Interactive marketing is one of the most dynamic ways you can promote your school – and we have a comprehensive guide to the perfect plan right here…
Plan, plan, plan!
Before you get started with any marketing plan, it’s always vital to have a strategy. Based on both what you read here and any other ideas you may have, brainstorm with a team and carefully choose the best strategies for your school. Plan what you’re going to do, the order you’re going to do it in and how you’re going to ensure maximum efficiency.
And of course, in any marketing field great way to gain a greater insight into what your target audience want is to ask them yourselves, through focus groups and surveys. If you go for the former choice, it’s best to record the conversation on some kind of Dictaphone, so you can transcribe it afterwards.
In any aspect of marketing and/or branding, the best way to get in touch with your audience (in this case, parents and students), is to get online in any way you can. Set up a website if you don’t have one already and start off by making sure it has all the information they’ll want to get from your site.
Another great way to make it interactive is to add a “contact us” section – and that could go along perfectly with information like your school’s address and phone number, which generally tend to go at the bottom of the page on the majority of sites.
From a visual perspective, you should also be careful with things like colours and fonts – like every other site, it’s important to have a specific “look” that gives visitors a hint of who you are and what you do. You’ll most likely have a school colour scheme already, so be sure to keep up that consistency in any other marketing or in other places, like school signs. If your school is already established, it will most likely have its own colour scheme. But in case you’re still figuring that out, some of the most common positive colour connotations are:
- Green, generally associated with new ideas and creativity
- Blue, which is often seen to represent trust and stability
- Orange and yellow, both bright energetic colours associated with fun
Whether your school site is brand new or has been given a fresh coat of paint according to our previous advice, you’ll need to make sure people see it! One of the most effective ways you can boost site traffic is by using SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation. A multitude of marketing techniques fall under this metaphorical umbrella, but the basic intention is the same in all of them: to get your site up to the top of Google, Bing and any other search engines you can think of (I don’t know, maybe Ask.com? Is that still a thing?). Anyway, some of the most common SEO techniques are:
- Backlink checking: Backlinks are a great way to measure success, essentially being a record of the amount of links back to your site across the internet. There are plenty of tools to help you find out your current backlink numbers, including Moz Backlink Checker, SEO review tools.com and majestic.com. Another bonus is that these platforms allow you to enter the domain of any site, meaning you’ll be able to check in and see how the competition is doing whilst you’re also researching your own numbers.
- Guest blogging: This may be a more unusual method for a school site, as they conventionally include more info than actual content. But reaching out to experts in the field of education and asking them to contribute content could really give your site an edge over your competition, especially if the people you work with promote your content on their social platforms, whatever those may be
- Site design: I know that we’ve already spoken about site design to a certain extent – but did you know that in addition to choosing a design that is appealing to your target market, you can also change your site design to dramatically increase its chances of being picked up by search engines? The first thing to note is that algorithms prefer sites that are easy to navigate (although to be honest you should already have made your site easily accessible to appeal to the humans going on your site). You also need to make sure you have a decent amount of content on your site, as this is the main way that search engines will decide if you’re worthy of those much sought after top positions. Although it is important to have a strong visual appeal, try to make your content more text based than image based, as algorithms will only be able to see the text. Finally, keyword searches can let you know what keywords should have a more prominent place in your content.
Another great way to connect with people is to get on social media! Whilst Instagram might not be the best place for an official school page, Twitter or Facebook could be a great platform! In addition to making you seem more modern, these work really well from a marketing perspective as they will allow you to interact with parents and students to a much greater extent, whilst also communicating far more effectively than you would’ve done with just a website.
Much like your website, you could post updates on what you’ve been doing and post the latest updates that parents will need to know.
In conclusion, there are many ways that you can craft effective interactive marketing for your school. These include planning out what you’re going to do before you get started, having an effective social media strategy, keeping up with your school website (or creating one if you don’t have one already), and using common SEO techniques like backlink checking and guest blogging. A final note is that you should make sure whatever you do suits your specific school and works for whatever you’re trying to achieve specifically (again this goes back to the planning part).