When it comes to school marketing, we all know how difficult and time-consuming it can be to get it right. And, for many schools, it can be all too easy to put marketing plans on the back burner until a deadline is fast approaching.
The reality is that ignoring marketing until absolutely necessary means your school runs the risk of harming your efforts when you need them the most, and can mean that the effort you do expend can fail to live up to the expectations of everyone involved.
In our latest blog, we’ve outlined the five most common signs your school needs a better approach to marketing and, importantly, how Eduprise can help you to get it right.
Sign #1: Your School Struggles to Engage Parents in School Life
It may seem odd to include your current parent community within your marketing plan, but building and maintaining a good relationship with parents and carers can have a great impact on your marketing success.
We all know how important it is to engage parents in the education of their children, but doing so can have the added benefit of creating your most effective brand ambassadors.
Handled well, parents and carers can be a useful voice for your school, helping to build that all important positive reputation in your local community. Handled poorly, they can create serious headaches for your school.
Communicate with your parent community regularly; share good news and examples of the amazing work that their children are creating. Make sure not to leave them in any doubt about the positive and encouraging environment your school provides for its students.
Sign #2: You Miss the Opportunity to Celebrate Positive, Reputation Building Stories
We’ve already touched upon the impact that your school’s reputation can have. Building a good reputation in your local area is key to marketing; the better your school is seen, the more likely you are to increase engagement, admissions, and attract the best talent.
Remember to make the most of good news at your school. An obvious win would be to celebrate a good result from an Ofsted inspection, or the great exam results that your students achieve.
However, it doesn’t need to be a huge splash to be worth sharing; a good news story can be as straightforward as advertising an engaging educational visit or trip that your students took. Share the impact that your fundraising events have for your school, and let your communities see the incredible work your students produce.
Most importantly, be visible. A good catalogue of good news stories that present the positive impact and ethos of your school will not only have an impact when it comes to making a concerted marketing push, but it can also help to negate the negative impact when a bad news story comes along.
A great example of this is how we get positive stories out there for our clients on World Book Day. Almost every school organises activities for this week, but very few think to let their parent communities and wider audiences know!
Sign #3: You Have a Poor Relationship with Local Press
The local press can be your best friend or your worst enemy, and maintaining a good relationship can be essential to safeguarding your school’s reputation. If you only ever communicate when a negative story or crisis arises, chances are the public will only ever see the bad and miss all of the good.
A little cooperation can go a long way; make local journalists apprised of any good news stories or content that your school produces by providing high-quality press releases. This will not only build a good relationship between your school and the press, but it will also help to get those stories out into the local community and provide you with plenty of good coverage.
Through our work with the local press in Devizes, one of the schools we work with regularly attracts photographers for positive events, leading to highly effective reputation building pieces with little to no investment required from the school.
Sign #4: It’s Difficult to Recruit Talent to Your School
Your staff are the backbone of your school’s success, and being able to attract the best talent can be just as important as attracting new students. And, just like admissions marketing, an effective marketing strategy is pivotal; without it, would-be staff members are much more likely to look elsewhere.
Make sure your website has all the information a prospective employee could ask for; your school values, teaching methods, and your curriculum are a great place to start. Think about the benefits your school has for staff members, and showcase your supportive working environment.
And, when it comes time to reach out to prospective staff members, think carefully about the channels you use to do so. Big name job sites such as Indeed or Monster are popular, but websites such as Tes and eTeach are also well-liked by teachers searching for new opportunities.
Recently, we helped a trust struggling to attract high quality candidates due to an outdated careers website. By refocusing their marketing around a common goal, they’ve seen a big increase in applicants.
Sign #5: You Struggle to Meet Admissions Targets
This is potentially the most critical sign of a struggling marketing plan, and often the main focus for many schools. In our experience, the biggest mistake many make is leaving success down to a large, last-minute campaign to win over would-be parents.
The key to success is a long-term strategy; an uncertain parent is unlikely to be swayed in a matter of days or a couple of weeks. Instead, your school needs to gain their trust and confidence over time, by building up your reputation and sharing positive news with your audience. Parents need to know who you are, what you stand for, and why you are the best and safest pair of hands for their child’s education.
We helped a school in Bicester, founded in 2018, grow at an increased rate every year by focusing on a consistent and achievable marketing plan throughout the year to spread the word about the school around the local area.
How We Can Help
Improving your school’s marketing can seem like a daunting task, but you don’t have to go it alone.
Delivering a competitive and successful marketing campaign takes a broad range of expertise and experience, and by working with us, you can access a fully fledged marketing team at a fraction of the cost.
Whether it’s boosting admissions, building your reputation, or advising on how to put together a full marketing strategy from scratch, we’re here to help. Take a look at our services page today, or get in touch for an informal chat.