We are always striving to improve. It will take less than a minute to tell us what we are doing well and where we can improve. We welcome comments too.
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.
One spring day my son asked, “Can we please get a season pass to Elitch Gardens this summer? Pleeaase?” Elitch Gardens is one of several local amusement parks.
“Hmmm, maybe, probably not, I don’t know” I replied. My child was trying to influence my buying behavior. My influencer, A.K.A. my child, continued his lobbying until I said, “I will look into it.” I went to the website for more information.
My buying options included, a season pass (with or without a meal package), a day pass, or no pass.
What is a Buyer’s Journey?
According to hubspot.com the buyer’s journey consists of 3 phases.
- Awareness- The potential buyer notices a problem and looks for solutions.
- Consideration- The potential buyer considers various options.
- Decision-The potential buyer takes action on buying or not buying a product or service.
Content, like blogs and articles, help coax potential buyers from one stage of the buyer’s journey to the next. Influencers also greatly impact a buyer’s journey. Influencers can be children, friends, teachers, spouses, coaches, or anyone else that your buyers (parents of prospective enrollees) listens to and respects. Influencers are an important part to the buyer’s journey in the awareness phase. They alert the buyer of a “problem” and/or a solution. Influencers try to persuade the buyer to buy, or not to buy, but they lack the authority to make the final decision.
Our Awareness Phase
My son, The Influencer:
My son started thinking about summer break. His “problem” was the idea of nothing to do.
Me, The Buyer:
I am aware of the amusement park. Yet I was not considering buying a pass until my son asked me. My problem was how to keep the kids safe and happy while I was at work. The amusement park didn’t solve that problem. If I chose not to buy a pass, my problem would be hearing him complain.
How does this relate to the Awareness Phase for Influencers and Buyers of Mathnasium?
Parents don’t always know or admit that their children have a problem in math. Mathnasium owners and directors must figure out how to make parents aware of a math problem, such as a math gap. If they are going to enroll at your center, the parent must also know about your center. They may not know about your center, until they start searching for a solution to their child’s math problems.
The littlest influencers may make parents aware of a math problem by saying something like, “I hate math” but they are probably not begging their parents enroll them in Mathnasium over the summer. Unlike Elitch Garden’s, most kids don’t beg to spend their summer days doing extra math.
Adult influencers, such as parents of other kids, educators, coaches, music teachers, pediatricians, and other adults familiar with children’s development are more likely to bring your Mathnasium into the awareness of potential customers. When one of these influencers brings Mathnasium into a parent’s awareness, the suggestion comes with the benefit of their authority.
Just remember, the problems of the influencers and the buyers are not the same! Most adult influencers in a child’s life will want to see a child be successful … but the child’s success is not the only thing on the influencers’ minds. Teachers can’t usually recommend extra math instruction for legal reasons. Coaches and music teachers may rightly see Mathnasium as competition for the parents’ dollar and the child’s time. Pediatricians may not think to ask about how a child is doing in math class. For these reasons, parents of current and former students are your “A team” influencers. A strong referral program and lots of online reviews should definitely be part of your awareness marketing.
Parents may also come into the awareness phase by searching on the internet. You will want to have a strong online presence. That can be accomplished with digital marketing and social media. Awareness is not enough. Your content must lead the buyer into the next phase.
Our Consideration Phase
My son, The Influencer:
My son’s consideration phase for Elitch Garden’s was simple. He heard his friends say that it is fun. Since it is a local park he figured if we got a season pass he would probably get to go several times during the summer.
Me, the Buyer:
I wasn’t sure spending days at the amusement park was the best solution to our family’s “problem.” Going to an amusement park costs quite a few pennies and is a full day commitment. Our youngest can’t go on most of the rides that my other kids want to go on. I had many more questions. In the consideration phase of buying passes to the amusement park I first:
1) Read the height requirements for all the rides.
2) Searched for alternate solutions to summer boredom, including pool passes, museum passes and other amusement parks.
3) Asked friends about their experiences at the park.
4) Compared the price per person of other activities.
5) Asked my husband (or co-decision maker) if he approved the extra expenditure in our budget.
6) Talked with all my kids about criteria for summer family activities.
7) Read content and reviews about the park.
How does this relate to the Consideration Phase for Influencers and Buyers of Mathnasium?
Just as I didn’t know the difference between several local amusement parks, other parents don’t know the difference between the high school tutor down the block and a designated math center, until your website explains it… repeatedly.
When the influencers are children, their persuasion tactics will likely be simple but effective. I have witnessed kids successfully use pleading, tantrums, promises, questioning, whining, cajoling, nagging, tears and other tactics to influence the buyer, A.K.A. the parent, toward making a decision. Remember, children may use all these tactics to avoid going to Mathnasium. Your blogs and articles will need to help parents overcome their objections.
Adult influencers usually (but not always!) use more sophisticated tactics. Adult influencers will persuade the buyer using articles and research. The blogs and articles on your site will be helpful tools for the adult influencers.
Influencers are important, but Mathnasium blogs and articles should focus on buyers in the consideration phase. The blogs and articles must show parents that Mathnasium meets parents’ emotional and practical needs. Mathnasium is a big time and money commitment. I would likely spend at least a week in the consideration phase. During this phase I actively look for more information. This is where high quality blogs and articles on your microsite makes a huge difference.
Some centers hire professional copywriters to create content for the influencers and the buyer. Articles should use persuasion techniques known to copywriters, like myself.
Our Decision Phase
My son, The Influencer
His only role was to make sure I followed through with buying.
Me, the Buyer:
After all the consideration, I made a partial commitment. I bought a one day pass, but I didn’t buy the season pass. Buying the tickets was easy. First I looked for coupons. Buying tickets was simple.
I didn’t have to:
1) Call anyone
2) Go to a website
3) Give away personal information
4) Drive anywhere I wasn’t already going to go to.
5) Get a purchase order.
6) Sign a contract
7) Commit to any future actions or expenditures
How does this relate to the Consideration Phase for Influencers and Buyers of Mathnasium?
From Mathnasium’s perspective, a lost customer in the buying process is like throwing money into a fire. The more complex the buying process is, the more marketing and sales techniques is needed to close the deal. Enrolling in Mathnasium is not an impulse purchase. Enrolling in Mathnasium has a fairly complex buying process. Parents must get an assessment of their kids, fill out paperwork, and make a commitment to get their kids to the center.
Unlike my son who continued to ask about Elitches after I said “maybe,” few influencers will follow up with potential Mathnasium customers to see if they actually call your center. It will be up to the center director to not let parents fall through the cracks. At this stage of the buyer’s journey the center director becomes the “influencer.” Your website and e-mails will help the center director close the deal.
The blogs and articles on your website must always include a prompt, or a call to action, to get the parents to call, visit, and leave their contact information with the center director. Most blogs I see on Mathnasium websites lack a strong call to action.
Why Should Mathnasium Franchisees care about the buyer’s journey and influencers?
Think about the typical relationship between parents, the buyers, and kids for Mathnasium. Parents want what’s best for their children but they also like to see them smile and have fun. That’s why parents take their kids to places like Elitch Gardens. You need to convince parents that both having fun and helping children succeed are possible at your center. The events page on your microsite is a great place to show off how much fun you have at your center.
Children, or your buyers’ influencers, will gain math skills and confidence but lose free time if parents decide to enroll in Mathnasium. You will want content that helps overcome children’s objections. Since children are not going to read Mathnasium blogs and articles, you will direct the content at helping parents overcoming children’s objections.
You need quality content that speaks to the problems and offers solutions for the buyer and the influencer. Too many owners and directors neglect the buyers or the influencers. Others fail to put blogs and articles for all stages of the buyer’s journey. Their enrollment numbers often suffer from the oversight.
Parents in the Awareness Phase
It is hard for parents to recognize that their children need help in math. Your blogs and articles will have to show them how their attitude, complaining and other behaviors are because they need math help. Your customers may spend several days in the awareness phase,
Parents in the Consideration Phase
Expect your potential customers to spend at least a few hours in the consideration phase.
If you allocate marketing resources on things like Pay-Per-Click, networking, social media, and events for getting into the buyer’s awareness, but don’t have any quality content for them to refer to in the consideration and decision phase, you are throwing money down the drain. The blogs and articles on your website should show that Mathnasium is the best solution for solving the problems of the parents and their children. The common blogs known as “Word Problem Wednesdays” don’t do that.
You will want content that speaks to the child’s problem, such as feeling embarrassed, or bored, in math class. Although the child may not read the content, it gives parents talking points for getting the kids to cooperate with attending Mathnasium. Content aimed at the parent should talk about supplemental math education as a solution for the child getting into college, or improving family harmony by taking away homework struggles.
Your potential buyers will probably research various options, including other math centers and independent tutors. They will read content and consult influencers to help make a wise decision in solving their problem. If your content isn’t there, or the content is weak, or hard to read, the buyer will probably go to your competitor or not progress to the next step of the journey.
What is Your Next Step?
Step 1. Join the Mathnasium Owners and Directors Community today. It’s free! https://hdwrite.com/join-library-community/ You will get coupons for high quality blogs and articles and helpful marketing tips.
Step 2. Request your Google analytics from the corporate office. Are people coming to your website? Are they reading your articles? If not, read about the 4 most common mistakes Mathnasium owners are making.
Step 3. Contact me if you have questions
Take this quiz to check your understanding of the information you could get from the data.
The insights from your Google Analytics will tell you how you are doing with content marketing.
- How many people visit your website every month?
- What page do they enter your site on? Is it a blog post?
- Do they visit other pages to get more information?
- What pages interest them?
If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you should. The more people read your material the more they will see you as a math authority. More importantly, website visitors will see getting math help at your center as the logical solution for their children’s math needs.
It amazes me how many Mathnasium owners and directors do not look at their Google analytics. Many don’t even request their Google analytics from corporate. Get informed, know your numbers, and develop a strategy.
One of my favorite Mathnasium clients here in Colorado sends me her analytics. If you have your data, see how it compares. If you don’t have your data, request it now.
In March 1,237 unique visitors entered her Mathnasium microsite from a blog post on her news section. That accounted for 50.71% of all entrances onto the microsite. Blog posts accounted for 1,437 page views.
In April 349 visitors (51.09%) entered her site from a blog post. Blog posts accounted for 723 page views.
How are your blog posts performing? If you are not posting high quality blogs you could easily be missing 50% of your potential website traffic.
People who visit your website are building a relationship with your center. They may not enroll the same day they read a blog, but the more they read the more likely they will be to pick up the phone.
What story do your analytics tell? If you aren’t happy with the numbers consider investing in content marketing.