Marketing Strategies for Private Schools
Digital marketing strategies are becoming more and more valuable for private schools. Not only are they the most cost effective and measurable way to market to parents, but they also have a proven success rate in increasing school enrolments. Parents are now conducting the majority of their initial research online and it’s important to give your school online visibility through the most effective private school marketing strategies.
Here are our top six private school marketing strategies that have the power to increase your enrolments in the most cost effective way. Discover just how effective digital marketing can be for your school’s online presence and growth.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) & Google Ads
When you type ‘best private school in…’ into Google, what appears at the top of your search results? If it’s not your school, you want it to be! How can you make that happen? Through search engine optimisation, or as it’s most commonly known, SEO. Parents begin researching potential schools long before enrolment and you need to be on their radar from the very beginning. Effective SEO will boost your ranking in Google search results and increase traffic to your website. If your school website is sitting a few pages in, you’ll likely remain undiscovered. SEO will optimise your website’s content, making your school more visible across digital platforms.
The world of SEO may seem complex, however understanding the basics will put you on the front foot in the digital world. Start by conducting keyword research to understand your school’s current SEO position and to get a better idea on which keywords are driving traffic to your website, as well as your competitors’. Once you’ve completed the initial research, it’s time to start including keywords in your website’s content and to develop a focus on link building.
SEO practice is constantly evolving, and it’s not an approach that can be applied once and once only. Keep on top of your SEO strategy and you’ll increase your school’s credibility, whilst maintaining a high search engine ranking.
To get the most out of your SEO efforts, Google Ads should be used to compliment your strategy. This will prevent any gaps and give you a headstart in launching your keyword strategy.
Google Ads will allow you to advertise to parents at the moment they begin researching schools in their local area. Your ads need to include thought-provoking copy and should direct parents to a landing page that’s specifically tailored to meet their requirements and answer their questions. This will ensure maximum results for each visit.
You can easily measure your return on investment with Google Ads and you have the ability to pause underperforming ads and boost those that are doing well.
SEO and Google Ads go hand in hand and should be used cohesively in private school marketing strategies.
A Successful Website
A successful website is one that is designed for conversion. It should be easy to navigate and offer valuable information for those interested in learning more about your school. If you have already, or intend to put an SEO strategy in place; it’s crucial that you’re driving traffic to a well designed and user-friendly website.
More than simply a space to store information about your school; a website can become a sales tool that never switches off, creating the opportunity to increase enrolments 24/7. It’s a great opportunity to display your school’s brand and mission, and is one of the simplest ways to capture your intended audience’s attention and leave a lasting impression.
When developing your school’s website, some key points to remember are:
- Consider the layout carefully and choose fonts, colours and photos that are consistent with your brand image.
- Include all information that is relevant to your intended audience.
- Think about the questions they’ll ask upon landing on your website and try to answer these in a clear and concise way.
- Include a blog! This will help the effectiveness of your SEO strategy and ensure you remain current. It’s also a great way to engage existing parents, students and the wider school community.
- Avoid dead end pages by ensuring every landing page has a next step. This could be a link to another page, a call-to-action or a form.
- Integrate your social media accounts. They are incredibly important to your audience and are where all your most up-to-date content lives.
- Provide an easy means of contact on your website and give visitors a number of options, including an online enquiry form. Different forms of contact will be appealing to different types of people and it’s important to cover all bases if you want your audience to take the next step towards conversion.
- Be sure to also include direct messaging functionality, with either live chat or an automated response.
- What makes your school unique? Remember to highlight the components of your school and your approach to learning that will resonate with your intended audience.
One of the most important steps in developing a website is to ensure its mobile compatible. If your content can be easily accessed across every browser, your SEO will benefit and you’ll increase the likelihood of conversion. Create a fast and responsive website to ensure each visitor has a positive experience. A good website will make a great first impression and is likely to influence a prospective parent’s perception of a school. A well maintained website is a simple private school marketing strategy that will continuously help you to increase enrolments.
Social media is potentially one of the strongest tools in private school marketing. It increases retention, can be used to create measurable campaigns and has the largest reach, allowing you to connect with new families and prospective students.
Firstly, you need to build a strong online presence by establishing your school on each social platform. It’s then important to keep followers engaged through interesting and consistent content. Develop a posting schedule to ensure you’re posting several times a week, ask followers questions to drive engagement and reply to comments on all platforms. Facebook can also be useful for posting events, running polls and starting conversations that will bring your community together. Be sure to create a LinkedIn page for your school to keep past students and parents engaged in a professional manner.
Secondly, social media can be used to run campaigns, specifically through Facebook, Instagram and YouTube Ads. Facebook and Instagram advertising is great for targeting a specific audience and can also be used for remarketing, which allows you to directly advertise to parents who have visited your website or viewed your other ads.
A successful social media ad needs to be creative and should include eye-catching imagery and interesting copy. It should always include a clear call-to-action, preferably as the title of the ad. It’s also important to create separate ads for each of your platforms to ensure you can measure their performance accurately. Organisation is key when it comes to executing an effective social media campaign. You can access a social media planning sheet in our Marketing For Schools Toolkit.
Newsletters are an important private school marketing strategy for a number of different reasons. They’re a low-cost promotional marketing tool that can be tailored to deliver personalised messages to specific audiences. They provide an insight of day-to-day school life for prospective, current and past parents. It creates a home-to-school connection and ensures you maintain a strong level of communication with parents.
Why is this important for prospective parents?
A newsletter will give parents a taste of what it will be like to be a part of your school community. They will be interested in seeing how different schools communicate news, events and other important information. Make it evident that communication with families is important and show your willingness to maintain a strong sense of community spirit.
Parents want to stay well-informed about what’s happening at school and a newsletter is the best way to keep them in the loop. We recommend creating an e-newsletter that parents can receive in their inbox or view online. This also creates another opportunity for you to showcase your most valuable content.
Create Engaging Video Content
Content creation for schools has evolved in recent years and many schools now use videos as a tool to build brand awareness and reach new audiences. YouTube is an incredibly beneficial platform when it comes to advertising for schools and is useful for reaching a huge audience. Video content is far more effective than both written and photographic content, giving it a pivotal role in your private school marketing strategies.
There are several different types of ads you can run on YouTube with a variety of audience targeting options. You have the ability to target audiences based on their interests, clicks and search history. It’s a great advertising platform for schools and can be hugely successful in building your brand and progressing parents to the stage of enrolment enquiry.
Alongside video content for YouTube, explore filming shorter content for your social media channels. Start by using a camera or smartphone to capture moments on campus, showcase what your school has to offer and “go live” on Instagram and Facebook to give your audience an authentic experience.
Down the track you may see the benefit of investing in a professional videographer who can work with you to create unique and engaging content that will set your school above the rest. Production and editing costs will be involved, however you can’t underestimate the return on investment when it comes to video content. The lifespan of a video is far longer than any traditional or print form of advertising material and it has the potential to reach a massive audience.
Write a School Blog
Not only does a blog strengthen your SEO strategy, but it’s also a very effective way to engage staff, students and parents. Search for topical content to write about, include guest bloggers and give students the opportunity to publish articles.
A blog is a major green light for prospective parents who are exploring your website. It shows the creative and cultural side to your school and gives parents an insight into the extracurricular activities available to their child, alongside the learning experience.
The key to a successful blog is to include information that parents and students find useful, interesting or entertaining. You can also incorporate keywords throughout posts to boost the page’s search engine ranking, which will add to your SEO success.
Creating a blog is the first step, however maintaining and updating it will determine its effectiveness. A blog that is untouched and gathering dust on your website can present your school in a negative way. Stay ahead of the game by creating a posting schedule similar to your social media schedule.
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