This is the time of year that we, as studio business owners, spend most of our marketing budget. I am sure that most of you do newspaper ads, postcards, flyers and door hangers just to name a few. In previous articles I have discussed how important the statistics are that we have gathered over the past five years. Many people nowadays go online to shop for things that they are interested in buying and they are not only interested in items but also in services. Our statistics show that during the months of August, September, October and November, that people finding us through search engines or other online resources have increased over ten times in the last five years. We are reaching our super pages PPC (pay per click) budget every one of those months. As a matter of fact, because of that we have increased our budget for those months. Last year alone we had seventy seven new students find us through this one source.

This is the time of year that we, as studio business owners, spend most of our marketing budget. I am sure that most of you do newspaper ads, postcards, flyers and door hangers just to name a few. In previous articles I have discussed how important the statistics are that we have gathered over the past five years. Many people nowadays go online to shop for things that they are interested in buying and they are not only interested in items but also in services. Our statistics show that during the months of August, September, October and November, that people finding us through search engines or other online resources have increased over ten times in the last five years. We are reaching our super pages PPC (pay per click) budget every one of those months. As a matter of fact, because of that we have increased our budget for those months. Last year alone we had seventy seven new students find us through this one source.

Best of all, most of these online services can be altered and changed to fit your budget at a moments notice. If, as an example, you create a campaign with Google you can set a budget of perhaps fifty dollars for a week. The following week you can increase or decrease it as you like. As a matter of fact, you can spend one hundred dollars in one day and then shut the campaign down for the following day. It is like a water tap. Turn it on and turn it off anytime you want to. I really like that control and flexibility.

Here is a list of where we recommend you spend your online marketing dollars:

Google.com, It is very easy to set up and get your ad online in minutes. One word of advice, you will have to pick key words that will bring your ad up. Be as specific as possible. For example use, Dance lessons in Norwalk, Ct. Instead of, Dance lessons in Connecticut. This way you are more likely to have people in your area click on and not from an area that is too far away from your business to be of any use to you. You want to try to have the most qualified leads because you are paying every time someone clicks on your ad. You will also need to fiddle with your bids. I recommend starting out at twenty cents per click. If you are not on the first page when you try to search under your keywords, you can try to go up in five cent increments. If you are at the top at twenty try to decrease the amount you are paying and see what happens. The goal here is to try to be one of the first three on the front page.

Super Pages.com, This is also a PPC campaign. You do not have the same flexibility as you do with Google but you can set a budget for the month and you can increase or decrease it from month to month. I would recommend that you increase your budget on the months mentioned above. One benefit is that you can talk to a sales rep and find out what your competitors are spending and discuss with them how much it would take to be near the top of the page. Once you know, you can adjust to move up or down during the year.

Yellow Pages.com, This works for us, but what I dont like about it is that they get you to sign up for the year just like the paper book. You are locked into a certain amount every month. The ad rep will try to get you to pay more to move up the page. Be careful not to let him play you against your competition. It may be just too expensive to justify getting near the top of the page. Try adding a little red to your ad headline for a little more money. This will make your ad stand out even if you are down the page. To see more about this, check out the past article in the archives section from October of 2007 called Your Online Presence.

 The key is to set aside a budget for this part of your marketing plan. You can very easily monitor and track your marketing dollars. For those members who are from abroad you can use Google and you can research what is being offered for online yellow pages in your region. I am sure you will be happy with your results.