With YouTube attracting 30 million viewers each day and UK adults alone spending almost an hour a day watching videos, it only makes sense that schools embrace video as part of their own digital marketing strategy — and many have. So rather than convince you why you need to be video marketing, this blog will focus on walking you through the steps to creating a strategy that will help improve engagement and results with your school videos.
Step 1 — Set Goals
All successful marketing campaigns begin with a goal in mind. Answer the following questions and get your video marketing off to a great start:
- What do you hope to gain from your school videos? You may have more than one goal such as break into a new market, increase your Open Day registration or just drive general awareness. Whatever your goals, you’ll want to make note of them.
- Who are your target audiences? It seems like a given that you’ll know who you’re targeting, but many schools will have more than one audience (parent, pupils and alumni) and as such the waters can get a bit murky. By spending a little time reflecting on your video market goals and your audiences you’ll have a better idea of the types of videos you’ll want to produce, the messages and even the platforms you’ll want to share them on.
- How will you measure your success? Will it be on views, engagement, action on your school website? Make sure your goals are measurable and you have a system in place to monitor your success. Goals in Google Analytics will tell you when someone’s taken the desired action on your website and UTM tracking will record which campaigns have contributed to that goal. View times can also be tracked in Google Analytics or, if hosted on YouTube, within your channel. Engagement can be tracked within your different social channels. Whatever your goals, you’ll want to make sure you have a way to track them.
Step 2 — Determine Your Budget
Your budget will, of course, influence the types of videos your school will produce but don’t let it limit you. There is room for every type of video in a school marketing strategy.
- Professional Video – Think of the professional video as your store window. You put the best on display there as it represents what you have to offer. You may think a professionally made video is outside your reach but with a little research you’ll most likely find a vendor within your price point. The benefit to professional of course is getting a quality look and feel, one that is reflective of your school.
- In-House Video – with the advancement of technology even smartphones can create some amazing film footage. In-house video is great for capturing those everyday moments that keep current parents informed and pique the interest of prospective parents and pupils. Find a staff member with a steady hand and a passion for photography/videography and take advantage of their enthusiasm! You might even consider getting students involved in the final editing process as this is a skill that will benefit many in their future careers.
- Student, Parent and Alumni Video – nothing is more authentic and well received these days than user-generated video. Again, tap into the resources available and enlist the help of your current and past pupils as well as parents. A contest is a great way to make it fun and get the students involved as well.
Step 3 — Create a Calendar
Creating a calendar for your video marketing (and content in general) is a great way to ensure you’re delivering the right content at the right time. And that you’re providing content for each stage of your admissions funnel.
- Awareness – this is the top of a sales funnel where you’ll want to reach people that don’t yet know about your school. Ideally emotive videos work best here; however, the goal is to get found so distribution and optimisation are key here (see Step 4).
- Interest – now that the visitors have heard of you, you’ll want to show them a little more of day-to-day life at your school. Videos that showcase activities, events and even virtual tours of the school are ideal here.
- Decision – testimonial videos are perfect for helping parents (and older pupils) make that final decision on which school they’ll choose. A combination of student, parent and alumni videos should be in every school marketers tool-box.
- Advocacy – and finally, don’t forget that you want to keep your alumni and parents engaged in order to secure those all-important testimonials. Interview alumni, highlighting their successes, to encourage other past students to share their own experiences. Showcasing the brilliance of current students (even in blogs) will also go a long way to securing testimonials from current parents as well.
Include in your calendar when you’ll be distributing your video, on which platform (don’t just limit yourself to one), your call-to-action (you’ve got their attention – take advantage of it!), who your target audience is and at what stage of the funnel they’re at. By using a simple spreadsheet to map this information out you can ensure you’re not leaving any audience – or funnel stage – out.
Step 4 — Develop a Distribution Strategy
Now that you know the types of video your school will be creating, you’ll want to have a distribution strategy. And this is something that shouldn’t be an after-thought. If you’ve paid a substantial portion of your marketing budget for a professionally made video, you’ll want to ensure its success. A reputable film company should not only be creating your video but also providing tips on how you can maximise exposure for your video. Have a strategy in place to get your teachers, parents and students involved in the process right from the get-go and you’ll have the best chance of your school video ‘going viral’ (well one can hope).
In addition to getting buy-in from others, optimising your videos on the different social channels and platforms is essential if you want to be found in search engines. Be sure to include your keywords in your title tags and description, add a video transcript, and create a cover image that’s engaging. A free Chrome tool like VidIQ is perfect for assisting you in optimising your video on YouTube.
Step 5 — Measure, Rinse and Repeat
And finally, if you’ve created your goals and your campaign tracking as mentioned in Step 1, you’ll want to have a look at which videos were the most successful — on which platforms, for which audience and which goals. This should be a simple case of pulling those statistics from Google Analytics. You can even set it up to be notified each month automatically.
Once you uncover the recipe for your school’s video marketing success, simply use that same formula going forward. With time so precious, knowing what works and what doesn’t when it comes to achieving your school’s marketing goals is really what a strategy is all about.
Here’s to your school marketing success in 2019!
If you need help creating goals and measuring the success of your school marketing videos – or even some ideas on how you can maximise exposure – feel free to reach out. I’m always happy to chat.