At Cleverbox, we believe a School Marketing plan is a necessity for every school. School budgets are tighter than ever, which is why it’s critical to make sure you’re allocating your marketing budget in the right areas and getting real value for your investment.
All too often we speak to schools whose marketing consists of a few sporadic, ad hoc activities throughout the year that are difficult to measure and expensive for what they are. While we understand that it can be daunting and time consuming to sit down and consider your school’s marketing for the whole year, this process is guaranteed to increase your chances of achieving your objectives.
So, what makes a great School Marketing plan?
- Keep it light
A School Marketing plan need not be War and Peace. Often, the best plans are simple, light but effective.
There are many wonderful online tools that can help you build your plan, from free project management software like Trello to marketing plan templates that you can download directly. Or, you can simply use an Excel spreadsheet.
The main takeaway here is that you don’t spend hours writing lengthy copy detailing who, what, when, why and how you want to complete every aspect of your Marketing – stay focused, keep it light and most importantly make sure it’s action-based.
2. Start with your objectives, then prioritise
List out all your objectives for the year. This can include everything from increasing enrolment figures and promoting your sixth form, to recruitment of staff and engaging better with parents.
Once you have your comprehensive list, it’s time to prioritise. It can be helpful to use the ‘Eisenhower method’ of separating ‘urgent‘ versus ‘important‘ issues. Often, schools will spend a great deal of time focusing on ‘urgent’ matters which they feel they need to react to immediately. However, by noting down the level of importance of each objective, you’ll be able to decide when to put off something that seems urgent but won’t have a huge impact, in favour of something that might take longer to complete but have a greater long-term benefit.
Your plan can be fluid and of course unexpected challenges or requests may pop up during the year. But, by having your prioritised list agreed, you’ll be able to compare any new requests against your existing list, so you can determine whether they are more or less important than your planned activities.
3. Make it measurable
These days we have access to more Marketing channels than ever before. Whilst there is still a place for traditional offline marketing (we remain die-hard fans of printed marketing materials!) the beauty of online marketing channels is that they are measurable, so you can see exactly how your investment has worked and what value it has delivered to you.
The most measurable online School Marketing channels include:
- Your school website: your most powerful School Marketing tool!
- Search engine optimisation (SEO): keep a record of your rankings in Google
- Paid online marketing: PPC campaigns and Social Media advertising
- Digital prospectus: track how many people have viewed your prospectus
- Video marketing: people spend 88% more time on a website with video
4. Get advice
You’re not alone. When building your School Marketing plan for the year, seek input from as many relevant sources as possible.
In addition to the Headteacher and relevant staff members, it’s vital that you seek input from parents and pupils too. Understand what needs to be improved for existing students and staff. Engage with prospective parents to find out about your school’s reputation and what’s most important to them when choosing a school for their child.
This feedback will be very useful in helping you set your objectives and will take away a lot of the guesswork when trying to decide what to prioritise within your plan.
5. Test, learn and move forward
Let’s face it, some of your Marketing activity might not work every time.
But, by having your Marketing plan as a point of reference, you can keep track of which activity has worked best and detail any learnings you’ve gained along the way.
Remember that it’s ok to fail! We teach our children this lesson, so naturally it should apply to you too. By testing channels and activities, assessing what works and then moving forward with the most effective channels and approaches in the future, your School Marketing plan will grow stronger and more powerful each year.
Try and keep a small amount of budget aside for testing new channels you’ve not tried before. It can be scary to move away from the traditional Marketing channels you’ve always used. But, you could be missing out on a huge opportunity to improve the efficacy of your Marketing by using new and more advanced channels that are cost effective and easier to measure than traditional methods.
At Cleverbox, we believe that a great School Marketing plan is your best chance of achieving your school’s objectives with success! We are the preferred School Marketing partner to hundreds of schools and Multi-academy Trusts and can provide guidance and hands on support at every stage of your school’s Marketing journey, from planning and implementation, to reporting and optimisation.
Give us a call on 0208 466 7222 or email [email protected] to find out how we can help you create a fantastic School Marketing plan.