Dr. Amanda Sterk manages a college preparation program in a Florida high school. She’s also founder of passion project College UnMazed, which provides a website, handbook and other materials to help students and their families unpack the process of transitioning from high school to college.
Amanda didn’t have a background in design. She did however have a strong need for engaging, attractive visuals. As with many Venngage users, Amanda quickly discovered the value in having a solution like Venngage at her disposal.
Her Venngage journey has been captured in this snazzy case study infographic that you can check out. You can also read more about her experiences using Venngage below.
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Needing to convey complex educational content in a more visually appealing way.
As an accomplished college guidance counselor, Dr. Amanda Sterk, Founder and CEO of College UnMazed, has a crucial role to play helping students navigate the complex path from high school to college.
From college selections and applications to admissions, scholarships and financial aid appeal letters, Amanda needed to communicate important information to students, their families, and other stakeholders in a clear and digestible way.
But doing so was an almost insurmountable challenge.
I was using packages like Word and PowerPoint to create a portfolio of communication and marketing materials, including handbooks, flyers, blogs and presentations,” says Amanda. “But because those platforms didn’t offer much design flexibility, my content was very wordy, and not particularly impactful or memorable.
Amanda’s challenge was exacerbated by the fact that much of the educational content she needed to convey was technical—and not always super-exciting.
To really engage with students and their families, I knew my content needed to be presented in a more visually appealing way, but our marketing team was focused elsewhere and I didn’t have the budget to hire designers.
Despite her continued frustrations, Amanda pressed on. Having created so much material about the high school to college journey, she decided to write a book that consolidated everything into a novel curriculum that she could sell to students and educators state-wide.
I formed my own business, College UnMazed, as a passion project to produce the book, and create more materials around the new curriculum, which was really exciting. But I was still frustrated by my design limitations. The book featured great information and parents really liked it, but you had to kind of slog through it, just like a lot of other academic books.
Amanda could see the world around her changing. Her audience were 21st century, digitally savvy media consumers. And they didn’t want to trawl through pages of copy to find the information they needed.
For the benefit of both my day job and side hustle, I wanted to find a way of having more design flexibility in the content I produced, so I could present information in a fun and engaging way that people would remember.
That’s when Amanda found Venngage.
Visual communication tool Venngage enables Amanda to turn unengaging content into unmissable visuals.
Amanda heard about Venngage through a super-fan who worked at the school. The tool enables users to convey complex information, tell their stories, and share critical data through the form of engaging infographics.
Amanda instantly loved the site’s usability and functionality, where she could select designs from a library of more than 10,000 templates and use them to create accessible content in minutes.
For her first foray into Venngage, she transformed previously verbose blog posts into digestible content packed with impactful designs, charts and infographics. With no design training, she was able to create pages that resembled those of a seasoned designer, using this simple process:
And the outcome? With such a simple approach to designing her own infographics, Amanda was able to create infographics like this one:
Want to create infographics just like this one? Check out our infographic templates pages.
Almost instantaneously, Amanda saw her content getting more clicks and shares.
She was so impressed with the look of her revamped blog pages, she decided to rework word-heavy educational materials across the board.
Because Venngage provides templates for every imaginable business category and use case, I used it to transform my marketing materials, social media output, and even an online magazine. Whether I needed visuals saved as png for social media, a pdf for a presentation, or any other file type, Venngage facilitated it with a few clicks.
The entrepreneur then spotted an opportunity to apply Venngage to her side hustle—and redesigned every one of its 125 pages using the platform. The goal was to convey her messaging using beautiful visuals rather than long paragraphs of text.
Like every other use case, the design process for redeveloping the book was surprisingly straightforward.
She revisited the content on each page of her book and established what data would work better as diagrams, charts, timelines, and other graphics.
From there, it was as simple as finding templates, entering the relevant data, then saving the files and incorporating them into the book’s design file. The whole process required zero expensive designer hours and zero extra cost.
Suddenly I felt like a design whizz. It was so easy to update the plain old words from my book’s first edition into colorful pictures, charts and infographics that were easy to digest for today’s readers.
Back at work, Amanda continued using Venngage as her secret weapon and repurposed infographics she’d created for her book to boost engagement. Because Venngage could quickly recreate graphics in different sizes and formats, it was easy to maximize their impact across multiple comms and marketing channels and supercharge student engagement.
For her book and elsewhere, Amanda was able to create attractive and informative visuals like this Career Pathways Infographic:
Want to create engaging diagrams and mind maps for your own business? Check out our mind map templates pages.
She even put Venngage to use to create an app that helps students learn and remember crucial material that supports their educational journey.
Beyond the platform’s ease of use, Amanda hugely appreciated Venngage’s market leading support, which is available 24/7. In fact, nail-bitingly close to her publishing deadline, she tested it to the max!
The night before my deadline, I had an issue with one of the pdfs I’d created not lining up. I contacted Venngage’s support team and they went beyond the pale, staying with me until 2am until the issue was ironed out. Without them, I’d never have met my deadline.
$100k saved in book design fees, $30k+ earned in extra income, and hours of time back in her diary.
Amanda describes the difference in her professional life since using Venngage as “night and day”.
By redesigning her book independently using Venngage, her book publisher estimates she saved a design bill of around $800 a page. Multiplied by 125 pages, that adds up to a staggering $100k cost saving. In other words, Amanda could never have afforded to create such a visual masterpiece without Venngage.
I’m so proud of the new book, which was 100% done with Venngage. It looks so incredible that I can walk into any room and sell 50 books in a heartbeat.
Thanks to the resulting sales of her book—along with a portfolio of other other curriculum-based materials she’s developed with Venngage—Amanda has earned $30k+ in extra income this year. Her publishers are so excited by the book’s success, she’s now launching it nationwide, which means revenue will continue to skyrocket.
Venngage has enabled me not only to save money developing my book, but also to earn considerable extra income for my family. People just keep buying it!
Venngage is also helping Amanda save chunks of time and improve efficiency during her 9-5 workday.
Information that used to take me 5 pages of writing text to communicate can now be conveyed in one infographic—and I can do it all myself. That gives me a huge amount of time back every day to apply to other important, value-added tasks.
Amanda recommends Venngage to any learning and development professional who has information to share, and wants to do it in a way that’s engaging and visual without the expense and hassle of hiring design professionals.
Take any counseling program and you can create your own marketing scheme with Venngage, even if you’re a novice. Students really gravitate towards my infographics and connect with what I’m doing instantly. The information is very visual and much more memorable, which I think is really cool.
Amanda is equally enthusiastic about Venngage’s price point: “When you look at what you’re getting for a very modest subscription, it’s such a small cost for your business.”
But above all, Amanda just loves creating great looking designs that, in turn, make her look good, too.
Venngage has become my secret weapon and I’m so embedded in it that I can’t imagine life without it. I would not have a business or be where I’m at professionally without Venngage.
Ever feel the information you’re trying to convey isn’t cutting through?
With Venngage, you’ll turn your ideas into engaging infographics readers can’t ignore.