Returning to School for Lessons in Marketing – Part 2

(If you haven’t read Part 1 yet, please skip to the bottom of this post to read it first)
I hinted the other day that my local Primary School’s great success in using some really powerful marketing principles to connect, engage and “get to buy” – may have been more by accident than design.
Today I’m going to have to be even more up front.

The most up to date and cutting edge techniques they are using to communicate with their customers (ie parents) – is probably more about protecting the environment and going green than anything else.
Nevertheless, in looking for ways to save money and energy and become more efficient, they have turned to the tools that all the smart business owners are now using to effectively market their product or service.

And at the same time they have become even more efficient and effective in building their relationships and getting people to buy!
None of these tools are brand new, you’ve probably experienced them all personally – but are you using them consistently in your business?

They have had a website for quite a while and use it to both connect with potential new “customers” – and communicate with existing ones. It is used more for general background about the school, but there is also some information about recent activities and upcoming events.
Most importantly the website is not presented as an alternative to personal contact, but a purely a pre-cursor to it.

The school has always sent out printed newsletters 2 – 3 times a month. Now it gives the parents the choice whether they would like to receive them via e-mail.
Some people may choose the email because they want to help cut down on costs and also the environment – others so they can be sure they are actually getting the newsletter and it’s not left in their child’s drawer until the end of term!
(Yes, the latter was me. Sorry headmistress for not completing the survey sent out at the end of November!)

Text Messaging
This is the most recent addition to their communication arsenal.
They use this as a final reminder for upcoming events (usually a call to buy) and also when there is an unexpected change in events at the last minute.
It’s a very immediate medium which has a much better chance of being delivered and read. It takes a fraction of the time to send than a phone call and it is better received because it is less intrusive on people’s time.
As more people get used to receiving communication in this way – more people find they prefer it.

What’s Next?
I wonder how else they will be using the internet in the future, to make their communication more efficient and effective and to succeed in their ultimate objective of reducing their carbon footprint even further.
Completing school dinner menus online… teachers uploading homework assignments and records for parents to see… Facebook… Twitter… there own mobile phone app??? Who knows where it will end?

What can you learn from a village Primary School that you can do in your business right now – to connect and engage with your customers and get them to buy?
How can you encourage your potential or existing customers to share their details so you can keep in regular contact and occasionally tempt them to buy?
This is the secret of modern marketing. If you are not doing this, you are missing out on a huge amount of potential business.

I will leave you to ponder on that one, but will be back with some fantastic, easy to implement ideas for you in the New Year.

I wish you a very Merry Christmas to you and your family and I hope that 2011 will be an even more successful year for your business.


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