A proven marketing strategy for schools is a powerful tool that can boost enrollment, simplify…
Increase admissions for schools in the UAE.
Today’s tech savvy parents are looking for better and more trustworthy sources of information. They know they are not going to find this in a direct mailer or radio ad. When you pay for traditional advertising, you are shouting your message far and wide ‘Spray and Pray’. The problem is that few people in your target market are listening anymore.
The purpose of this guide is to help on the creation of reliable an effective marketing plan designed increase admissions for schools in the UAE.
This article aimed primary at private high schools but includes pre-schools, nurseries and kindergarten.
Getting your message heard
The average person tries hard to filter our unnecessary noise pollution by subliminally filtering out background noise, this makes it tricky for advertisers to deliver their message. People listen to less radio instead play podcasts or personal playlists, people have replaced newspaper subscriptions for news feeds, discarding and disposing of mail-drops, fast forwarding through television Ads to watch Ad free TV channels like Apple, Prime and Netflix. So how do advertisers connect with people today.
A digital marketing strategy will help draw people to your School and you will not be disturbing them, by helping them to decide what is best for their children.
Parents are searching online for school near me they will then visit a school website by clicking the url, before browsing their webpages. If something interests them, they may bookmark, share, sign-up, download or connect to their social media channels. If interest levels continues they can gain info by download materials, (fees tables, calendar, Prospectus, newsletter), watch a video and finally it’s hoped they will commit to making contact (call, message, contact forms) or better book an appointment for a campus visit ‘School Tour’. Broadly speaking this is what is known as Inbound marketing.
What is happening here is the school is positioning itself to be visible through it’s website and social media channels (online brand presence) to appeal to a particular kind of parent looking for a new school.
A typical inbound marketing strategy will consist of the following.
Search Engine Optimisation
SEO, everyone’s heard of Search Engines or Search Filters, that generate results pages after a search terms or inquiry is made i.e “Islamic Girls School near me”.
Marketeers know how exactly how to present online content to appeal to the search engines. It’s not rocket science more like indexing a book in a library. By presenting content in pre-set boxes it helps algorithms find your content, to display whether it’s a blog article, a video clip or simple webpage text. With today user-friendly SEO plugins a layperson with access to the backend can be guided to use SEO tools.
Additionally, we use keywords to notify to search engines the of your content and web presence. These are embedded in webpage text, added to SEO boxes and used on social media (also Google Ads). Typical keywords chosen are a reflection of the type of school you are and kind of audience you are targeting.
When choosing keywords they can be a reflection of and your school’s curriculum, it’s location and any unique selling propositions. A free keyword planner can simplify and speed up the process of building a list based.
Back-linking (off-page SEO)
As part of SEO backlinking, as the name suggests, is adding links from your webpages to other external websites. Typically, these external sites are chosen for their relevance and authority. For example a School may add their own links to an official Educational body, a recognized School evaluation portal, a popular parents/teachers advice page. The useful example is Wikipedia pages, where you’ll find all content linked to multiple external references sites.
Check your website’s performance
Clear you cache load your site and make sure it functions properly and display relevant content quickly. This is easier said than done, and maybe best handled by a professional. A web pro will conduct a complete audit on performance and functionality of the site’s page. They will look at backend SEO ratings, front end responsiveness to devices, user-friendly navigation (UX and UI), readability, image/text ratio, use of dynamic elements (video, motion graphic). Much of this is common sense (once you ignore the jargon) but some of it requires professional expertise such as page loading speed and optimization.
Properly optimized webpages should quickly load and guide users (parents) to the information they need and hopefully encourage them to take a decisive action ‘conversion action’ e.g. signing-up for Newsletter, downloading School Prospectus, fees table or academic Calendar, watch a video message, visiting a blog page, commenting/liking/share, book a tour, or simply call/WhatsApp an inquiry.
All the above actions should be easily accessible to the user and with properly designed webpages the user experience should be good enough to encourage them to take the predetermined action (conversion) you want.
A blog page is an organic way to connect with new and existing parents. If your blog articles are well written, consistent, topical, and relevant they will encourage interaction from users ‘likes’, ‘comments, shares, clicks) these will be recorded and ranked by the search engines. It’s called organic because it’s not paid, it’s a free way to promote your school by getting user engagement that Google will rank whilst building credibility and authority on school related issues. We recommend using it’s also where you can store alot bulk text helping to keep your main pages uncluttered.
Browsing a schools social media grants you a backstage pass so to speak, a behind the scenes look at a school, its where new parents form first impressions of what life looks like on campus. Reading and watching content on a social network can reveal a school’s personality and community feeling; something the webpages cannot. It also serves as a channel to chat/live with the schools register/admission department.
If you have a database of existing parents and new sign-ups, make sure to send a monthly newsletter. Posted via an online (HTML) publishing application you can see opening, and bounce rates which can help indicate what parents your parents interests are.
Online Paid Advertising
Inbound marketing also includes paid advertising for both Google and social media platforms. Targeted Ad campaigns around springtime when parents begin to think about their children’s schooling options for the following year. Properly set-up and targeted you school can expect a reasonable better the traditional Ads return on spend Ad (ROAS).
Still has it’s use as part of your school’s 360 marketing strategy. If you have a major announcement, a new school opening, an existing school extension it’s worthwhile widening communications with traditional activities to support your inbound strategy. For example, a pop-up kiosk/stand at the local mall/plaza, door drops in the neighborhood, outdoor media within the campus catchment area. These traditional channels along with radio ads can help amplify your inbound marketing efforts.
Easy Marketing Plan
It’s worthwhile drafting a plan to coordinate and integrate your activities otherwise they may not complement and at worse be at odds with each other. Designate a timeframe and generate a content calendar, with topics to focus on, there’s now AI platforms and plenty of free download material to help get you started. Try and build a picture of your ideal target audience or parent profile (aka persona). Saving this information to a CRM allows anyone in your department to align on the same page, so all efforts are coordinated.
Inbound is more trackable and accountable than traditional advertising it’s proven itself giving a better return on Ad spend. Online is where the current and next generation of parents will research for their children’s schooling options.
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