Why do private or charter schools need a school marketing plan?
Because we live in a digital consumerist culture and schools need to attract students. (Or more realistically, win over their parents.) And, marketing is the best way to do this.
But, the educational industry is steeped in altruism. At the end of the day, people working in education want to help kids as much as they can. Many conventional marketing tactics are associated with profit-hungry companies looking to make more sales to improve their finances. How can a private or charter school make an effective school marketing plan when this is the backbone of the marketing industry?
Thanks to digital marketing and a shift in consumer habits, marketing is becoming more about building a relationship. Something everyone in the education industry excels at.
Embrace Digital Marketing as Part of Your School Marketing Plan
The 21st Century is a Digital Century and everyone uses digital technology to some degree. That’s why you must embrace the trends of digital marketing, as they will be the foundation of your Private or Charter school marketing plan.
Digital marketing entails:
- Having a Branded presence online
- School Branding: How to Stand Out From the Crowd – School Webmasters
- Having a well-produced website with good user experience (UX)
- Using Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Ad Campaigns
- What is the difference between SEO and PPC? – Reliable Soft
- Creating Digital Content according to a content plan
- Written Content
- Pictorial Content
- Video Content
- Sharing that digital content on a variety of platforms
- Using Social Media to create a community
- Understanding your ideal audience and catering your digital marketing towards them
- Create an email list with segments for parents of students, potential parents, stakeholders, etc…
- Regularly send appropriate emails to your lists.
Learn More about Digital Marketing: The Who, What, Why, and How of Digital Marketing – Hub Spot
Your School is a Brand
In the 21st Century, marketing is all about building a brand that builds relationships with your consumers. Your consumers are the parents who sign up their children to attend your school. You need to appeal to them as part of your charter or private school marketing plan.
Think about the questions that they ask when they’re searching for a new school. How does your school meet their expectations better than other schools? Why should they choose you?
Learn More about Branding: School Branding: How to Stand Out From the Crowd – School Webmasters
Routinely Update Your Website
In today’s world, the first thing anyone does when they hear about something new, particularly a new school, is search for it on the internet. Your website needs to reflect the level of prestige and professionalism your establishment strives for in everything.
This is accomplished by having dedicated people who ensure that the website is up to date. Both with information regarding your school and with current website best practices.
Learn more about school websites: A School’s Website Makes an Important First Impression – ThoughtCo
Your website must be mobile-responsive: looking good and working on every type of device. It must also load quickly and work smoothly. This is done by optimizing the page sizes to minimize the slowdown. The copy has to be well-written and professional and the visuals need to look appealing without coming across as staged.
A website can drive sales if you use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ad campaigns properly. SEO and PPC are the backbones of being found on the internet.
Learn more about SEO: The Beginners Guide to SEO – Moz
Learn more about PPC: PPC 101: A Complete Guide to PPC Marketing basics – Search Engine Journal
Your School Marketing Needs to Talk about Major Challenges
No person, company, or school is perfect. A great way to get people to believe in your brand or school is to show them how you deal with challenges.
What are your policies for dealing with bullying? Or if a child isn’t doing well in a class? How do you handle other emergencies that can happen? Going above and beyond shows parents that you’re an authentic school that’s prepared for anything. This will encourage them to sign up for the next school year.
Parents don’t want to send their children to schools that only ever address the positives. They want their children to go where the school will acknowledge and address its mistakes — and that starts with self-awareness. This is why you need to include the challenges your school faces in your school marketing plan.
Produce and Release Videos
Recent school marketing plans delve into different mediums to express their messages. Many companies and schools are now releasing various forms of video content as part of their marketing plan.
An important part of any video marketing campaign is giving people a glimpse into what your school looks like.
But what do these videos look like?
- Meet the staff videos
- Campus overviews
- Fly on the wall videos
Meet the Staff Videos
Videos that introduce each member of your teaching staff and your management staff. These give prospective parents and students a feel for what their classes and daily lives will be like at your school.
This also gives you a chance to give parents an overview of what subjects are taught at your school and how passionate your staff is about teaching children.
Professional Looking Overviews of Your Campus
Your school marketing plan needs to include campus video creation. Investing in a drone and a decent DSLR camera will take your content production to the next level. These also enable you to capture a birds-eye-view of your campus and that will increase prospective student and parent engagement.
Humans tend to be very visual creatures and giving us a view like this helps people imagine what it would be like to attend your school. This will hopefully lead to them setting up a tour or even better, signing up for the coming school year.
Fly on the wall Videos are an Important Part of Any School Marketing Plan
What do your lessons look like? Is your school bright and welcoming? By producing and releasing fly-on-the-wall videos, you can easily show people what it’s like in your lessons.
Learn more about video creation: How to Make Videos – Shopify
Use Staff-Created Content
Marketing campaigns typically involve copywriters to producing original content, but is that always the best option? Not when you’re trying to market a school — at least, not when you’re having those copywriters work from scratch. All school employees – from the principal to the janitor – can have notable things to say about your school.
If you start producing content that is inspired and attributed to your staff members, you show that your school’s employees care about their work and have the expertise to match. This is huge in prospect since parents want to know their kids will be in safe hands.
More about content writing: How to Write Web Copy – Express Writers
Use Social Media Platforms to Create a Community as Part of Your School Marketing Plan
School marketing plans in the 21st Century have to embrace all platforms that are being used by their target audiences. Yes, that means social media must be used regularly.
But don’t fret, it is much easier to create social media posts and share them regularly than you would think. Nowadays, there are even platforms that facilitate content scheduling. That way, you can spend an hour a week scheduling your social posts for the entire week or month! All schools should at least be on Facebook and Twitter in order to communicate with their community efficiently.
But, don’t forget the ‘social’ aspect of social media. It’s designed to generate community. Parents like to see what their kids are doing at school. Teachers love to share what they’re proud of. And coaches enjoy showcasing talented athletes. Use your social media accounts as part of your school marketing plan to showcase your incredible students and the programs they’re involved in.
Learn more about social media marketing: How to Build a Social Media Community: Content and Collaboration – Entrepreneur
Software Platforms to Help Your School Marketing Plan
Individuality makes marketing easier. Because a key component to any marketing strategy is showing the differences in your business or school.
PikMyKid also has incredible parent engagement percentages. Most schools have an over 80% engagement rate with parents through the PikMyKid Parent App! This enables schools to interact with parents regularly and efficiently and include them in their school marketing plan.
Through our services, parents can make dismissal changes, mark absentees, and receive school notifications through an app on their smartphone. This builds a community around your school and makes parents love your school even more. That in turn, creates a stronger word of mouth marketing strategy because parents talk.
Marketing a private or charter school can seem daunting. Especially when you compare it with marketing a profit-first direct to consumer company. But it’s far from impossible, and there’s plenty of opportunities to stand out with your school marketing plan. You just need to put in the extra effort and take advantage of the tools that already exist in the digital marketing world and that we shared in this post.
Learn More about School Marketing Plans: 10 Things Every Principal or Administrator Needs to Know about marketing their school – PDF