Category Archives: Starting Out

New Bus Route College Marketing To Parents

The school is is establishing two new school bus routes through the NE suburbs, in addition to the already existing bus route. This has come about following feedback and demand from parents surveyed. It is intended to begin the bus services in 2014.

Can you please provide ideas for a full scale marketing program (Web, Social Media, Print, Guerilla Marketing, Direct marketing, Press Release etc) for the new and existing College families?

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Jay’s Answer:  If there was feedback and demand, then it seems that there’s a market that’s ready. Do parents/students need to sign up for the route? Do parents need to pay for the service? Can you make the bus ride launch unusually FUN (live music, food, sing-along, etc.)?

How To Get More Travel Clients?

We are into a small business or I would say have begun a business of travel and Overseas education Consultancy along with IELTS Coaching classes. For IELTS we keep getting 1 or 2 students a month. My question is, What can be the best way to bring perspective clients or candidates to our office looking for Study Visa or overseas education. Although we keep getting phone calls for the same, but most of the time either they are fake calls or the clients do not show up after getting all the information. Don’t understand why.

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Jay’s Answer:  It sounds very frustrating. My guess is you haven’t sufficiently pre-qualified your prospective clients. People will show up if it’s clear they are the right people and it’s worth their time. Your job is to identify the right people and convince them of the value of talking with you.

To start with, I’d suggest putting more information about your services online (your “Top 10 Questions” for example). Next, for those interested in talking further, they should provide you with some answers (that are easy to validate) to key questions: contact information & why they want your help. Then, conduct an over-the-phone interview, ensuring that they’ve read through your online information first, they understand what you do, and you understand the value to them.

How to Launch Coaching Center?

I want to start a coaching center for science students of 9th to 12th class. I have a limited money at this time (about 1.5 lacs). How and where from should I start?

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Jay’s Answer: Since your success depends upon getting students to sign up, I would start small. Can you reliably sign up a class of students who would be interested? If you can, then you can gradually grow your business to become a center that offers multiple classes (and perhaps additional services). If you can’t, then you need to understand how to reach the first class of students (and their parents) by targeted marketing. And to do that – you’ll need to think like one of these parents – why should their child go to your center? How will they know their money is well spent? Why would your instruction be better than others offering similar services?

2015: Look Before You Leap?

Look Before You Leap Marketing Strategy
(Photo by Vishal Patel)

The common wisdom is to “look before you leap”. In business, it’s considered reckless to act before understanding the marketplace, analyzing your competition, and weighing your options. Investors frequently ask for your “five-year plan”. But what if this thinking is (mostly) all wrong?

As a marketing strategist, I advise companies large and small how to define a goal, and develop creative tactics to achieve their milestones. Big companies can afford to create long-term strategies and have the resources necessary to achieve them. Smaller companies generally can’t (and shouldn’t) – since they don’t have the resources nor the luxury of time. So what actions can a small company take?

Repeat the mantra for high-tech startups: Fail Early and Fail Often. Instead of spending time in research, startups spend their time creating cheap & fast tests that yield insights. They then combine the best aspects of their various tests to create a clear path for success (including being willing to scrap the new idea).

For example, before you spend the money to develop a new product, see if anyone wants to purchase it! Create a single website landing page test with an image of your proposed product and a description of the offering. Even put a price and a “buy now” button on the site. But since you don’t have the ability to sell it now, simply have the “buy now” button click to a signup page (to get notified when the product’s available). Then create pay-per-click (PPC) ads which are connected to your test landing page. After a day or two, you should have plenty of data – are people interested enough in your offering to buy it?

If you’re instead offering a new automated service, then simulate the service. Let people order from you as-if you had the technology to automatically fulfill their order – but instead have people manually do the work (behind-the-scenes) to simulate the automation. Later on, you can iron out the technology.

Tests done well can show you the results of your future efforts today, and help you gauge the wisdom of your strategy.

Sometimes it’s better to take a series of small peeks-and-hops instead of big looks-and-leaps.

Healthiness + Happiness Coach

I am a health coach ready my business,Most health coaches go by their name for the business, not sure if i want to do that, i would like a name that says what i do- help clients find health and happiness…

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Jay’s Answer:  I’m guessing that most people that would hire you are facing a health problem, and want to get better. Are these people mostly overweight, or eating poorly, or in a chronic health “crisis”? How old are they generally? Men or women? Where would they be located (face-to-face coaching in what region)? And most importantly – why would they choose to work with you? What do you know that they’d be willing to pay you for?

Help Me Name My Coaching Business

I just started out, a change from being a teacher to a Coach. I  took on many Coaching Lessons, Life Coaching, Business Coaching , Self Esteem Coaching and the NLP Coaching.

Now, I am looking for a great Coaching Name, that will ATTRACT International Clients and will tell as tell them  I able to coach at all areas.  I need you to help me with: A good coaching name and a great tag line.

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Jay’s Answer:  Congratulations on your change of career.

A name and tagline won’t perform the magic you’re hoping for. International clients don’t buy a name – they buy a promise of a unique benefit/value that you offer.

That means you need to deeply understand: who specifically might want to hire you, where they are located, why they’d choose you (and not choose any of your competition), what makes you different/special, and when they’d likely want your services. From the answers to these questions (and more) you can begin to not only craft a name and tagline, but also develop an entire marketing strategy to attract clients to you.

How To Survey For Potential Franchising

Hi Mr.Jay, Inspired by your patience and excellency towards answering our questions. I am student from India. I need to conduct a MR survey for establishing a franchisee of special steel. I have a great location to do the survey. But what should my questionnaire consist of? who should be my target audience (Customers / existing re-sellers)?

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Jay’s Answer: A survey looks easy to write, but it’s quite an art. You need to first understand deeply what the goal of the survey is. Are you trying to simply pre-qualify people to become a franchisee? Or, are you trying to better understand if/when/why they might want to become a franchisee (or not)? Surveys are notoriously a big time waste for most people – that’s why you need to make the survey short, easy to complete, but with the ability to analyze what people are telling you. Also, make sure that all surveys have contact information – so you can reach out to people in case you have specific questions about one of their answers.

Help Me Name My Wedding and Event Planning Business

I am starting a wedding and event planning business and I need a unique name and tagline. I want cater to those who are in need of help with planning and decorating ideas, also those who are on a budget. Please help!

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Jay’s Answer: You’re asking a common question – and the answer is complicated.

To start with, since you’re starting a new business (congrats!), it would be better for you to create a marketing/business strategy document first, then create a name/tagline. Why? Because the name/tagline needs to reflect your target audience. And not everyone in the world would be interested in what you offer. And those that may be interested, not everyone would necessarily choose to work with you. So, the key issues are: getting very clear on your target audience, what makes you unique/different, and why people should trust you.

A business name/tagline should flow from this document/understanding. A name alone won’t suddenly attract people (nor will a tagline). Once you have both of these, the question remains:  How will people find your business? How will you market to them?

Starting Out In Online Digital Distribution

So I recently broke into the Game Industry. Started working for a game developer that also has their online digital distribution store (pretty much like Valve with their Steam, but of course on a much smaller scale). In fact, there are 2 of them: one for a specific region, and one is worldwide. Incidentally, the first one is the one
bringing in most income (the 2nd site has a much more limited games choice). Within the company  I’ve been working mostly on their websites and also in tech support.

So yesterday I was offered a great opportunity – to take over the online digital distribution store that is focused on worldwide audience. Needless to say, I could not pass on that opportunity and took the job. However…

I have never run anything of such scale before. I always wanted to, but never got the chance. So now here is my chance, opportunities are potentially endless, but I have no idea what to do. I have done some online marketing and promotions before, but nothing  like that. For example, I have never signed a contract with a
publisher or developer to sell their games in my store.

I need to come up with a structured plan for myself on how I am going to develop this project. There seems to be overwhelmingly many things to do, and I have no idea what to start with, and from what side to approach it, so to speak. What research do I need to do first?

So my main questions is: what steps do I need to take first? Second? Third? What sources can I read about running a digital distribution website?

I understand that this is a great challenge for me, but also a great opportunity. And I am more than willing to make it work and eventually be a big part of the gaming industry. I hope you can give me some advice and show me the direction I need to go from this point on.

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Jay’s Answer: If I were in your shoes, I’d start by gathering analytics about your website (visitors, language, search terms, pages visited). That’ll give you a baseline to be able to judge the results of your actions.

Next, I’d ask a lot of questions of your management team: what are their goals, their expectations, resources they’re willing to commit, and how they think they would achieve these goals. The point here is to ask, listen, and learn.

After I gathered all this data, I’d send a summary of what they said. The goal now is to ensure they’re consistent with what they say and how they react to the “big picture”. I wouldn’t yet commit to these goals – the point is to document the conversation to understand the internal needs.

Next, I’d try to reverse engineer how my competition does their marketing. What is their traffic, their pricing model, their SEO data, etc. The goal of this is to begin to start a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) – so you can leapfrog the competition’s efforts (or borrow some great ideas from someone who’s not a direct competitor).

If I was planning on courting developers to sell their products on your site, then I’d start talking to them about their needs and also learn about your competition through their eyes. By doing these informational interviews (you’re not promising anything – you’re again asking questions and learning) you’ll build some strong allies with a vested interest in how you proceed.

After this, I’d have a good idea of what management wants and how best to proceed. I’d start slowly, measuring the results of my actions (compared to the baseline analytics).

Name My Travel Agency

What are a few suggestions for great names of a travel agency? What are some good ways and places to market on line to build travel clientele?

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Jay’s Answer: Instead of trying to start your business with a “great name” and some “good ways and places to market”, I suggest you focus first on your marketing/business strategy. A business doesn’t start with a name, it starts with a target market. Who specifically would want your services? Where are they located? Where are they likely to want to go? Why would they choose you over your competition? What can you offer that no one else can? Why should they trust you? What makes you different/better?

With the answers to these questions, you can begin to develop a name that would appeal to them, determine good ways to market to them, and build your clientele.