Is your driving school image accurately recreated in your advertising and marketing campaigns?
For many businesses, advertising is done on an ad hoc basis, with no real direction. In other words they wait of rthe work to dry up before they do anything about it. (Been there done that) The end result can be that the advertising does not carry the business image through. This means it is harder for potential pupils and parents to form an association between your advertising and your business.
What can you do today?
Have a good long hard look at your existing driving school image, specifically your logo, your sign writing and your promotional material. Compare it to your competitors—and be brutally honest. Ask your business associates, friends and pupils if they think it needs to be updated and ask them for an honest and candid opinion. It might be fine, but it might be time to set the wheels in motion to start developing your new corporate image. If you do need some changes made, contact a graphic designers and make appointments see them and show you what they can do. You can also try websites like www.fiverr.com, where students or freelancers, can do something for you for on $5. There’s some great stuff on there, and what might take them a day or two to do for $5, may take weeks for someone else to do for £100’s.
Just like all aspects of business images, your advertising should be consistent and carry the ‘look and feel’ of your driving school. Over time this helps to build the effectiveness of your advertising—people see your advertisements and recognize straight away that they relate to your driving school.Look at the advertising done by large corporations. You will clearly see that their advertising follows a distinct format designed to be easily recognisable as belonging to them. It is important to overcome the urge to change your advertisements a lot simply for the sake of it. Consumers are bombarded with thousands of advertising messages every day and for advertising to really work it needs time to sink in. ( The big businesses also have £’000’s to spend on it and you don’t) If you send a constantly changing message or a confusing message, where the consumer has to try and figure out who the advertisement belongs to, they will simply switch off.
Spend a few minutes looking through your local newspaper and see which advertisements you can identify with a specific company within the first second of looking at it. Look on Facebook and other social networking sites. Look at their business pages, What are they saying? How are they engaging?
This is the image we all need to portray. Assess what makes the advertisement so easily recognisable. The colours used, the size of the logo, the type of font used, the pictures used or even the location of the advertisement itself.
If you are not sure how to carry your corporate image through your advertising enlist the services of a good graphic designer. Explain to them exactly what it is you are trying to achieve and they will do the rest.
Marketing 101 for Driving Schools
Getting your driving school advertising budget right will forever be a work in progress; however, if you stick to these principles, you are likely to turn a profit on your advertising and not overspend. As many driving school owners know, one tricky part of the business is pure cash management, because you are paid for services in advance of providing them. That means your bank account can sometimes look much bigger than it is. Getting control of your advertising budget will help you create predictable revenue for your business.
So let’s get to it!
1. Focus on Return-On-Investment (ROI).
When it comes to advertising the single, most important goal is to find a return-on-investment in your advertising. Return-On-Investment is a straightforward business concept: You want to profit from your investment. If you don’t your ROI is bad. If you do, it is good and could maybe be better.
2. Find Your Magic Number.
Spending more or less money is simply a measure of determining how much business you want or don’t want once you find your “magic number”. Sure, it gets a bit more complicated than that, but fundamentally, you want to know that if you spend $1 on advertising, you are earning more than $1 back. That also means before determining your budget, you should always ask your advertising provider how they will demonstrate to you that you are earning money from your investment.
You may try out Internet marketing or school uniform sponsorships and learn that for every $100 you spend, you are making $300 in new student bookings. From there you may do additional work to optimize your advertising so that maybe you can spend $75 to get the same result. The most important part is that you’ve found that, more often than not, if you spend $100 a certain way, you will make a profit for your business.
3. Determine Your Marketing Mix.
Another rule of thumb is that you want to try different forms of advertising. We call this your “marketing mix”, which refers to the mixture of different approaches you take to your advertising. By testing different approaches, you will find what works and refine your budget. Over time, you will get better at advertising and make more money.
Generally, it is significantly easier to measure the effectiveness of Internet advertising than traditional advertising, because you can track all of the activities a new driving school student takes. This includes whether they visited your website, contacted you by email, or even picked up the phone to call you. By tracking this information you can learn exactly how much money you are making (or losing) from your advertising!
Now let’s look at an example – in one year, here is one way you might break down your budget:
James plans to split his advertising budget between ONLINE advertising and OFFLINE advertising. That means 50% will be spent in one area and 50% will be spent in the other.
- 35% of my budget will be spent on my website and and showing up on Google.
- 15% of my budget will be spent on Facebook ads.
- Offline advertising:
- 20% of my budget will be spent on coupons run in local flyers.
- 15% of my budget will be spent on local, branded sponsorships (i.e. kids’ sports team snacks and uniforms)
- 15% of my budget will be spent on branded signs for my cars.
Altogether, that totals 100% of my budget.
In this example, James has determined his marketing mix and has a goal for how to spend his budget.
4. Commit Revenue To Your Budget.
Finally, once you have these other principles in mind, the last and equally important one is to make sure you are spending on advertising. Of course this may sound obvious, but it’s really not. When it’s the middle of winter, and you’re sure that business is going to be slow, should you turn off all advertising? Of course not! You spent all that time figuring out what advertising works for you, and you need to stick to it. You might decrease your budget slightly, but you shouldn’t stop advertising altogether.
If you do not advertise in the winter, then your spring revenue will be smaller! This is why it is important to commit revenue to advertising. If you do not, you could be sacrificing significant future profits.
5. Experiment With Your Budget.
Experimenting with your budget is the only way you can learn exactly how much money to dedicated to advertising. Driving schools of different ages, locations, and sizes will have different marketing budgets. If you are in a city with a ton of competition from other driving schools, your advertising budget may very well be bigger and more complicated than another well-established driving school that serves a single suburban community.
For this reason, you need to experiment with your budget to see how different forms of advertising perform.
Whether you want to spend $100 or $1000 dollars per month on your driving school advertising, as long as you stick to the rules described above, you should turn a profit. And, yes, we love adding more safe drivers to the road, but really – your driving school business is just that – a business! So let’s make money!