Winning over completely new customers is more difficult than keeping good relations with present students. What about former students? Certainly, you should not give them the brush-off at once. Well, after all the fact that you buy a pair of shoes in an e-store does mean that you will never return there. In the article below you will learn how to activate archived students and enjoy full groups in the new term.
Why is it so important?
Probably so far you have focused exclusively on winning new customers, you have been planning marketing actions that will make students first to see your school and then to purchase the language course. Certainly, this is the most difficult task and not an easy group of customers.
You have to watch our also for another very important, but often forgotten group – students who have already used your offer. There is a huge potential inherent in them! If you have not carried out a special survey on whether former students will want to use your services in the future, how can you be certain they would not do that?
Where to find them?
First you should find out how many people are stored in your database as former customers. This is an easy task if you have a CRM system, which helps in managing relations with customers and stores the most relevant pieces of information about them from your point of view.
What is interesting, clients of LangLion Platfrom have fast access to their former students owing to a dedicated functionality, i.e. Archive. Inactive course participants are transferred there jointly with tuition instalments, payment schemes and discounts, so all pieces of information are kept and you can return to them at any time.
A useful tip: If you have not been keeping contacts of your former students, start doing it now.
How to archive activate them?
Permanent communication is a very important element. Developing long-term relations is all the more important because it builds the loyalty of your customers. From time to time sent to your former students – or companies that used your services – a customised newsletter, promotions for regular customers, e-books, invitations to trainings or school events. There is always some reason to contact them. It is important for the contact not to be intrusive and to bring some value to recipients.
It is worthwhile to return to contacts with archived students because we do not really know what moment of life they are just at – perhaps they will need a language course because they changed jobs or are going on holidays abroad?
Everyone likes feeling they are important and treated individually, so it is worthwhile focusing on expectations of our customers. What we want is to deliver to our recipients only the desirable pieces of information e.g. if you offer a course for children, then you send an e-mail to parents of those children, and not to students.
Therefore, try to identify groups of recipients (persons) and collect information about their interests or plans. If you address the customers using their first names, you overcome barriers and improve communication effectiveness. According to research, use of customised e-mails is likely to increase your revenues by 70 per cent! In contrast to new customers, you have contacts to former students at your fingertips.
E-mail marketing certainly is not the sole communication channel. You can send customized SMSs or contact your former students over the phone. In the conversation it is worthwhile using all kinds of information about them you collected beforehand e.g. ‘High Adam, you completed B2-level course in our school; aren’t you thinking about developing your language skills at a higher level? We are just having the summer promotion …’.
It is always worthwhile tracing back the path of your customers, i.e. analysing where they originally came to us from (you can even place such a question in the course enrolment registration form), whether they completed the form using a mobile phone or personally on site. This makes it easier for you to adjust the advertising, by creating customised promotions or landing page.
Promotions, preferential treatment
If you focus only on new customers, former students will be neglected. Most customers like feeling to be retained or – in other words – important.
The thing is you should become interested in former students, diversify a course e.g. by offering additional lessons with a native speaker, appreciate and reward them as regular customers.
Preferential treatment is a perfect method to retain students who have just completed learning in your school. From their viewpoint it is very important to be offered guarantees of remaining in the same group and also – as far as possible – having the same teacher if they enrol for a course in the next term.
It is obvious that when you run your own business you’re not very keen on giving discounts, but this is a very convincing method to retain old customers. Language schools most often offer discounts for payment of the tuition fee for the entire course in advance or discounts for summer holiday courses. Equally popular are also discounts for recommendations, because recommendations are a powerful source for acquisition of new customers. Al in all a regular customer is likely to collect discounts at the level of 15 per cent – This will not make your school go bankrupt and in return you obtain a faithful customer and good recommendations.
Useful tips worthwhile to be remembered:
- offer to customers discounts even before they complete a language course;
- put recipients of your marketing campaigns into several groups so as to better match the communication;
- combine offers, e.g. a business course plus weekend conversations, with a view to selling a greater volume of services and – consequently – to improve profits;
- use cross-selling (sales combined with selling another product/service) and up-selling (motivating for making more expensive purchases);
- and first and foremost don’t lose touch with former students.
Extension of a language course enrolment by former students is certainly more likely than prospects that your services will be taken advantage of by completely new customers, who have just learnt about your language school. So try always to take good care of them, not only to develop good relations but also … to increase profits on your company account.
What’s it like from your perspective? Share your remarks with us in the comments.