Marketing Fundamentals: How to Market to the Right People Every Single Time

Today we’re finishing up the private school marketing fundamentals series that I’ve been doing for the last 3 posts with today’s being all about how to make your marketing extremely effective by only marketing to the right people.

This concept is the most important one if you are currently running paid advertising to get or retain students. 

One of my early clients, when I started my freelance marketing career, was a newspaper company that owned and operated newspapers in tons of different towns in middle America.

Part of their revenue came from what they called “extended reach” programs which were banner ads on 3rd party websites mainly for awareness. 

Their pricing packages were based on how many times their ad would be seen x number of views for x price. Basically, this company sold impressions and reach.

In other words, getting businesses in front of people, but that was the extent of it. 

There were no additional campaigns geared toward getting those people who showed that they were interested to become customers.

½ of the funnel was missing.

People came into the top of the funnel and just stayed there until the budget ran out.

Then, all the people who were in the top of the funnel just kind of faded away.

See, reach alone doesn’t do much for businesses. It just makes them feel good to see that a few hundred thousand people saw their ad.

The Exact Opposite of Sales and Marketing

This is the same trap that I see most schools falling into as well. Maybe it’s because 43% of schools don’t have any full-time marketing staff members and over 50% don’t have any part-time marketing people on staff.

I get it. It takes more work, more thought, and more resources to set things up the way I’m going to teach you… but by not doing so you’re pretty much just wasting your budget. 

Most marketers think that sales and marketing is a numbers game. Go up to bat as often as possible and eventually you’ll get a base hit or a home run.

I think the exact opposite is true. I think sales and marketing is about qualification more than frequency.

I believe it’s a much better use of your resources to only go up to bat when you know you can knock it out of the park, and to spend your time creating as many of those opportunities as possible. 

Here’s why. You pay every time someone sees your ad, unlike in baseball swings are not free. They cost you time and money. So, by marketing to everyone under the sun you’re wasting time on people that are not qualified to enroll in your school, and you are spending money for the opportunity to convince them. 

Your marketing will be much more effective and efficient if you qualified people first and only tried to convince the people who fit the bill. Not to mention, you’ll also be a lot happier in your job. 

Let’s illustrate this further with an example. Say you’re in a room full of parents at an event.

There are 10 people in the room that are a good fit for your school. If you spent your time talking to every parent, trying to convince them to enroll in your school you might never get the chance to speak with the 10 of them that are actually a good fit because you simply run out of time or steam. 

Instead, picture you had a sign that said “If you want your child to be a leader talk to me to find out how we develop leaders every single day”.

Those ten qualified parents come to you and you convince them to enroll in your school before the event is even over.

You spent less time and effort because qualified on the front.

Now to be fair, you might not convert all ten of them right then and there – but you know they’re interested so you continue to send them information that pushes them closer and closer to enrolling – that’s much more cost-effective than putting your ads in front of everyone to generate awareness.

Awareness doesn’t get people to convert in a major way.

There, I said it. Unless you’ve got a budget like coca cola, awareness campaigns need follow-up campaigns. 

Where Do Awareness Campaigns Fit in the Funnel?

Now, no I don’t hate awareness. It has its place in the funnel. It’s vital in fact. But I hate when all schools do is run awareness campaigns. 

Here’s what I think is the right way to set up your marketing campaigns. All of your awareness campaigns should have a signal that you can use to know who is interested… then you move those interested people into your remarketing audiences so you can continue to market to them until they either become disinterested or enroll in your school. 

In the old days of print media, this signal was a coupon or a letter. The ads would try to get you to complete the prefilled form and mail it in for a free sample or for more information. Imagine that. Actually writing, cutting out the form, putting it in an envelope, and walking it to the mail. 

Today with digital advertising what it is, we just need to get people to click a button on our social media post or ad and we’ve got all the signal we need. Even with print media, all we need to do is get the reader to scan a QR code. Theoretically, it should be much easier. 

So what are these signals? 

  • Website visits
  • Email opens, replies, or forwards
  • Social media likes, comments, follows, or shares.
  • Video plays
  • Subscriptions to your content – podcast, newsletter, Facebook group, etc.

Every one of these actions is a signal that the reader is interested in what you’re saying in some way, albeit some signals should be weighed differently than others

How it All Comes Together

Here’s how it all comes together.

You run awareness campaigns targeting people that you think would be most interested in enrolling in your school.

Those campaigns should contain ads that are either valuable, entertaining, or both.

The whole goal of those ads is to qualify the great big audience that you’re targeting.

You’re looking for the people in the crowd who might fit the bill.

They let you know that they’re interested by signaling in one of the ways we outlined above.

Then, you continue to market to ONLY those people with more valuable and helpful information mixed in with some proof and more “hard selling” types of ads.

That’s it. That’s the whole ball game. 

Let’s continue the conversation on LinkedIn. Until next time, I’ve been Nick and a I’ll see you next week! 

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