By Liz Zweigle, Director of Sales and Marketing, Truth Tree
Sometimes it is difficult to know where to focus your energy and what digital tactics will make the biggest impact. I get it. There are only so many hours in the day, so where should you focus, and what will actually bring good results? Maybe it’s better just to crank out some low-level projects and hope they work? Or do you carve out time to tackle something that requires more energy but might actually be more impactful?
I’ve got you covered.
Here are 4 digital marketing tactics we have found that require a good amount of planning and execution, but you’ll see big returns.
1. Helpful Webinars
Now is the time to invest in content marketing. When thinking about content marketing, most automatically go to blogs and written content that illustrates your school’s areas of strength while subtly underscoring your expertise to prospective and current parents.
And oh, by the way, Google also loves content! Search engines like to point their users to the best and most highly regarded websites, and a content marketing strategy can be used to boost your search rankings as part of your SEO strategy.
One new way to think about connecting with prospective parents and also appeasing the Google gods is by offering helpful webinars.
- Capture an audience’s attention in real-time
- Offer more content that you can share out after the live event
- Are a great way to generate leads and registrations
Think about what kinds of webinars you can offer that showcase your expertise, address a prospective parent’s pain points or add resources and support to parents. Use it as a way to engage with your prospects and get some virtual traction.
And dig deep–what kinds of content do parents actually need?
- What do your current parents love about your school?
- What are prospects excited to know more about?
- What are the most FAQs of your prospective parents?
- When asked on a tour, what do your teachers rave about?
- In what areas does your school legitimately have expertise? A special program, special staffing, certifications, unique facilities, etc.
- What are the most common parenting issues you’re seeing? Can you offer resources to help?
Most schools pride themselves on supporting families–both kids and parents. With that in mind, one webinar idea that’s been in my brain for years is a parenting series entitled, “How to talk to your kids about….” You can imagine how this series could go in so many directions, addressing literally every question parents (or their children) can imagine. And at every age and stage.
Kids come up with all sorts of questions and need answers. And sometimes, parents feel stuck and unprepared to answer those tricky wonderings.
For example, on webinar might tackle: “How to talk to your child about death and dying.” Most children these days will have questions about death: sometimes, these questions come up when a family pet does, or there is a death in the family. Or another topic might be “how to talk to your child about bullying” or “bad dreams and worries.”
Put the word out for topics. Your faculty, school counselors, and even parents in the community will have great ideas for you to get started.
Take this idea and run! You’ll see amazing results digitally and also personally in your own school community. Parents will be thanking you for giving them guidance in real-time on real topics that are showing up in their homes or, of course, when they’re out driving in the car–isn’t that when all the hard questions come up? A simple Google search shows that parents are indeed searching for answers.
2. Website Optimization
We all know that school websites are the most important gateway to your school and often the first place where prospective parents find information about your program. Your website is your marketing workhorse.
As independent school admissions, communications, and marketing folks, you know your school’s website (intimately!). But knowing how applicants and families navigate through your website is vital to ensuring that you capture leads, convert inquiries, and continue to build interest in your schools and programs.
Unfortunately, we’ve all seen bad websites. They are slow to load, difficult to navigate, hard to find answers, and nearly impossible to find a phone number to talk to a real human.
Seriously. I’m shocked by how many websites make it challenging to connect with the admissions team. Don’t deter parents and make it more challenging–you’re already creating a barrier, and parents won’t enjoy the already stressful experience of applying to your school.
Make your website easy to navigate because parents will immediately make a decision that your school is not right for their child based on that first digital impression. Don’t let that happen.
Optimize your website and make a GREAT first impression.
3. PPC Digital Advertising
If you have the budget for it, Pay-Per-Click ads can greatly extend the reach of your marketing efforts. Research shows that 70% of parents start their school search on Google. You read that right–that’s where they start! And 90% will use Google sometime in their search. It’s undeniable that schools need to be front and center when parents are searching online for schools. According to research by HubSpot, 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results.
If you’re not on page one search results, parents basically don’t even know that you exist, or worse, they might know about your school, but you’re clearly not a strong school if you do not appear prominently in their searches. Ouch.
I realize that you likely don’t have time to become a Google expert so check out our best practices for making ultra-clickable Google ads and at least get started.
4. Email Marketing
Once you’ve developed a great selection of content and webinars on your website, consider email marketing for your school in a newsletter or other types of content that parents can subscribe to or download.
When you have their email addresses, you should store them in customer relationship management (CRM) software, and then it’s time to start reaching out to them.
Email marketing is a great way to nurture leads “in the background” with evergreen content while you focus on human interactions. You can track click-through rates, which emails are opened, and where you’re seeing higher engagement.
I hope that helped!
Don’t be afraid to tackle some big projects this year. These targeted tactics will help you earn big returns. I promise it will be worth the lift!