Having a Digital Marketing Strategy in place as part of your overall marketing plan is crucial. A good digital strategy should be well informed, targeted and focused, but also realistic. But where do you begin and what do you include?
Determining Your School Objectives
A good understanding of your School’s objectives is the first step in creating an effective digital marketing strategy. Without knowing what you’re aiming for, chances are you won’t hit it. Make your goals as specific as possible. For instance, you may want to increase student registration by 20%. In order to measure the success of your digital marketing plan, you will need to gather historical data to start.
Identifying Your Audience
A successful digital marketing strategy also relies on understanding your ideal customers. In most school’s case that is parents, pupils and alumni. If you don’t know what your customers’ issues/concerns are, where they can be found, or what motivates their purchasing decisions (in this case their education), you can’t effectively sell to them. Ensuring that you understand the persona of your ideal customers is the first step.
Create ‘Persona Profiles’ by gathering as much data as you can about your target audience. The more you know about your ideal customers, the better you will be able to develop the marketing messages that speak directly to them.
Now that you’ve got your objectives and your audience identified you can begin to create your strategy. Although each school will be different, there are four main areas to consider when forming your digital marketing strategy:
Great content is an essential foundation for both your SEO and social media strategy. Creating a calendar of monthly topics will not only give you an opportunity to showcase your school’s unique story and differentiate yourself from other schools but can bring you a steady stream of loyal followers. Remember however to keep your Personas pains and considerations in mind when creating your content. Content MUST be relevant!
2. Social Media
If content is the backbone of your marketing plan, then social media can be thought of as one of the engines that help drive it. But don’t just do it for the sake of it. Decide on the social media platforms that best suit your abilities and will best reach your audience. Once you’ve decided on your platforms, create a social media calendar to ensure you stay on top of the conversations. Start with the content you’re creating for your blog and build from there.
Advertising once relied heavily on print. But with more parents and pupils online than ever before, digital marketing is now taking the lead and cannot be ignored. Keep this – and again, your Persona Profiles – in mind when developing your advertising plan. Where does your audience reside online? Can you track your ROI? If you haven’t thought of PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising before now might be the time to give it a try. With so few schools using it, the cost is much less than you might expect.
4. School Website
Your website is by far your biggest advertising platform so your website strategy should not be taken lightly. Does your website talk to your Personas? Have you considered their journey? If a redesign is on your agenda do you have a 301-redirect strategy? Are you clear about your desired branding, messaging, and your school’s unique value proposition? A new visitor to your website should immediately get a sense of what your school stands for and has to offer. From responsive design to protecting your current website assets, there is a lot to keep in mind when building a new website.
Putting it all Together
Although each school’s digital marketing strategy will be unique, there are some fundamental steps that will apply to all of you:
- Have a clear understanding of your marketing objectives
- Research your audience – create your Persona Profiles
- Implement your plans – use a calendar to keep you organised
- Learn and evolve – monitor your results and modify if necessary
Keep these steps in mind when creating your strategy and remember, I’m are always here to help.