50 Tips To Stay on the Trail

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Best TrailCropFrom your Senior LERN Leaders and LERN consultants, some of the most successful lifelong learning program practitioners, here are their most memorable tips from the big LERN conference last month. The names are the persons reporting the tip, not necessarily the person who presented the tip.

  1. When designing marketing initiatives, be careful not to market to yourself.  It’s important to always keep your target audience in mind. (Michael Seppi)
  1. Data is king – you need to be able to collect and analyze data. (Michael Seppi)
  1. Video marketing can be highly effective. (Michael Seppi)
  2. Home improvement & culinary (practical & fun) camps for adults are hot. (Daniel Thorpe)
  3. High school make-up camps for kids are hot. (Daniel Thorpe)
  4. Online training, including partnered/hosted offerings like UGotClass. (Daniel Thorpe)
  1. Customer Service: Your attitude is contagious. If it’s positive then customers will tend to be positive. If it’s negative customers will not have a good experience. (Fred Bayley)
  2.  Testimonials: No such thing as a bad testimonial. Some are better than others. More testimonials the better. (Fred Bayley)
  3. Customer Service: Under promise and over deliver. (Fred Bayley)
  4. When developing new programs, use a focus group or sample group to pilot your program to identify areas you need to fix, change, etc. (Laura Guentner)
  1. People ages 18 to 65 are more likely to trust what they read in print over what they read online. (Laura Guentner)
  1. Pitfalls to avoid in program developing: 1.) Guessing by relying on your gut instinct 2.) Not thinking big enough 3.) Not letting content dictate delivery model. (Laura Guentner)
  1. When promoting UGotClass, have a year’s worth of classes showing on your website and open for registration… even if in your print catalog you are only showing classes by semester. (Christina Draper)
  2. When building an office team make sure the manager is aware of the strengths and plays to those strengths when creating work teams, assigning tasks, or hiring new team members. (Christina Draper)
  3. Take advantage (invest the time in) of the technological tools that are available to you, especially those that are related to work productivity and time management. (Christina Draper)
  4. The right structure is required to effectively grow our Contract Training revenues. We now have a model for that structure. (Kevin Stevenson)
  5. With millennials being the new majority we need to continue to aggressively program to meet their needs and learning styles.  (Kevin Stevenson)
  6. Having my staff see how many of our practices reflect LERN best practices. This is powerful information to bring back to our site and share with colleagues.  (Kevin Stevenson)
  7. From Tony Rubleski’s Mind Capture keynote: a. Kids are the best salespeople (they ask great “mindbender” questions; are creative/negotiators. We can LERN from them and do what they do! (Sandra Parker)
  8. From Jared Campbell’s Motivating Digital Natives: there’s a great app called Pocket Points – gives people rewards for NOT using their smartphones in class. (Sandra Parker)
  1. From Best Brochure Ideas session: a. Brochure is not there to inform – it’s there to sell. b. Welcome messages – better to use bullets than letter-like text; make it benefits-focused. c. For multi-course certificate programs – offer discount when registering for all required courses at same time (can still register one at a time, but at regular price). (Sandra Parker)
  1. The back of your brochure should be as eye-catching as the cover because you don’t know which way it will be facing when delivered in your customer’s mailbox. (Chuck Ramm)
  2. Homeschool groups are a great target market for year-round programming. They are often looking for activities during the daytime when recreation centers are less busy. (Chuck Ramm)
  1. How do you make sure your employees don’t leave with the social media passwords? Get a list of all the accounts you have and their passwords and who has access to them. (Jennifer Selke)
  1. Don’t spam your contacts in linked while you are setting up your profile by turning off broadcasts. (Jennifer Selke)
  2. Mobile Day is the best app for those who make and live on conference calls. (Jennifer Selke)
  1. Discover new and creative ways to reward employees and to make work more rewarding for employees. (Monique Fortmann)
  2. Growth in Advanced Technology Industry and positioning programs prepare students for this pathway. (Monique Fortmann)
  3. With 4 generations in the workforce, managing and leading requires a “full” tool box. (Monique Fortmann)
  4. From 10 Best Promotion Strategies of the Year – Mail a postcard telling them about our online catalog. (Sherry Kuehn)
  5. From Amazing Tools You’ve Never Heard Of, with LuckyOrange.com you can watch your website visitors in real time. (Sherry Kuehn)
  1. Summer Camps, do a camp for mentally challenged children.  There is a big need and something we will be discussing here at our institution. (William T. O’Brien)
  2. Build Advisory Boards of best customers to help advise your program on reaching different audience segments. (William T. O’Brien)
  3. From New Growth Markets presentation – 2+2 Affiliations, Degree completion partnerships between Community College and university campuses, are working. (John Alexander)
  4. From 5 Critical Elements New Program Development – Don’t rely on instinct; the decision to develop a new program needs to be data-driven. (John Alexander)
  5. Community Needs Assessment – Customers give you the best answers; hold 10-15 conversations with customers per year. (John Alexander)
  6. Give better presentations by using high-resolution images, fewer words, and through storytelling. (Jared Campbell)
  7. Videos produced with a more personal feel could be more engaging than high-fidelity studio recordings. Just be sure to make them 5 minutes or less. (Jared Campbell)
  8. Your students want more formative assessments. PollEverywhere.com offers a free student response system for classes of 40 students or fewer. (Jared Campbell)
  9. Teach passionately. A teacher is not a body of knowledge but rather an emotional conduit to one. (Jared Campbell)
  10. Create an Annual Report. A formal, glossy, four-page, graphic intensive, simplified summary of your program’s benchmarks and accomplishments.  It will serve as a quick reference for both internal and external clients. (Kendall Harris)
  11. Call your students “Boomers” not “Seniors” or “Mature” or “Older”.  Boomers view themselves as unique and forever young. (Kendall Harris)
  12. Use eight seconds as the average attention span.  Eight seconds equals 30 – 40 words on text. (Kendall Harris)
  13. Make sure your website is mobile optimized.  Take advantage of Google “Hummingbird” Algorithm to elevate your website when searched on Google. (Kendall Harris)
  14. Evaluate each meeting you facilitate. Ask participants – how did it rate from 1-5? (Marie Price)
  15. Offer a “how to” class for businesses on the best productivity apps such as Evernote, Wonderlist, etc.  Could do a free class to bring in business and promote your contract training. (Marie Price)
  1. Refine your brand as an industry leader in….Talent development/technologies/camps/leisure learning/etc. (Marie Price)
  1. Create a succession plan for your organization’s leadership. (Mark Mrozinski)
  2. Strategic email marketing automation provides a consistent communication stream to targeted segments and can save time / effort. (Susan Hurrell)
  1. Did you know that your automated email welcome message to new subscribers may have open rates as high as 60%? What a great opportunity to put your best foot (and best info) forward to strengthen your ongoing email relationship! (Susan Hurrell)


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