In the twenty-first century digital age, marketing a brick-and-mortar service might seem difficult. After all, many people block online advertisements, tune out emails from businesses or worse mark as spam, and need to be highly incentivized to buy something that requires additional commitment on their part (like showing up to swim lessons). When you think about how to reach more parents with information about your swim school, it’s easy to feel yourself getting lost in the swirl of online marketing terminologies and practices. You might look around and see your competitors successfully handling certain marketing approaches, and wonder how you’re supposed to know how you match up.
Maybe you’re making a profit, but seeing a plateau. You might have a decently sized roster of students, but are struggling to bring in anyone new. Your business may not be outright failing, but if it’s not steadily growing, then you might need a reboot on your marketing strategy. There are grassroots efforts like asking current customers to pass out flyers to their friends, but is this even effective in today’s digital age? When you reach the point in which you want more for your marketing (and ultimately more students and ROI), it’s time to consider how you’re handling yourself digitally. Here are a few areas to evaluate.
Get Socially Active
You’re probably not surprised to see social media as the first item on the list. But before you discount it (or become annoyed by its prevalence), think about how you’re currently benefiting from social practices. Do you have social media accounts for your swim school? If not, it’s very likely that your business is falling behind. Case in point: Did you know that 79% of Americans who use the Internet are on Facebook? And your competitors probably are, too.
If you want to yield the best results from an active social media strategy, start small. Begin with one platform (like Instagram or Facebook), and commit to posting content frequently (at least once a week and then increase this to once per day). If you’re unclear about what types of content resonate with your audience, take a peek at your competitors’ social channels. You don’t want to mirror their content exactly, but seeing how they offer promotions, showcase students, and offer information and resources to their followers could inspire you to create some compelling content of your own.
Once you’ve mastered the free side of social media, you may want to look into social advertising. Many businesses are using Facebook and Instagram ads to reach targeted audiences and convert more customers, and you could too.
Tap Into Google
Another way to use the endless data online to make savvy digital choices for your swim school is by checking out Google Trends. Use this tool to compare searches for your school versus competitors’ schools, and visually (and quickly) see if you’re behind (hint: you want to be the top line on the graph). You can also set Google Alerts to show you when competitors make new pages or when your swim school is mentioned on other pages. Keep a record of how often you’re mentioned. These two tools can really help you get an idea of where your swim school is in comparison to your competitors.
Where Do You Rank?
Finally, have you delved into your reviews and rankings on websites like Yelp and Angie’s List? These two services in particular can help you gauge your place in the market. Make it a weekly habit to look at your business’ pages on these sites, and review what customers are saying. Then you can make timely decisions about how you can fix the issues (and potentially save some customers in the process).
Also, poke around these sites to see what customers like and dislike about your competitors. This could also give you useful information about how you can excel above the rest. For instance, if you see complaints about your competitors not communicating enough with swimmers’ parents, you can add a blurb to your website about how your swim school emphasizes communication with parents about their child’s progress. Or if people are raving about a new advanced level class, see if you have enough high-level students to start one of your own.
This is just the beginning of realizing your place in the market and moving up to the top, but these digital avenues are some great places to start. If you would like any help with how to set up geo-targeting that will best impact your business, or would like help with an overall Facebook strategy, please contact us! We’re here to help you market optimally on digital platforms, so you can grow and develop your swim school to unimaginable new heights.