I recently visited an online store in search of an item that would make reaching my personal goals much easier. I know no specifics about the product – the best manufacturers, the best composition, etc. I typed in a generic term for the product and it brought up hundreds of results. They all looked the same, all made the same claims. The only difference was price.
I left the site in less than a minute without buying anything.
My story is not unique. It happens approximately 40,000 times per second on Google. Someone types in a generic term on a search engine in an early attempt to learn more about a subject, and they are so hopelessly bombarded with results that they give up the search completely.
No industry is immune to this result, certainly not education. As the internet has become many families’ primary research tool for everything from “what’s for dinner” to “how many children should we have,” online competition has become fierce. The need to build a formidable web presence for your private school has become inarguable.
All right, all right, I don’t have to sell you on it. I’m sure you’ve already discovered the importance of strong online branding. The hard part is figuring out how to achieve results with your digital marketing engine.
I'll tell you. Here’s what you need to do.
- Know thy self. Who are you? What do your students, your alumni, and their families love most about you? What standards, values, and principles do you engender most? What kind of environment do you seek to foster at your school? All these things are aspects of your school’s brand.
Your brand is not your commitment to education. That is the purpose of a school. Rather, your brand is what sets you apart. It’s how you’re identified and how you’re remembered.
- Know thy audience. There are two questions you need to ask, the answers to which should inform every audience-facing piece of content you create from you website and blog to your recruiters' speeches.
First, what does your audience find engaging or entertaining? Blogging is great, but you might find when it comes to word counts that less is often more. Don’t underestimate the influence of visuals like infographics and interactive mediums like slide-shares.
Next, what do they want to know? No one wants to be advertised at, and everyone thinks they’re the best. Figure out what your target audience wants to know about you and create content around their needs. Help your prospects find that content by using their language. Determine the words they use when searching for answers and incorporate them into your own language. Doing so will help you rank higher in search engine results.
- Build thy website into a platform for communicating from thy self to thy audience. Now that you’ve got the first two figured out, you’re ready to go. With a strong foundational understanding of your school’s brand and how it relates to your prospects’ desires, you can create content that is consistent, engaging, and valuable in its message.
Start from your website.
Websites are the new store-fronts. Perusing your website is the first visit your prospects will make to your campus. It’s the first – and often most important – opportunity to build rapport with prospective students and their families. So, treat your website like an extension of your campus and make sure your audience feels welcome and encouraged to explore.
- Spread thy message. Social media is a powerful tool for both promotion and relations. There’s often a bit of a learning curve, but the rewards of learning how to be a social media rock star are worth the early struggle. Once you reach stardom you’ll never turn back…and neither will your audience.
The effectiveness of traditional marketing tactics has declined. It’s never been more important to command a strong web presence. With the right focus and the right tools, you can ensure that your school stands out from the rest, attracting prospective clients with the value you offer up front.
Inbound marketing is the most effective modern marketing technique your school can leverage. Attract more prospective families, shorten the time between discovery and application, and engage more alumni helpful, relevant content tailored to your target audience and their specific needs.
Download our free ebook today to learn how to reach your recruiting and engagement goals with inbound marketing.