Increase your school enrollments through inbound marketing.

If you can get a prospective parent to visit your school, their likelihood of applying skyrockets as high as 80% (according to research). But you have to make them WANT to visit you in the first place. And therein lies your biggest school marketing challenge. This is where inbound marketing shines.

Image Source: Palmer Ad Agency

World’s leading marketing agency Hubspot defined inbound marketing as a marketing strategy focused on attracting customers through relevant and helpful content and adding value at every stage in your customer’s buying journey. With inbound marketing, potential customers find you through channels like blogs, search engines, and social media.

In context, Inbound marketing is an internet-based marketing strategy that involves creating relevant, engaging online content that draws potential families to your schools, establishes a relationship with them, and in so doing, convinces them to enroll.Have you noticed that most schools no longer print flyers to distribute (randomly ) to prospective parents and the number of newspaper (and other print media) adverts of schools are not what it used to be before?

Photo credit: Riverside College,

The idea that the traditional means of advertising are falling by the wayside with today’s audiences (i.e., parents of little ones) in favor of non-intrusive online engagement. Outbound marketing which is the traditional marketing is not only expensive, it is intrusive, not effective, time-consuming, energy-sapping, and non targeted.

In simpler terms, Inbound marketing is an online marketing strategy. We all engage in it every time. NO big deal! If your school has a facebook & Instagram page, SchoolsCompass page, Whatsapp group of prospects, blog page etc, you are already implementing inbound marketing.

The big deal is:

  • How well do you use it?
  • What type of contents are you churning out to who?
  • What medium are you using?

Your ability to answer these questions correctly determines how effective your inbound marketing strategy would be.

SchoolsCompass is a startup that specializes in carrying out inbound marketing strategies for schools, so we are understandably biased towards the decision to use ourselves as an example in this blog. But there is a reason we exist, and why we’re passionate about helping schools like yours achieve your enrollment goals and project their brand through inbound strategies: because to do it right on your own takes an immense amount of time and possibly costs more. And just as many schools are tight on money, we know that their staff is likewise pretty short on time to handle it in-house, too. In order to identify a good inbound marketing strategy for your schools, let us examine some of its characteristics

1. Targets parents through online platforms such as blogs, social media and search engines:

 

Any inbound platform that is not accessible through consistent blog posts, social media, and most importantly, search engines cannot be said to be very effective because these are places you can target parents genuinely looking for schools.

SchoolsCompass has all these in excess -arguably, it is the most visited school-related website in Nigeria and the most optimized website for school-related keywords

 

2. Attention is a Finite Resource:

Photo Credit: STARFIELD COLLEGE, ABUJA

 

According to a recent survey by Microsoft, the average human’s attention span has decreased from 12 seconds to eight seconds. Good inbound marketing strategy understands that attention span of online readers is very short- therefore it  pushes ONLY what is relevant in a non clustered form preferably in bullet points with the right spacing so that eyes can rest before reading the next points. Your school’s profile (if well done by you) on  schoolscompass understands this psychology

 

 

3. Earn parents’ interest  rather than buying it

Photo: SchoolsCompass.com.ng Homepage

Any marketing strategy that is not forceful in approach is considered to be the best. How well would you describe the SchoolsCompass tagline;  ‘we guide, you decide’?  It is not just in words, but in deeds whenever we are relating with parents.

 

4. It is permission-based, not interruption-based

Imagine a room filled with parents looking for schools and you are asked to come and pitch (not preach)  your school to them. Your chances of conversion is 750% higher than interruption-based marketing.

SchoolsCompass is one of the few places you could advertise your schools where prospective parents are actually looking for you and you aren’t interrupting them. Most social media campaigns are interruption-based. No wonder, SchoolsCompass routes a minimum of 25 families to different schools all over Nigeria via telephone calls and text message on a daily basis.

If you need an effective and non-intrusive, well researched inbound marketing strategy for your school to attract parents, SchoolsCompass is an option you can’t afford to ignore.

 

5 tips to increase your enrollment this September

According to a recent research conducted by SchoolsCompass, an average parent changes school once every three years. And most of these changes take place at the beginning of every session- September . Top on the list of their reasons or change is unsatisfactory academic performance, relocation and economic reality.

Photo credit: Blooming greens School

As your schools wind up for the session, the race for September admission gets more intense. Yes, a lot of prospective parents could find their way into your admission office for inquiry. Chances are that they are also considering other schools making the competition tougher.

 

If you’re just hanging on and doing everything the way you did it last year and the one before simply because of busyness – or maybe just because you don’t feel like anything needs changing – then you could be missing plenty of opportunities for reaching and enrolling new families.

 

Here are 5 things you should do to take advantage of this peak season:

1. Insist on initial commitment before any negotiation/consensus 

Photo credit: Naija Going Abroad

This is probably the litmus test to know how committed prospective parents are. Most of the times, it is masked in ‘Application Form’.  The idea behind this is not to force parents to enroll their wards but to extract a little commitment, avoid time wasters and enables you to focus all your strategies and energy on ‘Serious People ONLY’ for optimal performance.

2. Push the Panic Button 

Photo credit: First Things

Encourage parents who enroll in say less than say 15 days from the day of their first inquiry or visit.  Give a little discount say 5% of tuition fee to push the panic button could go a long way to sway a decision in your favor. You may end up spending more-  in time and other resources if you have to follow up on them just because it takes them a longer time to decide.

 

3. Help them complete the admission form

Photo credit: Albesta Academy

Where possible, go through and complete the application form with them to understand and address possible reservations and roadblocks in your questions. If they don’t have instant answers to these questions while completing it at home, it may cause other rounds of decision making which may or may not favor your school.

 

4. Give them something to remember about your school

Photo credit: Concordia Junior Academy, Yola

A simple branded pen or exercise book, when taken home after visiting your school could create a ‘top of the mind’ awareness about your school. When it is time to make a decision, the name of your school will always come to mind.  Call it a souvenir, you are on track.

5. Connect with them outside business

Photo credit: Rainbow College

Let prospective parents know that you also value the relationship with them beyond enrolling their ward in your school. Remember, they left their businesses to visit your business premises, show them you also care about their businesses as well. Take pictures with them and connect them on social media where necessary. With this, you are not just a prospective client, you are a friend and most people buy from friends.

WHY STUDENTS CHEAT AND WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT IT

Dubbing, Scopes, Expo, Giraffing, –if you have passed through the Nigerian school system you are sure to have come across these slangs being thrown around or you might have even used them yourself. Cheating, as we have witnessed in schools, encompasses homework, class tests, school exams and government board exams; and with the internet making things a lot faster and easier for everyone, plagiarism and electronic cheating can easily be done without the educator even realizing the act has been perpetuated. As cheating in schools grows to epidemic proportions, Nigerian private schools are not spared from its onslaught. In fact, in their own warped form of parent-teacher association, there have been many reported incidences of parents and teachers colluding to help students gain the unfair advantage on tests and exams. So why do students cheat? What can you as a school administrator do to prevent cheating in your school? Read on, as we analyze this pressing issue and outline the three major reasons why students cheat and methods you can adopt to prevent and curb this now.

 

All the Accolades, None of the Effort
Most students want all the credit that comes with having good grades without actually putting in the work. When it comes to homework or projects, students are typically caught plagiarizing by lifting whole pages of text from guidebooks or even going online to copy and rephrase other people’s work. The average student today is lethargic when it comes to doing any sort of work –

Source: The White Dove Schools

homework, school work, housework, you name it. Growing up in the internet age where years of manual labour have been reduced and automated to a single click of a button has helped reinforce this mentality in their minds. And so when it comes to tests and exams, their thoughts are focused erroneously on how to get the most results – good grades, in the shortest amount of time without putting in the work – studying and practising. Cheating to get ahead is the best route for this students.

 

What’s in it for me?
With the likes of Big Brother Nigeria and fast-to-fame musicians gracing their television screens, students are gradually losing faith and trust in the traditional and academic route to success. Students in this age have idolized celebrities who make it to the limelight without passing through the traditional route of academics and respectable careers, or without having put in substantial amount of academic work to gain success. The typical student has now accepted that academic excellence does not equate to success in the future and has set his mind to do whatever it takes to rush through the system and start working on other routes to success. So while in school, they cheat because they do not see the overall value of the system, and want to “fulfil all righteousness” to please their parents, educators and school/government boards.

All A+, no A-

Source: The Bells Comprehensive Secondary School.

Unrealistic expectations from parents and educators, also contribute to the high rate of cheating in schools. Students typically feel pressured to achieve academic feats that are beyond their cognitive capacity. Parents are the number one source of this pressure, which they pile on by verbally and sometimes physically assaulting their children or by unfairly comparing them to their mates. This negatively affects the child’s self-esteem and puts them under undue pressure to perform in order to maintain a peaceful state at home. Teachers are also not spared from this as they are constantly being pressured by school administrators to deliver top-performing students consistently every year. This pressure trickles down from the teachers to the students again and adds to the overwhelming pressure faced by students. Students end up cheating in order to please both parties in such a situation.

 

So, what can be done about this?

 

 

First and foremost, schools must develop and enforce zero tolerance policies for cheating and ensure that teachers are at the forefront of enforcement. Schools must stay vigilant and updated on all the new forms of cheating especially electronic cheating and online plagiarism as students now have unlimited and unsupervised access to mobile phones and the internet. Weave ethical behaviour lessons into the curriculum thereby inspiring students to act ethically when it comes to cheating and plagiarism,

Source: Grenville Schools

not just in class and in the here and now, but also in the future in their careers and businesses. Teachers also, must make the whole learning experience and curriculum exciting and engaging while teaching real-life value and application of every topic taught in the classroom. Students must be counselled to understand the important role academics and education plays in the lives and future career paths.

 

Conclusion
While strong and effective disciplinary actions are necessary, it is imperative that school administrators properly understand the problem of cheating in their schools and what motivates students to perpetuate these acts. In so doing you will be able to properly address the situation with any of our suggested approaches or any other method that you feel will suit your school. How are you dealing with cheating in your school? Let us know in the comment below.

First published by Allprotech

The ACE of your ‘Admission Funnel’

September 2018 is just around the corner. This is probably the busiest period for your admission office this year. And  If you have a dedicated line for your prospective parents’ enquiry, you may have to invest in a ‘power bank’ so your phone does not go off.

As the list of prospects grows, you begin to figure out the percentage of these parents that will finally make it to the final line – the Enrollment. Typically, for an average school, it is 10% and could be far more or less in some schools.

In order to increase this number,  It is important to understand the various steps/stages parents go through in their journey to finally enrol their wards in your school.

 

The stages are called ACE: A for Awareness, C for Consideration, and E for Enrolment.

 

Awareness

This is the stage with the highest number of prospects. Depending on what works for you –  your advert budget, class of parents you are targeting, etc. there are different tools you can use to create awareness to more prospects. They include but not limited to

  1. Your website
  2. Social media – Facebook Instagram
  3. Dedicated sites for school marketing like schoolscompass and others
  4. Google AdWords
  5. Flyers and billboards
  6. End of year events that attract more families especially neighbours
  7. Branded schools bus
  8. Your brand and reputation as a school

 

Considerations

After the awareness, the next step is the consideration. Parents prefer to visit the school for a first-hand view. They can even go further to write your entrance examination depending on how they got to learn about your school and of course, their need.

Your goal here is to push them to the next and final stage and this is where the bulk of your job is. Truthfully, a lot of factors determine your success here- some are beyond your control, some are not.

Photo credit: Glowing Ages Academy, Abuja

Here are some of the tools you can also use (in no particular order) to increase your chances:

  1. Make sure you address their needs whenever they call for an enquiry or pay you a visit
  2. Have a well structured but personalized strategy for your prospects
  3. Let them know your strength as a school and try not to cover up where you are not good at. A lot of parents understand that you can not have it all
  4. Use 3rd party to speak about your school – this is called Multi-level marketing (MLM)

 

Enrollment

Photo credit: MakingMyDreamComesTrue

This is the finishing line where the holy books say ‘many are called, few are chosen’. If you get them to this stage, you sure deserve a cup of coffee.  Available data shows that less than 2% of those who start from awareness get to this point. The rule of thumb is not to attempt to increase this percentage, rather, strive  to increase the value of your 2% by increasing the number from the awareness stage and retaining some at the consideration stage using some of the tools highlighted plus the ones you know that already work for your school

 

For the purpose of illustration, let’s work with 2% conversion rate which means that if 100 parents know about your school, only 2 of them would eventually enroll their wards. The number reduces as they cascade through your ‘sales funnel’. I know the statistic is scary but that is the reality.

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