Driving School getting more learners

Getting more learner drivers for your driving school is a 2 stage process, and as an instructor, you need to work on both stages in order to generate the work that will give you an income to live on.

Your driving school marketing efforts needs to:

1. Get people to know you offer the services that they require.
This can be done via various forms of advertising, my most effective method is via my online driving school website which brings in enquiries on a weekly basis to keep me busy with enough learner drivers.

Other ways of getting the word out there will be adverts in local shop windows, newspaper classifieds, word of mouth (friends, family, church, gym, etc), yellow pages, google adwords. What ever method you use, only continue if you find it effective, as sales executives will give you many reasons for renewing ads, but at the end of the day you can not afford throwing money down the drain if these marketing efforts are not being rewarded with genuine enquiries from new clients. Don't forget to get business cards made as well, I've lost count of the number of times I've handed these out during driving lessons to people looking at the car.

2. Convincing or converting enquiries to a sale. This is the most difficult of the 2 stage process, especially in the driver training industry, as most learner drivers are just looking for cheap driving lessons and if your prices are above what they expect to pay, then they will probably move on to the next instructor on their shortlist. So what can you do to increase the lighlyhood of someone learning to drive with you?

Again your driving school website has an important role to play since it would be the first point of call that you would have directed them to via stage one above. The good thing about your online presence is that the potential client can visit without feeling that they would be pressurised into a sale by a smart executive on the other end of the phone, so use your website to sell all your unique points.

Don't just tell the visitor the areas you cover, the driving school car you use and the prices you charge, market yourself, tell them what you have achieved with other learner drivers. If you have a degree or special diploma that helps you deal with nervous students let them know.
Female drivers might what to learn with a woman instructor, as a man re-assure them why you can do a good job with them, use statistics to quantify the ratio of male to female learners and how YOU always treat them as individuals in a professional manner.

Give them as many reasons why though you might not be the cheapest in the local area, but you are the best. Not everyone can afford or appreciate the quality of a Mercedes benz car, but those that do, will not prefer a Skoda instead.
There is nothing you can do to convince someone looking for lessons at £10 an a hour to go with you that charges £20, but you can easily make someone with a £18 budget go with you if they think you will be honest, have a track record of high quality tuition and find your website very informative and helpful, especially if they where searching for driving school Hampstead and you are on the first page of the results returned by the search engine.

Once you get a call, always get some details from the caller even if the first question they ask is 'how much do you charge for driving lessons'.

Found out if it is the caller that wants to drive.
How did they get your number (very important and you always must ask this so you can know which marketing methods to focus on).
What area they are based in.
Do they have a test coming up soon.

The more information, the better you might be in getting them to join you if they are within your price range as mentioned above. If they got your number from the website, they already know how much you charge, and even though they might want to bargain, you are half way through.

After the call if they did not go with you, make a note of their number, and try and make contact a month later to see if they passed their test or started, things might have changed.

Getting more learner drivers is not easy work, so continue to put in all the effort to market and sell yourself effectively.

Dont lose driving school website

Having set up one of your most important school online marketing tools, you need to ensure you don't lose it, which is why I've shown you how to create a £5 driving school website.

One of the reasons why a lot of instructors lose or neglect their websites is due to running costs which can be a bit high if you use the wrong company to design and create it, couple that with the fact that the design company might not optimise your online presence to properly market your driving school.

All marketing costs are tax deductible, but any business owner will always get rid of any costs that they can't justify, so paying large hosting fees for a website that they don't see to be performing is a wise decision as far as they are concerned. As I mentioned in other parts of this blog, the only driving school marketing I do is with my website, and it works for me, and there is no reason why it can't do the same for you too if you follow the advice given in the various articles onn this site.

I'm just going to show you another reason why keeping your website is important.
A learner driver who passed their test, wrote about it in their blog, and recommended their instructor, adding a link to the instructors website (note the poor anchor text 'go to his website'). In December 2008 when this post was made, the website was up and running, however today, the driving school website is no longer there, while the phone number is also there, not many people will call, but a lot will click on the link. What a wasted business oportunity, if only they knew how to get a good online presence for a reasonable fee.

Additional Reading
Reasons for school website.

1 Reason for Driving School Website

Let me just show you one reason why you should have a driving school website even if you have enough learner driver pupils or are franschised to a national school of motoring.

I recently found this blog post by an American learner driver living in London who had just passed her theory test and commenced driving lessons with a BSM driving instructor who operates out of their Notting Hill centre.

As you can see from the article, she is pleased with Julian (the ADI), and has made a personal recommendation, unfortunately for him, he doesn't have an online presence in the form of a website or blog, and thus all she can do is provide a link (a very important and relevant one considering the article topic and content) to BSM.

If Julian had an online marketing school blog, that link would serve 2 purposes, first it would drive potential driving lesson clients to him which can be turned down if not available. The second role of that link would be a vote of confidence and if it had the relevant anchor text a boost in the search engine results for say "driving instructor in Notting Hill".

It does not cost a fortune to create a website to highlight your driving school services, in fact read my post on how it can be done for £5 a year, once you've created it, put it on your business cards, and let all your current students have them, the more that link to it, the more effective a marketing tool it becomes and it will be the only form of advertising you need to do.

Getting driving school website indexed by Google

Now that you have successfully completed the initial setup of your driving school advertising/marketing website and blog, it is time to get it indexed by the google search engine, as unless you get this step completed, there is little chance of your website being found by people searching for an instructor or lessons in the area you operate in.

Now you might be wondering why I have just mentioned the google search engine, afterall there are many others out there like Yahoo, Bing, Ask. The simple answer is that google dominates the online search market with almost 70% of all information being looked for on the internet through them, and to prove it, I want you to take a look at the graph below which shows how many people found my current driving school website while looking for information on the world wide web during one day.


As you can see from the figures, there is only one place that you want your online marketing website to be indexed, and that is in google, the others matter as well, and that will naturally happen once the most important engine finds out about you.
So I guess all I have to do now is find the form that allows me to submit my website, enter in a few details and I'll be done.
Wrong! Don't go to google.com and fill in the submit website form.

While doing this will be sucessfull, it could take up to 3 months for your marketing website to be found, there is a much quicker way to get indexed.
Find a website or blog that is already indexed, and get them to add a link to you. When the googlebot crawler next visits the site which could be the same day if they posted a new article, it will find the link to you, and add your driving school marketing website to it's index.

Those of you paying attention might have noticed the link I placed at the beginning of this article to my Hampstead driving lessons blog, what I did was post this article half finished just so I could prove this system works, because less than an hour after publishing, I did the following.

driving school marketing in action

A search on google.com for 'driving lessons hampstead' as shown above, notice that it is not a very competitive term as there are only 35,200 results and this is the first page. Notice the entry in position 4 above "Driving Lessons Hampstead NW3 | The Driving Schools Blog"

Now look at the entry 3 positions below that in the next picture!

driving school marketing blog indexed in position 7

It is my newly created Hampstead blog in position 7 on the first page of google. Now before you start asking how much I paid to achieve that, let me explain a few things to you.
Google likes fresh content and will promote new websites or articles as they become available for a short time, that and the fact that the driving school domain name contains the searched for terms, helped to get the website registed on the 17th September 2009 on the first page of google in less than a month on a not too competitive search result.

The website will later fall off the first page as other content is published, and to get it to say on the first page needs some work which I will tell you about in a later internet marketing article, so come back soon.

Red Driving School Tv Advert

Anyone currently living in the UK would at one time or the other seen the Red driving school TV advertisment encouraging people to become instructors. This has been a very successful marketing campaign for the organisation, otherwise they would not continue to spend the large amounts of money they do putting adverts on TV, as we all know it is not cheap promoting your business on national television.

The point I'm trying to make is that every driving school owner needs to find the best way of marketing their services to their target audience and must monitor those adverts to make sure you are getting good value for money. The other thing is if it works, then you need to continue to do it.
Coca Cola is the world's leading coke drinks brand, and they still continue to place adverts in various media just as Red driving school continues to advertise on TV depiste the fact that they haven't changed the advert itself for almost a year!

Someone will not necessarilly take driving lessons with you the first time they see your fancy driving school car graphics, but if they see it about 3 or 4 times, that might do the trick. The same thing with your instructor website, it would take multiple visits sometimes to get the pupils to sign up to you, so you have to keep promoting it day in day out.

Learn from the Red driving school tv marketing adverts, many of you might be fed up with seeing them, but each time they are shown, another person pickups up the phone, and calls them, probably ending in another training course sale.

Associating driving school marketing blog with registered domain

Now that we have successfully created our driving school marketing blog, added relevant content that effectively advertises our tuition services online to potential learner driver clients, it is now time to map the school domain name we registered to the blogger website we created. This step allows us to have the freely hosted blog on our domain name, the advantage being that we can at anytime moved to a paid hosting solution without losing any links that people have made to us in the future and our ranking in the search engine results will not be affected, so it is almost like eating your cake and having it.

The first step requires us to login to our 123-Reg control panel.

123-reg login

Click on the login to your control panel button and enter the details you supplied when you registered the driving school website domain name.

If you have more than one domain choose the appropriate driving school name, and click manage.

You should now see a screen similiar to the one below.

123-reg web forwrding.

Click on Web Forwarding. On the screen shown below, Select Non-framed web-forwarding and type the temporary url we used for our marketing blog when we created (remember I used http://midrivinglessons.blogspot.com/):

123reg customised blogger

Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Update Web forwarding

driving school website forwarding successful

Now click on Back to Control Panel.

Select Manage DNS.

Scroll down until you see www, change the A to CNAME and replace the numbers with ghs.google.com. make sure you include the full stop after the 'm'.

driving school marketing dns changes

Click on Update DNS.

You will now have to wait a full 24hrs before proceeding to to the next steps.

Go to the blogger homepage, and login with your details.

blogger homepage for creating driving school website

From the dashboard, click on settings, from the next screen, click on publishing to get to the screen shown below.

using custom domain with blogger

Now click on Custom Domain

driving school website custom domain advanced settings

Click on Switch to advanced settings.

changing driving school website to uk domain

Enter the details of the 123-Reg domain you registered, type in the word verification and click Save Settings.

You have now successfully redirected your driving school website to use your business domain name while still enjoying free webhosting from google's most powerful blogging platform.

Effective marketing & advertising articles

Let us now look at how to write very effective driving school posts or articles for our newly published driving instructor marketing website.

As I mentioned when we created our school advertising website, one of the advantages of using a blog instead of a static page solution is that blogs are optimised for search engines (SEO) and we will make use of this feature when writing all the pages that we will be marketing our tuition services with.

I have listed below the title of the 4 main pages that I want to publish on my lessons blog, in the order in which they will be posted on the site.

Lessons Price List NW3
Driving lessons Terms and Conditions
Your first driving lesson in Hampstead
MI Driving School London NW3

It is up to you how many pages you initially post, but as we will be constantly updating our school marketing website, there is always room to add anything that you think might attract more page views, and the more people that see your advertising articles no matter how long or short they are, the better your exposure, and the more likey you will get an enquiry which could be turned into a sale.

Now that I've given you the list, lets talk about what effective driving school marketing articles are, and how to write them.
The purpose of your article is two fold, it must attract the potential learner driver's attention, secondly it must contain enough information to sell your services to the reader and make them want to pick up the phone and give you a call. While doing this, we must not forget that search engines will also be 'reading' our website, so we must give them relevant information at the same time.

I'm not a perfect online internet marketer, so I don't know everything, but if you read the 4 pages I've posted above, you will see how I try to maintain a good balance between writing for humans, while at the same time making sure that search engines like google and yahoo can properly index and know what the keywords are that i'm targeting.

Your article title

This is your first step to capturing your audience's attention, but for our online marketing efffort, it is important that we know that it has a bearing (not the complete determining factor) on whether we beat our competition in the search engine results (SERPs) when someone looks for information online. So taking the example of my first article 'Lessons Price List NW3', I could simply have called it 'price list' and any human on my website would know it pertains to learning to drive, but a search engine might not, but more importantly by adding the post code I have strengthened the weight of the page for anyone looking for driving lessons price list in hampstead nw3. Our blogging software also uses the title to form the url page filename, and if the filename contains our target keywords, then google gives it a little more relevance than a page name not contain the words searched for.

School Marketing Content

When writing your website content, you want to make sure you emphasise your unique selling points as these are what will get learner drivers to become pupils of yours. Not everyone will choose a driving school only because of how cheap they are, many are looking for good quality tuition from honest instructors who will not be abusive or patronising.
While writing the content, don't forget you are marketing your information to search engines as well, so include your target words (notice how I use the words driving, school, instructor, lessons, Hampstead, NW3 and London regularly in all my pages), so it is clear that your specialist services or areas are. Don't overdo it, the way I normally write is I will do a first draft containing the information as required by a human reader, I will then review this making sure to add the keywords sparingly throughout the articles changing words where necessary.

It is little on page SEO techniques like these that can give your driving school website that advantage over your local competitor.

Above all, try and write unique content partaining to the area you are targeting, so information about local roadworks affecting learning to drive, test centre diversions or changes as well as difficult test route roads or manouvers are things like these will cause people to link to your website, and the bottom line is the more links you have, the better your marketing online presence will be. The other effect is that people tend to pass good articles onto friends or family which is exactly want you want to happen.

Finally don't make the mistake most driving school owners do with their advertising website, publish 4 pages, and forget all about it. Update your blog as often as possible with any information that might be of use to anyone learning to drive in your area, in addition to this keep reminding your learner driver pupils of your online presence and ask them to promote it for you, you do have your webite address on your driving school business cards?

Following these steps will put you on the way to getting those highly needed enquiries from potential clients.

Driving School Website £5 per year DIY

In this article, I'm going to give you detailed step by step instructions on how you can create your own affordable and cheap driving school website (we will be using a blog in this case), that will cost you as little as £5 a year and how this online marketing tool can be used to maximise your exposure to potential learner driver clients. To make this exercise as real as possible, I will be creating my own website as well so you can follow along, and see my progress.

I will break down this article into the various steps, and each step will be covered as a mini-article which will be posted over a couple of weeks, click on the orange title to be taken to the full article page.

Choosing and registering a driving school website domain name

The first step to getting an online presence, and choosing the right domain name is very important in order to effectively market your services via a website. Should I use a .co.uk or .com, how complicated is the process and how much is it going to cost.

Creating an instructor school blog and customising/optimising it

Why use a blog for your business website, how do I create one and host it, and are there any steps I need to take to get the best out of it?

Writing your initial school marketing blog posts and articles

Tips on writing the first few pages of content for your website, keywords, titles, tags and labels, should I write for search engines or human readers?

Associating your business website with registered domain name

To keep your website startup costs down, we have choosen to have our instructor school blog hosted by blogger.com for free, this doesn't mean that it can't have it's own idendity, and more importantly we can still use our specially chosen domain name which gives us a better chance of being found by potential learner driver clients.

Getting your business blog indexed in Google

Google is the king of search engines, and being listed in it's database is first step to letting people know that your school offers driving lessons in your local area. If you are not listed then you can't make page one! Tip: Don't sumbmit your url to google!

Monitoring your business website performance

You need to know how to monitor you driving school website's performance as with all your marketing or advertising efforts, to better understand what works for you and to increase your blog's effectiveness.

Promoting your driving school website

For your website to be an effective marketing tool to your business, you need to promote it, especially in the early days and the more effort you put in, the better it will perform online.

Getting your new driving school website on google page 1

Your ultimate goal is to get your driving instructor blog to the number one position on the first page of google's search pages result for the area you are targeting, that may never happen, but even if it did, it could take months or years, but getting on page one is a major achievement that should be possible if you work on it, and depending on your competition could take just weeks.

Attracting more visitors to school website

No matter how successful your driving school website/blog becomes you should always be looking out for ways to attract more visitors, as this means more enquiries, more sales, and a sign that your online marketing efforts are working and you can concentrate most if not all your buisness advertising there.

If you have followed the steps outlined above, you should now have a fully functional driving school blog that will serve as an online showcase for your business, and by continually working on it, you will be able to reap the results of your efforts in the form of more learner drivers and an increase in your annual income.

If you are not subscribed to this blog, now would be a good time to do so, you don't want to miss any of the updates and marketing tips that I will be posting here.

Choosing driving school domain name to register

Choosing a driving school website domain name is one of the most important steps you need to get right in order to effectively market your driving instructor services online with a blog as I will be showing you here. We want to make sure that whatever we choose has an effect in targeting our chosen audience as far as the search engines are concerned since that is how we intend to get most of our clients, so I will use a real life example to illustrate the point.

I want to make sure that anyone looking for driving lessons in Hampstead comes to me, so that is my target audience that I am aiming to reach via my online blog and what my marketing and advertising will be concentrated on. I therefore want the domain name I will be registering to include some or all of these target keywords and will thus opt for the name drivinglessonshampstead.co.uk (other options might be replacing 'lessons' with either 'instructor' or 'school') don't use all 3, and this will be viewed as spamming by google (the king of all search engines owning over 65% of online activities when it comes to finding information on the internet) and will be banned or penalised on their results and you don't want that happening (loss of clients and income).
It is important that your chosen name includes the town, city you are targeting as this adds more weight to search results, while it might make your website url longer, you have an added advantage over your competitors who haven't used it in theirs.

why .co.uk and not .com
The reason I have chosen a uk domain is pretty obvious, I'm located in Britain, and so is everyone that I will be doing business with so it is the logical choice, but the most important reason why I've gone for it, is because they are the cheapest to register and maintain on a yearly basis.
If you have a much more global market that you will be targeting, then you might want to consider a .com domain name or even both as some companies do.

Registering your domain name

You do this by using a domain registrar, and my prefered one is 123-Reg because they offer the lowest price on UK domains, just under £7 for 2 years (correct as at sept 2009) and have offered excellent service over the years. In order to complete this domain registration process we will need a credit card and create an account with them if we've don't have one already.

To start we will go to the 123-Reg Homepage and type in the domain name we want to register as shown below.

creating driving school tutorial1

Click on the search button.

Untick all the options except the .co.uk name as shown below.

creating driving school tutorial2
Click on add to basket then ok, let's continue.

On the next screen shown below, make sure you have spelt the chosen website domain name properly where it says choose your extras (mine currently has a spelling mistake 'p' missing). We will not be using any of the extras at this point, though if you want to host the website on a non free hosting platform or if you want a personalised email address using your chosen domain name for your business (e.g. enquiries@yourdrivingschool.co.uk) you can add it now (I will be dealing with these advanced features in a later article).

creating driving school website tutorial3

Click ok, let's continue.

You now have to either sign in if you already have an account with 123-Reg, or create one, as shown below.

creating driving instructor website for 5pounds a year tutorial4

Note: An email address is required, use your hotmail, google or other account and not your new business domain address if you added email in the steps above.

Once signed in, follow the instructions to pay for your ordered features (double check you have everything correct to avoid having to contact support as refunds are not usually given for mispelt domain names). If you have successfully completed the order, you should see a screen similar to the one below, with your ordered driving school url listed (I have corrected earlier typo).

creating driving lessons website diy tutorial5

You have now sucessfully completed the first step of establishing your school business internet website online.
To confirm this, open a web browser and type www.drivinglessonshampstead.co.uk (replace the text in bold with the domain name you have just registered), you should now get a screen similar to the one shown below.

my diy driving school marketing and advertising website tutorial6

drivinglessonshampstead.co.uk was successfully registered on 17th september 2009.

Next step creating your driving school blog.

Creating a driving instructor blog for advertising

As part of our driving school online marketing effort, we are going to use a blog to establish an internet website presence.
For those of you instructors asking why we are using a blog to advertise our services instead of a normal static website, the answer is not far fetched.
Blogs are much easier to create, manage and update especially for those not too technical minded (HTML knowledge is not required), but most importantly they have been optimised to perform better in search engines and this is crucial to an ADI who wants a constant supply of learner driver enquiries from his website

There are many blogging platforms and software available to use, and the one you eventually choose is really a matter of personal preference.
For our current driving instructor advertising needs, I'm going to create our school blog using Blogger.com. It is owned by google, and they also host your pages for free with no advertising, and I've used them for over 5 years with no problem or downtime. If you prefer using a website instead of blog, you can use Moonfruit to create a basic professionally looking website for free, this can be upgraded to use your own domain once you register one.

Creating driving school advertising blog using Blogger.com

To start the process go to the blogger homepage.

blogger homepage for creating driving school website

Click on the create a blog button, this will take you to the create a google account screen shown below.

create google account for driving school website advertising

If you already have a google account you can use the sign in link, otherwise fill in all the fields as requested. In the email field use the business address if you opted for that feature when you registered the driving school domain name, alternatively use any existing email address you have access to (you will need to activate your account later using the link sent to this address).
Once you have completed the form, tick the box to accept the terms and conditions (you read them of course) and click on continue.
You are now presented with the name your blog screen.

naming your driving school blog 5ounds per year
Blog Title: This is the name you want your driving school business website to be known by. Make sure that it contains the keywords you are targeting, so in my case I've used 'MI Driving School Hampstead NW3' replacing lessons with school and adding the post code NW3 to further strenghten the locality of the area where I want my learner driver pupils to come from.

blog address (url): You can fill this in with whatever you like, as it is only a temporary address, we will be using our driving school domain name. I have used midrivinglessons.blogspot.com

Enter the word verification in the appropriate field and click continue.

choose driving school website template

Select a template for your blog (you can always change it later if necessary), click continue. You have now successfully created your driving instructor website. Don't close the window yet or click on the start blogging button, as we are going to proceed to the next step.

Optimising your school advertising website

The key to any business website performing well in search engine results is optimising it as much as possible while still keep focus on your target market and the keywords that will attract them. So let us do a little tweaking of our driving school blog.

Click on the start blogging button from the screen above, this will take you to the create a new post section.

driving school new post

Click on the settings tab and you should see something similar to the one shown below.


Unless specified, we will leave the default setting alone.

First thing we will do is to fill in the description field with a summary about yourself or driving school, note I have used driving instructor and mentioned hampstead once. I have also added the word north London as this description will appear on all the website pages.

Skip to Show Email Post links? and change this to Yes. An explaination of this feature is given next to field and is very good for allowing your visitors to email interesting articles to other learner drivers thus advertising your website for you.

Go to the bottom of the page and save settings.

Now click on the formatting tab.


Change the following settings.
  • Show 1 posts on the main page

  • Time zone to GMT

  • Show link fields to Yes

  • Save Settings

    This completes the creation and optimisation of our driving school blog, and are now ready to start writing our marketing posts that will go on the website. Note the url of your blog you have just created, mine is midrivinglessons.blogspot.com which is just a temporary address which will be kept just long enough for the school marketing articles to be posted and will be changed after that.

    More Reading
    Creating a free professional looking website using Moonfruit.