Interview between Jan Klin and Srisail Panjugula, IT Manager, of Manchester Academy of English

How would you describe your company and its mission?

Our mission is “To lead in high quality, truly international education whilst being immersed in Manchester’s unique cultural setting.”

Manchester Academy of English is an international English language school. Established in 1991, we welcome more than 50 different nationalities each year. We are accredited by the British Council, a member of EnglishUK and English in the North, a consortium of recognised English Language establishments located in the North of England.

The company was sold in 2005 and the new management has raised the turnover by 20% approx.

How long have you had a website and what is its main purpose?

Since 1998.

The main purpose of our website is to promote our company, our products and our services on a worldwide basis round the clock.

The website is a great tool to generate business for direct bookings (which arrive to us without any commission given to an intermediate). But also a good reference to potential agents which we are targeting for new businesses development.

Does the site work for you? I.e. deliver the benefits you were expecting?

Yes but we need to look at tapping into the potential the Internet offers, e.g., e-learning, virtual classroom, correspondence courses, etc…

What is your online marketing strategy? – Which methods do you use to attract potential customers?

Our online marketing strategy is not strong enough as the correct tools to measure our results have never been developed by the Sales and Marketing department. We need to develop it further. We do sometimes take part in special offers targeting some segmented market (i.e. Asia) or get an exposure through Google.

How does your online activity mesh with your offline marketing?

Our Sales & marketing strategy is not sophisticated as an example, we just start building some marketing intelligence through country reports.
We have a data system “Class” but we don’t maximise its use.

In the future we should eventually:
– measure the correlation between direct enrolment and statistics of hits
– Measure the number of agents using our website/ ask for their results
– Change our approach to communicate with our clients/Use Skype
– Develop intranet for agents

How much business do you do on the web?

Traditionally the direct bookings are 60% of the whole business and 40% agents. However the development of new businesses will be toward new niche markets which will be developing though agents.

What is the single biggest lesson you have learned about your web activities?

Not to neglect it and think that it is a secondary function within the organisation. The web is the “face” of the organisation. We must keep up and take a more dynamic approach.

Can you imagine life without a website?

Yes, only if mankind did not use the Internet.