Often when we consider our various target audiences, we don’t consider the one closest to us—teachers, staff, and administration. These important people are your “internal publics,” and marketing to them is one of the most important things you can do.
Benefits of Internal Marketing
Whether or not you know it, your staff members can be some of your best school ambassadors to the community. Much of your school’s reputation is built on word of mouth—so what are your employees saying about your school?
Here are just a few things that positive internal marketing can do for your school:
- Establish a strong school culture
- Encourage teamwork and unity
- Decrease workplace conflict and improve morale
- Increase motivation so that everyone carries out programs and policies effectively
- Bolster the satisfaction and retention of engaged and invested employees
When employees speak with pride about your school, it’s a powerful testimonial about your school environment. Don’t make the mistake of forgetting this important audience when formulating your marketing strategies—really, in the end, this is just good internal public relations.
If you’re thinking of “marketing” in terms of selling, think of marketing to your employees as essentially “selling” your company culture. Your goal should be to have employees who join and then stay with your school.
Here are a few simple tips for ways to accomplish this:
- Clearly communicate your school’s mission, vision, and values.
- Promote a positive work environment and school culture.
- Encourage employees to create and contribute to the environment.
- Ask for feedback and input, and then show you value their opinions.
- Institute accountability and ownership of responsibilities; this will result in better work production.
- Recognize your employees’ need to feel valued and respected.
- Provide validation, recognition, and praise for jobs well done.
Do these things, and your employees will be sold on your school! Some of these tips take a willingness to be open and flexible, and the desire to do things better in order to bring about improved results will benefit your school in the long run. Think about it: employees who understand the school’s goals and values, who feel valued, and who take pride in their work, will be your biggest fans and some of your most effective ambassadors.
Set an objective to improve your public relations with your staff and teachers (that is, market better internally). We’ll give you some tips and ideas for projects to help you accomplish this goal.
Your School Website
Take a moment to review your website. What does your website say about your staff? Do you have an “About Us” page that communicates your mission, vision, and goals? Are you highlighting your staff’s accomplishments and successes? Not only do these things increase employee morale and make people feel validated, but it also shows the community you care about your employees while allowing you to showcase your school’s accomplishments.
Related to your school website is a school intranet. Make it part of your school communication strategy. In fact, if you don’t have a school intranet, we would like to suggest implementing one for your administration and staff. An intranet is an excellent conduit of communication; memos, staff news, and announcements can be stored centrally and accessed at any time. What’s more, an intranet is a great central place for your teachers to store, share, and collaborate. School Webmasters offers an intranet service; contact our office if you need more information.
A School Blog
What about your school blog? Ask a teacher or staff member if he/she would be interested in “guest posting” a topic or writing about an event or fundraiser in which they were particularly involved.
Are your employees following and sharing your school’s social media posts? Why not ask them to? At your next staff meeting, make a plea for your teachers and staff to engage with your social media. This small action has the potential to expand your general audience and raise your visibility in the community.
Putting a Strategy in Place
Now that you know why internal marketing is important and have heard a few tips, let’s get down to specifics of improving morale and retention through internal marketing.
Choose something (or several things) from the following list, and create a project around it—the effort you put into these internal relationships will greatly benefit your school in the long run.
Consider starting an employee e-newsletter or article on the intranet. This can be as involved or as simple as you think will fit your needs. The basic goal is to communicate well and often with your staff about how the school is doing and what they can do to help. Feeling connected to the organization’s goals is one way to keep staff mentally and emotionally tied to your school.
This can also be an opportunity to open up some two-way communication with your employees. Conduct “stay” interviews to find out why employees have remained with the school. Ask for feedback, find out their needs, and be ready to follow up on their input.
Make sure you have the resources and training in place to empower your employees to realize their potential. Offering training shows your staff you are invested in them and their success; in turn they will be motivated and engaged. A few ideas for training include computers and technology, programs and software to make their jobs easier, mentoring programs, and outside seminars and classes.
Showing your thanks
When an employee (or group or department) does a great job, extend your thanks. Send an email; mention their success in a staff or department meeting; post it on the bulletin board in the staff lounge, on the website, or through social media. By simply mentioning or tagging them publicly in a status update or tweet, your employee will feel recognized, and all of your followers will see you care about your employees and their contributions. Gratitude is a simple expression but has a powerful impact on how your employees feel about their school and their job. People who feel valued and appreciated are more positive, more productive, and more loyal.
It’s worth the effort
Half the battle is recognizing and acknowledging the need for internal marketing. If you make the effort to place your workforce as one of your primary audiences, your school will benefit from higher employee satisfaction and retention in addition to an improved community reputation.
Good internal marketing may be difficult at the beginning, but once you have a plan and practices in place, good internal communication will become a habit; the work-place culture you’re striving for will be solidified. Sooner or later it won’t be something you have to work on; it will be intuitive and routine. Marketing is never just a one-man job. When your employees are positive, unified, and engaged, you make everyone a marketer for your school.
Need some help? School Webmasters can help you with your website, public relations, and other strategies. Just give us a call at 888.750.4556 and ask for Jim or request a quote and we’ll reach out to you.
For more helpful articles about customer service, check out these blogs.
For articles about marketing your school (both internally and externally), check out these blogs.
Posted by Bonnie Leedy, CEO, School Webmasters, LLC.