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- Who: Kaine Shutler
- Website: plume.co.uk
- Tool Offered: eLearning Design Agency
- Interesting Stats: 150+ projects created
Tell us about yourself and the business you started …
Plume is a specialist, full-service eLearning design agency, the only one of its kind in the UK. Based in the creative hub of Bristol, we design and develop custom eLearning platforms for a range of clients from solo course creators to corporate training providers.
Our diverse team consists of highly skilled professionals who bring their skills to each and every project; We’re made up of designers, developers, teachers, and marketers.
Since specializing in our niche in 2017 we’ve stood out for our creativity and our collaborative approach, and we’re proud to be recognized as the leading agency for custom learning management systems here in the UK.
Who is the market for your business?
Our clients vary from subscription-based eLearning providers to corporate learning and development providers. We’ve created over 150 projects across a variety of industries.
In terms of what we do, we’re not limited to delivering to any one market.
eLearning is for everyone, whether you’re selling a one-off course for dog trainers or providing ongoing CPD training.
Our approach is limitless in terms of features/ capabilities and growth. If someone is looking to create a business or revenue stream from eLearning, you should consider a custom platform if you want strong branding and community-driven features.
What problem does your solution solve?
Clients come to us because they feel frustrated by the limitations of off-the-shelf online course systems. These systems often follow a rental model which means you’ll never truly own the platform and will often see your costs increase as you grow your business.
Unlike these systems, we don’t charge per user, don’t limit the number of courses or users you can have on the platform, and offer an elastic approach that will allow you to scale and adjust the platform to your evolving business needs.
Why is it better than other solutions?
We charge a one-off fee for the development of a custom eLearning platform. So there are no hidden or mounting costs. As an agency, we take the time to understand our clients’ and their users’ needs and create an in-depth plan which we use to approach each project.
We save time and money for our clients at every stage of the process, from the Needs Analysis to the cost of development. It might seem unlikely, but in the long run, it’s cheaper to build a platform through us than it is to pay another SaaS annually for the use of theirs.
What are the biggest benefits for your customers?
We offer higher quality with a solution that takes business and user needs into account. With more cost-saving opportunities when compared to SaaS models. There are no ongoing or mounting costs. Instead, the system is a one-off, fixed price so you’ll only pay for development when you need to add or change a feature after the initial custom LMS is built. With that in mind, we’re really focused on delivering future proof systems that grow alongside businesses, not forcing our customers to stay locked into working with us.
Where did the idea for the business come from?
I’d love to be able to say that specializing in eLearning was planned, but it was a happy accident. We started out as a web design agency with a strong focus on usability – making custom websites as easy to use as possible to help businesses sell more of their products and services.
We took this same approach when we were asked to create an eLearning platform.This is when we quickly realized that our skillset in web design would really lend itself to eLearning platforms too; a UX and design-led approach that seemed absent from other eLearning providers. - Kaine Shutler Click To Tweet
We were taking a much more considered approach to eLearning platform design and people loved it. It just snowballed. It felt natural to hang up our web design boots and go all-in with eLearning.
Do you have a lead magnet?
We’re currently offering a comprehensive 24-page guide to building a highly converting online course landing page. We wrote it to guide course content creators through the design, content, and strategy behind developing their own landing page.
The guide is based on our years of experience and analysis of other course creators and goes beyond just a suggested structure to actually teach readers the theory and best practice behind what to write to improve conversions on your landing page.
It’s totally free and you can get it here.
What’s the traffic strategy that works best for you?
Our major customer acquisition strategy centers around our website. We are constantly evaluating and optimizing our content based on the needs of our customers. We listen closely to their pain points and ensure that we’re addressing these on our landing pages. Customers know before we get in touch. We’ve found this helps move them down the sales funnel
What tools do you use to run your business?
We’re big on automation and tools where possible. As a business, we rely on Slack and Google’s Business Suite on a daily basis. Both of these tools help with communication and consistency.
In addition to those, we also use a number of tools for our marketing work with clients such as Ahrefs (for SEO) and Fullstory (for tracking website user behavior)
What books or training programs have you found useful on your journey to a successful business owner that others might find valuable too?
It’s probably not a surprise that I firmly believe in the importance of continuous learning and development at Plume. In the past year, I’ve sent my staff on day-training courses, enrolled them in online learning, and shared with them some books that I’ve found really helpful in my time. I love seeing the team training as part of their workday and then applying what they’ve learned straight away. This is essential for retaining information and so I encourage staff to read books and learn at work.
A book that really changed my life was Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. The book is not far off a century old, but the ability to get along with people has been absolutely crucial to the success of my business and my life.
Are there any numbers you would like to share?
In the past year, we’ve established ourselves as the UK’s top custom eLearning provider. There’s no one out there offering the diversity we are in terms of the types of clients we work with and the platforms we develop for. We’re also the UK’s only full-service eLearning agency; we offer Needs Analysis, design, development, and marketing specifically for eLearning.
Numbers aside, we have risen to the top of Google for ‘custom eLearning development’ and have dramatically increased our pipeline. This has been the result of applying everything we’re continuing to learn to our landing pages, content, and sales process.
Do you have a story of a transformation from any of your clients?
Too many to share them all. Our clients stay with us for years.Everyone has a unique vision - and when they see it come to life in the designs, and then as a working product we have a great sense of shared pride and achievement. - Kaine Shutler Click To Tweet
These clients are still with us to this day, and some of them are feature favorites on our portfolio.
What advice do you have for people just starting out in business?
I’ve spent a lot of time in the past developing solutions nobody asked for or needed, which has meant a lot of wasted resources. I’m an ideas man, and ideas can be addictive, sometimes leading to execution before even knowing if there’s demand. If you’re starting out, I’d recommend that new entrepreneurs pre-sell their solutions. Create demand and sell first – and work out how to execute later.