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Marketing Strategies Your School Needs ASAP

Posted by Scott Barron on Aug 23, 2015 10:05:06 PM
Scott Barron

Social Media TreeTrying to figure out how to spend your marketing dollars to maximize enrollment for 2016-17? If not you, you'll want to soon. Marketing is far less random and much more scientific than it once was. School growth is achieved by staying ahead of the marketing curve--here are seven easy marketing strategies your schools should implement ASAP!

1. Focus on Who You Are

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is trying to compete based on the strengths and/or strategies of other schools in your market. Focus on who you are and the value proposition that you offer. Discovering what your target market wants is important, but you can also go out of business listening to parents and students. Your mission and authentic brand is your greatest asset--seek to build stronger relationships with those families who believe what your believe.

2. Upgrade Your Website to Be Mobile Friendly

That vase majority of your current and prospective families are going to access your website from a mobile device. You've got to upgrade it to be responsive, where the format adapts to the screen size of the device (i.e., mobile phone, tablet, watch, etc.) being used. Only 10% of the school websites that we've reviewed so far have passed (graded higher than 70%) our rubric for quality and marketing effectiveness. A great resource for branding and web design help is Cherry and Company because of their extensive experience with the particular needs of schools.

3. Build Your Platform

Your school is part of a larger ecosystem within the larger community, and your scope of influence is the platform you want to build. Leverage traditional and social media to feature the value proposition of highly influential leaders in your target market (e.g., pediatricians, ministers, real estate agents, orthodontists, coaches, etc.). As my hero Zig Ziglar always said: "You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want."

4. Segment Your Market

Understanding how to segment your target market will help you tap into the buying profile of each type of decision maker. You have to connect with parents, but also with students who are increasingly influential in the decision as to where they will go to school. Tracking demographic information will help you better understand how to get the attention of families through promotional outreach. You can't afford to continue using a less disciplined approach to marketing.

5. Energize Your Grapevine

You need word-of-mouth marketing to sustain maximum mindshare--no one wants to be the "best kept Laws of the Grapevine Coversecret in town." The Grapevine around your school is one of your most important assets for enrollment and fundraising growth. (To learn more, check out our online workshop: The Laws of the Grapevine) Strategically energize your Grapevine through communication habits and wow factors that increase trust, relationships, and engagement.

6. Add a Blog to Your Website

Create a team of volunteers who can write high quality articles for your school blog. This isn't just another task for the chief administrator--leveraging a broad set of skills and perspectives will help you publish articles that feature interesting stories that increase interest in your school and raise the search engine profile of your website. Search engines, particularly Google, heavily favor those web sites that regularly publish content that has relevant content.

7. Know What's Trending

You can learn about what's trending on social media and search engines by using tools like Google Trends, BuzzFeed, and/or Reddit. Each of these sites has a different view of what's hot on the Internet. By writing about a unique view of these issues, you can increase the likelihood that parents in your target market will find you.

Topics: Communication, Marketing

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