An actionable strategy is key to successful marketing. Master all elements of your school’s digital marketing strategy with LOCALiQ’s comprehensive checklist. Download the editable PDF to create a personalised digital marketing checklist for your educational institution.
Set SMART goals
Setting SMART goals is an integral part of any marketing strategy. Without setting goals your marketing strategy will lack direction, it will also be extremely difficult to track and monitor performance and progress.
RECAP: SMART is an acronym used to define business goals. Make sure your marketing objectives are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.
• What do you want to accomplish? A specific % of admissions, % increase in website traffic, Improve your SEO rankings?
• How are you going to track your progress? What are your KPIs?
• Is your goal realistic and manageable?
• How long will it take you to achieve the goal?
Know you audience. Your Facebook marketing will be much more effective if you know what makes your audience tick. Creating marketing persona profiles helps you to understand who you are targeting, and which platforms are best to reach them. Studies show that marketers that use persona profiles have better lead generation and revenue than those that don’t.
Learn how to create your own buyer personas here.
• What are your stakeholders’ demographics? Age, race, gender, income etc.
• What social media platforms do they use?
• What are their interests and challenges?
• Why should they choose your school, college, or university?
Websites are usually the first place prospects look for more information, making them an essential marketing tool. Furthermore, you may lose out on prospective students, funding, and more if your website fails to engage visitors or provide relevant information.
The aim is to make your website as useful, functional, and attractive as possible! Here are some tips to get you started:
• Brand your website, convey your message, mission statement, and values.
• Use visual prompts to engage your audience.
• Use clear and visible calls to action (CTA)
• Include links to your social media profiles and encourage social sharing.
• Optimise accessibility, page speed (check your site speed in Google Analytics, Behaviour >> Site Speed >> Speed Suggestions), & be mobile responsive.
• Update content strategically and regularly.
• Frequently audit your website. Make sure all your content is up-to-date and relevant and delete any that is not.
• Monitor website performance
Social media and schools have not always gone hand in hand. However, research shows young people view content on social media as more credible compared to traditional media. This means schools that don’t have a social media presence are missing out on a fantastic tool for recruiting students, fostering strong brand connections, and disseminating targeted information.
Here are some guidelines:
• Be consistent across all platforms.
• Focus on interacting with the parent and student community.
• Create a social post calendar for your school, college, university
• Collect feedback and review metrics
• Never delete any accounts you have, even if you don’t use them. You don’t want someone to take your username!
Most online experiences involve search, making SEO a fundamental aspect of your digital marketing strategy.
Here are 8 points keep in mind:
1. Publish longer, scannable content with short paragraphs = you have a higher chance of ranking in search engines if you write long-form, high-quality content. But you don’t want to overwhelm your audience so make sure to keep paragraphs short (approximately 3-4 sentences per paragraph).
2. Think before you write! Use 1–2 long-tail keywords = long-tailed keywords are the most important for improving SEO, they are much better than solitary keywords because they focus very specifically on a topic.
3. Use keywords in your Title, URL, Meta description, Headers, and paragraphs = this helps web crawlers understand your content and index your webpages accordingly. It will also dramatically increase your websites click rates, but avoid keyword stuffing as this can make text unnatural.
4. Use headings correctly for SEO = Headings within your blog post not only give the blog structure and perspective, but they are also important to help search engine’s web crawlers understand blog and the sections within it.
5. Add visuals and image alt text = using imagery massively improves your search ranking, but remember to add descriptive alt text because search engines can’t ‘see’ images the same as humans.
6. Frequently produce and upload new content = The more new content you produce the better your Google ranking.
7. Be mobile friendly = with more and more people are using mobile devices to browse the web, your website has to be optimised for mobile or else your search engine ranking will suffer the consequences.
8. Link to related content = Backlinks play a fundamental role in the search engine algorithm, they not only do they provide valuable content which reduces bounce rate, they are a signal to search engines that your site is a high-quality resource that people want to reference.
Remember: SEO isn’t a one-off task. It’s something that needs constant revisiting and improving to ensure you’re getting the very best results.
A content marketing approach provides you with a direct method to communicate your business messages to your customers. According to CMI, content marketing generates three times more leads than paid search advertising.
Content such as blogs, videos, social media posts, eBooks, case studies, and podcasts provide a relatable story-telling approach which harnesses familiarity and trust to build relationships with your audience. Educational blogs have proven successful in boosting your school’s performance in search results, improve your school’s online presence and credibility, which directly increases enrolment rates. However, posting erratic content without any strategy won’t get you very far. You should implement a content calendar where you can holistically manage all content and stick to a consistent posting schedule.
Here are some tips to get you started:
• Create a monthly calendar for your school that outlines what content you want to produce and which channels you are going to use to distribute it.
• Share all your content on your social media platforms to reach your audience.
• Use a variety of content types.
Video is the most versatile and engaging content format, so you should consider creating your own videos. Research indicates that videos under 2 minutes get the most engagement, but regardless of how long the video is, make sure the important information comes first.
You want to make it easy for students to picture their future at your school, college or university.
Here are some video ideas you can use:
1. Virtual Tour: As a school you should have an alternative way for your prospects to visit your educational institution. This could be a video following a student round or a 360 tour of your campus. This will be a great addition to your website and can be an immersive experience for prospective students.
2. Parent and student testimonials: Testimonials from students, parents and even staff are something you should continuously ask for and display on your online platforms. Videos can be a great way to showcase your reviews.
3. Student takeovers: More and more schools are letting their students’ takeover their official social media accounts in attempt to connect and engage with prospective students. Takeovers are becoming increasingly popular because they are student produced narratives, giving a more authentic and unmoderated perspective on the experience provided at your institution.
4. FAQs: Instead of having a FAQ flat page you could try use video to help visitors get the answers they are looking for. Sometimes listening to someone answering questions is more helpful than just reading them.
TOP TIP: Remember to include captions in your marketing videos. Most Facebook videos are watched without sound, meaning your videos need to be able to communicate your message without audio.
Email marketing is another powerful tool in your school’s digital marketing strategy, as long as you use it in the correct way. No one wants to be bombarded with emails, so stick to a consistent schedule.
Email marketing campaigns can be used to build relationships and rapport with interested prospects from their first inquiry. Newsletters are a prime way to communicate with your potential and existing customers on a regular basis, providing them with interesting, relevant content they can engage with.
• Segment your contact lists to create a more tailored approach.
• Schedule a consistent a weekly or monthly newsletter into your content marketing strategy.
• Include offers, discounts, and upcoming events in your emails.
• Include Calls to action (CTA) and actively encourage sign ups, subscriptions etc.
• Avoid text-based emails.
• Use analytics tools to gain insights (e.g. open rates) into your email marketing campaigns.
Paid advertisements on Google & social media
Paid ads help to elevate your institution’s brand online and guarantee you reach your defined target audience. Google ads provide a cost-effective and flexible way for you to ensure your school website features on the desirable first page. Social media ads enable you to increase your brand awareness by reaching your targeted audience that may not have seen your other posts.
• Use your school’s customer demographics and psychographics to reach a targeted audience
• Include CTAs directing visitors to a captivating landing page
• Estimate a budget and stick to it
• Closely monitor Ads performance & evaluate Ad Rotation.
Review content and monitor performance
There is no point in having a digital marketing strategy unless you are willing to review and regularly update content and analyse the statistics. Although it can be time-consuming you need to look at individual campaign analytics and website performance to determine what is working and what is not.
Here are some steps to get you going:
• Create a Google Analytics account.
• Create website goals to track where your converters are coming from.
• Create custom reports to automatically disseminate the information that’s important to your school.
If you need any help with your digital marketing efforts, LOCALiQ have proven experience in helping schools and universities reach their target audience. Get in touch today to see how we can help you.