A successful business with thousands of happy customers?

We built up our water-sport company from nothing to a successful business with thousands of clients. We attracted 90% of these clients through online marketing. This article is not only about how we got these clients, but also how we sold them  better and more expensive products which resulted in even happier clients.

This article will keep to a chronological order which we advise you to follow. The 5 steps:

  1. Scalable through technology
  2. Conversion – make more with less
  3. More clients and less advertising costs
  4. Change doubters into clients – the ‘7 contact-moment principle’
  5. Expansion

Step 1: Scalable through technology

The first step, before you start your marketing, is making sure you are scalable. We like to call this being ‘bus-proof’, in case you walk under a bus, your replacement must be able to take over without a hitch. This creates more structure and stability within your company which results an environment in which your company can steadily grow. Becoming Bus Proof is not only important for you, but also for your entire team – from the instructors to the office team.

The beauty of embracing automatization: it’s the ultimate bus-proof concept. Planning, marketing and administration is all set up in one go. Whether it’s ten people or a thousand who book with you, the amount of work remains the same.

You’re not only saving time, you reduce stress and the company becomes more professional. As if this doesn’t sound like a win-win situation to you… ?

Step 2: conversion – make more with less

As your company is now scalable, you obviously want to multiply your revenue by ten. This does not necessarily mean you have to multiply your clients by ten. What if every single client buys twice as much and is happier because of it?

2.1 Would you rather sell 1 class or 4 classes?

The first thing we did was making sure our students sign up for multiple dates right away. It is better for the students: they learn more and have a more positive experience because of it. It is better for your instructors: they have more work. It is better for you: you have more work.

Just like in an offline conversation, you want to guide your clients towards taking more than one class online as well. This is easily done with some simple tricks:

  • Add a different colour to the lesson-package of multiple days on the compare page to make it stand out.
  • Add terms like ‘recommended’ and ‘most booked package’(if that is the case). This guides your potential client to that page.
  • Make sure you also make these courses the most attractive. You can do this for example by making the courses cheaper, add a ‘no surfing = free class’ guarantee or offer more hours. Either way, be sure to make this course stand out in comparison to the other courses you offer.
  • On the reservation page, make sure to include the lesson-package of multiple days. Make it easy for your client!

Since we already made your company scalable, the booking of more lessons doesn’t mean more work.

With VIKING it is easy to both create lesson-packages of multiple days and market them on your booking page. Since students plan and re-plan their courses by themselves, it doesn’t result in extra workload for you or your employees.

2.2 Don’t forget the backdoor.

Existing clients have chosen you before. The chance they will do so again is much higher than the chance of reaching a new client. In other words: the conversion with existing clients is much higher.

You know the names and e-mail addresses of all your clients. When you send them an e-mail they are likely to open it and read it. If you have a nice offer for them, the chance they will choose you again is substantially greater ?.

However, individually sending all these clients an e-mail is time-consuming and not exactly scalable. For that reason you can use programs like ‘Mailchimp’ to send the same e-mail to all addresses at the same time. The only thing you need to do is add the names and e-mail addresses of your new clients in your Mailchimp file.

With VIKING all new clients are automatically added to your Mailchimp list when they book online.

Step 3: More clients and less advertising costs

The effects of advertising are one of the hardest things to measure. How many clients did you get through this ad in that magazine? And when you spend €100 on a Facebook ad, how many clients did you get through that?

With conversion keys you are able to precisely measure the amount of clients are generated through an ad: how many people who click on the advertisement will actually book a course? This is accomplished by using conversion keys in the reservation form.

Since you are able to measure this, you can alter your reasoning on the marketing budget. For example, you now know one client costs €3,20 in advertising, while spending an average of €260 on your services. This information enables you to set your advertising budget to unlimited!

In VIKING you can easily set up these conversion keys in order to do direct marketing that generates clients.

Step 4: Change doubters into clients – the ‘7 contact-moment principle’

It’s not an exact science, but research shows that a prospect needs on average 7 contact-moments to turn into a client. These moments can be offline and online. But what if the client lives 30 km away and only checked your website? Does that mean it remains on only 1 moment of contact?

4.1 Remarketing

To reach these 7 contact-moments with your clients, we use the so-called remarketing. You add a code (cookie) on your website, which gives you the ip-address of the client which you can use to show your ad in the advertising space of e.g. Facebook.

The costs of a remarketing campaign are generally much lower than that or regular campaigns. In addition, the remarking campaign often has a higher return value.

With conversion keys you can keep track of the costs per client you generate per platform (Facebook, Google, Instagram) from a remarketing campaign. These keys are included in VIKING.

Step 5: expansion

Since you already have a happy client, the chance that he wants more of your services is higher with him than with new clients. Plus, the more he buys, the happier he will be ?! For example, you can offer a surfboard to a client who finished a surfing lesson package.

5.1 Upsell automatically?

With VIKING it’s possible to send automatic mailings with offers or feedback to someone who just finished his/her course. You’re not dependent of your instructors anymore and you can always send out targeted offers to a specific audience.

Now what? Implement!

We advise you to follow these steps in the order presented in this article for the sake of implementation. For example, when you start with paid advertisement before your conversion is sorted out properly, it will result in much higher adverting costs.


If you would like more information on this subject or just want grab a cup of coffee, please e-mail thijs@vikingbookings.com or stop by at Hellingweg 98M in Scheveningen.