The effects that COVID-19 is already having on Australia’s education industry are only a taste of what’s to come, and every affected business in Australia is likely to be hitting the whiteboards to work out ways to weather the storm.
We know that many of our RTO customer’s may be affected so we wrote this guide to help them, and realised that it could also help many other education providers, so we’re sending this out far and wide.
I hope it helps in some way.
No matter what subjects your RTO delivers, or where your students are from or what age your students are, most training organisations are going to be feeling a huge effect as the virus spreads and people become ill or self-isolate.
It could be your students can’t get to you as they are self-isolating, international students can’t arrive in the country or your usual recruitment methods are no longer available such as schools and expos.
There are a number of ways though that you can help limit your exposure to the issues and perhaps even help your RTO grow and thrive in this time.
ONLINE IS THE KEY
Reaching new students online
Make sure you have an amazing website.
If your website isn’t up to scratch- now is time to get it right. It is going to be harder to showcase your college in person, for people to come and have a look, so you can make your website do all this work for you.
From things like videos and photos of your facilities to adding live chat on your website for students to make enquiries directly to you, to display all your course and information online.
Your website can become your first point of call for potential students so let’s make it a good one. Read our blog post here for things to consider when building an Education or RTO website.
1) Get your name out without the face to face
With expos cancelled and schools potentially closed, getting to the people that may be interested in your college may require a shift in your focus. Facebook adverts and Google Ads can be a great way to reach out to people and with a targeted remarketing campaign, you can keep these people engaged with you even after they have left your site.
Email marketing is also a fantastic way of re-engaging with people with a variety of tools making it easy to launch campaigns. If you don’t have a list of contacts yet to re-engage with, then this is a great time to start building one using one of the many CRM’s out there.
If you are already invested in digital advertising, it’s a good idea to keep a close eye on your analytics and watch for trends. You may be able to find some profitable, emerging trends to get in front of as the situation develops.
Looking after your existing students
If your students can no longer come to you, then there are a number of ways that you can get to them to ensure that they can continue their studies. ( if you nail this, it is also a great selling point to help you stand apart from the crowd )
3) Deliver your training online where possible
Nowadays online course delivery is rapidly becoming more popular but so many colleges and RTO’s still haven’t got it right or aren’t pushing it in the right way- it’s a bit of an add on. This is a great time to start getting this up and running and working well whether using your own online systems or using a prebuilt one.
There are so many great products out there that can be launched with minimal effort – there is software that you can integrate with your own learning materials, from a full WordPress LMS built within your own website (link to Learn dash), to hosted products that you can integrate with external learning materials, to online assessment software that you can use to record and assess every step of the way.
4) Speak to your students online
Using products such as Google Hangouts (Google are offering free upgrades to G Suite customers), Zoom or any of the other video conferencing software, any of your tutors can directly talk to their students.
Whether having lectures online, recording or demonstrating practical work or having one on one sessions with students and tutors, it allows student learning to continue in the comfort of their own home.
5) Use your marketing automation
Marketing automation is becoming essential in the RTO landscape to automate drawing students through your marketing funnel and creating nurtured students journeys through to enrolment, but many RTOs abruptly stop nurturing after enrolment.
Consider how you can use automated campaigns to keep students abreast of what’s happening in your college, and the wider world in your particular industry.
Remote study can make people feel detached and lonely. Keeping regular touchpoints can help build a remote community.
6) Build a remote community
This can be as simple as a Facebook group for students or as sophisticated as a private student forum or even your own private social network - think a mini Facebook built into or beside your current website.
This can even be integrated with certain Learning Management Systems, and really make something amazing that will set you apart for years to come.
How you act now, will help protect you through this storm and can also give you a strong infrastructure to help build your college for the future. Take the time now and get things right and it will help you mitigate the risk and long term effects from this pandemic.
Get in touch with us at Full Steam if you would like a free half-hour chat about what your own college could do to get through this stronger than before.