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Offering a Groupon for your Mathnasium center could be a great way to promote and market your center … or it could cost you time, money and grief.
If you are considering Groupon as a marketing expense, and not as a money generating sales vehicle, you are off to the right start. Groupon buyers are looking for a deal. Many businesses offer deals of 50%, or more, off their regular prices. But Groupon takes 50% of every sale. So if you offer a 50% discount, you only make 25% of the typical revenue off of every sale. If 25% doesn’t cover your operational costs, you will lose money for every Groupon that gets sold. Most Mathnasium centers do not have a 75% margin.
But you get great exposure. So is it worth it? Maybe …
Some Groupon buyers will love what you have to offer and stay as repeat customers, give you great reviews, and tell their friends about how great you are. This is the best outcome because you quickly converted someone from the pre-awareness stage to the loyal customer stage.
Six years ago I bought two Groupons for gymnastics lessons at a local club. My kids had been wanting to try gymnastics. We have plenty of local gymnastics clubs in our area, but we chose this club because it was close and offered the Groupon. We have now spent thousands of dollars at this club. They definitely made their money back off of us.
But not every Groupon I bought has yielded positive results for the business. I suspect that many of the retailers did not make their money back. We redeemed our discount but didn’t return to become full price paying patrons.
Why didn’t we return?
Reasons for not returning fell into these basic categories.
- I would never pay full price for the activity/service.
- It was such a great deal I was willing to drive across town for it. But it is too far away for repeat business.
- The experience wasn’t good enough to warrant repeat visits at full price.
If I didn’t return because of price or geography I was not the target market for that business. There is a reason you see advertisements for McDonald’s near the freeway, but not in Vogue or GQ magazines. You want to spread awareness to the right demographic group. Depending on how they structured their discount and the operating costs of those businesses, it is likely that my limited interaction actually cost those businesses money.
Do you want droves of kids coming to your center at a discount price if they can’t or won’t continue at your center? If you aren’t breaking even operationally and you spread awareness to the wrong group of people, what have you accomplished? A lot of headaches and potentially worse.
If you cut operational costs to make the Groupon worthwhile, you are in danger of not providing a fabulous service. This is the most dangerous situation for your center. Companies that lost my future business because I had a mediocre experience had the worst outcome. I warned my friends to steer clear of that establishment. Remember, even Groupon purchasers can leave negative reviews.
How to Overcome these Pitfalls
- Structure the discount so that you are attracting your target audience. If the discount is too deep you will likely attract people who aren’t willing, or able, to become repeat customers. You may also attract people who are willing to drive 45 minutes to your center to save a few dollars. When the discount ends they will find a solution that is closer.
- Limit how many Groupons you sell. If you don’t have the staff or the space for an influx of 150 new students in the next 3 months, don’t sell 150 Groupons. It will stress out you and your staff. Plus, you run the risk of lowering your standards.
- Give your Groupon customers the same level of service you give other customers. Turn them into people who will rave about your Mathnasium center.
Another Groupon Dilemma
Let’s say you have decided to try marketing with Groupon. How often should you offer a Groupon?
If you manage to get a great return on investment you might be tempted to run Groupon promotions frequently. Be careful with that too. If Groupons are always available to your center, you run the risk of devaluing your service.
You also want to make sure that you specify “for new customers only.” We buy Groupons from a few establishments on a regular basis. They run Groupon promotions so often we don’t ever pay full price. I just hope the business is making some money off of my purchase.
You may want to consider offering a Groupon for a season or time that is slow. There is a stable near us that offers a Groupon for horseback riding lessons before 3pm. Most schools don’t get out until 3 pm, so the stable is trying to attract homeschooling children.
A Final Thought
Before you use Groupon as a marketing tool, make sure your website is up to snuff. You will want some great content for visitors to poke around on to help them make a decision. Don’t have time to write content? You can always use the content of Cuttlefish Copywriting at hdwrite.com.
Have you already tried Groupon? Did it work for you? Leave a comment and share your experiences.
Centers with high enrollment numbers use three critical marketing strategies.
- Marketing for customer acquisition
- Marketing for customer retention
- Leveraging the power of “word-of-mouth”
Customer acquisition marketing attracts new students. Customer retention marketing encourages current students to enroll for another session. Word-of-mouth marketing increases the reach and influence of your satisfied customers. The most successful centers use all three marketing strategies. Each strategy is comprised of various critical elements.
Marketing Strategies for Customer Acquisition
Potential customers typically go through 3 phases before enrolling at your center.
- Gaining awareness of your center.
- Understanding how and why your Mathnasium center will help solve their child’s math problems.
- Deciding that the time and money they spend at your center is worthwhile.
Your customer acquisition strategy should guide potential customers from one phase to another. An effective customer acquisition strategy often includes several of the following elements:
- Spreading awareness using ads. Ads include everything from radio spots, social media posts and ads, Google AdWords, and magazine ads. Most ads don’t explain how your Mathnasium center is different from other tutoring options. Ads that link to, or include, content (articles, videos, webinars, testimonials) have the ability to guide a potential customers from phase one to phase two more quickly than ads without content. That’s one reason so many directors use content marketing as part of their social media campaigns.
- Building the community’s awareness and trust through networking and special events. Face-to-face marketing strategies can be highly effective, but they have significant costs. If you are investing in face-to-face marketing expect the people you meet to visit your website. A website with robust content gives the people you meet the opportunity to go from phase 1 to phase 3 rapidly.
- Informing the community using content marketing. Content marketing, like the articles from Cuttlefish Copywriting, works best in conjunction with other marketing strategies. Our articles are designed to both attract new students and keep current students longer.
- Engaging website visitors with chat boxes, dialog boxes, and “buttons”. Dialog and chat boxes allow website visitors to ask questions before they call, email, or visit you. The buttons allow website visitors to pre-qualify themselves as potential customers.
Marketing Strategies for Customer Retention
Retaining customers is easier than customer acquisition. Retaining customers is all about consistently showing your value. Parents of current enrollees only need updates and reminders about how and why your Mathnasium center will continue to help improve the math skills, confidence, and enthusiasm of their children.
An effective customer retention strategy often includes several, or all, of the following elements:
- Hiring and training staff to ensure that children are learning and following the Mathnasium curriculum. Even one impatient staff member can significantly reduce enrollment. Some owners and directors are using the blogs from hdwrite.com to assist with staff training.
- Maintaining a pleasant physical and emotional environment to assure parents they can trust you with their children.
- Providing incentives for students to attend regularly and work hard.
- Sponsoring events, like game nights and contests, for fun. Kids (also known as influencers) appreciate the fun as much, if not more, than the math.
- Communicating frequently with parents reminds parents how their lives, and their children’s lives, improve when they bring their children to Mathnasium. Articles, newsletters, and social media are great communication tools.
In short, customer retention marketing strategies show parents of enrolled students that your math center continues to enrich their child’s life and is worth every penny and minute.
Successful centers harness the power of “word-of-mouth” marketing strategies. Parents and kids who love your center want opportunities to tell all their friends about you. As your biggest fans, they become influencers to new potential clients.
An effective word-of-mouth strategy often includes several, or all, of the following elements:
- Posting excellent reviews on social media.
- Providing incentives for referrals.
- Holding special events where friends and siblings are encouraged to attend.
- Asking current and past customers to forward your emails, engage with your social media posts, share your articles on their social media, and talk to their schools and PTAs about your center.
- Asking for positive reviews on Yelp, Google My Business, Facebook, and other platforms.
- Encouraging current enrollees to invite friends to special events.
Content marketing (including articles from Cuttlefish Copywriting) are only one element to a comprehensive marketing plan. But with all those elements you are working on we can at least make the content marketing easier. The articles are helpful with all three marketing strategies.
We would like to hear from you. What marketing elements are you already using? Are you marketing in way not mentioned in this article? How do you want to improve your marketing? Leave a comment or connect on social media.
Let us know what message you want to tell your community about Mathnasium. Take 1 minute to vote on what blog topic would help your center thrive.
Mathnasium Owners and Directors Posting Content Should be Easy!
Follow these 5 easy blog posting tips.
- Make sure every blog has a call-to-action and correct center details.
- Add pictures, also called “media.” You can use pictures you take yourself, get them from the Mathnasium Corporate, or download them from sites like pixabay.com. Be careful about usage rights.
- Add hyperlinks to your blogs. Some Mathnasium owners find keeping a spreadsheet of the URLs from previous blogs makes finding the correct URLs easier. Our articles include hyperlink suggestions.
- To save time, upload several blogs to your microsite at time. Then just schedule them to be published when you want.
- After the blog is published copy the url and paste the url on your favorite social media sites. Then add a short description.
If you don’t know how to do any of these things join the MODC and submit your question on the forums.
Happy Content Marketing!!!
Have you seen my posts about Mathnasium content marketing on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ or Pinterest? Maybe you’ve wondered why I care so much about Mathnasium. Let me explain. Although I write marketing materials now, I was a teacher for years. It became obvious that we need to improve math education. Mathnasium centers provide great supplemental math instruction. I want to see more kids benefit from Mathnasium services! I feel I am doing something positive for the community by helping Mathnasium centers thrive.
How Was Hdwrite.com Born?
I started writing custom blogs and articles for Mathnasium of Littleton and Mathnasium of Parker. Word of my work for these centers grew. There was enough demand for my services that I decided to create an offshoot of my writing business just for Mathnasium centers. That’s how Cuttlefish Copywriting-For Mathnasium Centers came to be.
What Problem do Mathnasium Owners and Directors Have with Content Marketing?
The problem for many owners and directors is that they don’t have time to investigate how to use blogs and articles to help increase enrollment. Many owners approach content marketing haphazardly with banal blog posts like “Word Problem Wednesdays.” If that’s all they post and then look at their Google Analytics they will end up thinking that content marketing just doesn’t work. What a shame! Many owners aren’t getting their Google Analytics results.
I understand their struggles. Owners and directors need to focus on the daily operations of their centers. They don’t have the time to research and write their own quality articles. What’s the best answer? A few Mathnasium owners contracted with me for custom articles. That’s the ideal solution, but many owners and directors aren’t willing to make that level of investment. Some Mathnasium owners and directors search for cheap content writers on discount sites. They discover that finding a reliable writer who understands math education and the Mathnasium model is near impossible. Other owners just post links to other websites. That’s no good either. Potential customers should be on your center’s website. The blogs and articles on your microsite should valuable to your reader AND increase engagement of your microsite. I even saw one Mathnasium blog that linked to a competitor’s website. Yikes!!
Finally, I came up with a solution that Mathnasium owners love!
How Can You Use the Blogs and Articles?
Use the articles on your microsite in the “news” section. The blogs and articles build your authority as a local math expert, increase awareness of how Mathnasium is special, and start conversations with the parents of kids who could use your help. Owners and directors find that the articles help with social media engagement too! Put links on your favorite social media platforms to drive parents to your website. You might even want to send include links to them on your newsletters. If you want timely blogs and articles like “back-to-school“, “summer enrollment” and more, you will want to get notified when we release them.
How to Get Notified:
You can connect with me on social media or join the Mathnasium Owners and Directors Community. I recommend you do both. Connecting with me on social media means you get little gems of marketing information that I never turn into a blog post. The Mathnasium Owners and Directors Community gives you access to resources like free blogs, coupons, and content marketing tips. I benefit from the connection because I will learn more about you and offer the products you need. I really listen.
Return On Investment
If a themed bundle of articles only inspire one current student to parent to enroll, or stay enrolled, the articles have paid for themselves! You can always Preview the articles first. We make it obvious how to edit the post to fit your center. Still have questions? Read the FAQs
Please contact us with any questions. We are here to help!
Please connect with me on social media!