Digital Marketing Tips for Private Schools
In addition to guest posting on the UpCity blog, Nick Laiuppa Marketing is featured as one of the Top Digital Marketing Agencies in the United States. Check out their profile!
When it comes to successfully marketing a private school, there’s no shortage of “marketing gurus” selling hacks and tactics. Five ways to get more students overnight. The one trick that will increase your student retention tenfold. You know, things like that.
This is not that type of article. We’re steering clear of gimmicks and hacks to focus on proven digital marketing strategies that will help you connect with your target audience and attract more potential students. Get ready to learn the private school marketing fundamentals that will transform your school.
Social Media Marketing
It’s not a surprise that we’re going to start with social media as it’s the cheapest and easiest marketing tool in your arsenal. First things first, make sure to claim or create a Facebook page and LinkedIn page; use photos and video from your school website and fill out as much information as possible so prospective parents know how to get in touch.
The next step is easy: start posting! You ought to know by now that posting on your private school’s social media platforms is a no-brainer, but you won’t attract prospective students or their parents without a well-planned social media strategy. Luckily, content marketing is all the rage these days and your school is full of incredible subject matter experts!
Share your staff’s expertise and unique points of view on everything from current events to academic subjects. Professionals are the new influencers. What do I mean by that? Lawyers, doctors, professors… they are all gaining followers at breakneck speed these days. Why? Because they are straightening out the misinformation that has run wild on social media since the dawn of time. They’re building brand awareness and a successful business off their expertise, and your school can too!
Who better to share valuable, useful, and interesting information than educators themselves?! What’s more, users are quite literally begging for this “direct from the source of truth” type of content today. Work this type of content into your marketing plan and you’ll undoubtedly see your click-through rate and website traffic skyrocket.
Does anyone on your staff reach out to your happiest parents or students to request an online review from them? If they do, do they do it consistently?
If your answer to both of those questions is yes, skip to the next topic. If your answer is no, we’ve got an easy solution for you.
I’m going to assume that you know how critical online reviews are but you can’t seem to nail down a process to request them with consistency. Review generation software is the solution you need. There are probably a dozen choices out there that all work in a similar fashion. Here’s a quick overview of how you use them.
Set up your profile, email templates, and text message templates
Upload the contact information of your list (name, email, phone number)
Emails and text messages will automatically go out at whatever cadence you like for as long as you’d like that request a review from the contact
The contact clicks the link and is directed to leave a review on whatever platform you select (Google My Business, Niche, Great Schools, Facebook, Yelp… there are hundreds to choose from)
It’s that simple! One of our clients started using this type of program and went from fifteen reviews to more than 125 positively glowing testimonials in just one year! When it comes to return on investment, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better option for your private school.
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Search Engine Optimization
SEO is a perfect long-term marketing strategy for private schools. Think of it like your school’s 401k. Why? SEO takes time to pay off, at least three to six months until any sort of results starts to come in. Whereas PPC (pay-per-click) ads might provide quicker results, SEO provides a more stable long-term source of quality website traffic. If done in tandem you’ll be playing both the long game and the short game at the same time.
SEO is an inbound marketing strategy, meaning it’s about providing value to users to entice them to use or purchase your product or service. Are your landing pages clean, user-friendly, and informative? Does your website design make it hard to use your site? Are you answering questions and providing content that new students and their parents will find helpful? If you follow our earlier advice to share your faculty’s expertise through content marketing, coming up with an SEO campaign will be easy.
SEO may be complex, but at the end of the day, it can be boiled down to one simple idea: if your content is relevant and user-friendly, Google will show it to searchers; if it’s not, they won’t.
If you’re looking for a unique way to increase your student retention, email marketing might be the solution. Isn’t email marketing dead? No way! When done the right, it works like a charm for retention.
Email is just a delivery platform. The content that you deliver is what is going to keep more students in your school. The main idea here is to share VALUABLE and HELPFUL information both with your students and their parents. The rule of thumb should be 80% value and 20% self-promotion/school news. Maybe you could be a source of information for parents to guide them through the tough job of raising kids. Maybe you could share some unique ideas that your principal or your board has about education or the future of education. Maybe you could curate a list of activities (concerts, events, movie releases, etc) going on in your area for the upcoming month and deliver that to your students. The content topics are endless.
What is important is your parents and your students ENJOY the content because it helps them. By doing that, you’re deepening their relationship with you which in turn makes it harder for them to leave or seek out new schools during transition phases.
The last piece of marketing strategy that we’ll cover in this post is Google Ads. Google is usually the first digital place that people go to when they’re looking for an answer to their problems. That simple fact is the reason why Google Ads works. People look for a solution, your ad pops up, they click your ad, and go to your website. It’s as simple as it sounds. That’s why it’s often the first place we recommend a private school to advertise.
Every day, people are looking for what you have to offer, you just have to show up. Google Ads are how you show up quickly. I won’t go into the intricacies of how to set up a proper Google Ads campaign (it’s simply out of the scope of this blog post), but, know this: Google Ads makes sense for nearly every single school and it should be a big area of focus for your marketing.
We covered five digital marketing tips for private schools. Each one of these marketing ideas can increase your enrollment and your retention. By just focusing on one of these, you’ll be well on your way to running a successful marketing effort. If you can tackle a few then you’ll be building an impenetrable moat around your school.
Take some time today and figure out which of these strategies you can implement within the next month. That may be some of the most valuable time that you spend all day long!