Marketing Your Private School to Digital Age Parents

BY KEVEN P.
Thinking back 100 years ago, if you attended private school that meant you were not only able to afford it, but you were also aware of the other private schools that existed because there were only so many of them to choose from. When it came to attracting students to your school, reputation and referrals were about all that was needed to have a successful enrollment rate. Fast forward to today’s time, the number of private schools or programs that exist have reached a level that now requires more than a referral to attract new students. This is why private schools must have a presence and focus within all things digital when it comes to advertising and awareness of the school itself.

The Digital World
Regardless of the programs a private school offers or the reputation it has, all of the students and parents who will be enrolling them are online in some way shape or form. According to research, people are spending around 6-9 hours a day online. Whether it’s parents on LinkedIn, kids on youtube, and everything else from shopping to chatting with others online. This means that as a school who is trying to connect with both parents and future students, the only place that makes sense to do this is online. You must be where they are in order to communicate the right message and attract quality students. But how?

1. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

This is an online term that is used to describe everything within a website that creates more chances of that website appearing within search results on Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. This could be the words that appear on a particular page, images with links attached to those images, video content, and meta-tags which are like little tags throughout the website that create more lines of connections to the internet. This is essential for any company, brand, and even private school to appear within search results of people looking for something that you offer. When a website has great SEO, it means that you will appear more often in search results without having to pay for them. The search engine has found so many relevant associations between what someone is typing and what your website contains in connection to what they are typing.

2. Facebook/Instagram Ads

Facebook and Instagram ads have now become the standard for nearly all things needing to be advertised. The reason being is that most of the active planet is on either both or one of these platforms. (Fun Fact: Facebook owns Instagram, so anything you do on Facebook is able to be done or advertised within Instagram seamlessly) In this case, you’ll want to take advantage of these advertising channels as they can be very effective in understanding your prospect types and qualifying the kind of leads you get for schools. Most of the students will most likely be on Instagram while most of the parents would be on Facebook as the demographics for each platform have been showing this kind of contrast within age groups.

3. Google Ads

These kind of ads were the first ones on the block at the turning point of the internet revolution. Google ads are exactly how they sound, advertisements that appear within Google search results. To give an example, there are a few forms of these ads that you may have noticed in your own experience using Google. One form of Google ads are sponsored links. If you search for a particular item, you’ll see that the first few links that pop up may be relevant to what you’re searching for, but they are actually “sponsored ads” that were paid to show up at the top of the list. This increases the chances of someone clicking on that link over the regular ones that show up below it.

4. Content Creation

These kind of ads were the first ones on the block at the turning point of the internet revolution. Google ads are exactly how they sound, advertisements that appear within Google search results. To give an example, there are a few forms of these ads that you may have noticed in your own experience using Google. One form of Google ads are sponsored links. If you search for a particular item, you’ll see that the first few links that pop up may be relevant to what you’re searching for, but they are actually “sponsored ads” that were paid to show up at the top of the list. This increases the chances of someone clicking on that link over the regular ones that show up below it.

5. Text & Email Communications

In this digital age, it has never been so easy to instantly communicate and connect with people. With SMS texts and email messages being constantly sent and received, it is essential to stay in contact with your school community. Sending weekly email newsletters or SMS updates on events, charities, or even open house dates is a great way to keep your parents & students informed and involved. You may be thinking, "another thing on my plate" or "there's no way I have time for this", which is why there are ways to automate these communications systems so you can spend more time running your school. Digital agencies like UADV are trained to run and automate these processes so your school community is active, involved, and happy.

All in all, it is not only essential, it is necessary for private schools to move forward from the old ways of relying on students to naturally fall into their system and officially move into the digital age. Advertising online and having a presence that attracts future students should be a top priority when seeking new students. By being present across the web and targeting qualified leads through digital ads, your school would be in a position to create a constant pipeline of qualified students and parents by spending a fraction of what it used to cost when it came to print materials and brochures that were sent out. If you are still on the fence about whether or not going digital makes sense, then you may very well end up last in the race when the competition catches on.

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