If your family has ever had to pay tuition to a private K-12 school, you know the hassle of transferring money, writing a check or money order, and ensuring the school receives the payment. For schools and parents, Tuition Education Platform is an iOS and Android application making online payments for tuition simpler and safer.

It’s time to start paying tuition online. A 2015 survey showed that 47 percent of cardholders would prefer to pay their student’s tuition by debit or credit card. With TuitionEP, in just a few taps, parents can log into the app and make their pay for tuition or a student’s field trip with several different options — bank account, credit card, Bitcoin, international payments.

Beyond just ease of use for parents, there’s a number of benefits of digitizing tuition payments for schools as well. Below are some of the most notable ways online tuition payments can save your school money.

1. save time

For school staff and families alike, every second counts. A mobile app for iOS and Android means families can easily make on-time stress-free tuition payments. For schools, staff no longer has to keep up with when tuition is paid — it’s all kept digitally. This means less time organizing deposit slips and record-keeping for everyone involved.

Also, tuition and fees can be processed immediately outside of business hours. This way, even last-minute payments can be made and parents can avoid late fees.

2. no more lost payments

Processing tuition payments should be as easy as possible, especially for schools. Rather than collecting paper checks or money orders in physical form that could be lost, all payment records can be collected digitally with TuitionEP.

Not only does TuitionEP allow schools to see when tuition has been paid, it prevents a situation where one party says they have paid and the other hasn’t received the funds. With TuitionEP, there is a clear chain of confirmation that ensures everyone is on the same page.

3. payment records

Online payments are far easier to track and record for later. With tracking payments, parents can plan for tuition payments more conveniently with an online payment system in place. With scheduled autopay, parents can also set when the tuition will come out of their account.

4. transaction fees

With TuitionEP, schools have the option to decide who pays online transaction fees — the school or the parents. We work with schools to help them save thousands of dollars each year in fees and find a solution that works best for all involved. Savings can vary depending on the size of the school.

5. secure paymentsTEP Security

TEP uses the Stripe payment platform to guarantee safe and secure digital payments. All transactions are audited by a PCI Quality Security Assessor. Stripe has the most stringent level of certification available in the payments industry.

6. payments are a few swipes awayTuitionEP

Once students and parents are set up with their custom school in TuitionEP, they are only a few swipes away from paying online tuition. It’s as simple as getting on a phone or tablet, opening the app, adding a payment method, and completing the payment.

7. several methods of payment

Stress-free payments from TuitionEP mean no more figuring out how to get money to the school. TuitionEP accepts checking and savings account payments, Visa, Discover, MasterCard, American Express, Bitcoin, and several other international payments. Once the payment information is entered, it’s securely stored in the app for easy future payments.

8. cash and check can still be accepted

If the school prefers, cash and check can still be used by parents and recorded in the TEP system. If a student or parent uses a check, TEP can apply a credit to their account. However, most schools using TEP no longer allow cash or check to save time, avoid lost payments, and make it easier for all involved.

9. no more excuses: “check is in the mail” or “we already paid”

With an online tuition payment system, fewer parents are late on payments and less accounts go delinquent. Paper checks often reduce a school’s ability to get paid on time. However, automatic payments and notifications ensure that parents are up-to-date on tuition and fees.

10. paying as a family

Rather than just one person paying for a student’s tuition, the payment can be split between multiple accounts. This way, one student’s tuition is able to be split and loaded onto a grandparent’s or another guardian’s account.

transition to online tuition payments

There are several benefits to transitioning your school to an online payment platform for tuition and fees. Ultimately, TuitionEP has set out to save schools time and money, and give parents peace of mind when paying tuition for their children. 

To try out TuitionEP and see if it would be right for your school, contact us or submit your contact information for a free demo.

Virtual Meetings

For the last decade, remote work has become increasingly popular. Then, in just weeks due to COVID-19, working from home and virtual meetings went from optional to required, as government restrictions went into place around the world.

The pandemic has accelerated the need for a modern workforce across industries that is increasingly mobile and dynamic. Even before remote work became normal, there’s a very good chance that some of your co-workers don’t sit in the same office as you.

the need for virtual meetings is growing

For many, the only time co-workers will get face-to-face interaction together is via a webcam. As a result, virtual conference calls and meetings have become a key ingredient in team synergy and communication during remote work.

Working Remote InforgraphicHand-in-hand with business growth and globalization, advances in technology and new applications have made long-distance communication even easier. At energyhill, we integrate virtual meeting technologies into our every day to meet seamlessly with clients.

Below we’ll take a look at some ways you can lead effective meetings online, the most popular conference call tools available, and simple remote meeting etiquette.

how to lead a successful virtual meeting

We have all attended a poorly run virtual meeting or conference call. When it comes to workplace communication, nothing seems to be more awkward or a bigger waste of time. So, what is the trick to successful conference calls? 

Here are few elements to keep in mind that just might help your next remote meeting be a success:

  1. Know the Attendees. You want the people on the call to contribute meaningfully? Understanding who they are, including their goals and responsibilities, will give you a better idea of when and how they should be chiming in.
  2. Create an Agenda. Even if it’s a recurring meeting, it’s important that everyone understands what will be discussed. Send this agenda out before the meeting so everyone can properly prepare. In addition, it will keep the call moving efficiently and create a structure for how participants should engage.
  3. Keep everyone on the same page. Several of the top virtual meeting tools have built-in screen sharing and virtual whiteboard capabilities. These tools are great for giving attendees a visual to connect with the meeting discussions or share a meeting deck.
  4. Follow-up with a Recap.
    In order to keep everyone on the same page moving forward and deliverables are completed, it’s best to send a recap email once the meeting is over. It doesn’t have to be formal, but it should clearly outline what was discussed, and what action items there are to execute.

For hints on how to make your conference calls successful, check out this article from HubSpot.

apps for meeting virtually

Now that you know how to lead a more effective call, what’s the best tool for you to use? Here are some of the most popular virtual meeting and conference call facilitators on the market and our impressions of them:

  • Zoom: The most popular video conferencing application can be downloaded across platforms. On Zoom, it’s easy to collaborate with screen sharing and whiteboard capabilities, and meetings can be recorded and referred back to later. This is energyhill’s go-to remote meeting tool. 
  • Google Meet: Google Meet expanded in 2020 to conduct secure business meetings for free as part of G Suite, with all the same tools as Zoom. Starting a meeting is as easy as logging into your Gmail, and clicking “Start a meeting” in the sidebar. No downloads required. Meetings can also be scheduled via Google Calendar.
  • GoToMeeting: This is an industry stalwart and quite well-reviewed, especially for conference calls. It requires attendees to download software for the meeting, which makes it a bit dated in our book. However, it’s very affordable. We’ve used it previously, but have since switched.
  • Ringcentral: Ringcentral has more than just conference call capabilities, such as chat and texting. This meeting software can be integrated deep into your business with phone capabilities. However, it can be overkill depending on your needs.
  • join.me: We haven’t yet used join.me for our own meetings. However, we have attended meetings where join.me was the facilitator and we were very pleased. It also has screen sharing capabilities, seems reliable and doesn’t require any install.

The most important feature of any system is how well it fits your organization’s needs. These companies are a good place to start when doing your research for the best conference call tools.

virtual meeting etiquette

You may have seen viral videos from Zoom meetings where someone does something embarrassing. While these clips are hilarious, part of effective meetings is all the guests following some simple ground rules to keep the meeting on track.

  1. Send links or phone numbers to your meeting in advance
  2. Mute your mic when you’re not speaking
  3. Dress the same way on meetings as you would at the office
  4. Let others at home you’re going into a meeting
  5. Don’t multitask, focus on the meeting

There are countless other ways to improve meeting productivity, but good etiquette can go a long way in getting things done. 

adapt your business to now

If you’d like to discuss your organization’s digital needs and how to better communicate in a global marketplace, please contact us at energyhill. Our team of multi-level marketing experts are eager to help you and your organization exceed your business goals.

Few things are more annoying than a slow-loading web page. But when does a user’s aggravation cross over to serious frustration and eventual abandonment? It’s been widely reported that all websites should strive to have a page load time of two seconds or less. However, that’s not always feasible. So, how important is this two-second benchmark? Let’s examine a few ways that page load time affects bounce rate and if it’s something you and your organization should really be concerned with.

Does Page Load Time Really Affect Bounce Rate?

What is Bounce Rate?

Bounce rate refers to the percent of your site visitors who try to visit your web page and then don’t stick around before the page fully loads. This measurement was the precursor to the newer term of “engagement;” it was one of a handful of ways to see if people were engaging with your content. Per Visitor Insights, when a page load takes longer than 2 seconds, more than 35% of site visitors will abandon the site.

Why Does Bounce Rate Matter?

You don’t want to lose over one-third of your site visitors before they even have a chance to see your website. That could translate easily into missed sales, a loss of leads, or just overall disappointment with your brand. However, since 2016, website size has increased by 900kb and the amount of video being used has increased by 300 percent. It’s the ultimate catch 22: these two factors can lead to slow page load time, but in order for your company to be competitive, you’ve got to have a good-looking website displaying the most engaging user experience.

What Can You Do?

If you need more interactive content on your page, even though it may result in slower load times, what can you do to ensure your site visitors stick around? Well, it’s not just load times that matter to engagement. In fact, almost 80 percent of site visitors report they are satisfied with slower websites. That is, as long as the site provides an engaging experience. Website content, messaging, and functionality all work together to create a satisfactory website visit. Make sure your website looks good and reads well, contains no broken links, and that any video content is interesting. The worst user experience is waiting for a video to load only to discover it adds nothing to the user experience.

Speed is important online, but sacrificing quality for speed won’t get you far. When examining your page load time, think about what you want your users to take away from visiting your site. Shoot for the two second load time; but if you don’t quite make it, just make sure your website is worth the wait. For more information on how to make your website better than ever, please contact Energyhill today.

 

Wireframing: Building A Good Site Structure

Building a friendly and functional website isn’t as difficult as it used to be. It’s no longer necessary to know how to code or even to understand HTML. However, building a website that’s functional, user-friendly and effective does require one thing: planning. A sitemap complete with wireframes and navigation cues is key to creating a website that users will want to visit again and again. Good web design also makes sites attractive to search engines and can help with indexing. Below we will discuss the key elements of good site design, planning and developing a structure utilizing wireframing.

Plan, Plan, Plan

There’s an old saying that the three keys to real estate are “location, location, location.” Well then, the three keys to a good website are “planning, planning, planning.” One of the first things you should create when designing or redesigning your website is the sitemap. A sitemap is a basic, no-frills document that simply outlines the pages your site will have and how those pages will be arranged; it also serves as the initial navigational concept for your site.

Besides being a road map, a solid sitemap will help you create a coherent user experience, as well as:

  • Highlight your site’s goals
  • Enable you to add content at a later date without requiring a massive redesign
  • Help you to avoid duplicate content and confusion

wireframe sampleGiving Your Site Structure

After you’ve created your sitemap, you’re ready to start conceptualizing each web page. One of the most basic ways to do this is via a wireframe. Wireframes are no frills illustrations that highlight the structure of your web pages. Each wireframe generally contains the following:

  • Templated features such as headers, footers, navigational bars, logos, etc.
  • Placeholders for images and text

Wireframes do NOT include:

  • Actual text or images that will be used on the page
  • Colors or branding elements

A wireframe in its purest form is a pencil sketch of a web page or website. It is the rough outline of what the page(s) will look like and a guide to how the entire site will flow (from page to page).

If you or your organization are thinking about designing or redesigning your website, the start of the year is the perfect time for a fresh look. At Energyhill, we are committed to working with our clients in a collaborative environment that brings out the best in your business.  Let our team of experts use their talents to help you succeed. For more information about website design, wireframes and digital media, please contact Energyhill today.

Let’s talk about trust for a moment. It’s perhaps one of the most important elements of engaging customers and inspiring a purchase. This makes sense because trust is earned, not bought or given. So how does a brand earn it? And more importantly, how do you use your consumers’ trust in you and your products to enhance sales? One of the key ways to do so is with website testimonials.

Testimonials To Build Site Visitors' Trust

What is a Testimonial?

Briefly, a testimonial is a statement that testifies to a person or a company’s character or quality. Testimonials should always be positive. They can also be product reviews, but with one caveat – a review can be negative.

What Makes a Good Testimonial?

An honest testimonial by someone whom other potential consumers can relate to is key in effective website testimonials. Testimonials operate on the basis of a psychological concept called ‘social proof.’ This means that when others read about the experience of one of their peers, they are inspired to copy that behavior. In the case of products or services, that means purchasing the product, downloading the app, or requesting information. Specificity is also the mark of a good website testimonial. While five star reviews look great, if they lack details about what exactly makes the product amazing, they’re sort of an empty endorsement.

How Can You Up Your Testimonial Game?

If you’ve already seen the power of testimonials on your site, then chances are you’re looking for a way to make them even more effective. One way is to be sure they have a prominent place on your site. Don’t make them hard to find. Perhaps include a side bar that features a few website testimonials every day or directly under the products they are touting. Additionally, make sure you’re getting testimonials by reminding people to submit them. Make it easy for site visitors to submit a testimonial so that you have a variety to feature on your site.

If you’re looking for more guidance on how to incorporate testimonials into your site, please contact us today. Energyhill is dedicated to making a positive impact in the digital world, and we’re committed to helping our customers build consumer trust and reach their goals.

What if you only had a limited amount of time to impress someone? You would want to show your absolute best self, and we couldn’t agree more.  Wouldn’t you want to handle your website the exact same way?  Today, first impressions are everything. You want to capture your audience’s attention, making them remember you. You want your website’s uploading time to be fast.  Trust us, speed optimization is a good thing when it comes to your brand and website.

5 Seconds to Impress: Speed up your Website

5 Seconds to Impress

Speed Optimization is Key

Instant gratification has never been more, well, instant. We can connect constantly, find answers in a flash, and capture real life in real time—then share it with the world a moment later. So it’s no surprise online users don’t have much patience when it comes to website load times.

No one likes the loading screen—especially your customers. Sure, you know to optimize your site for search engine keywords, but how about speed optimization? Who cares how strong your content is when it isn’t reaching your readers fast enough? Speed optimization is one of the most crucial factors for retaining engaged users and gaining conversions. Engage them or loose them. The results are clear: you’ve got 5 seconds to make a good impression (literally and figuratively speaking). 74% of users will leave a mobile site after waiting 5 seconds for it to load. If you don’t engage them after those 5 Mississippis, they will click elsewhere. Almost half of users won’t return to a poorly performing site.*

Think of it like a first date—one where you definitely don’t want to show up late.

There is this thing called the speed test. You’re here (and still reading) for a reason. The Energyhill website loads in 1.11 seconds, which is 88% faster than all tested websites across the Pingdom Tools. To move with greater speed and agility, your site needs to be tested and analyzed for hang-ups. Once those factors are identified—which can include everything from oversized images to CSS code to external media—they can be addressed for a smoother user experience.

Dont Blink

According to research from the Aberdeen Group, for every 1 second delay in page load time, customer satisfaction plummets 16% and conversion rates by 7%.** These numbers reveal the dramatic effects of speed on your customer’s emotional and behavioral responses, and ultimately your business’s success. Energyhill is a strong advocate for Speed Optimization and will keeping up with it as fast as we can. If you want a stellar website, you’ve got to speed things up. The cliche has never been more true: every second counts.

Website Shopping Cart

You may be asking yourself, “Should I have a shopping cart on my site?” If that question comes to mind, it probably means your answer should be a resounding, “YES!”

People are using their smart phones and tablets to purchase products more than they are visiting traditional brick and mortar establishments. Your website isn’t just a place for you to market your products; it should be your eCommerce hub where people can connect with your brand, find your latest products and purchase them on-the-spot. In order to stay competitive, businesses must provide their customers with the ability to order products online, while they’re in the shopping mindset.

What Customers Want

  • The Convenience. Online ordering allows your clients to shop anytime, anywhere.
  • Better Prices. Your customers wants to save money. Online shopping allows consumers to price shop more effectively.
  • No Crowds. Avoiding lines, traffic, and stress makes everyone happy.
  • Discreet Ordering. Ecommerce provides your consumers to order what they want privately and comfortably.

Shopping carts are not a menial undertaking. Your customers are likely to abandon their shopping cart and not complete their transaction if they have any trouble with your program. Simply put, this is an area of business where the extra investment is worth the cost.

What Your Shopping Cart Should Offer

  • Save Feature. Sometimes consumers want to add an item, look around, and come back later to complete the transaction. Allow it.
  • Order Adjustment. Customers should have the freedom to make adjustments – different sizes, colors, and products – easy and conveniently.
  • Secure Purchase. Your business should ensure the customer feels confident in your ability to secure their information.

The Benefits of a Shopping Cart

Yes, your customers will love it, but the benefits of a shopping cart don’t end with happy customers.

  • Save Time. Allowing your customer to order as they choose gives your employees the opportunity to work more effective hours.
  • Save Money. Ecommerce may allow you or your employees to work from home, reduce expenses, and avoid unnecessary inventory.
  • Encourage Sales. Happy customers purchase more, and more often.
  • Customer Insight. Online ordering allows you to get to know your customer better, and help you make better decisions on future products and services.
  • Expanded Marketing. You can reach a lot more customers on the internet than you can in a mall.
  • Measured Results. Tracking orders allows you to immediately see how sales are doing, where you need to improve, and what direction your business is heading.
  • Business Sustainability. Ecommerce is the way of the future.

Acquiring a shopping cart feature for your website can help move your product more efficiently, lower unnecessary inventory, and most importantly, makes your customers happy.

 

Your company’s processes have an enormous impact on your business. In this webinar we will walk you through 5 steps to powerful process design. With the right process design, you can streamline your operations, increase your productivity, and give a healthy boost to your bottom line.
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