Every day new driving instructors and driving schools and coming into the market looking for ways to start a business or take advantage of specific niches that might exists in the areas that they operate. Combine that with the problem that less and less young drivers are taking driving lessons is a big reason why marketing and advertising your driving school should be a huge part of your business. Young drivers are waiting until they get older to get their drivers license and prefer instead to invest that money into books, college and university tuition. Couple this with the ever increasing good service provided by public transportation the need to take driving test classes goes down.
That's why you need to have a defined marketing strategy to take your business to the next level and start attracting more potential drivers interested into taking classes. In marketing there's something called a Unique Selling Proposition which basically indicates why should I do business with you. What's your unique advantage compared with other driving schools you have for me choosing to go with you instead of another. And this can be anything, for example it can be that your team can speak spanish, or that students in your school have the hightest passing rates. After you have your USP defined then you should put it into ads and promote it everywhere.
How to advertise a driving school
There are multiple ways to adverse a driving school business and each require a different level of work effort and specific skills. It'll also take time to evaluate which one works best but even if you're just doing one at least some effort is going into the cause. Below you can find some ideas you can use to adversite your business.
Driving school website
Having a website is essential on these days and age and specially more important if you're targetting young drivers. Your website should be the gate to your business and the best place to find more information about your company and more about that unique selling proposition we just talked about earlier. You'll also use your website when you promote it on online campaigns and ads (we'll talk more about online ads below). Keep in mind the number one goal of your website is to keep users interested in your product and then trying to convince them why the should do business with you.
Google adwords and online ads
Google adwords campaigns are a very and effective way to drive traffic to your website. The basically are sponsered search results shown on a Google search and they usually show up at the top of the page or on the right side. When users search for information on Google usually the results on the first are the ones that get most of the clicks. The purpose of Adwords is to get your result at the top of the list by paying Google a fee. The good thing is that you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. It doesn't matter how many times it showed up.
The amount of money to be spend really depends on how many others are bidding for the same search keywords that you're. You need to prepare a budget and check how much are you willing to pay for each click. Keep in mind that the higher your ad show up in the search result page the higher the number people that will click on it. What you don't want is for you ad to end up in the second or third page as the amount of clicks is pretty low.
Another thing to keep in mind is that understanding how the whole Adwords thing work can be time consuming. You need to know about keyword research and picking the right ones for your business, local search results for people looking for driving schools in specific areas and learn a little about conversions. Conversions will allow you know if your ads are working, how many people are coming to your site from those ads and how many of them are contacting you and finally becoming customers. This will help you calculate the return on investment of this kind of promotion. But once you learn how it works it can be a really powerful tool to grow your business.
There are a lot of companies out there that will help you setup all these for you but in my opinion and recommendation try to stay away from them. They're very expensive and their effectiveness is questionable. The best person to do this is yourself as you can tweak and changes your ads, the texting and bidding and learn how to mater everything for free. There are a lot of information out there on how to do it.
When we talk about social media we're talking about Facebook, Twiitter, Google+ and Pinterest. These sites have a huge amount of traffic that can be sent to your website to increase traffic. The first thing you should do before advertising in social media sites is to find out if your target market is in there for example: young drivers, young drivers parents, spanish speaking drivers, etc. After that, then find a way to reach them on these sites.
There are also a number of ways to start using social media without having to pay for ads. You can create a Facebook page or a Twitter handle for your business without having to pay for anything. After creating the page and handle, start creating content for your target audience and get them to click on links that go to your website.
There are a lot of coupon sites that allow to reach a broad audience in a short time frame and essentially for free. These coupon sites send your offer to their broad audience and because they keep a percentage of the fee the end customer pays the promotion is virtually free for you. Keep in mind you'll need to provice some kind of incentive like for example two or three free lessons. Also you need to take into account some users will only come for the free lessons and never comeback.
Colleges and universities
This is where you'll basically find young drivers ready to take lessons for getting their drivers license. Approach these schools and ask if you can provide special offers and discounts to their students so you promote your business. Be prepare to give business cards or brochures for this kind of events.
Before adversiting in the local newspaper verify what's the circulation and how many people in your market recieve the paper. Sometimes there's also a lot competition and prices can be expensive. Also look for a package that includes ads on their website because that will give you more exposure.
Try to save some money here by priting the brochures yourself or doing something simpler on paper as this can be pretty expensive. It would be great if you can deliver the brochure from house to house also yourself but if you can find someone to do it cheaper that also can work. The issue with this promotion method is that the conversion rate is pretty low. If you deliver the brochure to 100 houses there's a high chance that none of them require driving lessons.