The amount of driving instructors is on the increase, unfortunately the amount of young drivers taking driving lessons and the driving test is decreasing according the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).
The main reason for this is that young drivers cannot afford to insure their car even after they have endured the costs of driving lessons and both the theory and practical driving test costs.
It makes sense for teenagers to wait until they’re older to begin learning to drive and spend the money on other things such as college or university fees. This does however leave driving instructors with a predicament – how to get work.
When designing an advert campaign of any kind, you need a unique selling point (USP), else you’re going to simply be part of the crowd and not stand out at all. As with all businesses, there is competition, so standing out with a good USP can gain results.
Even if it means giving away a free driving lesson, the money saved on advertising with the use of a USP could indirectly pay for the free lesson that you’re offering. Many driving schools and instructors use ‘high pass rates’ or ‘grade 6 instructor’ as their USP.
This is all good and worth putting in the ad, but most people view this as information only and not enough to result in a call or email.
I want free driving lessons and free tests
May as well throw in a free car when they’ve passed the test, and don’t forget the insurance. People are under the impression that driving instructors do this for love and do not require the necessity to earn a living. It’s understandable as a great deal of advertising on many products gives something away for free, so that’s what people have come to expect.
Your USP will ultimately will be offering something for free, but the key is to make it work in your favour long-term. So as an example, offer two free 1 hour driving lessons. The first hour at the start and the second free hour at the end when the test is taken. A great USP that that gives the customer free lessons but encourages them to stay with you for the entire course.
Another USP could be ‘we’re so confident you’ll pass first time, we will give you a free test if you fail’. Sounds good to the customer, it instils confidence in them that you are good and if they do fail, then at least the USP got them to stay the entire course with you.
Not forgetting that a good USP can save on advertising costs because if you’re getting the phone calls and emails, then advertising can be reduced. Don’t forget to also provide information that may benefit you such as high pass rates, weekend and evening lessons, punctual and friendly etc.
Avoid going down the excessively cheap priced driving lesson route as this ultimately drives down the costs for all instructors who need to compete and usually results in only one outcome – going out of business.
Methods to advertise a driving school
There are of course many ways in which to advertise a driving school and each call from an advertising sales representative will assure you that theirs is the best. Finding the best advertising takes time as it can be relative to your area and the amount of competition you have. Let’s take a look at some advertising possibilities for a driving school, some that work generally successfully and others that are a little inconsistent.
- Driving school website
Owning a website for any business these days is crucial. The website itself may or may not generate work, but it provides an informational source that potential clients can be taken to from an advert. People often prefer to find out more about a product or service before committing to a purchase, especially if it is parents investing in their teenagers future. See driving school website for advice on choosing a website for your driving school and what to avoid.
- Google AdWords
Google AdWords can be highly effective. How much you spend depends on the amount of competition in your area that is also using AdWords, plus where you want your ad to be ranked.
You pay each time a person clicks on your ad. The amount you are prepared to pay for a click determines your position on a page. Being at a high position on page one of the search results will gain greater clicks and potentially more clients, but will cost you more. You will see little benefit if you are unwilling to pay much and your ad ends up on page two or even further back. Fully understanding Google AdWords takes time and practice, but when mastered can be a fundamental tool in keeping your business running. You don’t need to be in number one position on the first page, but being on the first page, ideally in the top three is beneficial, especially with a great USP. Avoid companies that claim they work with Google and will set up an AdWords campaign for you. This is rubbish and they will simply take a percentage of your advertising budget for something you can do yourself. Google themselves have teams of AdWords professionals that will tweak your ad to make it perform at its best, and they do this for free.
- Directory advertising
Advertising in directories can be inconsistent. If you intend on advertising in a directory, choose one that is relative to your field and has high traffic / visitors. Google and other well-known search engines are usually peoples first search tool for a service. Search engines are in themselves a massive general directory, so why invest your budget on a service that isn’t the peoples first choice. The well-known paper directories and their online versions can be hugely expensive to place an ‘effective’ advert and the percentage of conversions to real sales of often low. These general directories are better suited to household services such as plumbing. A directory that has a targeted audience, visitors that are specific to the directories subject should gain better results although real-time sales are likely to be relatively low so a small fee should be considered.
- Social media
We all know the well-known social media sites that has huge traffic. These websites offer advertising which may seem ideal, but is the target audience the teenager taking driving lessons or the parent paying for them? A social media advertising campaign is best designed to run alongside your business and existing website. Your own social media driving school page with frequent updates is free and may push potential clients to you or your website.
These days here are a multitude of coupon websites. Using coupon sites can be hugely beneficial although you must expect to give away two or three driving lessons. The cost of advertising is free as the coupon site gains financially from a small fee the customer pays for the lessons / coupon. High exposure coupon sites will likely gain you plenty of work although a potential risk it that people may take advantage of the free lessons given by yourself and not return for paid lessons.
- Colleges and universities
Approach local colleges and universities in your area and ask if they will allow you to provide their students with free driving lesson vouchers. Some may accept whilst others decline.
- Local newspapers
Advertising in a local newspaper depends on the circulation and if it is read by many. If there isn’t much competition already in the paper, the ad is bold enough to be seen, has a good USP and is cheap enough, it’s worth taking out an ad to see if it works.
- Leaflet delivery
Delivering leaflets for a local driving school is only really worth it if you can do it yourself. Paying a company to do the work can be expensive in terms of materials and delivery costs. If you have spare time on your hands and can print out your own leaflets, a little work can be gained. There is a lot of work involved for little return however as every 1000 houses posted, under a handful are likely to require driving lessons. With a great USP however, that handful may be your clients. Ask local shops if they can leave leaflets on their counter or in the window also.
advertise driving school Best Methods
Making an advert for your driving school takes a little trial and error to establish the best solution. The advertising methods shown on this page may benefit you but it is dependent on your location and your chosen methods may need to be a combination of various advertising strategies.
Free driving school advertising
Generally you get what you pay for in most things and this includes advertising. Free driving school advertising can be implemented successfully however with a website that has good search engine optimisation (SEO). Spending a little time researching good SEO techniques can save a fortune on advertising. Basic SEO is relatively easy and many tutorials can be found online.
Guides related to driving school advertising
- Driving school website – the best approach to making a website in today’s competitive environment