Digital Marketing For Independent Schools
Families researching independent schools for their children will first look online. Digital presence is essential and getting to a school’s website quickly and easily is critical. An attractive and user friendly website that is responsive on all devices and provides a sense of your school’s environment is a must. Schools can no longer ignore the need for digital marketing if they want to grow online engagement, strengthen school brand, and increase application response rate. Larger schools have Marketing and Communications departments dedicated to managing all aspects of online marketing for the school. Schools without this resource find it difficult to keep up, as they are already overwhelmed with the regular day-to-day activities of the school. Our founders and leadership team are experienced educators who know and understand schools. Our digital division is cutting edge. We are here to help!
7 Ways to Increase Online Engagement
Fresh content is what keeps people interested and engaged. The most critical component is having strong SEO (Search Engine Optimization) which will help to increase the amount of traffic to your website and the various sections within your website. SEOs are what search engines, like Google, are looking for. An example of having fresh content is by creating a blog with regular, timely additions of blog posts related to anything within your school. These can be teacher profiles, classroom profiles, student activities, fundraising, new programs and curriculum, special events, etc. All of these will help to keep your audience engaged and active in your school’s online presence.
Subscribers Grow your subscriber base! Always make good use of opt-in forms to encourage visitors to sign-up for the school newsletter. This is a simple but effective way to keep people informed about the different aspects of the school and to engage future families who may be searching for information about schools on their short list. Sign-up forms should be available on blog posts and on pages related to admissions, school events, and open houses. Visitors are more likely to sign up if they are seeking specific information related to enrollment.
Newsletters are still the best way to stay engaged with the community. They are targeted to community members already engaged with the school who may be current students, parents, past parents, and alumni. All have some attachment to the school and keeping them engaged and informed is critical for branding, word-of-mouth advertising, and of course fundraising. Newsletters should be published on a regular cycle, whether it be monthly, quarterly, or weekly. It is a simple yet highly effective way to keep your community informed on all the important and interesting highlights of your school and its community.
Backlinks are links on other sites that lead back to a school’s website or landing page. SEO algorithms for the major search engines like Google and Bing undergo constant revision and every year there are new elements included that affect a website ranking in a search engine. In 2016 a site’s ranking changed significantly if it was not responsive on mobile platforms. In 2018 it is all about backlinks. To rank well in search engines today a site must have backlinks on other websites that have a relationship with education and ideally independent schools. Schools that are profiled on sites such as SchoolAdvice acquire a significant number of high value backlinks that contribute to optimal rankings on search engines.
Google Ad Word Campaigns Larger marketing campaigns based on Google Ad Words can be extremely effective, however budgets for this type of campaign are typically $5,000 and up. It is always best to engage a professional when setting such a campaign. There is much to consider; keywords, landing pages, calls to action, and more. At SchoolAdvice we are experienced Google Partners. We have worked with schools to design recruitment strategies for international students, targeting ads to specific countries and designing landing pages that are language friendly to visitors who have clicked on the ad.
“Primary Point of Contact with your School is Online”
Creating and maintaining your school’s online presence most certainly takes a lot of work so now, more than ever, many schools are hiring professional web developers to create and update their websites with the expectations that future families will find them online and engage with what the school has to offer. This abundance of information may be overwhelming, but luckily, SchoolAdvice can be of assistance in managing all of the above! SchoolAdvice provides School Profiles, free of charge, which help schools create a doorway to the school with a variety of backlinks. Although this can be incredibly helpful, SchoolAdvice also has the option of a paid school subscription which improves engagement even more! Subscribing schools profile pages include pop-ups to encourage sign ups to grow your newsletter audience, featured school status in School Finder, visitor inquiries delivered to School’s email inbox, and a dedicated school placement professional on your school’s team. SchoolAdvice provides monthly and ongoing marketing services for schools. Our digital marketing team can create blog content, manage social media posts, create newsletters, and manage the subscriber database.