Here’s why you need a marketing system for your school

Before tactics, there is strategy. Before strategy, you need a marketing system for your school.

When I consult with clients one-on-one through our “9 Steps to Marketing Your School” coaching program, I address school marketing at a few very fundamental levels.

First, I try and get everyone on board (myself along with the client’s entire marketing team) with a common definition of “school marketing”. My definition of school marketing goes like this:

“Getting ideal families to know, like and trust you in order to create loyal ambassadors for your school.”

You can dig a little deeper into this definition by digging way back into the School Marketing Podcast archives and listen to, “School marketing podcast #28: An Easy Definition of Marketing for Schools”.

9 Steps to Marketing Your School

Beyond this definition, I address 3 core areas that build on one another:

  1. SYSTEM – your overall marketing effort has to be built on a solid systematic way of marketing. Rather than chaotic, shoot-from-the-hip marketing, your school marketing is well-thought-out and intentional. Inside of your larger umbrella marketing system, there are plenty of micro-systems centered around social media, referrals, lead generation and nurturing, family follow-up, etc. Each one of these micro-systems has to assess the tools, finances, personnel and skills sets needed for success. Your marketing system should have a clear understanding by your entire team about how your school addresses the 3 Rs of school marketing: recruitment, retention and referrals. Without this fundamental understanding of system, you will only achieve average enrollment marketing success at best.
  2. STRATEGY – as the system is set in place, you can begin to determine your strategy based on your enrollment gaps and goals. While your marketing system (and all the micro-systems) are fairly consistent from year-to-year, the strategy should vary depending on where you need seats filled. Your strategy can obviously address 3-5 ideal family personas. If you do not target your personas at all, you end up with a “one-size-fits-all” marketing message that really should be renamed as “one-size-hits-small”. If you are broad and generic, your message will resonate with no one. Know the persona’s pain points and how your school is differentiated as the best solution in your local market to meet that need. Develop this “know-like-trust” effort with specific touch points to lead a potential family toward becoming one of your school’s most loyal ambassadors.
  3. TACTICS – the implementation part of marketing is what gets most of your attention (time and money). The “practical and tactical” make up the line items in your budget so you tend to think about these items  most, but often neglect #1 and #2. If you do the former correctly, the system is in place so that a sound marketing strategy will dictate the most effective tactical implementation plan. If you are implementing the same marketing plan every year, then you are demonstrating that you have no targeted strategy.

If you find yourself focused only on the tactical plan, I would urge you to approach the upcoming school year with a different way of marketing. I offer a complimentary 30-minute phone consultation to discuss how I can help your school install a customized marketing system for your school!

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School Marketing - 9 Steps

Randy Vaughn

Using Facebook Live

Using Facebook Live

One of the ways that schools are increasingly finding creative ways to showcase their school is using Facebook Live.

I love this tool, even though I certainly don’t like being on video myself. However, that should not deter you from experimenting. Below you will find a variety of ways that schools might want to use Facebook Live:

  • In the classroom – train teachers (and make them an admin of your page) so they can create spontaneous snapshots of something they are doing in the classroom. Perhaps they are about to engage in a project that traditional only been for the students’ eyes, but Facebook Live allows you to bring in their families and even future families, too. Even some of your older elementary kids are savvy enough to point the phone in the direction of the 5th grade teacher doing a fun science experiment.
  • in chapel or assembly – Christian schools have regular worship times and this is a neat way for schools to let parents in on the experience. Again, even your future families want to know what chapel is like. Perhaps you assemble the school for announcements, awards or other accolades – give your at-home or working moms and dads an opportunity to be a part of the special day by turning on Facebook Live.
  • from the top – Facebook Live can be a fantastic way for heads of school to be more visible. They can articulate a vision, interview students or just do a student or teacher feature of the week.
  • longer shows – you may wish to turn on Facebook Live for Grandparents Day, Homecoming pep rally, the out-of-town playoff game, or even the spring choir concert. For the latter (including any fine art performances, just ensure you are not violating any copyright by broadcasting your show.
  • parent perspective – have a parent run Facebook Live periodically, allowing them to interview faculty, some older students or even other moms and dads during the pick up line. Coach them on representing the school appropriately. If done right, this could give you a great tool for interested future moms and dads because they might presume the parent is more authentic than the admissions teach might be.

Facebook Live is also one of the areas that Facebook is suggesting you use more and more in order to be seen in the news feed. So this is definitely worth exploring. We have a webinar on February 22nd that outlines all the 2018 Facebook Changes, so click the link below to receive full access to this FREE webinar.

CLICK TO REGISTER FOR THE FREE WEBINAR, “2018 Facebook Changes”

Panic or Peace (Part 2 of 2): How to React to the Latest Facebook Changes for Your School – (School Marketing Podcast #91)

Panic or Peace (Part 2 of 2): How to React to the Latest Facebook Changes for Your School - (School Marketing Podcast #91)

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Panic or Peace: How to React to the Latest Facebook Changes for Your School – Part 1 of 2 (School Marketing Podcast #90)

Panic or Peace: How to React to the Latest Facebook Changes for Your School - Part 1 of 2 (School Marketing Podcast #90)

Click to download MP3

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Facebook changes: what will it mean for marketing your school?

Facebook changes in 2018

Early in January 2018, Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, made a major announcement about upcoming changes to the Facebook newsfeed.

The main theme: getting Facebook back to being more about connecting people with one another than a newsfeed cluttered with public content from sources like business pages who want to broadcast to us.

The main group this seems to hurt the most:  businesses or organizations (including schools) who have Facebook pages and are constantly trying to garner traffic from Facebook by frequent posting of videos, graphics, links, photos, etc.

Immediately, everyone panicked. “Facebook is dead to us,” some cried out. “Marketers are out of a job,” others said. The funny thing is that while professionally we might have a tendency to hate the changes, personally, we all probably prefer Facebook to declutter itself.

So how do these changes impact schools and school marketers like yourself?

Well, here’s our take. Facebook is in the business of making this work. They have shareholders and they have a gazillion users. So they are simply making adjustments. The sky has fallen before with Facebook changes, so this is no different. While some of the announced (or hinted) changes are pretty challenging and will definitely change the way school use this platform, there will still be significant ways you will be need to be present on Facebook representing your school. It will just be different until the next round of “sweeping changes” comes along!

To give time for the dust to settle, time for rumors to stop flying around, and time for everyone to watch the very early real impact these changes are going to have on school Facebook pages, we are announcing a webinar to review the changes with you and provide highly effective, practical solutions for your school’s Facebook strategy.

Sign up below and you will receive FREE immediate access to the on-demand webinar we launched on Thursday, February 22nd.

Sign up below for free  . . .