the best way to attract students
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10 Reasons Why Blogging Is The Best Way To Attract Students

To Blog Or Not To Blog

For those who want to start doing some digital marketing for their school, the first thing on your to-do list is to create a blog. Blogging is probably the most crucial first step to generating more student bookings.

As a school owner, you probably think I don't have the time to write blogs, with all the other activities that need doing. Don't worry! You can delegate this task to one of your teachers.

For this reason, I wanted to go over the benefits of having a blog on your school website and how it will get you more students.

10 reasons to have a blog


  • It shows students that you care. When a potential student reads your blog, it allows you to show them that you care about educating them. You are giving them interesting content to read for free, putting you in a good light.
  • It improves your SEO (search engine optimization) and traffic to your site. If you want to rank high on Google's search engine, you have two choices. You can pay for it with google or Facebook ads, or you can do it organically by writing blogs. The more blogs you have, the more likely people will find you faster. So if you write a blog on a specific aspect of grammar, let's say the present perfect, and someone in your country google searches this, they will find your page and info about your school and courses.



  • It is vital for social media efforts. While it's OK to share funny or educational images on Facebook, you want to start sending people to your site. When you share good quality blogs on social media, you will be sending more people to your site. Sometimes this isn't easy without having good, informative content. The benefits of sending people to your sites are many.
  • You can promote your courses with in your blog so students can learn more about your school and your offers by exploring your website.
  • It's the cheapest way to find students online. If you decide to promote your courses on Facebook, a blog is a best and most affordable way to find your audience. If someone clicks on your blog, you know they could be a potential student. With Facebook and Google, you can pixel your website; this is a little piece of code that will allow you to just show future promotions just to the people who clicked on your blog, so you are not wasting money offering your advertisements to people who are not interested.
  • It will make your school stand out in a crowded industry. The people who read your blog will associate you and your school with valuable information and solving their problem. This will create trust between you and potential students.
  • It gives you a platform to make offers to potential students. With more blogs comes more traffic to your site. More traffic means more potential to sign up students.  
  • It's the equivalent of your own company newspaper; a lot of good content and some advertising. A blog is the same. All your blogs should contain an offer for free testing and a trial class, etc. Your blog is the medium for you to attract students.
  • It gives potential students a reason to keep coming back to your site. It will create fans of your brand.
  • Blogs will position your school as a  trusted source of information online compared to schools who  just post about their courses and talk about how good they are, etc.

I hope you can see how powerful blogging can be for your school and you start on now!


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6 ways to improve your website to get more students

SIx ways to improve your website to get more students

Too much to do!

Organisations are under so much pressure these days to update their online marketing presence. The problem is that there is so much to focus on. Where to begin? Social media, paid ads, email marketing, blogging, etc. For many organisations, this can be overwhelming as they don't have the time or the resources to commit to doing it correctly. We are all aware of how important marketing has become for our work these days. However, most people neglect the most critical aspect of their marketing, and that is their website.

I have been looking at many organisations' websites over the years, and I am amazed that most of them are entirely outdated and do more damage than good. The purpose of your homepage is to set you apart from your competitors, to tell people who you are and why they should choose to work with you. It is your online digital business card. 

A poorly designed homepage will get you ignored, while a good one will do its job and get you more sales.

In this article, we will go through the critical elements of what makes a great homepage, and hopefully, by the end of it, you'll be able to get some ideas and apply them to your organisation's website.

What Makes A Great Website?

Essentially, it should be simple, uncluttered, and straightforward. Your homepage should not look like a lousy catalogue crammed full of offers and the latest news. It is the first impression, and you know how important that is. If you can't showcase that your organisation is different, your potential customer will only focus on your prices, and there will always be cheaper offers out there.

There are six fundamentals that every great homepage should contain.

It Has A Great Compelling Headline That Talks Directly To The Customer

Your headline should be something that will set you apart from other organisations.

In short, a great headline front and centre of your homepage is an essential element you need when designing your page. This headline should not be an offer! It should tell the customer two things: 

1. Who it is for?

2. What problem it solves?

If you can't describe what problem your organisation solves to your visitors in one sentence and it doesn't connect with their issues, you should rethink it. Your headline is your introduction! Don't jump into a sale before you introduce yourself!

It Has Trust & Authority.

Does your site show authority?

Where possible, it's always good to include reputable companies that you have worked with in the past to confirm authority and high value in your new customer's eyes. If you have worked with companies, put their logos here.

The more you can include on your homepage, the more effective it will be to establish yourself as an authority.

Include a Selection of Your Latest Blog Posts (if you have some)

Your homepage on its own generally doesn't change, which in the eyes of Google search engines may be bad for SEO. Including some of your latest blog posts will keep your page fresh and encourage the search engine bots to keep returning to your homepage and crawling your site for new information. This will significantly improve your rankings and attract new visitors.

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Testimonials and Reviews

As with trust and authority, including testimonials from your existing customers will significantly improve social proof. This will add credibility to your organisation, removing any doubts and objections from your prospective customer and encouraging them to take action.

A Simple & Effective Design

The problem: the busier the page looks, the more overwhelming it will be for your visitors and the less likely it will be for them to take the desired action. If your homepage has too many separate elements, i.e. services offered or special offers, it will look very cluttered, and the primary message you want to convey will be lost.

In short, keep things simple; use two primary colours, a simple layout with a clear, large typography set that is easily read and consumed by your visitors.

Calls-To-Action (CTA)

Are your visitors clear on the action they need to take to move forward?

Again, this may seem like common sense, but it's surprisingly overlooked in favour of design and site layout.

In short, including a clear call-to-action on your page is essential, and not only for walking your visitors down a clear path. So what is your call to action? 

To call you? 

To take a trial? 

To download an eBook? 

Decide on the best next step for your organisation.

The best CTA for most businesses is the one that gets the customer on a call, so get them to book a call and set up a scheduler like Calendly (https://calendly.com/), so they can pick a convenient time to talk with you.


Conclusion

Try to include as many of these on your homepage as you can. If you don't have all of the elements, don't worry. Try to include them over time.

The main things that you should take away from this article are that your homepage should:

  • Use simple, straightforward language free of industry jargon or terminology
  • State clearly who is your customer and what problem you solve.
  • Set you apart from other organisations by telling visitors how you are different.
  • Have clear calls to action, telling customers what they should do next.
  • Build trust by showcasing your testimonials/reviews. 
  • Highlight your authority by showing which companies/organisations you have worked with in the past.

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How to find a good training (host) organization for Erasmus+ courses

How to find a good training (host) organization Erasmus+ courses

Finding good, reliable and qualified training organization is not easy. Nowadays, a lot of educational organizations are not just providing education for their general target group, but have evolved into training institutions, having professionals with years of experience and knowledge that is worth sharing and developing.

However, choosing the right host organization is crucial for your experience.

Look for references

Make sure you are checking the references. Having social proof (ratings) displayed on webpage can help you see what kind of experiences have past participants had. Also, some organizations might be ideal for your needs, but might not work for somebody else. Do thoroughly your research. You don’t want to go to Erasmus + and just get back with a bag of goodies. You want to be inspired and get tools and skills that will serve to you and your organization in future work. It is an investment.

Price is not irrelevant: Even though Erasmus + is covering all the expenses, you don’t want to be careless with the prices. Prices of the courses can tag from 300 – 1300 € and it really depends what package you are getting. For example, it might seem a lot to pay 1300€ for 7-day course, but keep in mind that for that price you are probably getting a full package. Meaning, all meals included, accommodation covered, cultural visits organized for you. You basically have to get there and enjoy. So before agreeing to pay so much for the course, make sure what is maximum amount your National Agency is covering for the course fee. If the course fee with full package is over maximum, then you will have to reallocate your budget for the course fee from Individual support from the project.

Some courses might be very cheap, make sure why is it so. They might offer just a course, and you will have to take care of the accommodation, meals, breaks, networking activities etc. If you don’t mind, then you should have no hesitations. So first of all, make sure you are getting fair quality for certain price.

Pay attention to the communication: before writing your application, learn about your partner organization. Partner organization is responsible for providing you with Job Shadowing or Training Courses. You can search for partners here and here and here. Once you find a couple of organization that you like, take action and contact them. Communication is a key of every partnership. And that starts from the beginning and first contact. If someone is taking longer then 2 days to answer you, it’s better not to push it, but to find organization that will be willing to cooperate and have active communication with you. The last thing you want is not to get answers from partners on time. That is important in every step from arranging traveling to payments, contracts etc. If you have to wait for answer to come days and days, collaboration will not go smoothly. So contact your potential partner organizations and ask them about their offer in detail. About their references, about their prices, about their prior help in writing proposal, about partnership agreement.

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How to find partners for your Erasmus+ Projects
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How to find partners for Erasmus+ projects

How to find partners for your Erasmus+ Projects

Looking for a good partner organisation can be challenging, especially if you are at the beginning of your Erasmus+ journey. Building relationships takes time in any area, and the same applies in Erasmus+, but first things first.

The first step towards a successful Erasmus+ experience is always knowing what idea you want to develop within Erasmus+ Projects.

Make sure the course you want to attend is going to fit you and your needs

Even though you are not applying for Erasmus+ as an individual, but as an organisation, it is necessary that you ask yourself - What kind of training do I really need in order to improve my skills or skills of my staff? Before you and your organisation decide on the course, you need to do an evaluation of your skills – both individual and organisational. By evaluating your skills and needs, you will detect what is the most needed asset in your skill set that you think you are lacking in order to be a better teacher, manager, headmaster. If you start with your needs, you will know which direction to go in. Ask yourself: How do I see myself in the future? How do I want to improve my career? What skills am I lacking to become better at my job?

Having a clear idea of your project will help you navigate within a wide range of institutions and organisations that are involved in Erasmus+. If you want to advance your school curriculum and improve the teaching skills of your teachers, then you need to look for a good training organisation.

Make sure your needs are in line with the needs of your organisation

Initially, when writing your application for Erasmus+, you will need to start by investigating the needs of your organisation. Ask your peers, colleagues, boss and all other staff what it is that your organisation is lacking in order to reach its goals. What parts of human resources are valuable and what parts need to be improved. Tell all you employees about Erasmus + possibilities and make a short-term and long-term development plan for your Erasmus+ application. Short-term will be set for this year’s application, and long-term maybe for next year.

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Start by asking organisations from your established network

Building relationships is always hard work, but in the end it pays off. But, there are some things that might make this process easier and quicker. If you have a network of organsiations that you are close with and they have already been involved in Erasmus+ projects, chances are they have some recommendations for you. They might have attended some training courses or lectures by trainers that really impacted them. Ask them for their experience and see if they can recommend anyone. Word-of-mouth is, after all, still the best promotion.

Summary of the course

Once you have found a couple of organisations, you can narrow down the selection by looking into the summary of their course. Not only do you need a good description of the course, so that you can see what you will get in return, but it is necessary to describe the courses you want to attend in your Erasmus + application. Make sure you get as many details as possible, so that you can understand what you will get from the course and explain all the segments of your mobility in your application.

Ask for an online meeting

When you have narrowed down the potential partner organisations, ask them to schedule an online meeting. This way, you can get to know them a little bit more and compare what everyone is offering. After getting your answers, you will be able to choose the right organisation.

Look for partners online 

There are a couple of ways to get to know new organisations online.

Websites that have been established by the European Commission:

EPALE Partners Search – for Adult Education and VET

SALTO YOUTH– for Youth Mobilities

There are also a lot of unofficial websites that help organisations connect more easily:

LinkedIn and Facebook groups are very often good places to start

Some LinkedIn groups:

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/4287623/

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/5080110/

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/6929760/

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8423060/

Some Facebook groups:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2685092871802920/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/679074125436567/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1440503956192198/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1396451860652137/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/141436002693630/

WEBSITES:

School Education Getaway

EU Partner Search

Finding Partners Database

Building a partnership takes time!

Having that in mind, try to communicate with organisations you like and would like to work with in the future. Exchange ideas with them, invite them to your activities and build relationships on trust and good communication!

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get more bookings from your website
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How to get more bookings from your website

Why aren't you get more bookings from your website?

Did you know that up to 70% of website visitors that come to your website won't ever return if they don't find the info they need? Just think about that for a second! 70% of potential students are lost because your website isn’t set up correctly. 

Just because your visitors are not ready to buy from you now, it is essential to capture their contact details to follow up with them. You will build a relationship, and your school can stay "top of mind". When they are ready to move forward, you will be their school of choice.

It is widespread for schools to waste a lot of their marketing budget because they have not optimised their website to do exactly this. We call this lead capture.

What is lead capture?

Any potential student visiting your website is a "lead". If you don't have the essential elements in place on your site to capture their contact details, then you're wasting a lot of money. Try to think about it from a student's perspective. When a student is looking for a school, the initial search phase is all about research. They most likely have not come to your site with the clear intention to purchase from you yet. 

The typical buying cycle goes like this:

1. The student realises they need to improve their chosen language

2. The student starts to check for schools online and compare them (courses, prices)

3. The students ask friends for a recommendation

So assuming most of your visitors are just evaluating your school when they visit. We need to make them think about your school more seriously. The best way to do this is to become very familiar with your school. The key to this is to get their names and emails.

There are many ways to capture potential students' contact details, and we will talk more about this later, but first, let's talk about why you should. (You need to make sure your contact form is GDPR compliant)

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The importance of email for your school

  • Email is almost 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined in helping your business acquire new customers. (McKinsey)
  • You can send people back to your website again to see offers 
  • Email is personal; you can reach out to these potential students in a more personal way
  • You can add these contacts to your email list and follow up on your latest news and offers
  • You can build a very targeted audience on Facebook using these email addresses
  • You own your email list; Social media platforms will change their policies, but if you have your own email list, it will always be yours

There are many more reasons to collect potential customers' email addresses, but these are the main ones.

Lead capture and how to collect email addresses

The easiest ways to collect email addresses

  • Adding a contact form to your website pages - you should have a contact form at the bottom of every page. Try to entice students to sign up with an offer. You can offer a discount on upcoming courses, news etc. 
  • Pop-ups and overlays - most people hate these, but if you are making a great offer, they are effective, and they will get you a lot more sign ups & email addresses. Read this article for more information.
  • Lead magnets - a lead magnet is a marketing term for a free item or service that you offer for gathering contact details. For example, lead magnets can be free trials, free testing's. eBooks about certain aspects of grammar are great ways to collect contact details.
  • Scheduling software, like Calendly, allows a student to book a time online to talk with you; they also collect contact information. Use this to enable students to book testing's or trial lessons.

Don't underestimate the value of collecting your potential customer's emails. Lead capture is an essential part of your marketing. Without it, you will not be able to follow up with potential new students. It gives you the advantage to be proactive, reach out to them and shape the conversation.

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Life long learning as a way to grow self-confidence
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Lifelong learning as a way to grow self-confidence

Lifelong learning as a way to grow self-confidence


 

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” — Henry Ford

Alan Honan 

Born in Ireland, Alan has been travelling the world since the age of 18, and fell in love with Croatia and Zagreb. He enjoys being a teacher and  loves seeing the improvement in his students. He is a bookworm, and  enjoys learning new skills.

Alan Honan

What is Lifelong Learning? 

Well, it’s something we do all our lives whether we realize it or not. We learn every day either in formal or informal ways. Formal learning is what we get in schools or universities and is structured to lead to a certificate or diploma, while informal learning is what we learn in everyday life either at work or through relationships such as family life or friendships.

Every time you learn a new way to do something or deal with a certain situation you are learning, and as long as you live you will continue to learn, so it makes sense to find out the best ways to learn and the things that will benefit us the most. In today’s world, it’s more important than ever to keep up with the almost constant changes in technology, both at work and in society in general, as seen with the increased use of social media for communication and interaction.

Increased choices in everyday life

Let's look at what we can get from lifelong learning and the ways we can achieve the best results from this fascinating and rewarding journey. The first and most obvious way we can benefit from further education is at work where extra skills can lead to better job prospects and consequently to better pay, which in turn gives us more choices in our everyday lives, i.e. where we can live, where we can eat or socialize, and the people we choose to socialize with are all connected to our position in society and our financial position. Whether we like it or not, society has levels and our education and financial position dictates our place in it.

"Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace." – Confucius

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Learning helps grow confidence

Lifelong learning helps grow self-confidence, as we have all heard the phrase that knowledge is power, so it makes sense that the more we know the more confident we feel. In life, nothing makes us feel more helpless than being in a situation we have no idea how to get out of, when the solution to our problem could be something simple but our lack of knowledge keeps us from it.

So the more we learn, the better equipped we are to deal with life’s problems, and the more confident we become.

Physical benefits of lifelong learning

It has been proved that people who continue to learn throughout their lives live longer and tend to be healthier than those who do not. Studies have also shown that lifelong learners are less susceptible to degenerative diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, often by quite a large percentage. So there you go, continuous learning leads to a longer and healthier life.

Social benefits of lifelong learning

One of the best ways to meet people is in local education courses where you not only get to meet people who have the same interests as you (which makes interaction a lot easier), but you also can socialize with them after lessons. Common interests are a great help when meeting people for the first time and can help you to improve your social skills in a safe setting where personalities take second place to the subject being learned.

"Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t." Bill Nye

So what else do we get from lifelong learning apart from better career prospects, longer and healthier lives, and more interesting social lives? Our own self-development as individuals is largely based on the knowledge we acquire and the relationships we cultivate in our lives, and the more we learn and share with like-minded people, the richer and more fulfilling our lives become. We grow into more stable and more interesting people who have the confidence to truly become the best possible versions of ourselves.

Communities grow as a result of lifelong learners, as the more skills and knowledge we acquire, the more we have to offer to the communities in which we live. As stable and successful individuals we provide better role models to the younger members of the communities we live in .

There are a lot of negative influences in society today, which include political radicalism and intolerance, so now more than ever stable and educated individuals are needed in communities to provide balanced and sensible solutions and discussions that address whatever problems that may arise within these communities.

"I never lose. I either win or learn." Nelson Mandela

So there we have it, lifelong learning not only helps us grow and develop as people, creating fuller and more interesting lives, but also creates safer and more inclusive communities which are far more fun to live in, where we get to live with a more diverse and interesting society that offers us more varieties of culture, food, music, and people with which we can interact. Everyone benefits from this approach to living and we constantly evolve as individuals and communities.


Alan Honan

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The Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Come to Zagreb to Improve Your English

The Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Join Our Zagreb Erasmus+ Courses

CITY OF BEAUTY

Zagreb is a city that surprises every first-time visitor with its charm and beauty. It may not have the popular sights that Paris, Prague or Madrid are famous for, but don’t be put off - this is also what makes it so attractive. It’s a beautiful European capital that is perfect for relaxation. There are no big tourist crowds, so there are no long lines to queue in, no overpriced cafés and restaurants, and it’s one of the safest cities in Europe. A perfect destination for participating in Erasmus+ Courses in Croatia.

AWARDS

The 2020 Travel Awards voted Croatia the 3rd best country in the world. Zagreb has also won the Top Christmas Markets 3 years in a row, and it’s regularly voted European Top City Break Destination.

We, at Initiative Centre for Education, have 2 locations in Zagreb and Split. We are very proud of our tradition of training adults to improve their English. With over 17 years of experience and thousands of successful students, we are excited to invite you to come for Zagreb Erasmus+ Courses and immerse yourself in English while staying in our beautiful city for six days.

If you want to improve your English, Zagreb is a great city to do it in. Why, I hear you ask?

Here are ten reasons:

1. Croatians speak English very well! According to a recent study, Croatia is among the world’s best for English language proficiency.

2. Zagreb is a city full of cafes where locals love to sit around and talk, perfect for engaging conversations with your course mates and locals.

3. Croatians are still very curious about foreigners and will happily start up conversations.

4. With over 17 years of English teaching experience, you can be confident we know how to get the best results.

5. Native-speaking teachers - our teachers are from Ireland, the US, Australia and Canada.

6. Great outdoor food market – practice your English out and about at Dolac Market with locals.

7. Fantastic restaurants – the restaurant scene has exploded over the last 5-10 years. If you are a foodie, you will not be disappointed.

8. It’s a city full of parks for you to relax in. They are great for hanging out with your Zagreb Erasmus+ Course colleagues and practising your English during sunny mornings or lazy afternoons.

Video credits:Čitanje za budućnost


9. Zagreb is only 90 mins from the world-famous Adriatic coast, which gives you even more of an opportunity to practise your English.

10. And finally, our Zagreb Erasmus+ Courses program is carefully designed to make sure you will get the best opportunity to practise what you have learned during the course.

At Initiative Centre for Education, we offer a unique approach to learning English in a beautiful city to facilitate your studies. After six days of Zagreb Erasmus+ courses, you will be much more confident in speaking English as we will have taught you utilising the direct method approach, completely immersing you into the language with native speakers and the local population. 

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