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Refocus & Prioritize – Pareto Principle

March 24, 2017 9:29 am, Published by

Are you running your training or events business but finding yourself weighed down in administration and time consuming tasks? These tasks consume the time you have available to engage in activities which will grow your business. Having your head down in the day to day running of a business takes your eyes off the horizon of where you could go. This is part one of the Refocus & Prioritise series, in this part we will be examining the Pareto principle and how it can apply to our businesses.

What is the Pareto Principle?

The Pareto Principle is commonly referred to as the 80/20 rule where approximately 80% of effects originate from 20% of causes. This phenomenon was originally identified by Vilfredo Pareto who identified that around 20% of his pea pods produced almost 80% of the total peas from his garden. The same link was then shown in one of his studies that 80% of Italy’s land was owned by 20% of the population. Joseph Juran then took the principle and applied it to defects. (Teich & Faddoul, 2007).

The same link can be said of a lot of tasks which many training and event managers find themselves doing day to day. Generally speaking, 20% of the tasks will produce 80% of the growth for the business. Tasks like manually entering paper registration data into a spreadsheet to later use for communication and payment reconciliation may be required for a business, but taking into account the time it takes and the alternative solutions the effect this has on a business is minuscule. Knowing this, there is serious prioritization needed to ensure that you are spending sufficient time on the 20% of tasks that will create 80% of the effect.

Bruce Lee puts it this way:

“It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials”

How can we use the Pareto Principle to Refocus and Prioritize

A Pareto Chart is a powerful way to identify out of a group of tasks, which have the biggest impact. Lets use an example to understand how it is utilized. Sam runs a first aid training school he has been tasked with reducing the number of complaints the company receives and increasing customer satisfaction. Sam was given 100 bits of feedback from customers. They were grouped broadly in 5 sections:

  1. Paper forms are inconvenient to scan or post to Sam when registering. 44 Complaints
  2. People can’t keep up with Sam’s business because there is no blog. 3 Complaints
  3. People can’t get through on the phone, it always goes to voicemail because Sam is busy. 36 Complaints
  4. People don’t like Sam’s social media profiles because the tweets are infrequent. 5 Complaints
  5. People arrive late because it takes a while to find the physical location of Sam’s business. 10 Complaints
  6. People don’t like the music they hear while they wait for the voicemail to begin. 2 Complaints

Let’s first graph the number of complaints:

Now if we work out the cumulative percentage of the complaints (orange line) for each category and order these from highest to lowest we see Pareto in action:

Paper forms and the phone always going to voicemail make up 80% of the complaints that were received as can be seen above.. The 80:20 or Pareto principle suggests that Sam should focus his attention on these two problems before tackling location and the other issues. One solution which Sam could implement and which many businesses worldwide are implementing, is using Arlo for online registrations. Arlo’s online registration allows you to capture the data you need, store it securely and recall it in seconds. Learn more about Arlo’s online registration here, and also customized registration forms to gather targeted information.

Obviously this is a very simple example, but the theory holds. It is not limited to number of complaints, Sam could look at dollars spent, expected return, hours taken etc. The Pareto Principle should never be used in isolation, it proves to be one way event and training managers can think about prioritization and in turn refocus on the things that will grow their business.

In next week’s issue we will be looking at John Maxwell’s rule of 5!

Here are some more materials on the Pareto Principle:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPoA6dzKmtg
http://pyovevlibrary.blogspot.co.nz/2009/07/pareto-chart.html
http://www.brighthubpm.com/monitoring-projects/65152-explaining-paretos-8020-rule/

Arlo’s top 5 blog posts – March 2017

March 21, 2017 2:41 pm, Published by

Here are some of the most interesting and insightful blogs the Arlo team came across this month. Take a read with your next cup of coffee and stay up to date with all things trainings, events and business.

We love sharing what’s helped us, feel free to pass these on to help others!

20 Life Hacks for Event Planners

EventManager Blog
Productivity is the key to managing your life but this can be hard to find and while we can’t control the amount of hours in the day, we can make a difference in how we spend them… Read more

How to Conduct an Effective Training Session

Training Today
Learn tips and techniques for effective workplace training. All the planning has been done. All the preparation is taken care of. You know your training needs, you’ve set goals, management is behind you, you promoted your training schedule, and prepared materials, space, and people. The time has finally come: Training day is here. Read more

3 Reasons Why Employees Aren’t Engaged with Training Programs

TJ Coyle – Training Industry

There are so many reasons why employees don’t engage with training programs that we could fill a season of late-night icon David Letterman’s “Top Ten.” For the sake of time, we’ll stick to the Top 3… Read more

People-based Marketing: The Gold Standard

Forbes
People-based marketing represents an industry shift from targeting devices to connecting with the right people at the right time, with the right message. Rather than targeting ads to devices based on cookies, which is fraught with inadequacies, marketers can now reach people across the many devices they use, thanks to persistent identity… Read more

Evaluating the Impact of Learning Programs

Emmy Monticelli – Association for Talent Development
What are you measuring? What is the purpose of your evaluation? How do you define a successful learning program? With whom are you sharing the results? How you are currently evaluating the impact of your learning programs?… Read more

 

Google AdWords Basics – Negative Keywords

March 10, 2017 12:52 pm, Published by

Increase the performance of Google AdWords

In the last Google AdWords blog post “Keywords made easy”, we studied the various types of keywords. Negative keywords play just as an important role in optimising your campaigns. Specifically, negative keywords can mitigate the chances you spend money on clicks not related to your business. We will look at what negative keywords are, what they do and how best to identify and enter them.

What are ‘Negative’ Keywords? Are they ‘bad’?

Google defines negative keywords as words that “let you exclude search terms from your campaign”. At first glance this may not seem desirable. However, to have an effective campaign there must be clear targets.

As important as the keywords are to choosing who to target, to effectively target them, we must choose who not to target. This will put our ads in front of the people who are most interested, which will increase the return on investment (ROI) we can expect from our AdWords spend. The theory is simple,  if a negative keyword shows up in a search term, your ad will not appear. Let’s examine an example to better understand the concept.

If Paul uses keywords: lemon, cherry, banana and market, he might assume he is covering his market. If someone searches cherry market, Paul’s ad will show. However, Paul’s ad will also show for financial market, which is not Paul’s market.

Paul must then enter the word financial, or financial market as a negative keyword to avoid paying for this click in the future.

Entering negative keywords

Here is a simple method to check whether you need to add some negative keywords to your campaigns.

1. Check your search terms – Paul should go into his Fruit campaign and he will find the search term, “financial market”.

 

2. Add the word as a negative keyword

a) At the ad group level – so “financial markets” would only function as a negative keyword under the Cherry Market ad group.

b) At the campaign level – so “financial markets” would only function as a negative keyword under the whole Fruit Market ad group.

c) Negative keyword list.

The third option – negative keyword lists – can save you a lot of time. Negative keyword lists can be shared across all your campaigns or a selection of your campaigns. By adding the search term to the list, it will function as a negative keyword across all the related campaigns.

This very high level guide covers off the main details of negative keywords! Make sure you use them within your campaigns to better target your customers and increase your ROI!

 

Growing your business with email marketing

March 1, 2017 2:42 pm, Published by


Quality email based campaigns can be an effective means for increasing registrations and growing your training or event business. However, with business email addresses becoming a traded commodity, the number of marketing emails one receives is ever increasing. There is a stark difference between the spam emails and the carefully crafted opportunities delivered by marketers. These 3 tips will assist you in creating and sending email campaigns that fall in the later group and increase the ROI you receive from your email marketing.

Concise, Clear and Call

At Arlo we have used email marketing heavily, over 90,000 recipients have received an Arlo email. These emails have varied in sizes, styles and content, however, the most effective always are concise, clear and have a specific call to action. Short and snappy emails are far more likely to be read. Don’t pad your emails, it not only wastes your own time, but wastes the reader’s time. Instead, use bullet points and short sentences to keep your email to a few small paragraphs or event lines.

Make sure the content of your email makes sense. Ask yourself, “what is the purpose of this email?’ or “what am I trying to communicate?”, then evaluate whether your target reader receives the information quickly and as you intended.

In the same way, make sure that the desired action from your email is as easy to achieve as possible. For example, “Watch the Arlo service video to find out more about our solution”. Is not as clear as, “Watch the Arlo Service Overview video to learn more”.

Which is not as clear as, “Watch the Arlo Service Overview video below to learn more:


Personalisation

Try as much as possible to create personal emails. One of the giveaways of a spam email is impersonal emails, especially in the greeting. “Hi Sir/madam” on face value is likely to warrant an email rule to always send these emails to trash folder. First names give your email a much better chance of getting a quick scan of the email. From this quick scan, the next key is your emails presentation.

Presentation

Using a number of DIFFERENT fonts, styles, sizes, paragraphs,        spacings and c       olors

 

will not help you get people to read your email.

It makes it much harder to read and gives it a very unprofessional look.

Clearly presented content with consistent formatting is much easier on the eye, professional and appears as if effort was put into the communication. It is startling how many email I receive myself with a great deal of inconsistent paragraphing, fonts and colours. These features can be used to emphasise different points or call to actions within an email. But when used in excess the trash button is increasingly emphasised.

These 3 tips are some of the most crucial starting points for enhancing your email campaigns and growing your training or event business. In the next email campaign blog, we will be examining Campaign Monitor and how it can be used to send large numbers of styled emails. Arlo has a Campaign Monitor integration which you can utilise the send communication to leads. Get ahead and have a look before the next installment.