The key to executing a successful digital marketing strategy for schools is planning for success. Many parents will begin researching schools long before their child is ready to enrol, so it’s important that your strategy not only engage and make a lasting impression, but that it also has the ability to re-engage and convert down the track. A digital marketing strategy will continue to work hard for your school if planned, developed and executed in a way that’s carefully considered, as well as data-driven.
Parents are predominantly using digital resources to learn about prospective schools, creating a huge opportunity for digital marketing strategies. You now have the power to target parents in the primary stages of research and continue to engage them, right up until it comes time to make the all-important decision. Online learning and events have become even more common this year, creating a strong argument in support of investing in digital strategies.
What does an effective digital marketing strategy for schools look like? Let’s unpack the vital components of a successful strategy to help you establish a well-planned and cost-effective campaign framework.
Shape Your Brand Identity
First things first, before you get started on the next digital marketing strategy for your school, it’s important to check in with your brand identity.
Have you worked incredibly hard on a flawless digital marketing campaign, only to be underwhelmed by its results? This could be the result of negative, preconceived opinions parents have of your school.
If you lay solid foundations for your school’s brand and develop a positive perception, your audience will be far more responsive to your digital marketing strategies and the results will follow suit.
Before you start planning your next campaign, do the groundwork and develop a better understanding of your audience and how they currently view your school.
Key Components for a Successful Digital Marketing Strategy
1. A Website Designed to Convert
Your digital marketing strategy should drive traffic to your school’s website. Design a platform that is user-friendly, informative and a great representation of your brand. Your website should be used to engage prospective families and convert them into enrolment enquiries. It’s also a great tool in supporting your brand’s foundation. Your website is the first touchpoint for many prospective parents, so it’s important to define your brand and shape your audience’s perception through your website experience.
Ensure parents can comfortably navigate your website and that the online enrolment process is easy to access. Provide a range of contact methods and give your audience the opportunity to get in touch through a method that suits them best. Using your website as an interactive platform is also a great way to strengthen user experience. This could include direct messaging functionality or a live chat option.
Be sure to update your website regularly with current information and creative content. This will not only help to support your digital marketing strategy, but it will keep the community engaged and informed about your school’s news, events and achievements.
Aesthetics aside, your website needs to be functional, fast-loading and mobile compatible. Before you invest in a digital marketing strategy for your school, ensure you’ve invested adequate time and money into a website that ticks all the boxes to drive conversion.
2. Visibility & An Effective SEO Strategy
A search engine optimisation strategy (SEO) will help attract and engage prospective parents and rapidly grow your school. Parents will go digital when researching schools and it’s important to be front and centre in their search results. An effective SEO strategy will allow you to achieve this visibility.
A good SEO strategy for your school will include creating keyword rich content that’s regularly updated. To maintain a top position in search engine results pages, your website’s content needs to be adapted to include regularly changing keywords. This means upholding a strong understanding of your audience and their search habits.
3. A Social Media Strategy
A successful digital marketing strategy for schools will always utilise social media as a key advertising tool. Social media is not only used to engage current families, but it can be useful in creating conversations and reaching new audiences through positive word of mouth.
Social media platforms can also be used to remarket to an existing audience. This will generate ads specifically tailored to align with their search history.
Social media strategy is the most cost-effective way to target a huge audience with content that is most relevant to them. Clearly identify your objectives before launching a new strategy and tailor your tactics accordingly. For example, if you have an open day approaching, your ads should focus on prompting parents to find out more and encourage them to attend.
When used appropriately, social media will help you reach new families in your local area and engage enquiries. It’s also an easy and effective way to engage current parents and keep them up to date.
4. Content Marketing
Engaging and thought-provoking content will be the main driver of success for your website, social media and email marketing strategies. Create informative, meaningful and useful content to be used across all platforms in digital marketing strategies for your school.
As mentioned earlier, planning is the key to success. Plan your content from the point of creating it, right through to scheduling it for the weeks ahead. Ensure you have a content calendar across all of your social channels to maintain visibility and engagement.
5. A Strategy to Build Your Email Database
A successful digital marketing strategy will have tactics in place to build your email list and engage families from their initial point of contact, right through to enrolment. Developing opt-in forms for your website is the best place to start.
As your database grows, it’s important to formulate a strategy that will engage your new audience. It’s a worthwhile practice to create an automated email series that sends follow-up enquiries. This will ensure you never miss an opportunity. You’ll be able to craft specific emails that are tailored to target your audience at a specific point in their journey, ensuring you can get them over the line.
There’s a common misconception that social media has surpassed the need for email marketing. Email marketing is equally important and offers unique ways to reach a different audience. Your email database itself is actually an important tool in your social media strategy, where you can upload your contact list to your social platforms. This not only allows you to obtain useful data, but it also creates an opportunity to strengthen your relationship with these contacts through social media.
Aim to combine your email and social media efforts to craft your overall strategy.
6. Display Advertising
Display advertising is very effective in driving brand awareness and the frequency in which your audience will see display ads is constantly increasing. They can be placed on websites chosen by you, websites with content that’s relevant to your school, or as remarketing ads for parents who have visited your website but are yet to enquire about enrolment.
Display ads will not only target the right audience with the right message, but they will also increase your visibility to prospective parents, helping to drive traffic to your website.
These ads should capture your audience’s attention visually through the use of images and videos. Engaging content will allow you to create unique and memorable ads that drive conversion.
7. Reporting Results & Data Analysis
One of the most positive outcomes of a digital marketing strategy for schools is the ability to review and learn from your results. Take advantage of the massive amounts of information you can find out about your audience and the performance of your digital strategies.
Analysing your data can lead you to some very beneficial findings that will help to generate greater success in future campaigns. Your campaign and audience data allow you to closely follow behavioural patterns. This gives you the chance to make adjustments to your strategies while they’re in motion to ensure your spend leads to an increase in enrolments.
Constantly monitoring results throughout your search engine marketing campaigns will prevent overspending on strategies that aren’t working. Analysing results at the end of each campaign will allow you to make educated decisions when creating content for your next strategy.
Establish an automated way to regularly view your digital marketing strategy results and keep school leaders and marketing team members up-to-date with how your school is performing. You’d never run a traditional marketing campaign without assessing your results against your campaign objectives. The same goes for your digital strategies. The depth of reporting and information you have access to will be incredibly beneficial to your school’s growth. Get in the habit of reporting and analysing the results of all your digital marketing strategies, including social media campaigns, email marketing and SEO. Let the data make the decisions for you and watch your approach pay off.
8. Virtual Events
A key component to successful school marketing is the ability to adapt and grow with an ever-changing environment. Given the current climate, virtual tours, open days and events have become significantly more sought after. These events are an incredibly effective way to engage your audience and are far more cost-effective than traditional open events. The options for online events have expanded and it’s easier than ever to create an engaging online event space with features that work best for your school and the event you’re running. While it’s certainly a different approach to the school events we’re used to, it’s certainly one that should be embraced.
9. A/B Testing
While it may not be classified as a strategy in itself, A/B testing is a simple way to gain a better understanding of your audience and how they respond to your ads. If your school is relatively new to digital marketing or you’re experimenting with new strategies, A/B testing is a great way to measure performance within any given audience. It will allow you to run two versions of an ad or email at the same time. You’ll then be able to measure results to identify which performed better.
An effective, comprehensive marketing campaign should encompass both traditional and digital strategies. Digital strategies for schools have a massive reach, are cost-effective and the results can be accurately measured. The above strategies should be combined to create a comprehensive strategy that reaches all audiences and covers all touchpoints. It’s important that every approach you take is individually strong, whilst also being supportive of the other elements in your campaign.
Take chances, use data to drive decisions and invest in digital marketing for your school.
Do You Need Help With Your Digital Marketing Strategy?
The team of professionals at Roberts Digital are highly experienced in crafting digital marketing strategies for schools. If you’re ready to embrace the benefits digital marketing has to offer, contact the team today.