What Every School Owner Should Know about School Marketing
For so many years I have watched the gradual change in our education sector in the country. It is not just in how schools educate their students but the parents’ choices in how their children are educated and by whom. The COVID-19 pandemic brought about even more changes that will continue well beyond the life of the virus.
Parents are even more aware of the choices they make, especially when it comes to the issue of school, be it public or private. This means that schools should do more in marketing themselves to parents and prospective students.
Marketing now is far more competitive than it used to be. In the early days, there were few radio and TV stations, but now there are many of them. This same scenario applies to schools. There used to be one school in the neighborhood, and only those few families who could afford to send children to a boarding school had any choice about where to send their children.
Now there are a whole lot of choices, and income or location is not the only deciding factor. School marketing, done right, is a multi-branched approach, and putting together a comprehensive marketing strategy is necessary.
Getting Noticed Requires a School Marketing Plan
How do you get your message heard by parents in the midst of much information trying to grab their attention? You must develop and implement a marketing strategy to be heard and found.
In a bid to restrict ads targeting parents, they’ve learned to block ads, phone calls, and emails. It is really going to be hard for ad agencies to keep their checks rolling in since most of their revenue comes from running ads like these.
As reported by marketing Don Jeff Bullas, inbound marketing generates 54% more leads than advertising, and the cost is 62% lower cost, generating 3x the number of leads.
What is inbound marketing? It is about building and fostering trust – showing the value in your school’s expertise through a school marketing plan. The goal is to draw prospective students or their parents to you instead of chasing them around.
What Makes Your School Stand Out?
One thing you should know is that you are not the only school trying to get parents’ attention. This should prompt you to put extra effort into your marketing strategy. The first thing you need to do is recognize what your strength as a school is – what is that thing that sets you apart uniquely from other schools.
The following are typical areas of interest for parents:
- Proximity to home
- STEM / STEAM
- Athletic options/Extra-curricular activities
- Special education
- State-of-the-Art facilities
- Teacher experience/skills/training
- Religious Teaching
- After-school programs
- Parent involvement
Once you’ve selected the areas of interest for your target audience, you can begin to write a more formalized plan that will include inbound digital marketing, website content marketing, and keyword emphasis to improve your website search engine optimization.
School Owners Take Note:
Unfortunately, many school owners are fond of doing nothing to address their declining enrollment until it affects the programs and classes, or their revenue. Because private education is funded by a sole owner or non-governmental bodies, they feel totally responsible for maintaining the requisite income to keep things moving.
Marketing includes keeping current students happy with the services they are receiving, providing excellent customer service to parents, and helping them to feel like valued members of the educational team.
And, how do effective school owners succeed with goals to improve marketing, increase enrollment, and improve branding and reputation? The same way all businesses do it. They put together a marketing plan that helps them accomplish their goals.
It doesn’t have to be complex, and we recommend that you select just one area to focus on at a time. Create content that will provide parents with the information they are seeking and then use social media marketing and your marketing plan to stay in touch.