Are we seeking Google reviews?
- How are we establishing ourselves as being different from our competitors?
- Do our marketing materials reflect this differentiation?
- Are our social media accounts optimized?
- Should we be offering specials? Or other scholarships?
- Do our programs reflect the needs of our target markets? How could they be improved to bring in more bookings?
Sales Plan “Musts”
Your sales plan must outline your institution’s goals related to bookings. It should include measurable results (such as an increase in inquiries and bookings) and should include actions related to the answers to the questions from your marketing plan.
A sales plan should include the following:
- Specific actions related to all aspects of the marketing plan
- Specific actions related to promoting program dates and application deadlines (for each market)
- Budgets for advertisements
- Specific actions related to post-program social media and advertisements
- A calendar of action items (with tasks assigned to individuals)
- Fairs and other recruitment events
- Deadlines for when marketing and recruitment materials must be printed/created
- Specials, promotions, and scholarship details
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Are we accurately tracking inquiries?
- What is our inquiry-to-booking conversion rate?
- How are we taking steps to improve our inquiry-to-booking conversion rate?
- How are we catering to our target markets?
- How are we promoting each program in each target market?
- How far in advance are we promoting programs and making agents and potential students aware of application deadlines?
- How are we communicating our successes to agents?
- Are we working with the right agents?
- Are we attending the right fairs to recruit from our target markets?
- Do we have all of the right materials we need to market and recruit?
At Lastarria Media, LLC we provide project management and consulting services to help your institution create and execute effective sales and marketing plans. Contact us for more information.
Once you’ve improved your language school site’s SEO, your site traffic will improve. Does your site provide visitors with the user experience necessary to lead to bookings?
By improving your site’s user experience, you can lead to increased revenue. A full user experience (UX) audit is comprehensive; below are some basics for improving UX on your language school website.
Improving User Experience for Language School
Follow the “2 ways” rule
Users should be able to get to every page of your website in two ways. Does your website do this? Have an internal staff member test this to see; a detailed sitemap should also yield this information.
Sidebars should include pertinent information and downloads to documents that are necessary for understanding the admissions process, the school’s schedule, and the like. Examples include the following:
- Academic Calendars
- Admissions Flyers
- Applications (PDF version)
- Sample Activities Calendars
- Health Insurance Forms
- Visa Transfer Forms
Make sure that each page has a fully utilized sidebar that contains pertinent information and downloads.
Make multilingual pages accessible
Remember that those who need information about your institution may not have the English skills necessary to navigate the site. For this reason, you need multilingual pages. Are these pages visible? A dropdown option in the menu header is a good place for these page icons.
Make sure the application process is streamlined
Your school should provide both a PDF and an online application, and both should be easy to download or complete online. (Remember: these should be accessible in relevant sidebars and should be accessible via a minimum of two methods on the website.)
Have a useful FAQ page
Is yours effective? Visit our How to Make a Better FAQ Page article for tips on how to improve this page of your website. Continually add to and update your FAQ page based on the questions your admissions and front desk staff members receive.
Provide more than one way to contact your school
Some students prefer to use email, while others may prefer a chat method of communication or a Skype call. Does your school offer multiple options?
For more information on how to create a website that is user friendly, contact Lastarria Media.
Evergreen content is content on your website that users can return to year after year. It is not dated or trendy; it does not cover events, and its content never “expires.” Your website should include a significant amount of evergreen content. Learn why this is so important.
The Importance of Evergreen Content
Your SEO continually increases
Evergreen content plays an important role in improving SEO. The content pieces should be longer (since it has been proven that search engines like Google rank articles with higher word counts over those with a lower word count). Over time, as users search for the keywords in your article and then come to your page, your SEO will continue to improve. This helps not just your article, but your entire site.
You can recycle your investment
Evergreen content will never get old or expire. In this way, you are maximizing the investment (whether it be time, money, or both) that you put into creating this content.
You can also recycle this investment through social media posts, newsletters, and email campaigns.
You can easily refresh and update your site
Search engines often prioritize the article’s date of publication or last date of revisions when presenting rankings. Therefore, although your evergreen content is essentially never going to be out-of-date, it still helps to occasionally revisit your posts and update them. (This is called Historical Optimization.) These changes alert search engines that the posts have been revised, which will improve rankings. Consider a yearly review of content: swap photos, add a paragraph, and do a keyword density analysis to ensure that your article is optimized.
You can establish yourself as an authority on a subject
A collection of articles on a specific topic will identify you as an authority on a subject in the eyes of both readers and search engines. By producing this content, you are effectively staking your claim as experts (and improving SEO in the process).