The Marketing Plan That Works
The Marketing Plan That Works!
Last month we presented Part I of Business Building for 2011. The goal was to take an overview of your business, a snapshot of where you are and where you plan on going. We gave you an action plan for you to complete. How did it go? Did you find any ideas that might work for you? Can you use any marketing from another industry that can be formatted to fit your needs? Remember that the focus is on advancement and by looking all around you, you might find golden opportunities that are hidden or in plain sight. Marketing is not just putting an ad in the newspaper and hoping for the best. It is seeking out opportunities for joint efforts—finding areas where your potential clients might discover you—and continuing to market to your current clients.
The Heartbeat Of Your Business…Marketing!
As we discussed last month, the largest single part of your business that you need to focus on is your marketing plan. You may have the best classes, and teachers and a fun and friendly atmosphere, but if no one knows about it, you are dead in the water! A marketing plan is a well-thought out road map that will help you get from where you are to where you would like to go.
Vital Marketing Point: Each time you send out a flyer or any other marketing piece, make sure you have an offer, a call to action and a way for them to respond. I don’t recommend that you just place an ad with yourstudio name and the fact that you offer dance lessons. Give customers a bit of a push: A time sensitive offer with a special deal for new customers or for your current customers will get things moving quickly.
Vital Marketing Point: Find unusual ways to you can reach your potential customers and get the word out to them through as many different mediums as possible.
Vital Marketing Point: Keep marketing to your current clients. Keep communicating with them through e-mails, cards, newsletters and more!
Let’s take a look at what has worked well for us.
The great thing about direct mail is that you can send to a targeted list of potential clients using an inexpensive postcard; this is very cost effective and yields great results. I recommend you get a list of families with young children (ages 3-6) and create a postcard with a special offer for that age group. You can do the same for ages 8-12, teens and adults if you have adult classes. We also use this method to continue to upsell our current clients. We offer a free week to try another class or bring in a friend—if they sign up they get some kind of freebie. You could also send out a card to families that did not register again in the fall saying it’s not too late or a winter session or that you miss them and you would be happy to help assist them in finding a class to fit their busy schedule. This is a great way for you to keep your name out there with offers.
Finding businesses that have the same target market as you do is a great way to build your business at a reasonable cost. Look around for local businesses that attract the kinds of clients you are interested in marketing to. Here are some of the businesses that we work with: children’s dentists, kids’ clothing stores, arts and crafts stores, karate schools, kids’ hair salon, toy stores, jewelry stores, kids eating places, day care and nursery schools and family fun centers. As you can see, we have partnered with many. The key is you will need to be the driving force behind the plan. Check out this month’s action plan below to get things going. You can do everything from joint email blasts to newspaper inserts to saturation mailings. Because you are sharing the cost with your partner(s), you can afford to do more on the same budget you had when you were operating on your own.
This strategy has a reasonable cost, but will take manpower to get them out! You can create these very inexpensively. Again make sure there is an offer, call to action and a time period that they need to respond by. The tricky part is where to put them and how to distribute them. Your temporary workforce might include boy scouts whose troop you will give a donation to, a group of college students in the summer looking for work or a professional service you hire. This approach will take time and a precisely laid out street map to make sure you get them to the homes you are looking for. We have found that door hangers work, but it is a more labor-intensive marketing plan.
This is a great way to get exposure and we always have a wonderful response to inserts. I recommend you schedule them in August or September to get the best bang for the buck. The circulation size of the paper will dictate the cost, but in general this is not a cheap form of advertising. If you are offering a free day of dance on your insert, this is a great way to get the word out to fill the classes with new prospects. Call your local weekly paper for details on cost.
Online Search Engines.
We have increased this part of our marketing considerably over the years because we have found, through online tracking of responses, that this is the new way people are looking for services and businesses to patronize. Google is great, easy to use and you can adjust your budget from day to day! If you do not yet have one, set up a PPC (pay per click) campaign today at www.google.com. Be as specific as you can with your keywords. For example, if your studio is in Michigan, do not try to match the budget for reaching all of the state. Instead pick your town—let’s say you are in East Lansing, then one of the keyword phrases would be: dance lessons in East Lansing Michigan. I also recommend Bing and Super Pages.com. All of the companies above have PPC, which I think is the best. You can turn it on and off whenever you like and adjust this ad budget to fit your cash flow.
Action Plan For February 2011
Go out and find at least three businesses that you can do some joint marketing with. Create a plan so that each business will benefit. I suggest starting off with one e-mail blast to each company’s list of clients with an exclusive offer from each business. Make a downloadable form that can be used by each business and printed by the recipients. This can be a discount, special item or service or freebie! Next, plan to create a flyer on which each business will have a quarter of a page to advertise on; all four businesses will place the flyers at their operations and find other places to distribute them. This way, each business shares responsibility for getting the flyers out into the community.
There is inspiration everywhere if you are looking for opportunity!
Part III: Next month we will look at how to find the right people for your team and how to keep them motivated.