It's not too difficult to have your digital marketing cake and eat it. To have ASQA compliant marketing that also delivers visitors and leads. But what if I said you can have cherries on top of your cake as well?
As I'm sure you know the standards were put in place to stop dodgy marketing practices, not to stop you getting in front of prospects at the right time with great marketing.
Inbound Marketing for RTOs
That said, there is one form of marketing that is a good fit for Australian RTOs. It naturally fits inside Standards, and it is by nature low friction and highly ethical and that is inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing is all about creating value for the end buyers, and distributing this value in places where the buyers congregate. Instead of attempting to interrupt someones day and crowbar in your marketing message, you create content that is of value to your training buyers and that is relative to your industry or your message.
The buyers consumes your free content (it's written just for them and is about problems and needs they have). This tips the scales and puts them slightly in your debt, and it positions you as a thought leader. If they downloaded a content offer from your website, you also get their email address so you can continue supplying them with valuable, focused content.
To see how this compares with the old school way, imagine the buyers journey of a prospective trainee.
RTO #1 (old school marketing)
You see a Facebook advert showing a course you are slightly interested in. you visit the website and read the benefits and about how great the RTO is. After you leave you start seeing adverts for the course around the internet, on YouTube and other seemingly unrelated websites (Google or Facebook remarketing).
RTO#1 is using pretty sophisticated digital marketing, and this does work, but it does not fit in with the modern training buyers journey from awareness of the problems, through consideration of a likely solution to the final stage, making a decision about who to get them to fix the problem.
RTO #2 (inbound marketing)
You see a Facebook post that talks about a problem you have. You click the link and visit the website, and read a blog which is all about your problem. At the bottom of the blog is a graphic showing you that you can download a ebook which will tell you how to fix your problem, so you fill out the form and download it.
You are pleased to see the ebook contains no sales pitch at all, it's 100% helpful content - happy days!
A week later you get an email with another content offer which gives you more information in greater detail about your problem.
A week later you get another email with an offer to speak to a problem specialist for a free session.
RTO#2 is using marketing that is tailored to the buyers journey. They provide content that is relevant to someone who is just becoming aware they have a need or problem, and these days we all do the same thing in this situation; we jump on Google and we search for our problem - NOT for the solution.
RTO#2 also has a content offer about the solution. Although this is further down the marketing funnel, the content still has no reference to courses offered by the RTO, it's just there to help buyers find the right solution.
Your cake eaten with cherries on top
By working with the buyers journey we can help buyers before they buy and stay compliant, but more than that we can operate in the spirit that the standards were written in.
Inbound marketing is ethical RTO marketing that helps trainees fix whatever problems and needs they have, and then positions your RTO as the best method to fix the problem.
Is your RTO a good fit for inbound marketing?
Inbound may not be a good fit for all RTOs, so please contact us if you'd like us to assess your RTO for inbound fit. As a rule of thumb, inbound is a good fit for industries and businesses who have a relatively high customer lifetime value, a product or service that buyers research, and that is not heavily commodotised.