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How students choose training providers and how you can get them to choose yours

June 7, 2021

There are so many factors and touchpoints that go into choosing a training provider, and this can feel overwhelming when trying to get people to choose your RTO over the rest. However, following simple yet effective steps and understanding the basics of what potential students are looking for can make the process simpler. Let’s go through some essentials for attracting students to your RTO. 

Competitor Analysis

Undertaking a competitor analysis is essential – quite simply because this is one of the first things your potential students will be doing when deciding where to train. Look at and compare your website design and user experience, your branding, how easy it is to find information like pricing, keywords and your social media presence. 

Using Google

After optimising your website and branding, getting it to rank high on Google will be much easier. When your potential students do a Google search, such as ‘best barista course near me’ or ‘best hairdressing training’, they likely won’t look past the first page of search results. If it's proving challenging to get your website front and center on Google, one simple way to get your website in front of people’s eyes is to list your business on Google Maps. This is especially relevant for mobile search, which is increasing in popularity. Maps listings will usually show before other search results on the page. 

How to do this

Create a Google My Business account. This will allow you to create a listing for your RTO that can appear in Google search results. Add in your business address, phone number, opening hours, link your website and any other important info. Google Maps listings are prioritised into positions based on the user’s location, with the first company listed being the closest and most prominent. This article goes into more detail about how you can do this for your business. 

Phone view
Desktop view

Using a CRM

An RTO’s most valuable and important asset is their customers. Managing the student journey – every touchpoint, enquiry, enrolment and more – can quickly get messy as an RTO grows and develops. Having a central place that holds all essential information is important so that everyone in the organisation is on the same page, including info such as:

  • current students
  • how to get in touch with students
  • how students interact with the RTO and its content
  • the pipeline of new students 
  • sales team productivity and processes
  • previous interactions with students and prospects.

A CRM is a key tool for growing your training organisation, as it can be this central place that helps marketing and sales teams to function as one, achieving the RTO’s goals through organising: 

  • Contacts and companies
  • Sales opportunity information, including sales forecast reports, new leads, conversions, demographics and more
  • Every interaction on every customer communication channel, such as a website, email, phone calls, social media and more.

This detailed insight into the behaviour of students and potential students can help to inform and modify business operations and goals, ensuring students are reached, spoken to (phone calls and email), targeted (via ads, social media and email) and served in the most effective way. 

The level of care and control put into an RTO’s customer relationship management will be reflected in the experiences students have with the RTO. If anyone at the RTO can easily find the context of a student’s needs, wants, and current state, the student experience can be great from the beginning. Learn more about why your RTO should use a CRM here

Online capabilities

With COVID-19 changing the VET landscape for everyone, more and more students are looking for training providers that can offer online learning and assessment. A student management system integrated with a learning management system can be the most effective way to achieve this. With a one-system solution like this, you’ll be able to provide online lessons, content and assessment all in the beautifully-designed form of a Learning Plan. 

What are learning plans?

Learning plans allow trainers and assessors to schedule, order and present online course content and assessment in easy-to-navigate learning modules. Throughout each learning module, rules, dependencies and prerequisites for learning and assessment can be set and mapped to Units. Having a learning plans tool can also allow for keeping learning and assessments in sync with key Unit and Course dates, making it easier for learners to stay on track through a combination of self-driven and schedule-based progression.

With an NCVER study[1] finding that trainers thought having well structured and current, engaging resources that cater to a range of learning styles could improve learner engagement and completion rates, RTOs can use learning plans to achieve this quality of training.


People looking for training also want practicality. The value and relevance of the learning experience needs to be made clear, especially for adult learners. People want to know how the training they’ll receive is applicable to real life and gives them the right skills for real work in industry. One of the best ways for RTOs to provide this is work-based learning. 

What is work-based learning (WBL)?

Work-based learning is a key aspect of VET that is used to bridge the knowledge gap between theory learnt in the classroom and the practicality of real work experiences. WBL offers real-life, practical work experiences, to better prepare the student for the challenging world of employment. Better workplace learning opportunities can make the transition for learners into working life smoother, with learners having high levels of work and industry-specific skills and competencies[2]. This is why WBL is so attractive for learners. Training that builds both technical skills and general employability is key for preparing learners for the unpredictable future workforce landscape, as it ensures learners gain skills and knowledge that is transferable and adaptable through career transitions. 


Did you know 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as recommendations from family and friends[3]? For your website, ask your current students and recent graduates for written or video testimonials. You can also ask for Google reviews, as this will also help with your Google ranking. Student testimonials will help to improve trust and reputation, and it’ll feel pretty good to see how your training has positively impacted your students. 


  1. Online VET: a good course of action?
  2. Strengthening Skills: Expert Review of Australia's Vocational Education and Training System | Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
  3. Importance of Customer Reviews for Online Marketing

If you’re looking to move your training online, find out how aXcelerate can help you here, or request a demo here

Learn more about aXcelerate’s Learning Plans here

Learn more about our upcoming Work-based Learning tool here

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