Do you just think of school marketing as another expense line in your budget? If so, it is time to start thinking of it for what it really is – a valuable investment. Whether your school is public or private, you should be investing resources into deliberate marketing. The changing reality of today’s educational market means your school marketing must reach farther than local newspaper ads and open houses. In addition to gaining the attention of parents, your relatable and helpful marketing presence will boost your community’s perception of your school. It can also boost recruitment and retention for students and teachers alike.
No one can build an effective marketing strategy without knowing their target audience. Evaluate the values and desires of your surrounding community and find your fit within the community’s definition of success. Effective school marketing will resonate beyond prospective parents and into the community as a whole. So consider these four audiences as you embark on your marketing strategy:
You want your school brand presence and messaging to inspire prospective students. You want them to think, “This is exactly what I want out of my education. This school can help me achieve my goals.” A hard sales approach will alienate students who need to feel a sense of belonging. Therefore, approach your marketing efforts with a helpful, dream-achieving tone. It is also important to understand the media habits and preferences of student audiences. Teens prefer video content and browsing social media channels when they research a brand. Likewise, they demonstrate the same behavior when shopping for a school. Maintain your presence in the right places with the right tone to encourage students to engage.
Today’s parents have more control over where they send their children to school. Vouchers, public school of choice programs, and private schools mean a lot of options. Unlike students who are content searching social media and other digital media on their own, parents look for personal messaging and individual attention. Your school marketing should cut through the noise and connect with parents in a meaningful way. Discover their interests and challenges. How can your school meet the current challenges of virtual learning? Leverage your school’s unique niche to demonstrate how you enable your students to overcome obstacles and achieve success.
A school which presents a forward-thinking image is going to attract better, more invested staff members. Your team members are your number one asset. Make sure you celebrate their efforts and achievements via social media channels and other communication. Ask them to describe how they see your brand values and business positioning. Empower them to help spread positive messaging about your school, and keep everyone on the same page when it comes to brand identity.
Your school marketing will establish a presence in your community and ensure that your school is a recognizable entity. Search for outreach events throughout your community. Connect with local businesses and civic organizations to develop a fresh network of potential families and students. Social media can also be one of your most influential community marketing tools. If you maintain an active social media presence and engage the community with helpful content on a regular basis, they will be more likely to volunteer, donate, and spread good reviews.
There is no one-size-fits-all school marketing strategy that will easily resonate across all of your target audiences. A proper strategy focuses on really understanding each segment – how they behave and what they want. With that knowledge, you can determine the best channels to use when marketing your school.