The Standards for Registered Training organisations (2015) require that RTOs complying with advertising and marketing standards when marketing and advertising of AQF qualifications to prospective clients is ethical, accurate and consistent with its scope of registration. This is regardless if you use a third party or you undertake your marketing yourself. Your RTO is responsible for all marketing or other material disseminated on its behalf, regardless of the channel or method used.
As in any other business you need to be talking to your client to attract them into your courses. The goal of marketing is to connect your business’ value to the right customer base. There has to be a need and the way you train must suit the learner.
These are key.
There is no magic bullet.
When thinking about your clients, consider questions like:
- What demographics make up your customer base?
- Where do they live?
- Where do they hang out online?
- How do they look for products in your niche?
- Who do the listen when making decisions relative to your product?
The answers to these questions determine which marketing strategies will be viable and which will be a waste of time.
Then the RTO must comply to the Standards.
RTOs must provide accurate information to learners about services and qualifications (Clause 4.1); your RTO must ensure it honours all commitments it makes. The RTO refers to another person or organisation in its marketing material only if the consent of that person or organisation has been obtained.
As the Standards state your marketing material must include the following information:
- You must include your RTO code in all marketing material.
- The RTO responsible for the training and/or assessment and for issuing a qualification or statement of attainment must be absolutely clear to anyone viewing any marketing or advertising material.
- If another person or organisation is delivering training under a third-party agreement with your RTO, your RTO code must be included on all marketing or other material created by that person or organisation that relates to that training and/or assessment.
- If another person or organisation is recruiting learners under a third-party agreement with your RTO, your RTO code must be included on all marketing or other material created by that person or organisation.
- If you are delivering under a third-party agreement with another RTO, that RTO’s code must be included in all marketing or other material relating to those courses.
As in any other business you need to be talking to your client to attract them into your courses.
In developing marketing or advertising material, remember the likely audience, particularly for your online marketing.
Your RTO’s marketing or advertising material must also be consistent with its training and assessment strategies, including any variations or additions for courses delivered to overseas students. For example, you must not claim a course takes two weeks to complete if learners complete the course over a period of several months, including doing so by also undertaking a period of independent study.
Significant numbers of complaints are submitted to ASQA and other agencies about RTOs making inaccurate or misleading statements in their marketing—being vigilant about monitoring the accuracy of your marketing will increase learner satisfaction and reduce the chance of complaints being submitted to regulators, which may lead to expensive compliance action against your RTO.
When you are starting your RTO often you need some quick wins.
Partnering with another company or organisation that has a similar target customer can help you both increase your reach. If you choose to go down this path, then you also need to consider the RTO Standards. The concept of pooling the marketing abilities and resources together to build your brands is sound; it just needs to comply. I highly recommend this approach where complimentary services work together.
Whether you’re in the process of launching a new RTO business or already have one, marketing and having a strong online presence for your RTO and it’s services is extremely important. In fact, consumers learn about local businesses online more than anywhere else. It is said that over 70% of buying decisions are made online.