How Print On Demand Helps Your End-of-Year Planning

 

During the last few months of the year, many associations will be planning which continuing education courses they’ll offer in the new year. Not only that, but they’ll probably be looking at ways to update their existing training course materials to reflect new developments in the industry.

If your association is looking to refresh your course books and other materials next year, you might run into a problem; you’ll need to use your existing course books until the new ones are ready for publication. So what do you do if your course book inventory is running low?

Doing a large print run in this situation just doesn’t make sense. In a few months, you’ll be ready to print and distribute the new books, and the old ones will be discarded, costing your association money for wasted product.

But there is a solution for this: Print-on-demand! People typically think of print-on-demand as a smart way to keep inventory costs down, but this isn’t the only way to take advantage of it. Print-on-demand can also be used as a stopgap for your training materials while you prepare new course material. This model lets you keep the inventory you need in the short term without wasting money on a large print run that will become obsolete in the near future.

How print-on-demand can work with your course updates

Print-on-demand may not work the way you initially expect it to. When you need a course book order fulfilled, we don’t print one single book at a time.

Instead, we create a micro inventory for you that allows you to fill your customers’ orders without committing to a large quantity. This may entail printing 10 books initially, then printing a few more as orders are sent out. What’s even better is that you only pay for the books that are actually ordered by your learners!

By using this solution, your association can save money by not wasting a large inventory of old training course materials as you prepare to update your content. You can continue to grow and evolve as a continuing education provider without the stress of wasting course books.

As you prepare material for your new courses, you also need to think about how you’re going to promote them at the start of the new year. Download our free whitepaper to learn more about how content marketing can help you promote courses online!

Important Things to Consider When Designing A Training Program

 

Kirk Sundling, Director of Training Development at International Food Protection Training Institute talked to Omnipress about some of the challenges that arise when designing a training program.

Watch Kirk discuss his organization’s approach to translations, versioning and incorporating learner feedback into their course materials.


Dan wraps up the video by suggesting a way to manage inventory risk when the popularity of your new course is unknown.

Video Transcript:

Important Things to Consider When Designing A Training Program

DAN: Last week we were privileged to sit down with Kirk Sundling of the International Food Protection Training Institute to discuss some of the things they consider when they develop a new course.

KIRK: The process for launching course all starts with regulation and the implementation of FISMA.

And the big one was preventative controls for human food.

That was our largest. And versioning is kind of the process for keeping up to date.

Obviously, there’s always changes in regulations and what those stipulations are. And that kind of drives the versioning.

But obviously you print something the first time, it’s not going to be perfect.

So what you have to do is you have to understand that going into it and create an appropriate timeline for those changes to get the next version.

So going from version 1.0 and then going from a version 1.1.

The same thing with even translations. From going from an English version of preventative controls for human food to a Spanish version.

You’ve got to be very careful on that versioning and also on the translation.

DAN: Kirk, thanks for sharing. Some really good information for organizations to consider when they’re developing new course material. I think all organizations are challenged with similar things.

You have to consider your version control, when is content going to change? Is it based on regulations or is it based purely on attendee feedback?

Then you have to consider language—are you going to need to do translations for your content?

The most important part of all that then is making sure you select the right print model so you don’t overproduce and have a bunch of unnecessary spending.

It’s always kind of an unknown world, you’re not sure when things are going to change.

So maybe out of the gates with a new course, you don’t want to take advantage of a large print run and the cost per unit, only to throw things away.

So maybe print-on-demand is the right model out of the gates until things get solidified.

Kirk, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and information. I hope other organizations can find this beneficial.

Infographic: Spring Cleaning for your Course Materials

Spring-cleaning season is here! It’s time to open the windows, pack up the coat closet and… dust off your continuing education materials?!? That’s right, now is the perfect time to take a look at your on-hand inventory of course materials and refresh any items that don’t make the grade.

We’ve created a handy checklist of tasks to help you get into the spring cleaning spirit. Take a look at the image below for ideas on where to begin your spring content refresh!

 

 

Infographic Text

Spring Cleaning for your Course Materials

Examine your older materials to see if they are ready for updated content

Freshen outdated course materials by combining relevant chapters from multiple titles

Recycle chapters of training manuals into educational videos or blog posts

Organize your storage area to maximize space

Polish up your existing materials by designing a new cover

Donate old books to members as promotional giveaway items

When you’re ready to make your training materials look their best, talk to Omnipress! Our team of career professionals can help you find new ways to enhance the look and usability of your course content.

Start a conversation: justask@omnipress.com

How to Reduce Your Risk When Creating a New Training Program

 

When your association implements a new continuing education course, one of the major challenges you’ll face is deciding how many copies of training materials you need to print. You may be tempted to use the same length print runs as your existing courses, but this might not be the best decision. Common challenges with new training programs can leave you with too many copies of outdated or ineffective course books, forcing you to use less-than-stellar materials or waste a lot of money.

A print-on-demand solution for new course materials is a great way to minimize the risk of being left with a lot of waste or incurring major costs to re-print. Here are three common challenges associations face when implementing new training programs and how print-on-demand helps solve them.

3 Challenges That Print-On-Demand Can Solve:

You can’t predict the course’s popularity

When you initially offer a course, you know that there will be some interest, but you can’t predict how many people will actually sign up. You don’t want to invest in a long print run only to have a fraction of the enrollment you printed for. Use print-on-demand to generate a small number of course books to start, then have more printed as more people enroll.

Your content changes

After you run the course once or twice, the content you include might change, which means your old course books won’t be useful. Instead of printing 500 copies of the course book right off the bat, print-on-demand lets you order smaller quantities, giving you the flexibility to change your content as much as you need to provide the maximum amount of value.

You want feedback after the course

Once the first course is completed, you’re going to want to get feedback from your instructors and students. This feedback matters—and so does having the ability to act on it. If you receive feedback on the usability of your training materials, print-on-demand can help you minimize waste while you make changes, like switching up the order of the information or changing the binding type.

 

Establishing a new training program is already difficult without the anxiety over wasting hundreds of old course books from a long print run. Your established continuing education courses are the workhorse, and if the new course isn’t proven yet, print-on-demand is a good solution to minimizing waste and spending. Once the new program is set in stone, you can go with a longer print run. If your association is implementing new courses, consider working with a print-on-demand provider to save money in the long run.

What kinds of challenges does your association face when implementing a new training program?

 

How to Take Your Association’s Branding to the Next Level

 

You work hard to create courses that provide learners with the best education. Make sure your materials reinforce your association’s role as a trusted resource! Follow the 5 tips in this infographic to create training materials that help your learner and your association.

 

Infographic Association Branding

 

 

 

 

A New Way to Think About Marketing Your Association’s Courses

Marketing an association’s training courses is not an easy task. In fact, according to our 2016 State of the Continuing Education Industry report, 31% of respondents listed it as their greatest challenge. So it’s important to use every opportunity to help members—and future members—see the value in the courses you offer.

Associations generally focus on the “direct” value their training provides. Direct value refers to the skills or knowledge that the student receives from taking your course. These skills are the most tangible result of your training, so it makes sense to promote this value to get your students’ interest.

But there is another level of value that your training provides. One that can be effective in turning a potential learner into a registered learner. The “end” value is the result of your learner putting their direct value to work. Here’s an example: A chef that is the member of a restaurant association may receive the direct value of learning safe food-handling techniques. When the chef returns to work, the training she received creates an end value of a good dining experience for a family.

Each of these values can appeal to different audiences. A restaurant employee may see the benefit in learning the direct value, while the end value may be more appealing to a restaurant owner. By incorporating both the direct value and the end value into your training and marketing materials, you can appeal to a wider audience.

Take a look at your existing course and marketing materials. You may need to update these assets if you have traditionally focused on the direct value. This will give you an opportunity to send a new message to students, one that also includes the end value. Here are a couple of questions to ask as you audit your existing course materials.

Do your course materials reflect both the direct and end values that your training provides?

As you read through your course materials, do you get a clear sense of the end value your learner will be providing after completing your course? Citing the end value of a new skill can add context to what the student is learning. It also helps emphasize the importance of certain skills by demonstrating how they are used in real life.

The end value that your training provides is a source of pride for your association and your learner. Do you have a similar sense of pride when you look at your course materials? Or is there something lost in translation? Don’t discount your assessment of the physical appearance of your materials. While you know the content well enough to look past an outdated design or a layout that creates a less-than-ideal user experience, a potential student that is new to your training may not be able to see beyond the cover.

Do your marketing materials promote the end value that your training provides?

When you are promoting your training courses, use the end value to generate interest in the student. A great way to engage a prospective student is to get them to imagine their future after having completed your course. What better way to inspire them to register for your course than to have them understand the value they will be able to provide to their community?

 

When marketing your association’s training courses, there is more than one message at your disposal. It’s important to focus on the direct value that the learners will gain after taking your course. But that is only half of the story. Don’t lose sight of the end value that your training provides. Including both will build enthusiasm in the learner, and also expand the appeal of your offerings.

As your focus broadens, make sure your course materials and your marketing materials are in sync with your message. You may need to refresh your materials to include the big picture appeal that your course offers.

Getting Started on your Association’s Big, Important Projects

 

That’s how going back to school always felt to me. It was exciting, but also something I would have preferred not to do.

The night before school started I was always a ball of nerves. So many unknowns to think about, “What would my teacher be like?”, “Who would I sit next to in class?”, “Is this the year we stop having recess???” There seemed to be so many questions it was hard to focus on any one of them for very long because another one would quickly pop into my head.

Young Dan LoomisFinally the sun would rise and it would be time for me to walk to school (not uphill both ways though, if you were wondering). As I got to school and found my class, I realized nothing stood between me and my future except a one-inch thick door. I had put it off for long enough, there was nothing left to do but open the door and see… all my friends from last year! “Maybe this won’t be so bad” I thought as I walked past my smiling teacher to sit at the desk next to my best friend. Turns out that the waiting and anticipating was the hardest part. Once I walked through that door, everything else just fell into place. (And sure enough, recess would be right after lunch.)

Where to start?

It doesn’t matter what the situation is, it can be natural for us to want to avoid trying new things. Having a defined start date like a new school year is one thing, but when the option to proceed is up to us, the result might be that we never start. This paralysis isn’t because we don’t think it’s important, though, just the opposite. It’s so important, and we have such an idealistic view of what the project should become, we aren’t sure where to start. The same voice that keeps us up worrying about the first day of school comes back, questioning “What if things don’t go as planned?”

Tackling your association’s big projects

While going back-to-school can be a time full of unknowns for a student, tackling big projects like refreshing your training materials, can be a time full of unknowns for your association. And, similar to any important event or project, getting started can be something that ends up being avoided. “Creating new training materials” is a great goal and sounds simple enough when you use it in a sentence, but once you sit down to work on it, you can feel that familiar excited/uncertain paralysis start to creep in.

So while your association has a laundry list of changes to make to your course materials, you don’t know where to start, and your to-do list grows longer.

The secret to handling a big, important project is to not think of it as a “big, important project”. Really, what you need to do is complete a lot of smaller tasks that come together to have a big impact for your members. So while “refreshing your course materials” may be your goal, you should think about the individual tasks that make up that goal. For example, your to-do list might include:

  • Update your course text to reflect any new industry developments
  • Re-format the page layout to make certain concepts clearer
  • Create eye-catching artwork to strengthen your association’s brand
  • Etc.

Now, instead of having an undefined project to be overwhelmed by, you have a series of tasks to tackle and will see real progress made.

It isn’t always the easiest choice, but completing the big nerve-wracking project is an important part of life, for you and your association. You can’t grow and learn without overcoming the fear of the first day of class, and you can’t help your association without overcoming the fear of tackling the big projects. Maybe what’s waiting on the other side of your to-do list is actually not that scary. Maybe you’ll find the familiar faces of your members on the other side, excited to see you and appreciate the value you provide.

Is It Time to Break Up With Your Fulfillment Vendor?

Your fulfillment vendor is the linking relationship between your organization and your members or customers. If your members receive their orders late, or receive the wrong order altogether, it’s your fault in the eyes of your customer (even though your fulfillment partner is actually at fault).

But how do you know when the time has come to consider a new fulfillment company? With so much invested in one (or a few) fulfillment partner(s), this is a HUGE decision to make.

What are the warning signs you should break up with your fulfillment vendor?

3 Signs Your Organization Needs a New Fulfillment Vendor

  1. You’re not communicating. Since your fulfillment vendor is the link between your organization and your customers, it is critical that they are keeping you informed of any problems. If one of their printers is down, if a customer gets the wrong order or if they lost an order, you should be the first to know. What’s more, your customers should not be the ones informing you of these problems.
  2. Your fulfillment vendor does not treat your product as their own. If the company fulfilling your continuing education materials or publications is shipping out books with missing pages or incorrect covers, they are clearly showing a lack of concern for your product and a lack of respect to your organization. These careless mistakes are a direct representation of your organization’s brand. Is this how you want to be represented?
  3. Your order fulfillment process causes you a lot of work. Getting your training materials or publication orders filled should not mean manual labor for you. If you’re sending your orders via email or an excel spreadsheet to your fulfillment vendor, you’re already doing too much work. You should be able to automatically send orders from your online store directly to your fulfillment partner in XML format. It’s not as difficult as you might think.

If your fulfillment vendor is causing you more harm than good, it may be time to break up and find a new one.

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