Online brand building and Digital Marketing for Schools in 2019 School Marketing Campaign and launch…
How To Build Online Presence for your school
How To Build Online Presence for your school
Why is it important to build online presence for Schools?
The reason is fairly straightforward—online search is one of the most common ways parents (and students, to a lesser extent) find and research potential schools so we need to build online presence to generate awareness.
According to research from GreatSchools, online search is the leading research method for parents seeking out a new school for their child by a considerable margin. It beats out word-of-mouth, visiting schools in person, and even school fairs.
Catering to this fact means adopting a comprehensive digital marketing strategy for your school, which can be boiled down to creating and maintaining a strong online presence.
What Does Creating an Online Presence Mean for Schools?
A strong online presence can be difficult to define—there are no hard-and-fast rules to follow, only best practices. But in general, a school’s online presence should aim to do four main things, including:
- Help parents find your school through search engines.
- Serve as a source of information about your school.
- Help build trust with your audience through social proof.
- Encourage engagement with your school community.
There are many ways to satisfy each of these goals through your digital marketing strategy. In the sections below, we’ll be covering a few of the most effective methods.
1. Optimize Your School Website for Search Engines
The way to systematically optimize your school’s online assets is by getting into the mind of your target audience and retracing the steps they take to find your school in the first place.
Third-party data can be incredibly helpful to this process.
According to data from Uberall, 90% of parents begin their search for a new school with a non-branded search query. This means that instead of searching for “GEMS Wellington Academy”, the vast majority of parents are making searches along the lines of “best schools in Dubai” or “international schools Dubai”.
This is a powerful finding—it means that to be visible to your target audience, your school’s website needs to rank for relevant, non-branded search queries. There are a few ways to do this, including:
Creating a School Blog
One of the most effective methods of SEO for schools is content marketing. In short, content marketing is the process of creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience—and ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
A school blog is one of the best platforms for content marketing. It provides you with a space to share valuable information about your school, while also giving you the chance to rank for relevant keywords and phrases.
Give Guest Blogging a Try
When parents search for non-branded terms such as “best schools in Dubai”, there are an abundance of blog posts and listicles that pop up—none of which are attached to a specific school.
That makes sense—it would be a bit hard to trust a school to rank itself impartially, right?
This is where guest blogging comes in. Guest blogging involves writing articles for other websites and blogs in your industry, with the aim of driving traffic back to your own website.
In the case of schools, that means writing blog posts for popular education websites and blogs. Not only does this give you the opportunity to share your school’s story with a wider audience, but it also allows you to include links back to your website—which helps improve your SEO.
2. Use Your School Website as a Hub for Important Information
Your school website should be the go-to source for information about your school. That means everything from your school’s history and principals down to details about the curriculum and extracurricular activities on offer.
Parents should be able to visit your website and, within a few clicks, find everything they need to know about your school. If they can’t, they’ll likely move on to another school’s website that can give them the information they’re looking for.
To make sure your website is fulfilling this role, there are a few key pages you should include:
- About Us Page: This page should give an overview of your school, including your history, philosophy, and any awards or recognition you’ve received.
- Curriculum Page: This page should provide an overview of the curriculum offered at your school, as well as any unique features or selling points.
- Activities and Extracurricular Page: This page should list all the activities and extracurriculars on offer at your school, as well as any unique features or selling points.
- Financial Pages: These pages should include information on school fees, as well as any scholarships or financial aid that’s available.
Once all the pages are filled in (and optimized for search engines), you can use them as a hub that connects all aspects of your digital marketing strategy—from your socials to your blog. This, in turn, will help improve your SEO.
3. Optimize Your School Website for Local Search
Local search is a powerful way to connect with parents who are searching for schools in your area.
To optimize your website for local search, start by claiming your Google My Business listing. This is a free listing that appears on Google when people search for schools in your area.
To claim your listing, simply go to Google My Business and select “Add Your Business”. From there, follow the prompts to verify your business. Once you’ve verified your listing, take some time to fill out all the relevant information—such as your school’s address, phone number, hours of operation, and so on.
Once you’ve filled in your Google My Business profile, repeat this process for every local directory you can, including:
Google uses directories like these to confirm that your school actually exists. When you’ve convinced Google, its algorithm will be more comfortable promoting your school to searches.
4. Focus on Social Proof
Once parents have learned about your school’s existence (likely through online search), social proof is the most influential factor in their decision-making process.
According to a Stanford University study, parents who read a positive review of a school online proceed to rate that school a full letter grade higher than those who don’t. Similarly, parents who read a negative review of a school rate that school half a letter grade lower.
So, if you’re not already doing so, start collecting reviews and testimonials from parents—and make sure they’re prominently featured on your website. These could be in the form of video testimonials, written reviews, or even just simple social media posts.
You should also make it easy for parents to leave reviews by:
- Including links to review platforms (like Google and Facebook) on your website
- Asking parents to leave reviews via email or social media
- Making it part of the admissions process
The more positive reviews you have, the more likely parents will be to choose your school over another.
5. Be Active on Social Media
In addition to collecting and featuring reviews, you should also be active on social media.
Social media is a great way to connect with parents (and potential parents), as well as promote your school to a wider audience.
When it comes to social media, there are a few key platforms you should focus on:
- Facebook: This platform is great for sharing news, updates, and events happening at your school. You can also use Facebook Ads to target parents in your area.
- Twitter: Twitter is perfect for sharing quick updates, as well as responding to parents in real-time.
- Instagram: Instagram is a visual platform that’s perfect for sharing photos and videos of life at your school. This is a great way to give parents a “behind the scenes” look at what their child’s experience could be like.
In addition to these three platforms, you should also consider creating a LinkedIn page for your school. This is a great way to connect with other educators, as well as share news and updates with parents.