Author: Ben Greenwood
Posted: 28 Feb 2020
Estimated time to read: 3 mins
The school market is competitive. With so many schools trying to attract prospective students, and parents, it’s difficult to be heard above the noise. In this blog we’ll explore why school marketing has seen a surge in importance and how you can better promote your school to new families.
What is school marketing?
School marketing is becoming increasingly popular, there’s even whole marketing agencies devoted to solely marketing schools. It’s an area of the school management that was once unheard of, but we now recruit specifically for marketing managers - why?
With decreasing school budgets, parents who can afford it are turning to independent and private schools with the worry that public schools won’t be able to provide the education they want for their child.
This creates two spaces - one where independent and private schools compete over parents from public schools, as well as their existing anual new starters. And another where public schools need to show that they can still provide the high level of education that parents are looking for.
For the former scenario, independent and private schools usually have the budget to hire specific marketing managers or an agency to handle their marketing responsibilities, making sure they stand out. But for public schools, this means starting initiatives on their own without the help of specialist staff or third parties.
How to market your school
In this blog we’ll look at what you need to consider to effectively promote your school in a competitive market. You can then use this information to create your own school marketing materials and plan for the future.
Find your ‘marketable values’
Every school has marketable values. Whether it’s sporting excellence, a bustling extra-curricular scene or being a speciality college, there are values you can draw upon to create good school marketing campaigns.
Try to focus on elements that parents will view as benefits, not just features of the school, like having a great tuck shop or a state of the art IT suite. By sticking to the elements that parents want to see in a school for their child, you rise above other schools that list endless features, instead giving them just a handful of marketable values to remember.
Choose your channels
Once you know what your messaging will focus on, it's time to decide which channels to use.
For social media, Twitter and Facebook are popular choices. Some schools even opt for an Instagram account. Ensure that you use the school social media consistently and regularly. Share events like proms and sports days and post pictures before, during and after the event. Give prospective students an inside look at how your school works.
A school website might seem old fashioned in this age of social advertising and video marketing but, it’s actually an untapped secret weapon for many schools. If you’ve had your school website for some time this will work in your favour because it means that the reputation of the site will be higher than that of newer sites.
It also makes it easier for it to appear higher on search results pages for words that google users are searching for. Making sure your website is up to date, easy to use and full of useful and informative content that promotes your school’s marketale values is a must for any school.
A newsletter is pretty old school, but it can be effective amongst and they can be brought into the 21st century by sending them electronically. By keeping existing parents up to date with all the great work the school is doing you not only enhance communication between home and school, you give parents something to talk about - in turn making them your ambassadors. If enough of your parents are talking about the great work their child’s school is doing, the more likely prospective parents are to hear this.
Your school’s brand is important. If you want to appeal to parents and fend off competition from rival schools, you’ll need a consistent and visible brand. This can be developed over time with good execution.
This means keeping branding and design consistent across all your platforms, maintaining presence on all channels and continuously assessing your methods. If you’re able to secure the budget, consider branching out to paid social media ads and pay per click.
The best thing you can do to better market your school is put in some time to learn the tricks of the trade. Apply for an SEO course, sign up to a marketing webinar or just search for valuable videos on youtube. The best way to stay ahead of other schools is by keeping up to date with current school marketing trends.
For more help with marketing your school, download our free guide to PTA marketing: