With a new year or new term, your school is provided with the opportunity to start a fresh. So many of you will be thinking about your personal new year's resolutions, but have you stopped to think about some for your school?
1. Keep your school website content up to date
It's a sad fact that sometimes, after a school website has launched and been celebrated, they move to the back of people's minds and become stagnant. It's important to constantly create and add new content in order to encourage recurring visits to your school website. By creating a content strategy you will be able to create a content calendar that will help you to stick to a plan of what you are going to write and when. This will also encourage Google to crawl and index your site more frequently, thus improving your visibility within the search engine results pages (SERP).
2. Review your school website analytics
Your school website's analytics can tell you a lot about what's working well and what might be considered to be a waste of time and money. If you post a particular piece of content that is particularly well-received, you'll know to keep doing and improving on it. However, if your analytics suggested that a piece of content you created was rarely viewed, shared or used - you'll know that you should change your approach.
3. Set key performance indicators (KPIs)
By setting yourself KPIs you will be able to break down your school's overall vision into smaller achievable steps. Instead of attempting to solve all of your problems or goals at once, this can help you chip away at the mammoth marketing iceberg.
If you're struggling to think of KPIs, sometimes it can be easier to work backwards; all of your goals should make your life easier in some way, whether that's saving you time, making processes more efficient or helping your website to be more effective - create your KPIs in response your problems.
Make sure they are SMART too - that's Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-sensitive.
4. Keep constantly learning
Throughout Benjamin Franklin's adult life, he invested roughly an hour a day in deliberate learning, every weekday. Whether you're learning for your own personal enjoyment or to gain a new skill - it's important to keep learning. Knowledge is power, after all.
5. Get talking to others
Social media is the perfect way of creating a constant connection platform with your key stakeholders. Posting pictures of lessons, videos of sports day, stories of achievements and documenting extra-curricular activities, parents will immediately feel more involved in their child's education. By metaphorically opening the door to your school to key stakeholders, you will encourage brand advocacy and social engagement.
6. Segment your audience
It sounds obvious, but it's worth mentioning. If you have gathered a bunch of email addresses from an open day, of all the prospective families who came to visit - you don't want to just bunch them into a spreadsheet with all of your existing parents at the school. This is because ultimately, each of your audience segments are going to be interested in digesting different content at different times.
You don't want to be badgering your existing parents with information about "10 Reasons Why Your Child Should Apply To [School Name]". Similarly, prospective parents probably won't want to hear about How Jimmy in Year 7 just won an award in the Music department. Make all content relevant, useful and informative to the right people at the right time.
7. Invest in professional photography
Using poor quality imagery on your website will have a dramatic effect on the overall perception of your school and its reputation. Having pixelated or blurry photos will drastically dampen your brand from appearing professional to looking amateur.
Parents often begin their research into schools online before they even think of considering them for their children and imagery is a fantastic way of providing them with an insight into daily school life. This is exactly what makes imagery so invaluable to your school's marketing efforts.
Not to mention the fact that once you have invested in a photography day, you will be able to re-use, re-purpose your images throughout your website, prospectus and any other subsequent marketing campaigns you have in the future - making it an extremely cost-effective investment in the long term!
8. Get involved in your local community
Sponsor local events to increase awareness and draw residents into your school. By making the school more prevalent throughout the community, e.g. going door-to-door in new housing developments to hand out flyers, or distributing a copy of your newsletter to homes in your attendance area and local churches. You could also consider renting out some of your school's facilities to local clubs or groups, to make a little of extra income.
9. Consider a promotional video
If you don't currently have a promotional school video, this should be pretty high up on your priorities list. Having a professional video provides you with the ability to make a significant impact by capturing emotions and inspiring intrigue around your school. However, if you do have a school video - you may want to consider refreshing it or revisiting it. Is it really helping to recruit new parents, students and teachers? Get feedback from your stakeholders as to what they think is missing.
10. Ensure your school website is responsive and mobile friendly
If your website is still not responsive or mobile friendly, then you will be losing the majority of your visitors who are accessing the website on mobile or tablet devices. You will also be ranked down in the search engine results as Google and other providers actively punish non-responsive websites. If your site doesn't work on mobile, get in touch for a demo of our system
11. Work on your school's public presence
Make friends with your local newspaper, join discussions in your local community, support local businesses and invite them in to speak or demonstrate, establish a program that links students with local companies for work experience, visit education shows to stay at the forefront of your sector, partner up with other schools in your area to create a seamless connection from primary through to secondary and sixth form. All of this will help to spread the word of your school, create a stronger position within your local community and connect with prospective parents and students.
12. Tell the stories of your students & graduates
By working with the stories of your students and staff this will help you to direct the focus of your marketing to give your school authentic messaging and better online engagement. With true testimonials, images and videos that show what your school is really like will appeal to future students and parents more effectively than canned messaging. Not only will this be beneficial for your outsiders (prospective parents and students), but also for your current students by giving them a sense of involvement and ownership.
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