When it comes to marketing schools, it’s important to have a well-established marketing mix. A marketing mix is simply having the right variation of different marketing strategies to reach your audience in the most effective manner. With school, it’s essential to use modes of communication that will reach not only the students but also the parents of those kids to increase the number of people viewing your efforts. Some of the most notable ways to reach schools can be through social media, search engine optimization (SEO), and email campaigns. While establishing a quality marketing mix is an important step, if you don’t market to the right people, you shouldn’t expect good results from your efforts. One reason that parents are an effective demographic to target is that they are more likely than not to remind their children and encourage them to participate in the different programs or events their school (or future school) offers. However, your market shouldn’t be limited to just parents. Students and siblings are two groups that should be prioritized just as much. Keeping in mind that they are kids and teens, we want to expose them to strategies that will be most effective for their age groups. Two stand-out approaches include, but are not limited to, social media marketing and print marketing. This is because students and teens are always surrounded by these two tactics, which in turn have the best lasting impact on them.
Your website is key
The forefront of your marketing strategy begins with your website. This is the first thing that most parents, students, or prospective families go to look at to find out information about your school and what you have to offer. First, your website needs to be constructed in a way that serves both computer and mobile users. Mobile accessibility is becoming increasingly popular, and navigation on that platform is key to being user-friendly. In addition, you will have greater success with your website model if you factor in what questions your audience wants answers to and where to find those answers in the quickest and easiest way possible. Common information that is always useful to your audience includes a calendar with important dates, school policies and standards, athletics information, registration instructions for programs, classes, and events, and most importantly, contact information for all departments or high-value employees. Furthermore, graphics and videography are great additions to show viewers the quality of experience gained when enrolling at your school. After your design and content have been thoroughly planned, it’s vital that your SEO strategy be implemented.
Also read: Best Practices for K12 Education Marketing
SEO Marketing Strategy:
Using SEO is a great way to gain a competitive advantage over others. SEO, or search engine optimization, can be described as altering your content so that it has the most relevance in your industry. To expand on that, SEO strategies always include a plan to analyze keywords and phrases. But before this can be done, Search Analytics is a vital tool to identify what searches are trending. After research has been completed about what people are searching for or querying about in your industry, in this case, schools, we want to alter our content to include more of that specific text. Why is this important? With a proper website SEO strategy in place, school websites will become the most relevant sites in tandem with what people are searching for about schools and will appear at the top of search pages. Another aspect of a well-rounded SEO strategy is analyzing backlinks. Backlinks are a way to expand the reach of your website. These are created through websites relevant to your agency that find content that could be interesting or useful for their audience and create a link that sends viewers to your page. Think of it as expanding your “network” so that you have more people helping promote your page. Lastly, these links can also be used within your own website to direct people to a part of it at the click of a button, providing efficiency to your users.
The Advantages of Email Marketing:
When students in grades K–8 think of email, most of them are not intrigued by the idea or find it to have little to no significance in their day-to-day lives. However, the ones that always use their email are the parents, regardless of age, and teens in higher grades (9–12). Email campaigns are some of the most effective modes of communication because they allow students and parents to be informed of any news regarding their school or a prospective school. Furthermore, parents are more likely to relay and remind their kids about the information presented to them. These emails contain anything from health and safety updates to upcoming events to updates on sports and active clubs, etc. One of the most popular email campaigns involves a weekly newsletter to the school’s community, keeping families updated. Another great advantage is how low-cost this strategy is to reach the majority of people as efficiently as possible.
Social media is required in schools.
Especially when we are working with teenagers, marketers need to understand their audience and anticipate what platforms they are most likely to interact with. Without question, social media is the biggest way schools can connect with students and, more importantly, preserve that connection with engaging content. Furthermore, schools should never be limited to having one account; clubs and different school organizations should all have their own page that promotes what they offer their students. Platforms that can reach both parents and students include YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. It is safe to say that the more effort you put into your content, the more engagement you will receive across these platforms. That’s why offering promotional videos and other creative content that will spark interest in your audience is crucial to success.
Manifesting Community Loyalty:
Lastly, when working with schools, one of the more creative ways of gaining awareness and increasing public relations is by using other local businesses to form partnerships with your school. For example, many schools utilize popular restaurants to fundraise and gain awareness of what they are doing by encouraging students and parents to purchase a meal, which would then send a portion of their profits to your school to support various programs. Another popular marketing technique schools use partnerships is volunteer work, with the main goal of showing their effort to give back to their community. In turn, this will draw the attention of other media outlets (news teams, local journalists, etc.), who will then promote your institution further.