Get out and vote, small business owners tell employees

By Joyce M. Rosenberg, Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Reports of long lines for early voting persuaded Darlene Hollywood — she’s giving her 13 employees at Hollywood Public Relations the morning of Election Day off.

“I don’t want people to feel they have to make a choice of, ‘I need to get to the office’ or ‘I can participate in my civic duty,'” says Hollywood, whose firm is based in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Small business owners who want to make it easy for their staffers to vote are giving them flex time, balloting breaks, or, like Hollywood, opening late.

Some, joining a list of companies of all sizes that includes giants like General Motors and Ford, will be closed for the whole day. Owners say they want to encourage everyone to vote — some saying the intense emotions in the presidential race this year make it particularly significant and others that they feel it’s important to be involved in what happens in their country, state and city.

Many states have laws requiring employers to give workers time off to vote, and some of those states require that employees be paid if they have to vote during working hours. There is no federal law granting workers the right to voting time off. But many owners aren’t motivated strictly by the law.

On past Election Days, Brenda Jones Barwick saw employees hurrying to get their work done at the end of the day and hoping they’d still have time to vote.

“People were rushing out of here at 6:30 trying to get in line before the polls closed at 7,” says Barwick, owner of Jones Public Relations in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma.

This year, she’s decided that neither her 20 staffers nor the company itself needs a chaotic day. So she won’t open the office until 10 a.m. on Election Day. Jones plans to email clients to let them know and hopes the idea spreads: “I’m encouraging other companies to do the same.”

After giving staffers time during the day to vote in past elections, Dan Golden decided this year to close his Chicago-based internet advertising firm, Be Found Online. He wants to be sure that none of his 50 employees has any excuse not to vote, including those who are sounding disaffected in this emotionally charged election year.

“I’m hoping to influence the number of employees who weren’t going to bother,” says Golden, the company’s president.

Golden, who wants other companies to give workers voting time off, is campaigning via a website, www.employersforvto.org . He’d also like to see Election Day made a national holiday.

“The best we can do is empower our employees to do what’s right and make it easier for them, so work isn’t an excuse,” he says.

Some bosses are letting employees decide when to take time off to vote, even if it’s in the middle of the day.

“Regardless of what you are doing, feel free to get up and go vote — it’s your right,” Chris Pontine has told the two employees of his Fort Gratiot, Michigan-based company, Creating a Website Today. He calls his policy, which he’s had since he started his company in 2012, a simple approach.

With early voting underway in Idaho, Jessica Flynn has told her 12 staffers they can take the time to vote on any day, not just Nov. 8.

“They can do it this afternoon or on Election Day,” says Flynn, CEO of Red Sky, a communications strategy firm based in Boise. “Whenever they need to, whenever they want to.”

She wants them to be involved, concerned voters.

“I see it as part of our company’s mission to help grow and support engaged, curious and knowledgeable citizens of the world,” she says.

Joe Laskowski, managing partner at Higher Ed Growth in Tempe, Arizona, recalls past voting that had people in line for hours waiting to cast their ballots. He doesn’t want employees at the firm, which helps colleges form their marketing strategies, to feel under pressure.

“We don’t care if you’re late or take a long lunch,” Laskowski says, “just get it done to have a voice.”

 

Associated Press News Link: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/2e4f01aded38421fa70d03beb2f220e0/get-out-and-vote-small-business-owners-tell-employees

Higher Ed Trend: Business-University Partnerships for Better Student Outcomes

Business-University PartnershipsThe recent news surrounding for-profit institutions has only reinforced the need for transparency in the postsecondary education sector. It’s also a good time to take a closer look at the many institutions innovating in this space and finding new ways to drive better outcomes. One model proving effective is the business–university partnership. It is essentially closing the gap between higher education and the workplace.

 

Learn the organizations leading the way and how these partnerships can be advantageous for higher education recruitment, marketing, education, transparency, retention and repayment. In other words, learn how it can drive better student outcomes.

LeadsCon Article Link: http://www.leadscon.com/higher-ed-trend-business-university-partnerships-for-better-student-outcomes/

ICMI: Proven Ways to Lead Change in the Contact Center

Lead Change in the Contact Center

Higher Ed Growth and EduMaximizer participate in a weekly Twitter discussion with thought leaders and innovators in the contact center community; it is hosted by the International Customer Management Institute (ICMI). “Leading Change in the Contact Center” was a recent topic, and discussion points centered around how organizations decide on new technology, communicate changes to the internal teams, and drive agent buy-in and engagement.

You can read some of the top tips chosen by ICMI, including one from EduMaximizer, on their website: http://www.icmi.com/Resources/Strategy-and-Planning/2016/09/Proven-Ways-to-Lead-Change-in-the-Contact-Center

Be sure to also join in ICMI’s contact center conversation Tuesdays at 1 p.m. ET using hashtag #ICMIchat.

Higher Ed Growth Earns Spot on the Inc. 5000 list for Third Consecutive Year

 

HEG Inc 5000TEMPE, Ariz., August 17, 2016 – Higher Ed Growth (HEG) recently ranked No. 3065 on Inc. magazine’s 35th annual Inc. 5000, the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. This marks the company’s third consecutive year on the exclusive Inc. 5000 list.

HEG has seen its three-year growth rate increase 111 percent. The company credits the launch of innovative,new education contact center technology and higher education marketing services for its staggering growth rate during this short time period.

“As the higher education industry has shifted in response to new regulations and growing end-user needs, we have been able to stay in front of it all by working closely with our partners and creating turnkey solutions to new obstacles like compliance,” said Frank Healy, president and CEO of HEG. “We’re honored to be recognized once again by Inc for HEG’s growth, which is a direct result of our team’s endless dedication to our clients and ability to produce outstanding results throughout a changing climate.”

HEG’s latest technology product, EduMaximizer, answers a growing need for transparency in higher education marketing. With data collection, agent scripting, TCPA compliant features, search results, and more, the all-in-one tool streamlines recruitment and simplifies day-to-day operations for contact centers. The platform was designed specifically to drive better outcomes for students, schools and lead generation partners.

“It takes a new approach to meet the aggressive goals of the higher ed sector, and our technology – and team – continues to lead the way, making better outcomes attainable and easy,” added Healy. “The industry might be changing, but we’re able to move just as fast.”

The 2016 Inc. 5000, unveiled online at Inc.com and with the top 500 companies featured in the September issue of Inc. (available on newsstands August 23), is the most competitive crop in the list’s history. The average company on the list achieved a three-year growth of 433 percent. The Inc. 5000’s aggregate revenue is $200 billion, and the companies on the list collectively generated 640,000 jobs over the past three years, or about 8 percent of all jobs created in the entire economy during that period. Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found at www.inc.com/inc5000.

About Higher Ed Growth

Higher Ed Growth (HEG) is a full-service marketing agency specializing in post-secondary education. HEG uses proprietary technology to deliver targeted enrollment leads to for-profit and nonprofit education clients. In addition to lead generation, HEG offers services such as white label software solutions, inquiry management, enrollment analytics, and search engine optimization – with the ultimate goal of boosting enrollment and retention numbers for clients. HEG was named one of the Best Places to Work in 2015 by Phoenix Business Journal. The company was also featured in Inc. Magazine’s list of 5,000 fastest growing companies in the US in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Visit www.higheredgrowth.com or stay connected with us on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.

About Inc. Media

Founded in 1979 and acquired in 2005 by Mansueto Ventures, Inc. is the only major brand dedicated exclusively to owners and managers of growing private companies, with the aim to deliver real solutions for today’s innovative company builders. Winner of the National Magazine Award for General Excellence in both 2014 and 2012. Total monthly audience reach for the brand has grown significantly from 2,000,000 in 2010 to over 15,000,000 today. For more information, visit www.inc.com.

The Inc. 5000 is a list of the fastest-growing private companies in the nation. Started in 1982, this prestigious list of the nation’s most successful private companies has become the hallmark of entrepreneurial success. The Inc. 5000 Conference & Awards Ceremony is an annual event that celebrates their remarkable achievements. The event also offers informative workshops, celebrated keynote speakers, and evening functions. For more information on Inc. and the Inc. 5000 Conference, visit http://conference.inc.com/.

New tool plays admissions matchmaker

By Ronald Bethke, eCampus News

In what could be considered the admissions matchmaker for higher education and students, marketing agency Higher Ed Growth [1] has released a new lead generation tool called EduMaximizer [2] that is aimed at helping students to match with the best institution and degree program that meets their needs, while also promoting compliance.

With student achievement and job placement becoming ever-important measures of an institution’s success, it is important for students to not only find an institution that meets their goals, but also receive important and personalized information right from the point of inquiry. According to the company’s own research and case studies [3] of their users, EduMaximizer’s automated school searches are cutting call times in half and even boosting quality matches by 26 percent.

“Helping students narrow their focus and select a school with programs they will excel in is vital,” said Frank Healy [4], CEO of Higher Ed Growth. “By leveraging technology, EduMaximizer enables call centers to more effectively align an individual’s needs with programs that are the best fit for them. Selecting the right education setting up front will set students on a path for success before they even step foot in a classroom.”

Essentially, prospective students will call in to a center that uses the service, fill out some basic personal details (such as their name, age, contact info, location, etc.), give information on what sort of degree program they are looking for, and then EduMaximizer will use its custom algorithm to match them with compatible institutions.

Then, based on a prospective student’s contact preferences, it allows schools to connect with the them to streamline recruitment, create better student learning outcomes by ensuring that their students are a good fit, and help learners along their paths to future career success.

A Good Tool Starts with Teamwork

“Over the last several years we saw a bunch of companies and a bunch of individuals out there trying to solve the same problem without working with each other, and in doing that, you had a bad user experience for the prospect, a less compliant process because everything was done differently, and it just wasn’t working well,” said Kolin Porter [4], Higher Ed Growth’s Director of Product Innovation. “So we saw the need for one technology solution for the industry. We then solved this internally with our internal contact centers, and we started working with our partners on this and showing them what we’d built.”

Porter noted that the matchmaker tool generated “a ton of interest” and collaboration opportunities from there. “So now we’re able to go into a company that has numerous technical issues and really replace most of what they’re doing to create a much more efficient and compliant process.”

The Tech Behind the Tool

According to EduMaximizer, the platform uses one seamless display in order to gather information and search for qualified college matches, rather than requiring representatives to work in numerous client portals. Also, by incorporating pre-populated short form lead data, there is no need for the same form fields to be completed multiple times.

The proprietary SaaS (Software as a Service) technology is also unique in that it has been designed to operate in a way that complies with all existing regulations–something that is of great importance to the modern higher education landscape. EduMaximizer utilizes custom Telephone Consumer Protection Act [5] (TCPA) scripts to ensure industry compliance standards are met. Calls are also tracked, reported and recorded in order to reduce the time and resources spent on manual analysis, provide a more accurate view of a prospect’s lifecycle for lead generators and colleges, and to remain as transparent as possible.

“When it comes to calling and speaking to people, we wanted to be able to show the path that is taken and be able to prove it,” said Porter. “We’ve always done the process the right way, and we’re of the mind that being transparent to clients and using compliant language and procedure is key. If you’re representing important clients and brands, we don’t want anything that was not strictly approved to happen on that call. So when we actually do hand the individual off to a university, the university needs to know that everything that happened beforehand was done with the utmost professionalism and by-the-book compliance so there aren’t any users being misinformed about what the school’s offering or any false promises before that handoff.”

According to Porter, the most difficult part of building the admissions matchmaker was integrating with companies that have been trying to solve this problem on their own. “Getting them to do it right can take time, but everyone has eventually been happy to build and change to our directions. We want to set a standard for the industry.”

For example, Quantum 3 Media implemented EduMaximizer within their call centers in September 2015 and quickly saw an increase in match rates.

“We saw EduMaximizer as an impressive tool to help safeguard efficiency and compliance in our lead process,” said PJ Quiros, Quantum 3 Media’s Executive Vice President of Sales and Operations. “The platform is incredibly intuitive and offers the additional benefits of providing more qualified leads for our education partners and helping students find great programs, while positively impacting our bottom line.”

Additionally, feedback from students and universities has been positive, says Porter. “It’s incredibly critical for us overall to get that information from the universities. Really what makes this work and improve the student’s prospect in the future is the ability to get feedback from the universities.”

“We’ve reached a certain scale where we can really help someone out, and at the end of the day, the whole reason that any of this exists is for student outcomes,” concluded Healy. “Our starting point and market share several years ago gave us a very limited scope of data for us to tune our algorithm with. So the more partners we get in the system and the more matches and university info we collect, what we’re able to do is get a much clearer picture of the student outcomes and the data going into it; and once we are further along there, we can tune that algorithm to be more accurate and get the best potential student matches.”

For more on EduMaximizer, watch a short video below or go to their website here. [6]

eCampus News Link: http://www.ecampusnews.com/disruptions-and-innovations/tools-admissions-matchmaker/ 

CEOs Share 6 Common Business Blunders (And How To Avoid Them)

By Danielle Sabrina, Huffington Post

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new,” Albert Einstein famously remarked.

Einstein’s words ring true for all of us, but nobody understands this better than entrepreneurs. The process of creating your own business is an arduous one, and even the most successful entrepreneurs will face some missteps along the way.

That’s why I sought out the advice of 3 accomplished self-made CEOs — all of whom are slated to present in New York at LeadsCon, from August 22 to 24 — to divulge the most common business blunders that they’ve observed, both with their clients and with themselves.

 

*

 

1. Not enough planning. Greg Gragg, CEO of Gragg Advertising, cites lack of planning as the top business mistake that he sees again and again. “[Entrepreneurs] tend to outline goals without knowing how to get there mathematically,” he says — which can bear devastating consequences for the future of their business.

The fix: Gragg acknowledges that entrepreneurs have to be able to think about big-picture ideas, but stresses the importance of not getting lost in la-la land. “Be meticulous and calculated,” he says, “and identify each step along the way to achieving your goals.” Doing so will ensure that your goals are realistic and scalable, and won’t get stuck permanently in the realm of abstract ideas.

2. An arrogant attitude. To Gragg, an arrogant attitude is as problematic as lack of planning — and it’s a quality that he sees all too often in the world of business and entrepreneurship. “Too many entrepreneurs think they’re the answer to everything, and don’t listen to their team,” Gragg explains. Failure to innovate and collect value from others is a sure-fire way to ensure your business is doomed.

The fix: It’s important to make sure your voice isn’t the only one that’s being heard. Collaborate with your team: even larger companies should help their employees feel valued. To that end, Gragg hosts quarterly “town hall” meetings within his agency, where all employees are free to openly discuss their thoughts and ideas.

3. Focusing on the end result instead of the process. To Chris Goward, CEO of WiderFunnel and author of You Should Test That, it’s not about the destination, but rather the journey. In today’s rapidly evolving marketing landscape, it’s outdated to view marketing efforts as a single campaign or project with one end goal: doing so can blind you to valuable insights that you can pick up along the way.

The fix: Opt for a dynamic, rather than static, approach to marketing. “It’s more effective to view marketing as an ongoing stream of optimization cycles,” he says. That way, you can constantly tweak your marketing efforts, creating an ongoing dialogue with customers — instead of locking yourself into a single idea.

4. Siloing different disciplines. Silos have their place, but it’s on a farm — not in your marketing strategy. There are a plethora of specialists in today’s marketing world (e.g., brand marketers, analytical marketers, content marketers, paid search marketers, etc.), but that doesn’t mean they can’t collaborate. In fact, Goward has seen that compromised communication between different marketing disciplines can slow marketing efforts to a standstill.

The fix: In Goward’s experience, when it comes to marketing, the whole is more powerful than the sum of its parts. “The best marketers are able to bridge the divide between different disciplines,” he says. Therefore, entrepreneurs and business owners should make it a priority to facilitate communication between departments, to ensure that your marketing strategy features input from a diverse range of perspectives.

5. Unwillingness to invest in technology. As the Managing Partner of Higher Ed Growth, which provides marketing and lead generation for educational institutions, Joe Laskowski has invested plenty of time and money in marketing technology. Rather than investing in powerful, cutting-edge technology, Laskowski sees many companies looking for band-aid solutions that create more problems than they solve. “Without the appropriate technology in place, we’re doing a disservice to the industry as a whole,” he remarks.

The fix: Marketing technology is expensive — but it’s time to get over the sticker shock, because marketing technology is not a place to cut corners budget-wise. Thoroughly research which options are available to you, and accept that taking full advantage of advanced marketing technology will mean a substantial investment in both time and money. “The companies that excel in technology are doing really well,” Joe notes, “whereas those that don’t are finding themselves in a very awkward position.”

6. Viewing relationships as transactions. Though Laskowski is a big believer in the power of technology, he views personal relationships — both internally and externally — as the most important component of his business. However, he finds that many organizations don’t share this value, treating their clients and employees as numbers rather than humans. Doing so results in turned-off clients and unmotivated employees.

The fix: When it comes to interacting with clients, not even the best software can replicate the human touch. “The best technology and processes will only take you so far. Positive working relationships have been instrumental in the growth of this business, and those relationships are mutually beneficial far more often than those that are transactional in nature,” Laskowski says. As such, he urges entrepreneurs and business owners to be intentional about how they communicate with their clients and their staff, ensuring that they’re not treating their relationships as transactions.

 

*

 

As these CEOs demonstrate — and as any entrepreneur has experienced — there are plenty of places where business owners can go wrong.

But the important thing is to view your errors as learning experiences instead of roadblocks. Gragg, Goward, and Laskowski surely faced many obstacles on their path to success, but they didn’t let that stop them from forging onwards. After all, even Albert Einstein screws up every now and then.

 

Huffington Post Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/danielle-sabrina/ceos-share-6-common-busin_b_11437220.html

Call Recording Best Practices for Contact Centers

call recording best practicesFrom capturing critical lead data to minimizing risk, there are many reasons for contact centers to utilize call recording services. The information gleaned from these calls can greatly improve lead quality and, in turn, conversion rates. However, for those in the higher education industry, it’s important that call recording processes comply with the FCC, TCPA, local, and state laws. Is consent required? How long should recordings be kept? What is a contact center responsible for in the event of an audit?

 

 

Learn the answers to these questions and more in our latest piece on LeadsCon: http://www.leadscon.com/call-recording-best-practices-for-contact-centers/

Infographic: College & University Enrollment Trends Q1 2016

Higher Ed Growth (HEG) has developed many new technologies for streamlining lead generation in the higher education space. In addition to helping our partners meet unique marketing goals, these tools generate a wealth of information around student enrollments.

We’ve analyzed the data from more than 200 education partners and thousands of students: here are the biggest enrollment trends in 2016 so far.

And for more enrollment trends that higher ed marketers should know, visit: http://www.leadscon.com/infographic-2016-enrollment-trends-that-higher-ed-marketers-should-know/

HEG infographic

Comply 2016 & the New Normal in Higher Ed Marketing

Comply 2016Higher Ed Growth (HEG) recently joined leaders in regulation, compliance and marketing at Comply 2016. Joe Laskowski, Managing Partner & CMO, helped lead the discussion around meeting higher education marketing goals and boosting student outcomes despite changing regulations. The forum was especially timely considering new guidelines that went into effect last summer and it was a perfect opportunity to reflect on how they have impacted the industry. The session also reviewed: How can institutions navigate risk areas? Can call-verified leads and warm transfers help meet compliance? What tools are available to help schools and education partners streamline processes?

 

Learn the answers to these questions and more in our latest piece on LeadsCon: http://www.leadscon.com/comply-2016-the-new-normal-in-higher-ed-marketing/

Core Principles for Successful Student Development

CallMiner: Aspects of Improvement Within Call Center Regulations

By CallMiner Call center regulations are complex. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), for instance, requires debt collectors to disclose the purpose of their written or oral communications at the start of every contact (the mini-Miranda). Additionally, the FDCPA has strict requirements that stipulate when, where, and with whom a debt collector may communicate […]

LeadsCon 2019: The Top 5 Trends

By Joe Laskowski March is always an exciting time at Higher Ed Growth (HEG), as it means the team is heading to Las Vegas for LeadsCon. We always look forward to the opportunity of LeadsCon to connect with other leaders in our industry and learn from one another, gauging where the future of lead generation […]

Higher Ed Growth Receives LeadsCouncil Award in Excellence

Higher Ed Growth Receives LeadsCouncil Award in Excellence Recognized for Excellence in Marketing Services TEMPE, Ariz. — March 13, 2019 — Higher Ed Growth, a full-service marketing agency, announced today that it received the 2018 Excellence in Marketing Services Award, presented by LeadsCouncil. The LeadsCouncil presented their annual Awards in Excellence during LeadsCon 2019 in Las Vegas. These awards are presented every […]