As we move toward the new intake period for sixth form colleges, the opportunity to attract new students is approaching. No doubt you’ll have already allocated budget for school marketing when planning your open event, so we’d like to share some top tips that we believe will help you get the best return on your investment.
The first thing to consider is the end-to-end journey of the student throughout the intake process; from first contact and initial interest to reviewing course information and, finally, making their all important decision. We suggest a multi level approach, focusing on a few key areas:
- Accessibility of your school website
- Social media for promotion of your open day
- Tone of voice and your unique offering
A search engine optimised school website will make sure you’re prominently positioned in the search results when students begin their research on Google. It’s very important that your school website is fully responsive across all devices as potential sixth form students will likely be searching on their mobile phones. A poor experience on an old desktop site could put them off and Google will demote your school’s ranking in the search results purely because your website is not responsive. It’s also worth including keywords about your open day within your website copy. You may have invested a great deal of your budget in great school marketing materials for the open day itself, but it’s vital to make sure that potential visitors can find your school website so they’re aware your open day is taking place!
Unlike their younger peers, sixth form students are the main decision makers in choosing their further education and will be looking for engagement on a personal level before delving into course information. What benefits can your school offer and how do your school brand values fit into their own ethos and aspirations?
Once students have done their online research and shortlisted your sixth form, social media is a powerful and affordable tool to promote your open day and begin the dialogue with students.
We have identified three key areas of focus when investing in social media for your school marketing around open days:
Show your students clear progressional opportunities
Using social media is an engaging and visual way to show progression opportunities and the value of the courses you offer. Student spotlights, quotes and short interviews can be used to describe the journey through a course, with benefits and real life experiences from intake to graduation and beyond. As an instant and fast changing platform, social copy should be short and to the point, ideal for quotes that capture your school brand, ethos and values. Photography should be fun, active and give a realistic representation of your students and staff. Typically, paid advertising on networks such as Facebook and Twitter can cost as little as £5 per day.
Use personality and tone throughout your school marketing
When writing copy to share via social media, tone of voice is key. Consider your organisational values and what kind of culture you are portraying to potential students. Showing cultural diversity, supportive environments and acknowledgement of social hot topics will attract your audience and show that you can identify with the challenges that young adults are facing. Including themes such as ‘empathy’, ‘inclusion’ and ‘well-being’ can often be as powerful to students as your academic offering. School branding is an investment and will provide long-term value as photography, photoboards, banners and signage can be re-used at future events in and around your school.
Promote your added value and business links
Don’t forget to shout about the benefits and added value your students receive from your teaching. Social media is an ideal tool to share stories and images from clubs, groups or sports teams you have on site. Another key consideration when planning your content is to actively promote the business links that students benefit from by studying with you – illustrating in your prospectus and course guide how your courses and industry connections will help to drive carers forward could make all the difference in the decision making process.
Cleverbox has twenty years of specialist experience and specialise in branding, marketing and social media promotion for schools, colleges and trusts. To find out more about school branding, social media for schools and how you can make the most of your school marketing budget, contact us at [email protected].