Every school needs a digital marketing plan. Without a clear actionable strategy, your marketing isn't going to succeed. Here’s a checklist of everything you should be including in your strategy, to really improve your Parental Engagement.
Persona Profiles/Target Audience
Creating a persona profile is a great way to really understand who to target with your marketing. Having a really detailed customer profile will help you understand what platforms are best for reaching them, figure out what language you should use and allow you to determine which parts of your message are most important to them. Some questions to consider:
Parents and Children’s age?
What social media platforms are they using?
What are their concerns and/or challenges?
Why should they choose your school?
A school blog can work wonders in improving your school's performance in search results, position your school as an expert in education and help improve enrollment. But a blog only works well if you have a consistent posting schedule, if your posting is sporadic then it’s not going to do well. A school that has an awesome blog page is St Bartholomews, check it out here: https://www.st-bartholomews.leeds.sch.uk/blog
Your SEO and school blog go hand in hand so it’s worth putting in the effort. Here are a few things to keep in mind;
Image use: Adding photos and videos massively improve your search ranking
Keywords: Your keywords are vital in improving your SEO, you can add these into your blog posts. But remember to do some research first.
Content Frequency: The more new content you produce the better your Google ranking.
Content Quality: Everything you do is for your audience, so always remember what they would find valuable when writing your content.
Content-Length: You have a higher chance of ranking in Google if you write long high-quality content, usually around 1,500 words. But don’t just make them long for the sake of it, they have to be good.
Mobile Friendliness: With the majority of people opening web pages on a phone, your website has to be optimised for a mobile otherwise your google ranking will pay the price.
Google Analytics is one of the best free tools available, it gives you useful statistics on the usage of your website. It’s invaluable to your digital marketing. You can tie all of your marketing goals directly to your Google Analytics, making it easy to measure your progress and monitor your school's online success. If you’re not sure how to get started with google analytics then check out this blog post; Google Analytics for Schools and Colleges or enrol on our Introduction to Google Analytics For Schools course.
You may think as a school you don’t need to be on social media, but if lockdown has taught us anything it’s that social media keeps us connected. A few housekeeping rules, if you have a few different social channels but don’t actually use all of them just write a post that says this account is no longer in use but you can follow us on such and such. Never delete your account because if you ever want to go back to it, you don't want someone to have taken your username. Take a look at this post How Social Media can improve Parental Engagement to get some content ideas.
Google reviews are often something school’s forget about. Most businesses and schools have a ‘Google My Business' page which anyone can view if they search for your name or address. This page also includes reviews and a star rating system, anyone can write reviews even if they were never a pupil or staff member. It’s always good to respond to reviews whether they are good or bad, you can’t directly remove a comment but if there’s one that looks like spam you can flag it and request that Google remove it.
Video is the no.1 form of content that’s posted on any social media platform. So it would make sense to start creating your own videos! Some videos that you need as standard are:
Virtual Tour: You need to have an alternative way for parents to visit your school, this can be a video following a student round or a 360 tour. This is a great addition to your website and gives people a first impression.
Parent and student testimonials: Testimonials are something you need to be continuously asking for (without pestering people of course). A video is a great way to showcase your reviews.
FAQ: Sometimes listening to someone answering questions is more helpful than just reading them.
If we’ve learnt anything from adapting to life in lockdown it’s that your school website is the most important part of your digital marketing. We recommend regularly auditing your website to ensure content that is no longer relevant is removed and all your documents and policies are up to date. If you're struggling to keep your school website compliant then we offer Professional School Website Audits for only £299.
Email marketing is a very powerful tool, but only if you’re using it in the right way. Newsletters are a great way to engage parents and keep them up to date. Here are a few things to avoid, don’t send text-based emails. Try not to include weekly or monthly newsletter in the subject line. Make sure you segment your lists for a more tailored approach. For more information check out this blog post How to Master Email Marketing for Schools.
If you're struggling to put all this information into practice then why not download our free Parental Engagement Guide to help transform your digital strategy!