With all the activities and noise that tends to happen on day by day basis, many schools tend to be in a reactive mode versus proactive when thinking about marketing. Usually, schools will rely on word of mouth, private school directories, community activities and sporadic social media posts to get the word out. Very few schools are taking the time to actively plan and distribute their digital story, hence why private schools have been struggling to continue increasing student enrollment.
To truly increase school enrollment, there needs to be a full coordinated effort and long-term plan. The good news is, the plan is fairly simple. Tell your digital story over the course of a year, then rinse and repeat.
What is a Digital Story, and Why Does My School Need One?
For those that don’t know what a digital story is, it’s the narrative to what makes your school special.
Why should parents care?
What do you offer that others don’t?
What is your brand?
Do you have new and innovative programs, a unique culture, specialized classes or something you feel should be drawing attention?
Do some internal fact-finding about all the things that make you great, then work with a well-established marketing agency to tell that story. The goal is to tell this story over different mediums within the next 12 months. However, before you tell this story, you need to make sure you do some housekeeping. Your first line of defence is your website; this is where most of the magic happens; it is where parents will land and determine if what they see, meets their needs. Your website should be updated with clean-cut visuals and be easy to navigate. There need to be calls to actions and wow factors that draw in your ideal audience. Your values and unique offerings need to stand out right away.
Don’t Forget The Content
The next step is creating the content required to articulate your brand messaging properly. There is a wide variety of ways you can go about this, including:
- SEO Friendly website content
- Photos, etc.
Create A Customer Profile
Once you’ve created this wonderful content or leveraged an agency to create all of this for you, you can then move to the next phase, which is creating a customer profile.
Who are the people that should be in front of your digital story?
What do they like?
Where do they go?
Ideally, you would want to find marketing companies that have solid relationships with Google to gain access to all this information for you.
Putting this Information into Action
Once you’ve figured out who your target audience is, then it’s time to start positioning all the wonderful things that make your school amazing in front of them. This is when Google Ads, SEO, Social Media and other forms of Paid Media comes into play.
You’ll be leveraging all that juicy content you have and start monitoring how successful it is through the interactions it receives. This is when having a tool to track and monitor all your advertising efforts comes in handy.
Most schools don’t have full visibility into all their marketing efforts, and this is why they are unable to measure their results. It is also very important to know and understand your seasonality; you don’t want to waste resources and money during times when people won’t be listening. TechWyse was able to access a report from Google because of their partnership to evaluate the seasonality of searches on google for private schools.
The advantages of understanding your seasonality will assist in your long-term advertising spend. Take the time to assess what your seasonality is, so you only spend money in the months that will have a greater ROI.
There are many ways you can tell your digital story; however, what’s important is taking the time to plan, execute and monitor the entire journey. Having a full plan of attack every year will assist in hitting your enrollment targets year over year. Take the time and effort needed to deploy consistent messaging yourself or choose an agency to do the heavy lifting.