Lauren Selwood is a Marketing Executive at Ambleglow, a leading education marketing agency, working with schools and businesses marketing to schools across the UK - www.ambleglow.co.uk
After making it possible for schools to customise Satchel One, to match their school branding, we asked Lauren for her take on school marketing and why it's so important in todays competitive climate:
Marketing is something almost every corporate business does, but now more and more schools are choosing to employ their own marketing strategies and, crucially, they’re seeing the benefits of marketing themselves.
So why do schools, especially independents, focus so much attention on marketing these days?
The answer is simple. Schools use marketing to ensure that their admissions pipeline remains buoyant and can set themselves apart from the competition. And, we all know just how much competition is out there, with over 24,000 schools in the UK alone.
Why should your school focus time and budget on marketing?
If your school chooses not to focus on marketing, or attributes minimal budget to marketing, it is true that you will be able to save time, manpower and money.
But by doing this, your school suffers.
You’ve all heard the saying “you have to spend money to make money”, and that saying is truer than ever when it comes to school marketing. It doesn’t have to be a huge budget, but setting a realistic figure for your school is the first step to success.
There are many ways to be successful at marketing whether that be engaging social media marketing, video marketing, print marketing or a mixture of all of these. At Ambleglow, we’ve noticed that schools utilising video marketing achieve better results than those who don’t.
When you hear ‘video marketing’ your mind is immediately drawn to huge productions that cost lots of money, but that isn’t the case at all. All you need for successful video marketing is a smartphone and a bit of creativity, as we explored in a webinar we've done recently.
Naturally you will always attract families via word of mouth and this is one of your strongest assets, but without a solid marketing plan, your admissions pipeline will start to suffer and your school will ultimately start to lose money. Depending on your school each pupil brings in from £4,426 to £12,239 on average, so if your school doesn’t end up meeting it’s admissions target, you’ll have to cut back in other areas and this can result in your school’s reputation being affected. It’s a vicious circle.
Show your staff the importance of marketing
Part of marketing your school successfully means making sure that all members of staff are aware of what marketing is, are on board and are contributing.
But that’s easier said than done, when many teachers and support staff don’t enjoy or see "selling the school" as part of their job description. That’s why it’s your job, as the marketer, to show them how beneficial it is to your school.
Get the teaching and support staff together to show them that marketing not only benefits the school but it can also benefit them and their teaching departments. The more admissions the school gets, the more money the school gets and therefore the more equipment and resources their departments can benefit from.
You need to engage with the staff and impress upon them that their input in marketing is just as important as yours and the SLTs.
Proving how important marketing is for your school
Let’s take a look at the current situation we’re in - COVID-19.
During this challenging time, it’s so difficult for parents and students to focus on day-to-day life. Parents are juggling homeschooling and working from home. Children are facing not seeing their friends, having a completely different learning environment and, some of them, not even understanding what is happening.
This is where marketing is even more important.
If a family is looking at schools to send their child to during this time, then I don’t know about you but I’d be looking at those schools that are supporting and engaging with students and parents, despite the challenges
I’d be looking at those schools that are hosting innovative virtual open days, putting out valuable content on social media, sharing inspirational videos of their SLT and generally just doing their part to ensure their school’s community feels safe, heard and part of a family.
This all comes down to sophisticated marketing.
So, whether your school is state or independent, you should be looking to invest time, money and energy into the marketing of your school to achieve results and, above all, admissions.