The web is in a constant state of change.
In this new video, Randy Vaughn, Christian School Marketing Consultant, offers 5 tips on making your school website the very best it can be!
It is FREE and is accompanied by an article giving additional details about these 5 important tips to improving your school’s website.
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Have you ever had this thought:
If we could just get a new website and improve our social media, we’d be fine.
First of all, I do support your efforts to get a mobile-friendly, responsive school website.
Secondly, I wholeheartedly embrace having a strong social media strategy (if you need help with this, we coach schools specifically in this area of social media for schools – click here for more information).
But in reality, your school needs a total online presence. A comprehensive, holistic effort to dominate the web, drive traffic to your site and strengthen the telling of your school’s story online.
I am a Certified Duct Tape Marketing Consultant (since 2007) and have been trained by and collaborate with a global network of marketing consultants working in a variety of industries (I love helping the niche of private, independent and Christian schools install an effective marketing system).
In a recent blog post on the Duct Tape Marketing website, John Jantsch (founder) describes the elements of a Total Online Presence:
- Marketing activated website
- Content with editorial approach
- Social media
- Online networking
- Email marketing
- Search Engine Optimization
I love to help schools install an effective marketing system focused on the 3 Rs of school marketing: recruitment, retention and referrals. If I can help you focus on a total online presence, click the image below or click here to schedule your FREE phone consultation.
When driving traffic to your website or increasing engagement on your social media platforms, one of the best strategies is to curate or collect stories of things going on at your school that corresponds to local, school-wide, national or global holidays or special calendar events.
The month of October is filled with many different events, such as:
- Are You Aware?
- National Bullying Prevention Month
- Domestic Violence Awareness Month
- Breast Cancer Awareness Month
- Columbus Day (2nd Monday)
- World Smile Day (7) – have some fun with this on Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook. You can simply feature throughout the day students and staff smiling. Or you could post a contest of a super closeup of a smile and everyone has to guess who’s face it belongs to.
- National Dessert Day (14) – take a poll among your students and staff as the favorite dessert on campus; certainly invite boosters or parent fellowship organization to bring desserts up for the day; you could use the event to invite key community leaders to your campus for a lunch to raise money for local charities or even to draw attention to one of the “awareness” days mentioned in #1 (this is called “earned press coverage” – create an event that ties your school to a broader recognition or celebration and invite media and community leaders to attend to extend the PR coverage
- Teachers’ Day (15) – certainly an ideal time to feature your faculty so that current families can brag on them to their friends!
- Bosses Day (17) – use this day to bring attention to the key leaders at your school. Create some short videos from other staff praising their bosses (such as Head of School, principals, athletic director, etc.)
- Mole Day (23) Celebrated annually on October 23 from 6:02 a.m. to 6:02 p.m., Mole Day commemorates Avogadro’s Number (6.02 x 1023), which is a basic measuring unit in chemistry. Mole Day was created as a way to foster interest in chemistry. Schools throughout the United States and around the world celebrate Mole Day with various activities related to chemistry and/or moles.
- National Chocolate Day (28) – I don’t think I have to give you any ideas on this on!
- National Cat Day (29) – if your mascot is of the feline family, this is a fun time to draw attention to that fact; also, invite faculty to snap a picture of their favorite feline pet
- Halloween (31)
- Snapchat – in the spirit of Halloween, you could draw attention to your school’s efforts in Snapchat by telling the story of Snapchat’s logo, named Ghostface Chillah (based on Ghostface Killah of the Wu-Tang Clan). Ghostface Chillah a ghost to represent the “There, then gone” nature of Snapchat’s photo sending service.
- Knock-Knock Joke Day (31) – have a contest with administrators and students on who can tell the funniest knock-knock jokes – these make great short videos for Vine, Instagram, Facebook, etc.
- World Series – the Hunt for October features the Major League Baseball playoffs. Depending on the outcome of the actual World Series games, the 2016 World Series champion could be crowned in the month of October. Feature your school’s baseball team (and/or softball). Or you could invite student-athletes to do short videos about their favorite MLB player. Anytime you can talk about your unique sports program (offerings, values, achievements) and do so while really talking about something/someone else, the better! Weave your successes into the frenzy around the World Series and you will hit a homerun! 🙂
Get your Content Calendar to help you plan your school’s online marketing content!
Professional development is essential for Admissions and MarCom professionals at a school. However, they can often be costly. Time away from the office, not to mention the cost of travel and conference fees, etc….in today’s world, there’s got to be a better way!
One of the ways I want to tell you about is the SchneiderB VirCon 3 – a virtual conference, hosted by Brendan Schneider, bringing together 7 amazing speakers all in 1 day! Here is a lineup for this virtual conference on September 17th, 2016:
- 9:00am ET – Andrew Sculthorpe, Business Director, image seven – Using Analytics to Help with School Marketing
- 10:00 am ET – Emily Cretella, Owner, Strategist & Copywriter Cursive Content Marketing – Storytelling Online: Transforming Your School Website into a Marketing & Admissions Resource
- 11:00 am ET – Rob DiMartino, Founding Member and Director of Business Finalsite – Leveraging Linkedin for Education Professionals
- Noon ET – Jeff Walrich, CAA Athletic Director for Boys St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes School – Telling A Story Through Graphics
- 1:30 pm ET – Sarah Mead, Director of Marketing & Communications Whitby School – Don’t Fear the Data: Embrace Data-Driven Marketing
- 2:30 pm ET – Mike Hatfield, Director of Admission Powhatan School – How to Create, Produce and Use Online Video in your School Marketing with Just an iPhone
- 3:30 pm ET – Rick Newberry, President Enrollment Catalyst – 25 Facebook Posting Strategies for your School’s Marketing Strategy
Wow! What a great group of presenters – all about topics essential to every school marketer!
If you cannot attend the sessions live, no problem! You gee full access to the recordings for a full year – and yes, you can even share them with your staff!
I admit that my possibly offensive title probably sounds like I think volunteers are a nuisance. Actually, the point of this article is to help you find practical ways to involve school volunteers who are always asking, “how can I help?”
First of all, while volunteers are a blessing, they come with conditions. It cannot be denied that volunteers on your marketing team operate differently than paid staff or outsourced consultants. Administrative officials and hired contractors work for results which are often tied to how much money they make or how long they keep their job. It’s one reason to consider NOT assigning critical, timely marketing tasks to volunteers. While they may indicate a willingness and eagerness to help, they MAY not operate with the same sense of urgency you have. Nor may they offer the same level of excellence you would demand of an employee or contractor. You want to have the freedom to dislike their work without feeling like you are going to offend them and run them off from volunteering ever again (or worse, writing a bad review about your school . . . uh, see #7 below). You want to be able to “fire” them if they do not perform. But how do you fire a non-paid volunteer?
So what jobs can you create for your eager beavers? Here are 7 ideas your school volunteers can do from any computer or mobile device: (more…)
While Twitter and especially Instagram occupy the mobile devices of most of your young students and young families, most Christian school marketers still need to reach their audience through the most common network: Facebook.
Of course if you are at all familiar with Facebook, you know their algorithm changes often and lately, your posts are definitely not reaching 100% of the people who have liked your page. If you’re an admin of your Facebook Page, you probably see your actual reach significantly lower than the number of likes on your page. Discouraging, but reality. (On a side note, consider increasing high quality, shareable, remarkable content that your audience will like, comment and share. If you are not getting this “triple play” on your posts, then consider changing up your content. In addition, boosting your posts will help also help extend the reach of your posts. You can set a budget and this can work well – not for every post, but on some important ones.)
One trick I suggest is to form a secret Facebook group (that’s Facebook’s language, not mine…click here to learn about the different types of groups you can set up). When you set your group as “secret”:
- Anyone can be added but they have to be added or invited by a member
- Only current members can see who is in the group
- Only current members can see what is posted in the group
- Current members can get notifications when something is posted in group
Using a secret Facebook group for marketing your school
- As the admissions/marketing/communication director, you (and you alone) should invite specific staff members or parent ambassadors to join this secret Facebook group. Invite a small group at first, so you can see how it works. Start small with trusted parents and staff who can be trusted.
- Now, whenever your school’s Facebook page posts something, you should go to the group and make a posting about the new content. Encourage the group members to like, comment and share the new post that your school’s page just posted (if necessary, include the link to the post). Since the Facebook algorithm limits your reach, this ensures that your best ambassadors see the content.
- Group members receive notifications for every group post (and these notifications serve as reminders, even a day or two later, to take action).
- Not just on Facebook, but when there is a new review on GreatSchools.org, something new on Twitter or Instagram, you can alert your members to share the content. You can also send urgent notifications when there is a negative review on your Google page, hopefully spurring members to write a review themselves or call out to their cavalry of friends to post positive reviews (on GreatSchools.org, they are currently listing the latest 10 reviews, so you want to be diligent to get that negative review pushed to page 2 as quickly as possible; or at least pushed way down the page where it gets “lost” among so many positive reviews).
- You can also use your Facebook group to alert members of other marketing-related activities….for example, signups for video testimony day (which I suggest you do).
- As well, members of the group can post content or ask questions of the group (and while the discussion shows up in your news feed, it is not visible on anyone else’s feed). Perhaps an ambassador parent hears another mom at Starbucks talking about a great success story, then the members can alert the professional staff to contact that family to share their story on a video or in a new blog post. Or a parent sees a good article elsewhere on the web that would help your school marketing. If members wanted to collectively brainstorm about a new marketing campaign, this secret group would provide an easy forum for sharing without having to assemble the group in person (who’s got time for another meeting?)
Setting up a secret Facebook group of your school’s marketing professionals and parent ambassadors can give you a marketing army who can help you market your school even better!
If you want to discuss this idea further with me, please sign up for a free 30-minute phone consultation and let’s talk about how this can help you!
BONUS: Here’s a more lengthy article on how to set up the secret group (with step-by-step instructions and screenshots…although they may be outdated since FB changes so often): http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-to-use-secret-facebook-groups-to-enhance-your-business/