Growing a business is a human instinct. We always aspire to be stronger and more resilient—confidently face challenges and use opportunities to our advantage. The same goes for schools and businesses.
Strong brands can outshine the competition, build a broader customer base, and establish long-lasting brand loyalty. But how do we achieve this level of perfection? How, for instance, can a private school promote its educational services to stand out in the market? This is where marketing plans and school marketing strategies can help us.
All private schools and educational institutions have some form of a marketing plan, but not every marketing plan produces optimal results. A successful private school marketing plan strikes a balance between realistic and ambitious. School marketing, like any other type of marketing and brand promotion, should follow the best practices in the field.
Here, we’ll discuss some of the most brilliant school marketing ideas to give you a roadmap and help you navigate your adventurous journey in the education industry. But first, let’s explore the meaning of digital marketing and the benefits of having a school marketing plan.
What Is Digital Marketing Strategy for Private Schools?
A private school marketing plan (or private school marketing strategy) is a well-thought-out guideline to help private schools promote their institution online. Marketing plans cover a wide range of marketing channels and methods, including
- organic search optimization;
- social media marketing;
- email marketing;
- paid advertisement;
- inbound marketing strategy;
- and more.
The purpose of devising a private school marketing plan is often about bringing more awareness about your brand and attracting students and parents to your school. Marketing strategies help us focus on specific goals and find the most effective ways to achieve them.
Why Is Private School Marketing So Important?
We live in a time where the digital representation of your brand and business becomes equally, if not more, important than your brand. In other words, people will see your brand’s online image before they can experience your products or services. So, it is crucial to have a compelling image that reflects your work’s quality.
Online promotion is so essential that companies spend 6 to 14% of their total revenue on marketing. If you’re surprised, read on to see some of the benefits of marketing plans for private schools.
No Trust, No Followers!
The math is simple: no trust means no customers. Parents will not spend their hard-earned money on educational services they don’t find trustworthy. Even if you have the highest quality services in the market, it won’t matter if your target audiences don’t trust you can deliver them.
In a competitive market, customers have various options. So, it takes more than a few ads to generate quality leads. Private schools and educational institutions must find a way to establish trust with their audience.
Once you gain their trust and create an effective communication channel, your organization will stay at the top of potential customers’ minds. You’ve found a way to set your private school apart from competitors by establishing loyalty, and soon, you’ll see your business grow.
Outshine the Competition
Gaining a competitive edge is a serious challenge for every business. Keeping a competitive advantage is even more difficult. The market is always transforming in various ways, and audiences, parents, and students change their opinions about the qualities that define the best products and services.
Most schools work hard to keep up with the new trends, but they need to understand the market dynamics so that their efforts will result in desired outcomes. So, is “competitive edge” something impossible to maintain? Absolutely not! With a well-planned marketing strategy, you can find your place in the market and keep your competitive edge in every situation.
Remember that marketing for private schools is more than selling educational materials or boosting student enrollment. Your competitive edge lies in building transparent, authentic, and genuine relationships among parents, students, teachers, and the school community.
Build Brand Reputation
Growing as a successful private school depends on building a reputation. A bad reputation can immediately repel parents and students and put an end to all your hard work. Conversely, schools with excellent reputations are valued and appreciated by everyone. They will attract more students and continuously grow their brand image.
Building a positive brand reputation, however, takes time to happen. It requires careful planning and honest effort to deliver high-quality services and products. The combination of informed decision-making and dedicated work represents your business as trustworthy and credible.
A positive reputation for your school also means greater advocacy, loyalty, and engagement from students and parents. Your happy students will be your best representatives, making it easier for other parents, businesses, and donors to trust you.
Create a Sense of Purpose
Successful branding helps people build an emotional connection to the school. It gives students a sense that your school is where they belong and a place they can proudly call home.
This sense of belonging and togetherness carries over to staff as well. Teachers can be strong brand advocates when their beliefs align with your school’s vision and values.
Expand Your Reach
Fifty-four percent of Gen Zers said they spend at least four hours daily on social media. You may be surprised, but parents are pretty close behind. On average, Millennials and Gen X spend 2.25 and 1.5 hours daily on their social accounts.
When people today spend so much time in front of their screens, digital marketing can be the perfect chance to reach new audiences and expand your reach. You can use either organic or paid marketing practices. But the most important thing is presenting a relatable and reliable image of your school across all social media channels.
Marketing is Cost Effective
Unlike traditional marketing methods, digital school marketing practices offer a low-cost approach to reaching your audience. Sometimes, with channels like social media, inbound marketing, and email marketing, you don’t even have to pay to promote your school.
Moreover, a well-designed school marketing strategy ensures that every dollar spent on promoting your school brand is spent wisely. Many school administrators have to start marketing on a tight budget. Marketing plans are incredibly flexible, allowing you to start your brand promotion on a limited budget and gradually expand your marketing campaign.
Smart Marketing Strategies for Private Schools
Now that you see the extraordinary benefits of creating marketing plans for schools, it’s time to identify some market-proven strategies to help you stand out among competitors. Here are seven smart marketing strategies that will take your marketing game to the next level.
#1 Define Your Brand Values
The first step in marketing is setting a direction. Brand values give meaning to all your efforts and achievements. Every business, especially in the education industry, stands for specific ideas and values appreciated by a community.
For instance, one school may promote “inclusive education for everyone,” while another stands for “quality education for the most talented.” There is no right or wrong answer here, but you must notice that your brand values will redefine all your actions in the future.
So, when you’re trying to get on the same page with your team and school community about the school’s mission and values, Think Futuristic! Take the time and find the correct destination for your school.
#2 Build Your School Website & Social Media Channels
We mentioned earlier that social media and websites play a significant role in today’s marketing methods. Private schools can only survive with online visibility. And sure enough, a poorly designed website or an inactive social media account can damage your brand image.
The website design and development is not a one-time task. You must constantly update, revamp, and refine your online image to stay relevant. And make sure to use search engine optimization practices to help drive more traffic to your website.
#3 Use Visuals Cues
Using visual elements in your website and social media channels is one of the most exciting phases of marketing. Visual cues cover many web components, including logo design, website design, creating page layouts, and adding images, charts, and infographics.
Be sure to create a look consistent with the school’s values. The best way is to ask a professional web designer to help. Pay special attention to fonts, page layouts, and photo galleries. Put a 3D campus tour on the website to showcase your school’s vibe to new students and prospective parents if possible.
Remember that it only takes about 50 milliseconds for viewers to form a first impression about someone or something. So, use every visual element, including colors, images, and content layout, to maximize the user experience and convince them to stay on your website.
#4 Develop a Unique Voice
The next strategy that will help establish your private school as an outstanding educational institution is developing a unique brand voice. Brand voice must reflect in every part of your online campaign, from your content marketing strategy to social media posts, newsfeeds, and even website design.
Brand voice must also be connected with your brand values and school identity. Your unique voice can be inspired by the school’s historical background, the mission statement, and notable awards that showcase your flourishing community.
Remember that a consistent tone in all interactions with students, staff, parents, and the whole community is equally essential. Using a consistent tone of voice to influence the customer experience says a lot about how you treat or respect clients.
#5 Boost PR
Public relations (PR) manages the spread of information about your school between students, parents, and organizations. PR campaigns aim to shape public opinion about your brand and tell a story that resonates with your target audience.
The PR campaign also helps foster a more dynamic school community and builds a supportive follower base around your brand. Understanding your audience’s personas, online behavior, needs, interests, and concerns takes time. But it will ensure your target audience understands your brand message.
A dedicated PR team lets you streamline your message across all communication and social media platforms. PR experts help you optimize your email marketing and social media practices by crafting audience-specific messages.
#6 Set Up a School Blog
Blogging is not a new marketing practice, but it is still one of the most influential factors in brand promotion and driving organic traffic to school websites. School blogs help students and parents stay informed and updated about important events.
A school blog is also perfect for improving your school’s ranking in search engine result pages and establishing your school as a credible brand. This practice requires generating high-quality content, regular keyword research, and creating an orderly content calendar.
#7 Design a Branding Guideline
Every innovative marketing plan requires a general guideline to ensure the consistency and coherence of your entire campaign. Branding guideline also helps team members and staff to know their responsibilities and keep on the right track perfectly.
The branding guideline should be as comprehensive as possible. For instance, it might include graphic design elements such as font, color schemes, and layout or define the preferred content type for each social media channel.
No matter how big, old, or famous your school is, having a fail-proof marketing plan is the only way to stay competitive. The mounting pressure in the digital market leaves us with no choice but to calculate every business move we make. And sure enough, sometimes that will make the difference between making or breaking a brand’s reputation and credibility.
Nevertheless, crafting an effective digital marketing strategy is even more vital for educational institutions. Marketing strategy helps you provide students with a fulfilling academic experience and showcase your authority in the market.
You only need to find experts with enough knowledge, skill, and dedication to help you devise the perfect plan. And we’re here to help you with that. At School Webmasters, we offer the ultimate school marketing solution, from website design to social media management, website maintenance, logo and design services, and more.
We offer our School Marketing Calendar to help you reach your marketing goals, whether or not you are a School Webmasters client. With guidelines and tips and a 250-page plan for every day of the school year, it’s sure to launch you toward reaching your private school marketing goals.
If your marketing plan includes a new and improved website presence, you can easily get a quote right now or just contact us (call 888.750.4556 and speak with Jim) and let us point you in the right direction.