No one knows how long COVID will impact our lives and the lives of the families you serve. People continue to talk about the “new normal”, but very little is “normal” in the world right now. This year will require resilience, a focus on retention, and building relationships with the future in mind. And admissions marketing, must adapt. The following checklist provides some of the basics to update your marketing this school year.
- Address the elephant in the room: Post content prominently on your website that addresses the elephant in the room; education for 2020 - 2021 will not be as it was prior to the COVID outbreak. Whatever your plan is, be transparent and let families know how you will adapt to the evolving situation.
- Ensure visitors see important updates: Have a prominent link to time sensitive information on your home page or embed announcements directly into the header.
- Share the good stuff: Share positive stories about your community using video, blog posts, and social media.
- Tell the story: Create blog, video, ad image rich social media content that shows your school safety plan for on-campus learning.
Nagoya International School has adapted their homepage to reflect current COVID safety protocols by updating the images in the hero banner and offering content about staying safe during school.
- Create a school tour alternative: How can you safely and adequately show people around your campus? Consider a virtual tour or offering live, walk-through open house tours for small groups.
- Online meeting decision: Select one technology for web meetings such as Zoom or Google Hangouts and Microsoft Teams for everyone on your team to learn and use in the best way.
- Eliminate email fatigue in finding meeting times: Subscribe to a scheduling software so inquiring families can book a web call or virtual tour online.
- Keep track of families who aren’t ready YET: Subscribe to an email or automation technology to communicate with the families who come into your funnel so that no one slips through the cracks.
- Audit human vs techno solutions: Review your admissions funnel to identify where technology can serve, in place of face-to-face touch points.
Orange Lutheran High School's investment into creating a comprehensive virtual tour is paying off. Prospective families can get a feel for the campus and facilities from the comfort of their own home.
Promotion and Optimization
- Introduce your school: Optimize your website so that interested families can find you through a Google or other search, even if they don’t know your school name
- Retain relationships: Increase your social media activity to maintain the relationship with current families and faculty, prospective families, and alumni. These are your golden word of mouth warriors and they must be reminded that they can be confident of the school’s ability to provide a high-quality, and safe education.
- Update your personas: Consider the families you are best suited to serve and how their concerns, fears, and needs around education have changed in today’s world.
- Research the keywords your updated personas are using to search right now.
- Adapt your strategy: Adjust - or create - your search and social media ad strategy to address the needs and questions of your updated personas.
- Be tone sensitive: Adjust the tone of your admissions pages, social media posts, promotional content, and ads to be appropriate and sensitive to your personas.
- Identify urgency: If there is an urgency around enrollment, identify prospective families who are “low-hanging fruit” and who may also be feeling a sense of urgency for your offer in this unusual time. These families may be different from the ones prioritized pre-COVID.