Let’s talk about free and effective marketing strategies to increase student enrollment! As summer kicks off, your school kickstarts recruiting new students to join your school community in the fall. As for parents, they will scour the internet for information on the best school option for their kids for the coming school year. When someone is looking for information, what do they do? They Google it.
Search traffic accounts for around 50-60% of your small school website’s traffic; it is important that your SEO, website, and advertising are in top-top shape to help your team reach its enrollment goals. This is fact: your school needs to be searchable. Much like advertising a local business, there is an opportunity to advertise your small school outside of traditional means through Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business).
What is Google Business Profile?
We’ve written about Google Business Profile in the past— this is a free tool as part of marketing strategies to increase student enrollment! Google Business Profile is a Google profile your small school can create that allows you to connect with your school communities and directly track online performance and appearance through Google metrics. This tool also allows you to be able to add your school’s location and contact information, as well as show community reviews and interactions with your communities.
For example, check out the formatting for the Design TLC page below:
There are several assets that make a strong Google Business Profile to impress Google searchers. Note the different items listed above: Address (connected with Google Maps), service options and hours, contact information, website link, reviews, and uploaded photos. Any initial questions about Design TLC can be answered within the Google Business Profile. You can learn how to set up a Google Business Profile here.
Benefits of Google Business Profile for School Enrollment
The list of benefits Google Business Profile can provide your school is endless. For example, one of the greatest assets of Google Business Profile is the reviews, where happy parents and school families can share their experiences with your school (see note below on Google’s approach to displaying reviews for schools, which has been inconsistent). This helps make a strong first impression on parents who find your school in their search queries. Additionally, another strong asset of Google Business Profile is the map searches. Your Google Business Profile page is the key to appearing on map searches for Google users!
Below, we’ll dig into the top advantages of using Google Business Profile that your small school can benefit from for new student recruitment purposes.
Local SEO Boost with Google Maps
Ranking higher in Google searches is critical to reaching your school’s recruitment goals. If interested parents aren’t finding your school information within the first page of their Google search results, they will likely move on to their next search without seeing your school website at all.
This is where Google Business Profile comes in. When you create a Google Business Profile account for your school, Google Maps is directly connected to your account. This connection will allow your school website to be featured in more local searches, like “private preschool near me” or “private school in Charlotte, NC,” for example, thus boosting the local SEO of your website as search results are more localized.
Additional Communication Channel
Though Google Business Profile may be overlooked as a channel of communication, it really can boost first impressions of your school online. Don’t forget to include it in your marketing strategies to increase student enrollment. This is possible through the inclusion of customer reviews in your Google Business Profile. Online reviews are a necessary portion of your small school’s online presence, especially in the case of recruiting new students.
As you can see in the photo above, there are several good reviews left for this small school. Highlighting reviews of this nature may increase parent interest and entice them to reach out to your staff for enrollment information.
It is important to note that the ability to leave reviews for a small school through Google Business Profile was previously revoked for a short period of time due to an influx of fraudulent, negative reviews, despite the reviews’ critical role in school marketing. Without online reviews, parents may feel the school loses the credibility they are looking for when researching small schools. Though reviews are no longer revoked from a private school’s Google Business Profile profile, not every school is able to see their profile online. If you are not sure if your school’s reviews are showing, go to Google Maps and search for your school to confirm.
Reviews are very important in search marketing, and while Google’s reviews stand out, schools should always consider their reviews on other platforms in light of Google’s inconsistent policy toward showing school reviews.
Engagement Metrics and Insight
Google Business Profile can also contribute to your school’s marketing strategies to increase student enrollment with insights and metrics on how your Business profile is performing. This helps locate strengths and weaknesses within your profile and allows you to see how internet searchers are interacting with your Google Business Profile content. The insights can track how many people are visiting your school website, customer interactions, new reviews, updated search engine results, trends over 30, 60, and 90 day periods, etc. You can use these metrics to understand how parents and potential school families are using the information published on your Google Business Profile.
Though navigating metrics and other insights may seem overwhelming at first, it is incredibly helpful data that can help navigate your school’s strategy to encourage more recruitments for the new school year.
Like a school website, Google Business Profile offers a visual window into your school community in several ways. A great function of Google Business Profile is the ability to upload photos to your profile. This can include photos of the school facilities, snapshots of school events, faculty photos, etc. It is an opportunity to show a few sneak peeks of how great your small school is!
Additionally, another boost of visibility that Google Business Profile offers is showing featured local listings at the top of Google searches. The top three search results (which could be your school!) will be listed as a Google Local 3-pack, and guarantees increased visibility as your school will be in the top three search results when parents are researching small schools in their area. This not only increases visibility of your small school, but also increases credibility and will encourage parents to do more research.
Google Business Profile is a chance for your small school to stand out against competitors and attract interested school parents from the first Google search. To ensure your recruiting efforts are headed in the right direction this summer, set your school up for success and build your Google Business Profile account!
Contact Us for Website Marketing Strategies to Increase Student Enrollment
Do you need help setting up your Google Business Profile account, or need support utilizing the platform to its top potential? Look no further– the team at Design TLC is ready to help you reach your student recruitment goals and achieve your dream school website. Contact us TODAY for a FREE 15-minute consultation.