I started Equinet Academy, a digital marketing training company at 22 years old.
I have been running this company for over four years and we provide courses ranging from Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Marketing, to Digital Advertising and Digital Analytics. Our training centre is located in the Central Business District of Singapore and we currently run public and in-house trainings every other week.
Here are 5 things to take note of if you wish to set up and run a profitable training business.
- Set a clear goal and focus on your business objectives
- Always deliver quality training
- Build a compelling and convincing website
- Do Marketing (Both online & offline)
- Analyse and optimise your business processes
Set a Clear Goal and Focus on Your Business Objectives
Start with the end in mind and don’t let anyone sway your focus. It’s alright to take in feedback and establish new partnerships should the opportunity arise. However, always look back at your vision and mission and assess whether there is any alignment or relevance to them.
At one point, we shifted our focus to reselling government funded IT courses (unrelated to digital marketing. This resulted in a drop of signups for our digital marketing courses, likely due to brand dilution. When we stopped offering those courses on our website, sales again picked up for our digital marketing courses.
Key points to note:
- Develop a clear vision of where you want your business to be in 5, 10, 20 years
- Sidetracking can hinder your expansion in the long term
- Don’t let others sway your focus, but always be ready to receive feedback
Always Deliver Quality
It starts from defining the learning objectives and the relevant target audience. Then constructively aligning the curriculum and courseware development to the learning objectives and the target audience.
Once you have those in place, you need to find passionate and experienced trainers. I have seen great success with LinkedIn Recruiter and cold outreach via LinkedIn Messaging.
If your trainers aren’t experienced in their fields, they won’t be able to draw from their previous mistakes and success stories to effectively convey the learning concepts to trainees. If they aren’t passionate in what they do, the trainees can see that and they won’t be as engaged and attentive.
These two elements are essential in order to ensure a conducive and productive learning environment.
Have a continuous improvement review process (CIR). That includes utilizing attendees’ feedback forms and sitting in their training sessions to give them constructive feedback. If your trainers aren’t passionate, they would do very little to improve what needs to be improved.
Over time, word of mouth will gain traction and you’ll start seeing trainees recommending colleagues and friends to your courses.
Key points to note:
- Hire great, not just good trainers
- Collect trainees’ feedback for Continuous Improvement Review (CIR)
- Work closely with your trainers to improve the curriculum and courseware
- Word of mouth takes time to build
Build a Compelling and Convincing Website (Your 24/7 Online Salesman)
Your website is your 24/7 online salesman. It works for you even when all your hired course consultants are asleep. It has helped us to save staff costs through auto e-invoicing, automated replies, and minimizing phone enquiries by making information clear and readily accessible online via our website.
Key points to note:
- Write compelling course overviews and comprehensive outlines
- Make information clear & transparent (reduces admin cost/increases productivity)
- Include clear call-to-actions (e.g. how to signup, phone number, contact form)
- Make online registration easy and reduce friction as much as possible
Do Marketing (Both Online and Offline)
Many of the training providers I know who don’t have a permanent training centre, rely on word of mouth and cold calling/emailing individual companies to pitch in-house trainings. They don’t utilize online marketing channels. Some of them don’t even have a website!
Here are some effective digital marketing channels we utilize to fill up our public courses, and to also secure B2B leads where companies send entire marketing teams to us for training:
- Search Engine Optimization (Google)
- Google AdWords (Search and Display Network)
- Facebook Advertising
- Email Marketing
- Content Marketing
- Offline Events – Leads are generated through online marketing efforts
The key to a successful digital marketing campaign is developing a digital marketing strategy that’s tailored to your target customer profiles.
Analyse and Optimise Your Business Processes
I can’t stress how important it is to scrutinize your business processes i.e.
- What important information should be included in your course registration confirmation emails?
- When should you send your course payment reminders?
- Are enquiries responded promptly?
- What are common email/phone call enquiries? Can you include the information on marketing collateral to save admin time?
- What is your competition up to? Can you beat them in terms of value proposition?
We started out with a high dropout rate. People were registering for our courses but delayed payment and eventually cancelled their registrations. When we optimized our registration and payment processes, we managed to reduce dropout rates by 50%.
If you want to ensure your training business remains competent and profitable, keep these 5 things in check.