GXD Academy

GXD Academy

The Scenario

GXD Academy is a startup founded in 2021 with the aim of providing completely remote and flexible learning in the highest-paid industries, with courses taught by experienced professionals, rather than lecturers in the sector.

This company wanted to build its brand from scratch, together with artwork for both print and social media applications, and a website where the prospective students could book the courses they want to attend.

In order to avoid PCI compliance issues, I suggested they implement Stripe and PayPal as payment methods, and use their hosted pages as the checkout. Both payment processors also have stock counting and price control as part of their services, which further reduces costs for the start-up.

Competitor Research

creativelive.com

  • Based in US
  • High-end instructors
  • Many subjects
  • Pay per class
  • Online, not Live
  • Mix of classes and workshops
  • Can download offline access 
  • Available on mobile
  • Min. Price for similar course classes: €25 (student needs to buy multiple classes)
  • Max. Prices: €299 per class (course comprised of multiple classes)
  • Live chat

skillshare.com

  • Based in US
  • Free classes
  • Pay per class
  • Get started for free (7 days)
  • Mix of instructor level
  • Low to Medium pricing: €14 per 45 minute class 
  • No career paths
  • Mostly focused on tool tutorials, rather than subjects
  • Live chat

udemy.com

  • for enterprise
  • For students
  • Many subjects
  • Lecturers not necessarily qualified or experienced.
  • Online, not Live
  • Pay by class/short course
  • Affordable pricing

artclassesmalta.com

  • Based in Malta
  • Maltese audience
  • Online live courses during COVID
  • Brick & mortar classes available
  • Only similar course is Graphic design course: €385
  • No official certification
  • Live chat

icemalta.com

  • Based in Malta
  • Maltese audience 
  • Online Live for COVID-19 only
  • Brick & mortar classes available
  • Official certification from Adobe, and other companies, but carry a high price tag for certificate.
  • Offer Graphic Design (course), Digital Marketing (Diploma) & Web Development
  • Get Qualified Scheme
  • Medium to High pricing for similar courses (€400 – €2000)
  • Live chat

Overall Differentiation from Competitors:

  • Based locally, international reach & audience (courses are in English, and based on CET timezone)
  • Online Live lessons and workshops all year round
  • Live interaction, Q&A and discussions directly with the tutor and students across the globe 
  • More affordable pricing for full courses
  • Students can choose how they want to excel: via small assignments, tests or just attendance with the relevant certificate given out.
  • High focus on student feedback and its implementation
  • One-on-one optional sessions for better understanding

The Target Audience

Needs

  • Great, seamless, responsive online experience
  • Instant reply to queries about courses
  • Easy profile creation and signing up for courses
  • Clear information on what the course contains and what they are going to achieve
  • Professional, expert instructors
  • Well-structured courses with original, informative content
  • Clear pricing, no hidden fees
  • Flexibility 

Wants

  • Affordable pricing
  • Follow-up for feedback
  • Career advice
  • Networking
  • Discounts and offers
  • Great job prospectives
  • Customer loyalty

Personas

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Maya Borg

  • Age: 20, Maltese
  • Currently a student reading for a degree in Digital Arts
  • Is interested in learning Digital Marketing as it goes hand in hand with the Digital Arts field
  • Is currently very busy having lessons sometimes until 20.00, has other items to study
  • Spends a lot of time socialising online on her phone
  • Does not have a car yet and still lives with her parents, therefore it is difficult for her to make it on time to classes in other locations
  • Has a very strong opinion on how things should work
Photo by Dmitriy Ganin on Pexels.com

Katrina Baye

  • Age: 25, Netherlands
  • Finished her degree a couple of years ago, but wants to up her skills in another area to find a better job with a better salary or get a promotion
  • She works office hours until 17.30 and owns a car. Meets her boyfriend or friends after work
  • She has a rent to pay and is planning to buy a place to live
  • She is consistently updating her LinkedIn profile and looking at recruitment websites to find a job.
  • Wants to invest time in learning a new skill, however wants to maintain a healthy work-life balance; an efficient solution.
Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on Pexels.com

Stefan Galea

  • Age: 33, Maltese
  • He has been working as a Developer for the past 8 years, but wants a change in scenery
  • He works office hours, and does not have much of a social life. He likes playing online games
  • Currently paying a home loan, but is not a big spender
  • Not much of a social media person, but very technical and practical.
  • Very picky when it comes to online websites, and tech hardware.
  • He is not certain what he wants to do yet, is a bit afraid to change jobs, but is considering studying a new creative digital field

Requirements and Deliverables

A New Brand: Creation of logo, brief brand guide and direction of the brand.

Social Media Pages and a Digital Marketing Plan: A digital marketing plan which included Facebook and LinkedIn as the main social media pages, artworks in all sizes for the social pages (such as profile pictures and rotating banners), posts and adverts including Google Display.

Videos: The client also required videos for advertising on YouTube, Google Display channels and social media channels.

Website: A newly designed website built on CMS which provides the client a high degree of flexibility in terms of updating and adding new content.

The Brand

Research showed that the majority of academic companies, the main colours are based on dark and/or cold palettes. While these colours tend to denote a certain level of prestige and value, they are rarely associated with youth, fun, a fresh outlook, or the contemporary. The most common style is also quite geometric and minimalistic, with certain entities opting for a more complex and detailed style with more of a traditional twist.

Given these insights, I tested with the other end of the spectrum, using warm and bright colours and organic shapes, with a mix of minimal layouts and decorated backgrounds. The whole design idea was built while keeping in mind target audience. The client was very happy with the results, and required a very brief brand book which just covers the basics of the brand, such as logo sizes, typography and colours.

Page from the Brand Book: Logo sizes per application
Page from the Brand Book: Brand colour palette

Digital Marketing Material Samples: Courses and Events

Digital Marketing Material Samples: Generic and Special Occasion

Videos

The Website

I used Webflow to build the website – it is quite an intuitive CMS and slowly becoming popular. As a payment processor, I suggested Stripe for card payments, due to their free merchandising back office (where the merchant can update pricing, stock amounts, etc) and also their lower percentage rate off each transaction. I also encouraged the integration of PayPal – even though its rate is much higher and the user friendliness on the merchant side much lower than Stripe, many users still seek it when paying online, confident in the safety it boasts that it provides.

The resulting website proved very simple and easy to navigate, with eye-catching CTAs and all the information that the prospective student might need to know. I also provided a Start From Here button, which takes the user directly to the list of courses available. The website is divided into 5 main sections:

  • Homepage
  • Courses
  • Events
  • About Us
  • Support

I integrated the Live Chat plug-in by Facebook, so that the client receives any incoming messages directly on her phone by installing the Meta Business app. For cookies implementation (to be GDPR compliant) I used the very effective free tool named Finsweet, which made it so much easier for me.

To make the merchant’s daily operational workflow easier, I used Zapier and created multiple automations (automated chains of actions) such as:

  • Every time a user signed up for the newsletter, it created a new entry on a Google Sheet and added the user to the merchant’s Mailchimp Account, tagged as Newsletter Sign Up
  • Since the event’s checkout was done via Eventbrite and the courses checkout via Stripe or PayPal, an email was sent directly to the merchant’s Outlook account to notify of each purchase, followed by the customer’s details integration in separate Google Sheets (Event type and Course Type) and then integrated in Mailchimp and tagged accordingly as Event attendee or Course attendee.

Desktop Flow

Mobile Flow

Checkout

Conclusion

The final step to this project was submitting the website sitemap to Google, integrating Google Analytics and Google Search console to start collecting audience and interaction data straight away, while keeping tabs on website health in terms of responsiveness and accessibility. Adding the business to Google Business was also important for future customers to see opening times and other information about the new start-up.

I think that this was the most intensive and satisfying project that I have worked on. I discovered new tools, automation processes and information that I never knew existed, but which are so vital for online businesses to kick off their dream sustainably with limited capital.

GXD Academy went Live on November 2021