Your school needs more awareness. And that "awareness" should ideally be positive.
With the right marketing strategies, you can achieve both, getting in front of the right parents at the right time and with the right message, driving them to take action and enroll their child in your school.
A comprehensive school marketing plan should be holistic and have elements of all marketing verticals. While this may require a bigger budget, it also, if implemented well, assures greater returns.
How will marketing impact schools?
Why do schools need to market themselves? Can't they simply function without adopting marketing strategies, as schools are an integral part of learning?
Before establishing the importance of devoting resources to school marketing, we need to know what is school marketing. It can be defined as a cluster of activities that the marketing team leverages to enhance the school “experience” for everyone, drive brand awareness, collect more leads, and maintain active enrollment.
The schools that employ minimal resources on marketing will surely save money, human resources, and time. However, in exchange for these savings, they will enter a vicious cycle of marketing doom. There will be a drop in admission rates, and the schools will face losses and cutbacks.
If you think that just word-of-mouth will attract students, your brand will face a downslide and simply put, other schools will write and rewrite their success stories.
Prioritize to plan
The communication and marketing strategies that used to work earlier will not work in 2021 and beyond. The landscape has changed completely. Plans have to be adapted, renovated and even scrapped off entirely to meet newer expectations.
Digital marketing for schools has to undergo a radical transformation as the owners often make the mistake of comparison with the direct competitors. The present-day parents now have liquid expectations. Especially with everything online now, there is a direct comparison between the online experience with Netflix and online teaching from schools.
What are the various marketing strategies that schools can adopt?
1. Redesigning the website
If the school's website is coming under any of the following boxes, you have to redesign the site immediately.
- The website is three years old or more
- The website is not mobile-friendly
- In comparison to direct competitors, the website appears outdated
- The website is quite challenging to navigate
2. Improve the search engine strategy
Depending on the long-term and short-term goals of your school, you have to invest in the following:
- SEO or Search Engine Optimisation
- Paid Per Click Advertising or PPC
- Online Reputation Management
3. Building email workflows
Email workflows, also commonly referred to as "automated emails" or "email drip campaigns", are integral parts of the inbound marketing strategy of any school.
They are the set of emails that are automatically sent to a database of subscribers.
4. Starting a school blog
Blogs are always the best ways to share advice, tell stories, build thought leadership and develop a robust content library.
Overall, you can improve the organic performance of a search.
5. Invest in meaningful social media ads
The prospective clients, i.e., the parents, spend a lot of time on social media. So, it is a smart way to leverage the power of social media to build awareness and eventually increase admissions.
Parent and guardian expectations are always higher, keeping in mind the umpteen options they get.
Therefore, it is necessary that your school marketing and communications strategy have an alignment with them.
Creating a strong online presence
The first step to target your potential customers is paying attention to your website. It is the primary source of information from where the parents will know who you are. Let us quickly consider the following figures:
- 52% of the users do not show any further interest in engaging with a company if there is a bad experience on mobile
- 40% of the traffic will leave if the website takes more than 3 seconds to load
- 79% of people always opt for another site if they do not get what they want on one site
You have to spend a good amount of time and money in creating a good school website.
What makes a good school website?
- Mobile-friendly design
- Fast loading time
- Simple navigation
- Engaging and informative content
Even if you are not a website expert, you can immediately distinguish between a good and a bad website by looking at the design. While good design can instantly encourage a visitor to hang around on to the site and browse, it also helps “sell” the school. There are two kinds of content:
- Visual content: videos, graphics, photos, infographics, and design elements
- Written content: the text that you use to tell your story. This comes in the form of a good 'about us' section, value propositions, paragraphs, calls-to-action, headlines, lists, blogs, and much more
Preparing to rank high on SERP
Paying attention to Search Engines Results Pages or SERP is one of the most important school marketing tips. Every search engine strategy will have three main elements:
Search Engine Optimization is a long-term game that many schools often don't pay attention to. It requires research on keywords, technical improvements, and other initiatives. Why is it still a dark horse?
It is because the results are often not as instant as paid advertisements. Thus, SEO is often put on the back-burner. Experts will tell you that it often takes months after implementing an SEO strategy before benefits are reaped as the search engines take a long time to crawl and rank pages.
Still, a solid SEO strategy is an essential ingredient in digital marketing for private schools. After all, 90% of all online experiences begin with a click for search. If you want your school's website to be visible when relevant queries are searched, you must find the SEO budget. You can follow the following six steps to ensure optimal performance of your website:
1. Clean up the website or detect issues that inhibit the users and the search engines from indexing or properly using your website.
2. Think about loading speed. Slower speed can always negatively impact UX. Studies have shown that faster website speed increases conversions.
3. Updating the content and incorporating relevant keywords are always helpful in attracting more traffic.
4. Link the content/ pages internally. The users can easily navigate and refer to the content that remains hidden. With the help of links, information hierarchy can also be established.
5. Local SEO is an important step to enhance local online presence. Contact information and other vital content parts are addressed here, thus driving local traffic to the site and capturing more leads.
6. You are doing everything but are you measuring the impact of the steps adopted? The Google Analytics report section helps you identify some severe issues like not setting up goals, not using the annotations, or not understanding how the filters work.
Creating content for the win
Building an effective content marketing strategy is the key to attaining optimum engagement with the audience you want to target. Let's try and understand the minute details that go behind the content marketing strategy. Creating the right kind of content might appear to be the most crucial part, but analyzing, generating, and promoting them are also equally important.
Content Analysis- With the help of content analysis, you can understand how your content is performing, who it is reaching and how other pieces of content can be improved.
Content creation- This is the most obvious part of the process. You need to create high-quality content that addresses the target audience and resolves their pain points.
Content promotion-The next important thing in the line is how you boost your SEO rankings by promoting your content.
Promoting website content- Your website is the first identity you have, it being the first thing that the students and the parents see. The most important information has to be presented clearly, and one should be easily able to locate the rest of the content.
Photo galleries, school news, updates, quotes from the managing committee and parents and pupils and recent ratings should all be featured in an appealing way.
This will highlight why your school would be the best choice for the parents to trust for the overall development of their children. Publishing optimized content and updating the site with new information is always a welcome choice.
Producing blogs- The more blogs you include on your school website, the higher the chances of your website being discovered through organic means. You should include school trips, competitions, awards, and every other topic that interests the parents you’re targeting.
Optimizing images, creating infographics, and creating video content are also excellent content school marketing techniques.
Getting louder on social media platforms
If you are savvy enough, you will know at least a hundred ways to use social media for education. Social media can promote your school in a never-thought before way. Your brand following comprises a community of audiences with diverse backgrounds.
The kind of content that you are sharing on your school's social media accounts should be able to do the following:
1. Increase enrolments- It is always good to connect with prospective parents and students on social media. You can keep them updated about the various events going on in the school or even remind them about the admission process.
2. Keep an active alumni group- A popular school always has the practice of keeping its alumni group active. One way of doing this would be to moderate designated profiles on social media.
3. Develop and manage the school's reputation- You should not always expect appreciation and accolades to ring your bell. Be ready for negative reviews and criticisms too. The type of content you use to deal with these responses and reacting appropriately matters most.
4. Fostering a community- Schools should not be a place of business but a safe and secured community of parents, students, teachers, administrative staff, managing committee members, and every other stakeholder. Content can be used to start conversations between every member of this “family” with the help of social networking.
5. Share important information and promote events- You should always keep your online audience abreast of all developments at the school.
Reaching out to parents with targeted ads
Parents are spending a huge time online; meaning, they are more likely to see the paid ads. Most of the parents are millennials now, some being young parents too; so you can stay assured of the time they spend on the web.
Reaching parents is not that tough but targeting the right people with the right message is what is needed now. Paid ads are one of the best school marketing ideas for those who need “quick results”.
- Google Ads
Google uses a system to auction where you will have to place bids to display your ads to the audience.
Google Ads are relatively cheaper (based on the keywords you’re targeting), more accessible, and highly effective. Unlike conventional modes of advertising, your communication will not enter a stage of a void, and people looking for good schools will see your ads.
Google Ads appear almost everywhere on the internet. Whether browsing or scrolling websites, sending emails or watching a YouTube video, you will definitely see one. Google boasts that for every $1 you spend on the ads, you earn $8.
So, if you are looking for a surefire way to build your school's reputation and drive student enrolment, look no further than Google paid ads.
- Social Media
Did you ever get surprised after seeing an ad in your preferred social media channel about something you were talking about or searching for earlier?
You can be 100% sure that your device is listening to you. The amount of information that various social media platforms have about you is beyond imagination.
Social media paid campaigns are great ways to make your school the “talk of the town”. They can be used to drive conversions in an event. A brand awareness campaign can help people know about your existence and how you are different from others.
With a smart campaign targeting the right audience, you can generate demand and capture more leads.
1. What is school marketing?
School marketing is a collective term for all the initiatives a school takes to improve its brand discoverability and increase student enrolment. Something as basic as posting on social media with a prompt to check out your website or asking parents to sign up their kids at your school qualifies as school marketing.
2. How to do school marketing?
Times have changed, and many schools find it essential to engage in performance-oriented marketing strategies to thrive. You have to go with the world and create a school marketing plan that will be the roadmap to success for your brand. With the online world booming, you have to take the help of the tools and resources available to impact the audience on the other side of the screen. You can opt for DIY measures, doing SEO, social media marketing, and PPC yourself. OR, it is best to depend on reputed marketing houses which can charter the best school marketing plan for you.
3. How do you make a school marketing plan?
A school marketing plan that meets the needs can be made keeping the following questions in mind:
- What are the primary and secondary goals?
- Who is your target audience?
- What are the pain points of the target audience?
- What are your competitors doing?
4. Is marketing needed in schools?
Marketing should be an integral part of the schools for the following reasons:
- It helps to keep up with competitions.
- It connects with prospective parents who are looking for a school for their child.
- It attracts high-quality teaching staff.
- It improves brand image and unlocks growth opportunities.
Partner with LEAD
LEAD is empowering 2,000+ schools across India. We are the country's top school academic and marketing solutions provider, empowering schools to grow and succeed. We offer end-to-end solutions, helping our partnering schools with everything, from defining curriculum for the students to boosting their student enrollment numbers. We bring the best school ed-tech solutions to help schools deliver the best learning experience to the students and write big growth stories for self. Learn more about LEAD solutions here.
If you're struggling with school marketing or want to take your school to the next level, connect with us today Partner with LEAD and lead with an edge