How to Do School Marketing Like a Boss

06 Aug

Times have changed. The school landscape has become more competitive than ever before, thanks to online learning. Students are no longer stuck having to choose between moving away from their families or attending a local school. Through the power of the internet, they can attend school anywhere they would like.

When students have a wide range of choices, that means you also have a wide variety of competitors. If your school is struggling to attract new students, then it’s time to get serious and build a marketing plan with some powerful marketing tactics.

If you learn how to identify and prioritize the right strategies, then you’ll soon be attracting an increased number of students. We are here to help. Let us show you how to do school marketing from start to finish.

How to Do School Marketing in 5 Easy Steps

Creating a successful school marketing plan may seem like a somewhat daunting task. However, it doesn’t have to be that complicated. You simply need to be strategic in how you approach it.

1. Identify Your Marketing Goals 

The first step in your plan needs to be to identify your goals. These goals will be the guiding light that will drive you forward as you move through the different strategies available to you.

These quantifiable goals will also help you regularly assess your progress and determine whether or not your initiatives are successful. To get started, an excellent way to do this is by using S.M.A.R.T. goals. For each goal that you write, you want to make sure that it is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. 

For example:

  • Increase new student enrollment by 5% by the end of the year.
  • Increase donor gifts by 10% and donor attendance by 15% by the end of the quarter.
  • Develop a campus newsletter with a 40% or better open rate within six months.
  • Introduce a new afterschool program within three months and enroll a minimum of 12 students.

Once you’ve defined your goals, make a list of the marketing action items that will be required to bring that goal to light. Also, list the metrics that you will measure along with the people and departments involved.

2. Compile a List of Resources 

Now that you have a goal in mind, it’s time to think about how you’re going to bring it to reality. Prioritize your goals and figure out where you want to start first.

Once you know what you’re trying to work on, it’s time to start thinking about the resources that are available to you. You obviously need the budget approved, but you will also be investing time and talent into delivering results. It’s also important to factor in the tools that you will need along with the channels that you will be using.

For example, if your goal is to develop a campus newsletter, do you have the talent on hand to write the content, create the graphics, and measure the results? What software will you utilize for sending out the newsletter, and what are the costs associated with it?

You may need to adjust some of your goals and timelines based on the resources that you have available. This information will help you build your budget for this year and next.

3. Brainstorm Strategies and Tactics 

At this point, you are armed with the goals that you want to achieve, the order that you want to achieve them in, and the resources that you’re going to need. Now it’s time to figure out precisely which strategies and tactics that you’re going to utilize to pull this off.

As you start building out your plan, you need to think about what your timelines look like in three months, six months, and 12 months.

Some of your initiatives may only take a few weeks to implement while others may take a few months. Even some of the shorter projects may take a few months before you get measurable results.

This stage is all about making sure that you know what you’re going to do, when you’re going to do it, and when you need to measure the results. When you are done, you should have a step-by-step plan for each project that outlines the initiatives supporting it and explains why you’re doing each activity.

4. Identify Low-Hanging Fruit 

Finally, you want to identify your low-hanging fruit. There are many activities that you can do and a lot of goals that you could achieve. However, there’s a limited amount of your time and a limited amount of resources to achieve them with.

Are there any items in your plan that should be moved to the front because they can be accomplished quickly with just a few resources and would have a significant impact?

Moving these items to the front of your list can help you show results to the stakeholders that are investing in you. Once they see results, they are more likely to invest more budget to achieve greater results. This will make it easier for you to accomplish more of the larger items on your list since you will be able to purchase additional resources and outside help.

5. Implement and Iterate

Now that you have your strategy in place and optimized, it’s time to start implementing it. The important thing for you to remember during this stage is that it’s not a to-do list where you simply check things off and keep going.

You will need to stop and assess your progress regularly. You want to make sure the effort you’re putting in is yielding the results that you expect. If it isn’t, you want to be able to adjust before you’ve depleted your resources without completing your goal.

Don’t be afraid to make adjustments along the way — it will only make your strategy stronger.

Download the Text Marketing Playbook for Schools

You have a wide variety of channels to choose from when it comes to marketing — email, social media, print, radio, TV, paid ads, and the list goes on.

One channel that you may not be aware of is text message marketing. You can utilize the mobile phones that your students and their parents carry with them every day. Not only is this an efficient way to communicate with your students and their family, but it’s also a potent marketing channel.

If you haven’t already, you need to consider incorporating text marketing into your strategy. To help get you started, we have assembled some of our best tips and plays into this strategic Text Message Marketing Playbook for Schools, Colleges, and Universities. Download your copy today and begin implementing text marketing within minutes by utilizing our proven templates.

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Photo: Getty/kasto80

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