Can A School Marketer Really Do It All?
I think you’ve probably guessed the answer already. Realistically with the responsibilities and resources given to a school marketer, the answer is a resounding NO! But that doesn’t mean that you should give up. We’ve all heard the phrase (ad nauseam) work smarter not harder, but how can you do that when it feels like you’re barely keeping your head above water?
Set SMART Goals
With little time and resources, every move you make needs to contribute to your overall marketing strategy. Create a simple spreadsheet to map out goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Once your plans are laid out you can clearly see what can help you achieve your goals and what can’t. Your Head wants you to spend more time on your parent newsletter. Does it fit in with your SMART goals? If it’s not going to help you achieve your goals and you’re strapped for time and resources, don’t do it! This, of course, leads me to my second point…
Know When to Push Back
We see this happening a lot, school marketers aren’t given the respect they deserve. They’re asked to drop everything at any time and do something ‘more important’ like taking a photo at the science fair. Yes, as marketers we need to be flexible, but read any productivity blog and the amount of time that is wasted by stopping and starting projects speaks volumes. You schedule for reason. You have set SMART goals for a reason. Use your plan, backed by data, to push back when necessary. You’ll be surprised at the respect that it will gain you.
Be Selective with Social Media
There was a time in the not-too-distant past when schools were encouraged to be on every platform. Can I ask you how effective that’s been? Rather than be on every platform, analyse the audience you want to attract /engage with and choose the appropriate platform. I’ll give you a hint, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok are the top platforms across the board for Gen Z, Millennials and Gen X. Even Boomers, whom you’d expect to be on Facebook are embracing TikTok. Does that mean you need to be there? No! Do your Persona profiles, analyse your data, conduct your focus groups and find out where your parents are. Better to do one or two platforms right than to do 6 wrong.
What do we mean by this? Rather than creating more, look to create content, templates, and resources that can be used over and over again. Just like (we hope) you are doing in other areas of your life, look to reduce, reuse, and recycle your marketing. A few examples:
- Reduce: look to create evergreen content, blogs, guides, etc, that never go out of date or require only small tweaking
- Reuse: Just because you’ve shared content once doesn’t mean you can’t reuse that content. If you look at your stats, chances are you can safely share that content again. Don’t shy away from reusing the same content multiple times
- Recycle: for example, you might repurpose a video into blog or turn photos into a video. Look at the content you have and look at how you might recycle it in a new format
Identify the Metrics and Touchpoints that Matter
Gone are the days when the number of visitors and bounce rates ruled. Today’s savvy marketer will focus on metrics that are linked directly to the KPIs in his/her SMART goals. For a school, increasing admissions numbers will typically be a priority so naturally Open Day registrations and contact form submissions are conversion metrics you’ll be focusing on. But what if you were able to identify the key touchpoints before those conversions took place? You may find your sports scholarship page and sporting testimonials carry a lot more weight than previously considered and are not only metrics you should be monitoring but content you should be guiding your audience to. The more users you can guide down that journey, the higher your conversion numbers! I won’t go into how you can learn about those key touchpoints; I’ll leave that to the team at Ubiq. But what I can tell you is, the more you can understand about your audience the less work on your end to get reach your goals.
Be Strategic with Your Outsourcing
Let’s face it – you can’t be an expert at everything. And for the most part that’s OK. However, there are times when bringing in an outside expert makes complete sense. Not only from a time management perspective but from a financial side as well. Case in point your digital advertising. We’re firm believers that anyone can be trained to bring their digital advertising in-house, but for most school marketers, the reality is you just won’t have the time to optimise and maximise your return. What does that result in? Lower authority and higher costs. PPC advertising is typically not something you can dip in and out of and still effectively manage. In the end, it may cost you more than money – it can cost you valuable leads and ultimately admissions. Think strategically when it comes to what you keep in-house and what you outsource –play to your strengths and those of your partners.