Parker Dickens

12-Month Roadmap To Digital Marketing Success

Director Of Accounts, Oozle Media

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Parker Dickens:

Chris, thank you so much. Love the bio. Super excited to be talking to everybody today. Chris, can you just confirm you can see my slides?


You’re good. We can see them.

Parker Dickens:

Wonderful. All right. Well, like everyone’s been saying, I’ve only got 20 minutes. In my practice runs, I’ve been running right up on that time. So we’ll dive really deep into this as quickly as possible. That said, it’s a lot of information that I want to share today. And I’m probably going to go pretty fast, a little bit faster than some of the other presentations we’ve seen so far.

Like everybody else, if you have any questions, I probably won’t have time to get to them right here. I’ll try and answer them in the chat later today. But my contact information will, of course, be available at the end of my presentation.

So this is for anybody that’s worked with an agency before, hired marketers before, or has never done digital marketing. In other words, it’s for everybody. So long as you’re looking to grow your business, grow your school, get more enrollments, understanding what the next 12 months could look like for you when it comes to digital marketing is really, really important.

I know a lot of people think, “Well, I don’t have enough of a budget to work with an agency. I don’t have enough budget for this, that, the other thing.” And it’s not always about budget. Sometimes it’s about time, but by and large, I like to tell people it’s really about time and money, emphasis on “and.”

There’s schools that don’t have enough money for a larger budget, but they can put in the time. There are schools that have plenty of time, but don’t necessarily have the budget. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your circumstance, the right equation is both, time and money. And we’ll talk a little bit about what that means and how that translates into a roadmap here in just a second.

When you’re starting out at the beginning of your marketing journey, marketing roadmap, you’re going to want to make sure that you understand the journey of your students.

You’ve probably seen a lot of funnels so far today. This isn’t the last one of my presentation. It’s certainly not the last one you’ll see today, but this shows everything from impressions, which could be anything from seeing a billboard, having students drive past your school or potential students drive past your school. It could be seeing an ad on the side of an article they’re reading. All sorts of different places.

The hope is that you start a relationship once they first come in contact with your brand. That they’ll click on it. Hopefully through a couple of clicks, a little bit of research, they’ll fill out the form. Give you information.

You can continue that journey or that relationship by reaching back out to that lead, get them contacted, get them in for a tour, financial aid, enrolled. And then I even put as a separate funnel line item, started. You got the enrollments. Then the day comes around, and I know sometimes those who we thought enrolled, don’t actually end up showing up. So that’s a whole separate category.

And there’s two numbers I want you to remember on here. On average, if you’re doing digital marketing, you’ll get in contact with 50 to 60% of everybody who fills out a form. So it’s okay if you’re not hearing back from everybody. Especially when you’re paying to get in front of people, lead quality can go down a little bit. Leads aren’t the only metric we got to worry about here.

And then the other one is 9 to 14%. Nine to 14% on average, that’s the national average, I’ll show you how we got there in just the second, Nine to 14% end up enrolling. And so when you’re setting up goals, I really want you to think backwards.

How many start dates do you want?

We have a lot of schools that they’ll sign up with us for marketing. And they say, I need 50 leads a month. I got to get to 50 leads a month, because that’s what it’s going to take to grow my school or whatever. And the real answer is, no, you don’t need 50 leads a month. You need 10 enrollments a month or 15 or whatever the number is for your school. You need a certain number of enrollments.

So start there, give me that goal and we can figure out what that lead number looks like.

When it comes to marketing, any number of metrics can become kind of a vanity metric, a metric that doesn’t matter. If you put too much emphasis on it, I guess, it becomes a vanity metric, is what I’m trying to say.

So let’s take a look at some more metrics here. The main point, I guess I was trying to make there with vanity metrics is that leads do not pay the bills. You’ve never gotten a paycheck from a lead, I would venture to guess, but you probably get your money or your revenue largely from enrollments. And so that’s why I put such a heavy emphasis on focusing on how many enrollments you’re getting versus how many leads you’re getting.

Figure Out Your Enrollment Rate

Before you start coming up with a target number of enrollments for your school, I really encourage you to understand where your enrollments are coming from and at what rate you’re currently enrolling them at.

Here’s some national averages. Screenshot this slide if you want to compare your school.

If you don’t know how to get to this, take the total number of leads, the total number of people filling out a form or calling up your school or walk-ins, whatever it is, segment them out by how they found out about you and divide that by that total number leads, take that number that enrolls, divide it times by a hundred, you get an enrollment rate percentage. And you can use that percentage to work backwards like I just said back here and come up with a good budget to start with.

So let’s just get hypothetical here for a second. Let’s pretend whether you’re a barber school or have a barbering program or cosmo or esthi or massage program, plug in whatever your circumstance is here, but let’s pretend this is for one program. I’m going to say cosmetology.

Right now, my beauty school gets hypothetically six enrollments every single month. We average around 55 leads, which gives us an enrollment rate of about 11%. Eleven percent of my leads are enrolling right now. Great.

I, as a business owner, as a beauty school owner, want to increase the number of enrollments that we’re getting to 10. That’s a 66% increase. As a percentage, that’s a pretty big jump, and it’s not going to happen overnight. That’s that time aspect. But to get there, that 66% increase, if we could keep that 11% enrollment rate, we would need 36 more leads every month to kind of sustain that, to get us to 10 cosmo students.

Now let’s just use a hypothetical average cost per lead. You can get your cost per lead by taking your total marketing spent, dividing it by your leads, and get an average there. I just made this number up. It’s pretty close to an average cosmetology lead, depending on if you’re metropolitan in a large area or a small area, but you take that $95, you times it by that required lead increase, then you get a monthly budget of $3,420.

And depending on your school size, that might seem like a lot, or it might not seem like hardly anything, right? It really varies whether you’re in a small market or a big market, but this is a good starting point. Okay. $3,420. I can work with that. If I invest that kind of money, I start investing with time, I can probably expect us to start getting to 10 enrollments pretty consistently.

This is the concept that I want to make sure is understood.

So if that sounds like a big number to you, investing $3,500 a month into marketing, we have kind of a little philosophy, or it’s not perfectly displayed here, but your last enrollment is generally your most profitable.

As a beauty school owner, you have a couple of costs you’ve got to pay, regardless of how many students you have in a class. You’re still going to be paying the instructor. You’re still going to be paying to keep the lights on, the building, payroll, the front desk, your own paycheck, all that.

So, it takes maybe those first couple of students here in the red, or to keep it thematically on topic, here in purple. It takes those first couple of students to really get to a point where you’re starting to break even, or maybe you’re starting to scrape a little bit of profit off the top of each additional student.

At a certain point, you’ve covered those costs. You’ve covered most of the costs of future kits or anything like that. And your last enrollment becomes really, really profitable. So it’s okay that your first couple enrollments that just happen naturally, maybe these are your walk-ins that are really cheap costs per enrollment. It’s okay if these last couple costs you even $3,500 per enrollment, because on a $12,000, $15,000, $20,000 tuition for each one of these extra ones you’re getting, you can pay $3,000 per enrollment.

So really if you get into the finances of your marketing, of the tuition, how much is going to your bottom line, looking at it with your P&L, you should be able to find ways to reinvest into your marketing and eventually grow that. And I’ll show you what that kind of looks like here.

Real Beauty School Example

So here’s an actual school. These are real numbers from a real school that we work with. This is just one of their campuses and they spend, you can see down here through this funnel about $28,000 per month. And yes, they’re in a very populated area, very densely populated, very competitive area. And they’re able to spend, even on Hulu, display ads, SnapChat here at the top of the funnel. They’re able to get in front of 800,000 people or be seen 800,000 times for around $2,000 and get a couple of conversions out of that.

They also spend on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram in the middle of the funnel, kind of answering the questions, retargeting people who are interacting with them here. And they get a lot of really well-priced conversions here. A lot of leads, people contacting the school. They’re seen another 400,000 times and they do really well. Now this number, it seems awesome. And they seem like really cheap leads, but this actually isn’t where a lot of enrollments come from. The quality of lead is pretty low.

Generally speaking, we’re able to use these to really foster the Google ads. These are people directly on search ads that are typing in “cosmetology school near me,” “beauty school near me” or “how to become a cosmetologist,” things that we would be bidding on. A little bit more expensive, right? We’re spending almost $20,000 or a little more than $20,000 every month for 200 conversions. But these are where the bulk of enrollments come in. It covers the rest of this budget easily.

And this school did not start this way. They started a couple thousand dollars a month and eventually reinvested it. And now they’re churning out hundreds of leads and dozens and dozens of starts every single month, every five weeks, I should say, to be more accurate as their start date schedule.

But I’m going to give you an example of something that is maybe a little bit more accessible.

Now this, on first glance, looks super confusing and inaccessible. I’ll try and make it make sense, but this is what an average 12 months looks like for a beauty school.

Let’s say they’re doing an Oozle website. They’re paying it off over 12 months and it launches. And month five, right here, you can see these area charts are how much they’re spending by month. And then these lines are their leads. And, you see there’s some upfront setup costs. They start spending around $4,000 on average around here for like 20, maybe 30 leads altogether at the beginning.

After 12 months, they’ve been able to build up that funnel. Their budgets have increased. They’ve launched a new website. They’re doing really well. They’re spending almost $8,000 every month, but they’ve almost doubled their leads. We’ve got almost 70 leads, another 10 down here from social, and all these are playing into a big, cohesive strategy. I’ll tell you what that strategy looks like a little bit.

The Oozle Media Method

So at Oozle we have what we call the Oozle media marketing method. It’s not scientific by any means. It’s not even super robust. It’s just common terminology that we can use to help make sense of every step that you should be thinking about when it comes to digital marketing.

We have analysis and planning, set up and clean up, telling your story, and amplifying your message.

Now, when most schools, or businesses for that matter, especially small, medium-sized businesses, hire a marketing agency, they want to start here [telling your story].

And most agencies, they’re happy to start you there, because you’re paying your bills. You’re happy. You’re seeing what you want to see, but you’re not necessarily seeing the results. This is the “Ooh, shiny” stuff, what I call the “Ooh, shiny” stuff. These would be the blogs, the graphics, the videos. All the tangible things that you think of when you think marketing, brand design, all that, this is like running those ads, amplifying it, getting it everywhere.

What a lot of agencies probably won’t do, is do a pretty deep analysis, digging. They’ll look really into benchmarking where you’re at right now. And they’ll cut what we call the anchors. If the goal is to get your speedboat going as fast as possible, that’s growing your business, the faster you go, the bigger your business is.

We can put the pedal to the metal, so to speak. We can push that lever forward. We can get going real fast in that boat, but we might be inhibited by anchors we didn’t even check to look for. We just sat in a seat right here, started telling your story, didn’t look to see if we had dropped any anchors.

So this, we look for anchors. Here, we’re cutting them off. And now we get into the fun stuff. And all of those, as we saw back here, have a tangible effect on positive growth. And you can kind of see what that looks like broken up here.

In the analysis and planning, we have some setup costs. Again, like I said, we’ve got some things that we’re doing. Just looking through your website, it’s helpful. It’s positive, but it’s not making or breaking your, you know, you have some ups and downs, right out at the beginning.

Most people, they’re like, “Well, I’m spending $3,500, per your last example, every month. We’re three months in. How come I see a dip right here in organic leads?” Or “I’m not seeing a big takeoff in PPC leads.”

There’s so much that goes into those account setups and getting to know your audience and fine tuning all those things that it’s really right about here in the setup and cleanup when we start taking those and putting them into action, that we start seeing the really big increases. We start seeing PPC take off a little bit more. We start seeing this organic come up and hit highs we haven’t hit in previous months.

And yes, it goes up and down from month to month. But year over year is what we’re shooting for, because, again, especially with beauty schools, we’ve got seasonality. We’ve got January, usually a peak back-to-school season. This can be applied to anything. It’s just month one through 12, give or take any month you want to slap there. This isn’t necessarily January and December, just any given 12 months.

But to continue, phase three, telling your story. This is where we’re reinvesting more. This is where we’re writing those blogs, creating those YouTube videos. We can start amplifying them, right? We’re running PPC. We’re running. You can see, we have a little bit of a social ads budget, a couple hundred dollars here.

We’re amplifying stuff as we create. So these third and fourth phases kind of run in tandem with each other, but you get four really distinct things that need to be done. And a lot of people skip the first two. And then these numbers right here end up just stagnating. You’re spending a lot of money getting all this fun, shiny stuff, and it’s not turning into any necessarily real results or hitting the potential that it could be hitting. And so you got to think about that.

So enough numbers. I’ve talked about so many numbers, showed so many graphs. It’s confusing. What does this look like in practice? I know I’ve just got a couple more minutes here, so I’ll go quick. This is the last section here.

Here’s what our audits look like. We do the website, SEO, and copy audit. The social media audits, where we look at your Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, if you’ve got it, YouTube, if you got it.

We take a look at all that local audit. We’re looking at all the different things you should be looking at for your offsite search engine optimization, citations, Yelp, Google My Business, those reviews, those things that Patrik talked about earlier in his presentation, the blog audit and strategizing future content, looking at what kind of content you already have, what content we haven’t written yet, what can be written.

And then, like I said, we’re putting those action items into practice where actually we’re taking those action items, we’re doing it. This is page two of this same audit here, where you get a thorough executive summary, top priorities. In this specific example, we have remove something here.

We see a couple of different action items that will be taken care of depending on your budget over the next couple of weeks. Could take a couple months, again, depending on your budget.

We start doing the initial foundational content creation, writing blogs that every beauty school should have, like questions to ask on a tour, how to become a cosmetologist in wherever you’re located, how many hours does it take to become an esthetician, things like that. We start getting your lead reporting, your benchmarking setup. We set up any long-term tracking like Cheryl mentioned, CRO (conversion rate optimization), we can track that with Hotjar or even simple things like Google Analytics. Some websites we get through the door don’t even have analytics installed.

And then we get into this fun stuff, that “Ooh, shiny stuff”. This is an example of a campaign that we’re working on with one of our clients where we wrote out a mood board. It has its own logo, even for just the campaign. Be creative. Be bold. Be you.

We’re going to be able to run this for all sorts of different demographics. Whether it’s the single mom, who’s got to work a day job and then comes to night classes at your school, all the way to someone fresh out of high school.

This can be applied to just about anyone and we’ve written personas and we’ve written ideas that can be applied across this entire campaign. And we do this for schools once they have those anchors cut and they’re ready for something this involved, this intent to be pushed out. A campaign like this can last a year or two years.

We’ve had some campaigns that just keep churning out the leads at really high volumes that we’ll just let run until they start getting stale. Because that funnel, you’re always getting new people in. It might be old to you and I, the beauty school and the marketer, we might’ve been running it for a long time, but that funnel is always introducing new people to your brand. So it’s new to them.

And we amplify it using the same funnel here. Like I said, not, everybody’s going to have a budget to run on Hulu or Snapchat. Or TikTok. That might feel a little extra. We might just start here, or we start here and supplement it with ads on social media, like Facebook and Instagram. Whatever starts, we start small, whatever you have at the beginning and we reinvest back into the top.

And so with that, I just want to say if this was confusing or was too fast, I’m sorry. We do have, I don’t think it’s been mentioned yet today an awesome guide. It’s like 36 pages or something that goes through a lot of the sessions you’ve heard today, a lot of action items that you can take.

Everybody who attended today’s session is going to get a free copy of the marketing for beauty schools complete guide. It’s a downloadable PDF with real action items. This isn’t just all this vague numbers and graphs. These are real action items that a school of any size can take to improve their digital marketing efforts today.

So we’ll make sure everybody gets a copy. That’ll go out with the recording of these sessions next week. And if any of you would like to reach out, I know you’ve gotten so many email addresses and so many people who’ve said, “Call me, reach out to me, email me,” whatever. I’m going to give you one more.

It’s my email address, and I’m happy to do a free hour or if it’s not me, it’s one of the other director level staff that we have here at Oozle do a free hour of business coaching or consulting.

Again, not a pitch meeting. Not trying to get you to buy our services. We’ll just go through your numbers and see if there’s anything that we can suggest or recommend to help you get on the right foot. And that’s for schools of any size.

Feel free to reach out to me for a free hour of consulting.

Thank you so much, everybody. I really appreciate the time today.

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