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Summer is in full swing, and your school planning for the next year is well underway by now. Between rearranging school calendars and creating virtual events, to adjusting curriculum and match remote learning requirements, you’re most likely up to your elbows in prepwork for the fall. To add to the laundry list, summer is also the time to update your school marketing strategies. 

Updating your school marketing strategies can help increase enrollment, strengthen your marketing funnels, and boost engagements with members of your school community. Before spending any time planning new marketing efforts, dedicate time to do the messy work: research. This is one of the most important long term marketing strategies that can always use some touch up; effective market research can take your efforts from mediocre to outstanding.

Research can range from studying your market competition to analyzing your marketing funnels and finding the gaps in your conversion rates. Ask yourself the hard marketing questions again:

  • Who are your people? 
  • What do they want, and what are you giving them? 
  • How have their experiences with your school adjusted over the last semester? 
  • What are their pain points?

Join online forums, talk with your community members, invest time in learning SEO and keyword research to catapult your school marketing to the next level. Research is so important to do before implementing new marketing strategies – blind research is ineffective. 

After identifying the updated goals and needs of your audiences, it’s time to brainstorm marketing strategies that reflect these needs. 

Check your marketing funnel health 

Google Analytics is your friend here. Analyzing the strength of your marketing funnels is crucial to understanding where people are falling off your site and where the gaps are in your marketing efforts. Google Analytics can help you track page views, bounce rates, conversions, page visitor behavior, and more. 

Here’s a scenario where understanding your marketing funnel health is important: your school families’ lives look a lot different now regarding their freetime and general lifestyle with their children. Your marketing strategies need to reflect their change in needs. 

For example, education has been so virtual and online-heavy, meaning the attention span of parents and their children are shrinking. If a marketing effort of yours is to host a one hour virtual school orientation, working parents with busybody children at home may not be as engaged with the orientation because of everything else around them. Adjusting to their needs is crucial to make your marketing effective; in this case, provide shorter orientations. Check out our webinar on marketing funnels for more information on how to enhance your funnel health. 

Revamp social media and digital marketing 

A solid first step to enhance your social media marketing efforts is to boost posts. Boosting a post means promoting content you’ve already created instead of publishing an ad. Boosting posts increases organic traffic to your social media pages and your school website, and boosted posts are pretty easy to manage. Only boost your school’s most popular content so you get the most bang for your buck. 

Facebook ads are another budget-friendly way to market your school during the summer months. To send out effective ads that support your marketing goals, it’s important to make sure the ads are reaching the right audiences (which is where your research comes in). Facebook is a great tool for schools to utilize over the summer because you can refine your target audiences very specifically down to keywords that describe your school communities. This saves you money over running ads in traditional marketing materials like print, radio, etc. because you know you are only paying for and reaching audiences who will be interested in your message. 

Add a Call To Action to your website 

To keep interested families, students, faculty, community members, etc. on your website for longer, add and interactive element to your homepage, specifically a call to action. This will decrease your bounce rate and keep people on your webpages for longer. A call to action is designed to increase engagements and generate leads, such as encouraging families to sign up for the quarterly school newsletter or asking them to fill out a survey. 

Begin a school blog or newsletter  

Having a blog that engages with your school community is a solid foundation to your content marketing strategy. It shows expertise in your industry, passion for your cause, and it provides additional information that your audiences might not have known they needed. The goal of your blog should be to gain the attention of your audiences and potential new families before they are looking for help. 

Summer is the perfect time to stack evergreen content for a school blog. Blog posts can relate to everyone in your school community: parents, students, faculty, donors, etc. and they are perfect opportunities to increase traffic to your website. Some schools find blogs difficult to maintain during the school year, so planning and writing content in the summer months is a great way to schedule out posts and ensure you’re remaining consistent in your content marketing strategy. 

There is a lot of creative wiggle room with blog writing. To decide on writing topics you must analyze your marketing funnels and decide what your audiences will find interesting. For example, if your private school prides itself on affordable tuition, a few blog posts could be centered around your school’s financial strategy. Take your marketing funnel conversion points and turn them into blog topics. Another creative blog idea is to involve your school community by having students and faculty contribute articles and videos. 

Design a word of mouth strategy 

Parents are more likely to enroll their children in programs they have heard good things about, whether from the internet or word of mouth. They trust genuine recommendations from friends and family over traditional advertisements. Word of mouth marketing is a smaller increment of marketing that can be incredibly impactful if implemented well, and there’s no better time to build a word of mouth strategy than over the summer. 

There can be multiple legs of a word of mouth strategy: user-generated content, online reviews, influencer marketing, social media, etc. One tactic for creating a word of mouth strategy is building a small team of ambassadors, possibly students or volunteers, to spread the word and organically market your school online. No financial strings attached, no ads, just real testimonies from real members of the school community who love to chat about your school. 

Despite all of the changes and updates your school is working around this summer, it’s important to keep your school marketing in mind as new families begin their school research and start thinking about enrollment. Contact us today if your school could benefit from updating your school marketing strategies. 

1 Comment

  1. Michael Connor on July 16, 2020 at 1:31 pm

    Good job, Emily. I liked the “hard” questions schools need to ask:
    • Who are your people?
    • What do they want, and what are you giving them?
    • How have their experiences with your school adjusted over the last semester?
    • What are their pain points?
    These questions must be answered if you want the rest of your tips to be most effective!
    We at Connor Associates have the tools and expertise needed to get answers from the standpoint of a neutral, third party, no horse in the race perspective. Find out more at http://www.connor-associates.com

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