As times have changed, your current school marketing plans have likely changed as well. In this blog, we share insights on how to tackle your digital admissions presence in the next school year.
Many schools are finding that they need to find new and innovative ways to engage and attract families, and the usual marketing strategies aren’t enough to deliver results. Marketing has become more sophisticated, making it more challenging to stand out among the crowd. Communication with prospective families needs to be personalized in order to capture the attention of viewers and compel them to make an inquiry.
Unfortunately, building this kind of school marketing plan can be overwhelming to build and execute.
This post provides you with straightforward, effective marketing methods to add personalization and digital functionality to your school admissions marketing strategy in 2021.
INBOUND Website Personalization
Personalized website content provides visitors content specifically tailored to his/her needs, interests, and goals. If you use an inbound marketing platform such as Hubspot, you have the ability to personalize content to each of your users based on information gathered about that family. Say, for instance, a parent has visited your website and eventually filled out a form on your website to download an infographic that you’ve created. The next time that user is browsing your site. With HubSpot, you can use dynamic content that automatically serves pages customized to the user’s browsing patterns and interests.
Whether you realize it or not, you have likely experienced personalization yourself. Perhaps you have visited a website referred by a Facebook friend, colleague, or other acquaintance. Suddenly, you realize 30 minutes have passed and you are still on the website, following trails of information that interest you. This is a result of content personalization where the automation tool’s algorithm continuously delivers you content it deems will be of most interest to you.
You don’t need HubSpot to pull this off. Tailoring your prospective families' personal experience with persona-based messaging is key to engaging families you are best suited to serve and guiding them toward an admissions inquiry.
Curious about how to create a persona? Click here.
Facebook and Google Retargeting and Remarketing Campaigns
Paid media outlets such as Google, Twitter, and Facebook now commonly provide a piece of code, called a pixel, for you to embed in your web content for tracking purposes. With your personalized content machine humming from the previous step, the pixel will begin to record the IP addresses of website visitors. Remarketing is a form of advertising that serves ads to people who have already been to your website.
Including Google or Facebook retargeting in your campaign strategy is extremely cost effective, with a lower cost per click often a higher conversion rate. This useful strategy focuses on people who have taken specific actions, such as those who have visited certain pages on your website, landing pages, ads, etc. The best use of this tactic is to make remarketing ads extremely relevant to the pages viewed and guide the reader to the next logical piece of information they would be interested in. Remarketing keeps your school front of mind and reminds them there's more to see, especially if they have been shopping multiple schools in their research process.
Often a family may need to see multiple ad campaigns before they are comfortable enough to move to the next stage of the funnel and this is a gentle way to provide value until they’re ready.
Incorporating a “lookalike audience” in your target audience selection process is a way to reach new candidates who are likely to be interested in your school because they’re similar to your existing families. This option is available on Facebook and LinkedIn.
These platforms provide the option for you to upload a spreadsheet of email addresses as a basis to find similar profiles. Privacy is integral to the success of Facebook and LinkedIn and it’s key to maintaining the integrity of your school! You can view the privacy terms for Facebook here. The contacts on your list will not be solicited with your ads. The privacy of your new target audience is protected as you will not have access to their information unless they choose to provide it.
Once the list is loaded, Facebook and LinkedIn use all the available data to find common themes and creates an audience of people with similar characteristics.
Adding a look alike audience to your Facebook or LinkedIn advertising platform is an excellent option for schools that already have a good student base.
Email Marketing and Lead Nurturing
According to Wordstream, 77% of people prefer to get permission-based promotional messages via email versus other communication modes.
Well designed, personalized email messages are effective because:
- Researching families anticipate messages from schools and want to stay informed
- Most people regularly check their inbox
- Email offers detailed reporting to track opens, clicks, and other actions
- Email messages can be further personalized based on viewer actions
By incorporating email in your school marketing strategy, you can segment your lists allowing for greater personalization. Email segmentation consists of organizing your contacts into different groups to customize and deliver specific messages based on the family’s location, ages of their children, or even their program of interest such as athletics or sciences.
When you create useful, beautiful, generous content that is personalized to the reader’s interests, you build a stronger bond with your potential families.
Contrary to some beliefs, email isn’t limited to older demographics. According to HubSpot, 35% of business professionals check email on a mobile device and 73% of millennials prefer communications to come via email.
Email marketing platforms offer flexibility, creativity, and, most importantly, ease of use. Some useful platforms are Constant Contact, MailChimp, and some CRM tools like Hubspot have email platforms built into their systems.
It's important to identify the differences between permission-based email marketing and spam. As you’ve probably guessed, permission-based email marketing, also known as opt-in email marketing, is precisely what it sounds like. It’s a method for businesses to obtain explicit consent from users in order to send them marketing emails. The tools mentioned above employ the strictest privacy standards and will ensure you are GDPR compliant and meet globally imposed regulations. Click here to learn more about How to make sure your organization is GDPR Compliant.
If you need help, IMPACT Marketing International has a Marketing Action Plan (MAP) workshop that will provide you with a methodology for your team and the design of an end-to-end marketing campaign customized to your target market.
To learn more about customizing an end to end marketing plan for your school, click the button below.