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Can You Raise the Quality of Your New Student Phone Calls Coming In?
Written by Stephen Epstein on December 20th 2016
Can You Raise the Quality of Your Phone Calls Coming In?

Great question.

The answer is... Yes and no.
Our clients and prospective clients like to ask us this all the time. They’ll be trying many different types of marketing including networking with teachers, a wide variety of internet marketing, and many other things. But the calls they get to their front desk from interested students are sometimes not the best. But can anything really be done about it?
 
Well, you can do a few things. You can market in warmer areas and not market in those “less than ideal” areas. There is an old saying about marketing, “You get what you market for and you don’t get what you don’t market for.” And it’s true enough. Market in Dallas, and you’ll get calls in Dallas. Simple.
 
But rather than focus on raising quality directly, it is more effective to focus on expanding your calls coming in, and not limiting them AT ALL. If your goal is to get as many calls as possible from as many sources as possible, the greater volume will give you the choice of picking the best prospectful students. You really need to be careful about shrinking your markets. I don’t recommend it. What usually ends up happening when people try and limit their market is they end up destroying their general volume of marketing, resulting in no calls coming in.  I’ve seen it too many times.
 
Your best bet is to market like hell with every resource you can afford, everywhere. Then use your front desk team to filter the good and bad calls or cherry pick the better prospects. This way you won’t suffocate yourself by limiting calls you might have wanted.


Imagine you’re looking for your next husband or wife. Would you want to choose between just three or four men or women? Or would you rather search through hundreds of people to find that perfect partner? That’s what often happens when people try and limit where their calls come from. Of course there are exceptions to this but overall this is what I see happen to schools trying to limit their marketing reach. More, not less, reach for prospective students, is your answer.
 
Sincerely,
 
Stephen Epstein
Founder Enrollment Boosters
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About Enrollment Boosters
Our purpose is to provide expertise to career colleges and trade schools in the areas of lead generation and enrollment conversion optimization, so schools can focus on teaching their trade to classrooms full of new students year round.

About Author: Stephen Epstein

Stephen has worked with career colleges and trade schools as an enrollment and student retainment specialist since 2009.
In The News
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What Works Better for Getting New Students? Google Ads or the "Organic" Results?
Written by Stephen Epstein on November 19th 2016
It is very different driving student calls into your admissions department today than it was in 1995, or even 2008 for that matter. Let's be realistic - no one flips through a phone book anymore.

Two of the most popular internet marketing strategies these days are on Google. Either you buy ads or appear in the natural listings. You see this all the time – 3 or 4 ads at the top of the search results, Google Maps, and then there is what everyone uses, the organic or “natural” listings below those ads. And there is no denying that Google is the king of the jungle in that game.


So which one works better for getting business? Ads or the Natural results?


Google always reports that the ads outperform the natural results. However, for many of our clients, we haven't found that to be true. Our client's data would show a lot of clicks to their website from the ads, but the phone call rate would plummet. Plus, when directly asking prospects how they discovered them, maybe 1 out of 10 people would say they use those ads. Most people don’t even look at them anymore. So the data that Google reports just doesn’t ad up, and then they straight-up hide some of their data from everyone.
In 2014, the online coupon giant Groupon did a test for us all. They shut down their whole site to Google, completely turned it off, to see just how much of their internet traffic came only from the Natural results in Google. What they found was astonishing. They discovered that 60% of all the traffic that Google would report as “direct” was actually natural results. You can read the full article here.
So what does this mean for the rest of us? It means that if you aren’t focused on improving your place in the natural results, you’re losing out on the majority of business coming from the internet. 


After all, where do you think the leads that lead gen guys are selling you are coming from? The natural results and the pay-per-click ads.   




Sincerely,


Stephen Epstein, 

CEO and Founder, Enrollment Boosters
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About Enrollment Boosters
Our purpose is to provide expertise to career colleges and trade schools in the areas of lead generation and enrollment conversion optimization, so schools can focus on teaching their trade to classrooms full of new students year round.

About Author: Stephen Epstein

Stephen has worked with career colleges and trade schools as an enrollment and student retainment specialist since 2009.
In The News
  • Group Coaching - Fast track to more students
  • 1-on-1 Coaching -  Supercharge your team
  • And So Much More...
Want to get a Highest-Ever Income Year in Your Career College?
Written by Stephen Epstein on September 12th 2016
As I’ve told you before, I personally get to speak with career colleges and trade schools every week, from all different corners of this continent. And for some schools, this past year was one of their best years ever. But for some others, it was not so great.

Now I know some of you guys would just chalk it up to a “good year”, a better economy for going to school, a good location, etc. And although these seem like the “obvious” factors, I don’t see any of these to be the real reason why some schools have had their best enrollment year ever. I want to share with you some of the real things I’ve seen from the career colleges who have had an incredible year this year:
 
1. They didn’t do the same thing over and over, expecting the same results.
They embraced change and confronted it head on. This year I had a director call me and sign up with our company saying, “I know what you guys do doesn’t work, but the owner told me to give you a shot anyways. I think referrals are the only good calls, but the owner wanted me to try you, so…” How do you think that ended up? Like a never ending migraine. For them and us. We had to fight them the whole time trying to make them “successful”. 

I know another school owner that's been in business for over 30 years. He's winning like crazy. Why? He confronted and embraced the reality that the whole admissions process has changed and he changed with it. And another trade school owner I know kept profits high in 2008 when everyone else was getting battered by the stock market crash. How? He ditched phone books just before his competitors and migrated all of his marketing online before everyone else did. These school leaders changed when they needed to and refused to become the dinosaurs in the industry.
 
2. They weren’t looking for things to blame like the economy, bad location, etc. They were looking for more ways to get new students…constantly. 
If you look to blame, right away, your attention gets diverted to something you cannot control instead of searching for new ways to grow your school. The person doing the blame always loses the blame game. Always. 

The winners don’t blame anything or anyone. The winners also wasted money, hired bad people, some got divorced, didn’t make any money on many enrollments, but you know what they say? They say, “Lesson learned, on to the next.” And then I know owners who blame their ex-wives, point fingers at old employees, Google, etc. and go on like this for years. The end of that game is Broke. You’re broke!
 
3. They grew and managed bigger classes. 
Now this may sound like the “unicorn” scenario everyone wishes they could pull off and the increased student interest everyone dreams of. You know – that one sleek school that has a waiting list! Well, guess what, some owners DO build those schools. I hear about them all the time. But how did they become that school? 

It’s actually simple: they confronted school expansion, they learned, tried, and tested more and more marketing methods, which resulted in higher student interest which launched them into that “unicorn” scenario. See, it’s always a numbers game to some degree. Those schools bring in all of those small handfuls of students from all over their region, and by doing so they are getting a higher volume of student interest, and they have a higher chance of creating that self-sustained momentum too.
 
This sums it up: One of our clients emailed to thank me last year for two things: 
1.) Helping him stop totally relying on graduates for referrals and 
2.) for creating an opportunity for him to “cherry pick” the most qualified students during the busy season. 

He’d never been in that position before.
 
Here’s to your New Year being the best so far!
 
Sincerely,
 
Stephen Epstein
CEO and Founder, Enrollment Boosters
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About Enrollment Boosters
Our purpose is to provide expertise to career colleges and trade schools in the areas of lead generation and enrollment conversion optimization, so schools can focus on teaching their trade to classrooms full of new students year round.

About Author: Stephen Epstein

Stephen has worked with career colleges and trade schools as an enrollment and student retainment specialist since 2009.
In The News
  • Group Coaching - Fast track to more students
  • 1-on-1 Coaching -  Supercharge your team
  • And So Much More...
What are the Big Career Colleges doing that you’re not?
Written by Stephen Epstein on July 15th 2016
Specializing our work towards career colleges and literally working with hundreds of them, you start to notice what the big schools do to get big and stay big and what the little schools do to keep themselves small. I can categorize most of it in 2 categories – attitude and activities.

Here are the common themes of the big school/small school attitudes and activities:
 
Big schools: Spend 80% of their time and attention on getting new students. Their focus is on their marketing campaigns, actively working on them, every week.

Small schools: Only shift gears to marketing for new students when the season slows down (too late) and there are no new students coming in. And then they feel like they are “forced to do it.”
 
Big schools: Are working to be everywhere. They are working to be in front of everyone, everywhere, every magazine, every radio channel, every internet location, every billboard, etc.

Small schools: Are hoping to discover that “magic” marketing spot. That perfect marketing tactic that they read about on some internet forum from some guy they don’t know whose business “exploded from doing it.” And they neglect everything else.
 
Big schools: Are extremely persistent. They keep at what marketing tactics are doing, they don’t just try one thing and then move on to the next, move on to the next, etc.

Small schools: Are sporadic. They try a marketing plan here and there but do not stick with any activity really long enough to make it work.
 
Big schools: Always seem to be focused on the future. They are working on expanding fast, to avoid any “what ifs” in the economy.

Small schools: Get complacent where they are. When enrollments are good, they don't think about the future, until the season slows down, then they worry, but it's too late.
 
Big schools: Hire the right people, and fire the wrong ones. They know that their school will only grow if they have A players that aren't afraid of growth. Business is business and people will either seek growth or they won’t. These schools aren’t usually staffed with family and friends.

Small Schools: Don’t hire enough people, and don’t fire enough people. They stick with people they are uneasy about because they are afraid to fire them (for whatever reason) – people that don’t try to raise their production in the company. Some even fill their company with family and friends who aren’t productive, or worse counterproductive, complicating firing them even more and making the business a dramatic family event.
 
Big schools: Track their statistics, cash flow and growth. They know how many inquiries they got and from where, they know how they're doing this month compared to last year and they have very organized software to see all of it.

Small schools: Fly by the seat of their pants. They have no idea where their new leads are coming from for sure (although they say they do), they are running the whole school out of a single bank account that is a mess and any growth is unknown except for “How much money did I make this month?”
 
Big schools: Delegate. They hire people to do the easy stuff so they can focus their efforts on making more income – marketing and sales.

Small schools: The owners typically try to do everything themselves to “save money.” And keeping busy “saving money” because their not hiring people, they now have no time to spend on sales and marketing and never grow as a result.
 
Big schools: Stay very optimistic.  They try new things knowing they will work and maintain a "do what it takes to get done" attitude once they’ve decided to do it. When things didn’t work, they still gained important lessons and realized new opportunities out of that “failure”.

Small schools: Often become pessimistic. They start with how something will fail first, before jumping into it, and then, if it does, they were "right in the first place.” But that is only if they decided to do something in the first place, which they often don’t. Which means they don’t learn the valuable lessons from those losses and don’t see any new opportunities either.
 
Think and act like a big school, become one of them. Think and act small, stay small.
 
Sincerely,
Stephen Epstein, Founder and CEO
Enrollment Boosters
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About Enrollment Boosters
Our purpose is to provide expertise to career colleges and trade schools in the areas of lead generation and enrollment conversion optimization, so schools can focus on teaching their trade to classrooms full of new students year round.

About Author: Stephen Epstein

Stephen has worked with career colleges and trade schools as an enrollment and student retainment specialist since 2009.
In The News
  • Group Coaching - Fast track to more students
  • 1-on-1 Coaching -  Supercharge your team
  • And So Much More...
What NOT to do When Finances Get Tough in your School…
Written by Stephen Epstein on June 23rd 2016
What NOT to do When Finances Get Tough in your School…
This is a hot topic in every Career College and Technical School. We, being a sales and marketing company and having worked with hundreds of schools of all sizes, have seen what we call the “kiss of death” when tough times roll through this business.
When money is tight, everyone feels more stressed, pressured, some poor decisions get made, and understandably so. Stress clouds good judgement. We’ve all been there. Ask anyone who has been married for a few years what financial stress does to their relationship. Ok, point made.
 
So…the kiss of death…what is it?
 
When finances get tight, they shut down the front end of their school. Like what? They cancel their contracts with marketing companies, suspend their marketing programs, let go of a sales person or two, stop tracking their advertising, focus more on saving money than on making it. That’s the kiss of death.
 
Obviously when enrollments are low, frugality and economy come into play. There’s less money, so of course they do. But cutting off the front-end of your school is the exact opposite of what you should be doing. One of my best and favorite clients, every time enrollments slow down which they inevitably will, he always pours on the coals on the front end. And he does very, very well. 80% of his efforts go onto the front end of his school in those tough times. He doesn’t slow it down.
 
Here’s some tips on do’s and don’ts for ways to really win during the tough financial times:
 
DO:
Spend a majority of your time focusing on new enrollments, new business, for your school.
Promote and advertise, and do it more, in more places. 
Terminate any employees that are resisting the goal to expand your school. The people that you’re unsure about, or tire you out all the time, or “steal your attention” should be your major targets for termination. The good ones are those who make your life easier. You can feel it. 
Work harder and with more focus, complacency will kill you. Doing nothing about it will let the death of your school become inevitable. Remember what all of your successful actions were that got you where you are today? Slam them in. 
 

DON'T:
Terminate the people who your school survives on the back of. 
Don't cut marketing programs and promotions that get you in front of new eyeballs. 
Don't freak out and do a bunch of things that don’t work – the “shotgun effect”. Stay focused, centered, do what you know works, what has always worked. 
Don't keep sales and marketing people who need to tell you how good they are, but produce nothing of value for you. If they are worth it, their numbers will show it. 
Don't get advice from anyone who has less success than you. 
Don't blame your situation on the economy, other schools, competition, etc. That train of thought won’t help you solve the situation.
 

Tough times are just that. But some of my biggest schools were survivors of 2009-2010, and they got bigger after that by doing the things mentioned above. Don’t take my word for it, make friends with other Career College and Technical School owners and directors, bigger and more successful ones, and let them tell you what I’m saying.
 
Sincerely,
 
Stephen Epstein
Founder, Enrollment Boosters
www.enrollmentboosters.com
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About Enrollment Boosters
Our purpose is to provide expertise to career colleges and trade schools in the areas of lead generation and enrollment conversion optimization, so schools can focus on teaching their trade to classrooms full of new students year round.

About Author: Stephen Epstein

Stephen has worked with career colleges and trade schools as an enrollment and student retainment specialist since 2009.
In The News
  • Group Coaching - Fast track to more students
  • 1-on-1 Coaching -  Supercharge your team
  • And So Much More...
How to Get More Students to Enroll? (or how not to go bankrupt!)
Written by Stephen Epstein on March 14th 2016
We’re asked this question all the time. Working with Career Colleges and Technical Schools all over the country, we certainly have an opinion about it, and a good one at that.
Here’s the Answer:
Try every marketing outlet you can can think of, and if it works, keep at it – don’t quit.  
Some people don’t believe me when I say this. Maybe it’s too simple to seem right or maybe they want to believe there is some “secret formula” that the big colleges know. But I’ve worked with startup schools making $300k per year and the franchised giants in the industry making 10’s of Millions per year. That’s what they all do. There is no big secret. 

I’ve witnessed plenty of bankrupted Career Colleges in the past 7 years. You learn a lot by watching them.

Here is why most Career Colleges and Technical Schools aren’t succeeding like they should be (or are going bankrupt):  

They Rely completely on one or two forms of marketing. They abandon any marketing program they try before the results are in. When money gets tight, they stop marketing, which is the beginning of the end for their school.
 
Let’s talk about these a bit more.

1. They Rely completely on one or two forms of marketing. All you have to do is take a look at the big guys (local or franchises). They are everywhere – phone books, flyers in newspapers, billboards, bright vans, tons of internet marketing, lead generation, postcards, you name it. Small schools try to find “one good thing”. Maybe you will for a while, but it never lasts and it doesn’t lead to a long-term successful school. Because when you go into a little slump, it easily ends you. Big, successful, lasting schools are doing at minimum 6 major forms of marketing and advertising. 

2. They abandon any marketing program they try before the results are in. This is so common. I can’t tell you how many Career College owners I’ve talked to that tell me “I tried that, it didn’t work.” No, what didn’t work was the owner of the school. He didn’t keep at it. He tried it for a couple weeks or a couple months and then gave up because he didn’t see amazing, 100% crystal clear results yet. Marketing doesn’t work like that. Every successful school owner knows it takes persistant, long term strategies and is kind of like a relay race: You have to make each stage of the marketing program work.

3. When money gets tight, they stop marketing, which is the beginning of the end for their school.  You know what the big guys do when the going gets tough and new enrollments slows down? Market more…WAY more. You know what the small guys do when the going gets tough? Throttle down their marketing efforts to “save money” which ends up costing them more money in lost revenues than they saved by cutting off their marketing programs. That typically finishes the job of killing their revenues.

I know a guy who is wowing people. He’s only 29 and his school is already making a couple million each year after only 2 years. Everyone thinks he is a genius, and maybe he is. He’s a client of mine. I asked him what he uses. He told me that he uses my company (of course), a top tier Google Adwords management company, a Facebook and social media marketing company, a "secret shopper" auditing company, buys local TV time, built a city-wide PPC program, networks with working professionals in his school's industry, sends out postcards, and more. He grew his company faster in 2 years than one of my other clients who took 15 years to get to the same size.

So stop wondering why you are not getting bigger yet, think about these points. They are correct. The big guys know it.
 
Sincerely,

Stephen Epstein, Founder and CEO
Enrollment Boosters
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About Enrollment Boosters
Our purpose is to provide expertise to career colleges and trade schools in the areas of lead generation and enrollment conversion optimization, so schools can focus on teaching their trade to classrooms full of new students year round.

About Author: Stephen Epstein

Stephen has worked with career colleges and trade schools as an enrollment and student retainment specialist since 2009.
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