The COVID-19 pandemic shed completely new light on how language schools function. Recent months have demonstrated the enormous importance of the efficient running of a school played by a state-of-art website and skillful organization of online work. Probably now you are asking yourselves the question of what a website has to do with administration and management? We are coming with an answer!
Throughout recent decades there has been a widespread conviction that a website should be the school’s showcase. This function should certainly be still maintained, but it is no longer the most important one. In recent months we have been witnessing highly dynamic market changes. Absence of readiness for changes and delaying the introduction of state-of-art solutions „till later” eventually results in problems with the reorganization, and – consequently – in loss of customers. Hence a question arises what should be the features of a modern website up to the challenges of the 21st century?
A perfectly designed website should not only be the best possible representation of your language school but also support the work of the secretariat and become a lead-conversion tool. Owing to proper tools, your website will be able to take over some processes that used to be done manually and took a lot of time. So let’s look at the issue step by step!
We all know you make the first impression only once and this aspect has not changed at all. Therefore, it is important for your website to stand out against other offers. This goal is easier to attain if you rely on a customized website and your photos or graphics rather than on a template with stock photographs. Certainly, you can use a template and still create an original and coherent website, but such a goal is harder to achieve and you should avoid automatic filling of the template with content.
There is nothing worse and more frustrating for your potential students than more and more minutes lost on the search for key pieces of information, such as the course’s price, class schedule, or contact data of the school. Most often schools have quite an extensive offer of multiple language courses, targeted at various age/occupational groups. Therefore, it is important for the information to be properly grouped and contribute to a transparent and easy-to-navigate page. What should be placed on a modern page of an online school?
When placing a level test on your website, it must be borne in mind that you should design it properly and embed information about its purpose. Owing to this, a student will know instantly whether completion of a given test translates into their assignment to a specific group or its sole purpose is just to check their level of language command. It is also important for the test not to be too long. The meticulous and long process of test-taking is likely to discourage your potential student.
Besides its obvious function, it is also a perfect tool to acquire sales leads. To obtain test results, a potential student needs to enter their contact data, usually in the form of an e-mail. Owing to this you create a database of contacts, on which you can later base all sales activities and advertising campaigns.
One of the most important elements to be placed on the website – and unfortunately, still, one often forgotten by many schools. To confirm this observation, having entered in the Google the „language school” phrase I visited the first displayed page. Certainly, I found the school’s phone number and e-mail address but unfortunately no online registration form. So let us imagine a situation when a student is trying to contact you, the e-mail was dropped into spam, and in the enrollment month, the phone lines are so flooded that a student needing information instantly (we are already so used to this) can hardly find a free line. So what is your student going to do? She/he keeps on searching and you are quickly forgotten.
When you make the decision to place the form at your school’s website, it is worthwhile to remember about the key element: the form should be simplified to the maximum possible extent. Provide your students with the possibility to enroll for classes in a few fast steps.
A definite advantage of online registration is the fact that we can create a registration form with an already embedded level test, and owing to this you can automatically assign a student to a given group. This is great facilitation for the secretariat, which can swiftly check what the current status of the planned groups looks like, particularly at the moment of enrollments for a new term. This gives the feeling of order and comfort of enrollments. Owing to the integration of online registration with your website, you can acquire even up to 40% of students more.
As I have mentioned above, phone and e-mail are not currently the swiftest forms of communication. So what tools should be used to avoid burning potential leads?
- Chats – increasingly popular at websites. They perfectly meet the needs of customers, who want to obtain answers to niggling questions here and now, and probably did not find them at your website. The most frequently applied solution is Messenger (FB). Owing to it, if customers contacting you are already logged on at Facebook (and this is most frequently the case) then you already have their data available, and consequently you gain more sales leads and you can also invite such people to like your school’s profile in social media.
- The solution of LiveCall/ CallPage type – a tool that tracks page traffic and displays – adequately to the traffic – the following message: „Do you want us to phone you within 28 seconds?”. An advantage of such a solution is that – faced by the perspective to attempt to call your school – a potential customer is more willing to leave their phone number because they are certain you will contact them shortly.
It increasingly appears at websites and may assume various forms. Sometimes it is a kind of a notice board, where your student can find the most important pieces of information related to new items in the school or class schedule and additional materials. However, most frequently this is a tab linking to the Student Panel of an external platform used by the school. Owing to this, your student has access to all necessary general pieces of information, e.g. the class schedule, substitutions, teaching materials, and details of their participation in a course, such as e.g. payments, or making up for classes.
It is worthwhile to provide your students with a choice of payment forms besides traditional transfers or money orders. Such solutions are already slightly outdated. Presently, we are increasingly used to the fact that we make transfers and payment using just a few clicks (blik, proximity payments, integrated systems e.g. with payments for electricity bills). So I cannot see a reason why would language schools be left behind. Introduce at your pages the redirecting function enabling instant payments for courses, such as e.g. PayPal. Your students will certainly appreciate this.
Managing courses for companies
If in your offer you have language courses for companies, it is a good move do make a separate company panel available. Owing to this, a company using your services has the option to log onto their account and check all data related to how courses proceed, including the payment process.
Certainly, one has to bear in mind that navigation should be equally simple on mobile devices, i.e. the website should be responsive. This is already a standard among companies, but our observations show that this does not work everywhere the way it should. And in the times when a smartphone and tablet are indispensable elements of daily lives, this should be an absolute must-have 😉
We mentioned already back in 2015 and in later articles at the blog that this would be an absolute foundation of the offer of language schools. For a majority, this future surfaced earlier than they had thought but looking at how online schools develop this was only a matter of time. We know that you keep hearing from some of your students that online learning does not meet their expectations but this is a natural outcome of changes. Not everyone is ready for them. However, we can increasingly see that more and more of you decide to introduce lessons of this type permanently into the curriculum or even totally transfer your operations into the online world.
Online teaching definitely brings multiple advantages. For the generation brought up in the times of smartphones and computers, this is often a more attractive form of classes. This is where a whole spectrum of additional options appear, such as chats, video materials, screen sharing, and lesson recording for those absent in classes. And the lower costs and lack of risk related to the ever-changing restrictions will be definitely a non-insignificant factor for you.
In this case, the rule that less is more works. Therefore, you should remember that your customers come to obtain specific pieces of information, so the offer on the website should contain the most important details. This certainly does not mean that you should always cut a long story short, but you need to remember about proper formatting, text width, and about making texts visually legible.
Given the present situation, this is huge facilitation and a definite advantage over competitors. We are increasingly accustomed to the fact we can settle anything remotely via a computer or a mobile application. Particularly now, when we minimize the chances to contact other people, the online contract is the icing on the cake of the decision-making process related to the undertaking of learning in the language school. Your student will sign the contract using a single click and you will have the most important documents in a single place without the need for a visit to the secretariat of your school. This is also huge facilitation for the administration staff, making it easy to check whether the contract has been already signed.
The tab that is of key significance to make your potential student develop a liking for you even before the first meeting. This is extremely important because shopping decisions are more often made under the influence of emotions than well-thought-out decisions. You have certainly encountered cases that language learning may be quite stress-inducing for some people. A properly designed „About Us” tab, with photos and descriptions of the teachers, will not only bridge the distance but also arouse sympathy. Video recordings will also work in this case.
We could go on like that forever and we will certainly revisit the topic with more technical novelties. Today I wanted to show you the most important and most helpful things. Remember that given the present situation, with the limited scope of face-to-face meetings, this is the website that is tasked with sales lead conversion.
If you want to learn more about how to make an online contract available to your students, implement registration with embedded level tests and create a student zone up to the challenges of the 21st century, make an appointment with us for a free presentation by clicking HERE. We will help your school to enter a new term with the aim of achieving maximum sales results.