School Marketing in 2023. A Simple 1,2,3
A new year always brings with it the dreaded list of what, as a school marketer, you should be doing. It’s often full of actions that add to your workload and don’t always deliver what they promised. As a digital marketing agency, we don't like creating more work for our clients. That's why we're breaking school marketing down into three easy steps to focus on in 2023 that will do the heavy lifting for you.
1. GET FOUND
The Long-Term Power of Digital Advertising
Digital advertising isn’t going anywhere. It remains the fastest and most effective way to get in front of new audiences to get your school found. Yes, SEO is still important on a top level. Yes, social media still has its place. But at the end of the day, you cannot beat the volume and reach of digital advertising. What’s new for 2023? The long game is the winning game.
If you want to be successful at digital advertising you need to be thinking long-term. With a change in the way browsers will soon be collecting data, digital advertising will need to rely more and more on machine learning to produce results. But that's not necessarily a bad thing as with change, comes growth. Recognising we soon won't have access to the same data as before (more below), platforms like Google Ads are heavily investing in AI to ensure they're delivering the right ads to the right people. As such, running an ad campaign 3 weeks out of an Open Day, twice a year is not going to provide Google with the data it needs to give you the return you're looking for.
Utilise digital advertising year-round to keep your admissions funnel full. Take advantage of the advanced AI to better recognise your audiences and use remarketing to strategically stay top of mind until your visitors are ready to make a move. Let your digital ads do the hard work in bringing you in the leads allowing you to focus on creating the best experience possible for them.
2. GET INSIGHTS
From Google Analytics and Beyond
Collecting and analysing your school website data is always top off our list of to-do’s and this year is no exception. What’s different for 2023?
Google’s Universal Analytics (UA) departure, originally scheduled for mid-2023, has now been extended possibly to 2024. The great news is this now gives you more time to take advantage of the 3rd party cookie data your website can collect. If you’ve been pre-maturely advised to shut off your UA Analytics and switch to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) only, turn it back on! You can collect data on both UA and GA4 simultaneously to compare metrics and make the most of each platform.
Take this time to get your conversion tracking working in GA4 and to familiarise yourself with the changes in the platform. One change you should be aware of is how long you can keep data for. GA4’s default is set for 2 months, so be sure to go into your Data Retention settings and update that to the maximum of 14 months. The more data you have, the better the analysis.
This takes us to the next level of data insights. These are the insights that Google can’t provide—beyond how a visitor found your website, to the content that they, as an individual, have engaged with and the key touch-points that lead to their conversion.
Imagine if upon receiving an email from a prospective parent you already knew the exact pages of your site they'd been on. Not at a top level but for that individual. Or if you were able to determine from your website data that 80% of your possible leads stopped at the fees page. Or on the flipside, you learned 80% of your convertors viewed the page 'Why Choose YourSchoolName?'. I tell you what’d I’d do, I’d create a funnel to guide visitors to the converting content—whether that was through a digital campaign or through tweaks to the website. Use insights to work for you in 2023!
3. Get Results
Personalisation for Increased Conversions
Personalisation in marketing has been around forever when it comes to emails. What's new for schools in 2023 is you now have the ability to take the insights you’ve gathered, either on a particular individual or persona, to create a personal journey just for them. One that will guide them down the path of conversion. What might that look like?
- providing content in your visitor’s native language
- showcasing content that matters to them – ie. sports, academics, arts
- revealing new content on each visit, and of course,
- serving up that all-important content that you've identified as key triggers for conversions
The personalised touch not only improves visitor engagement but conversion rates as well. It’s the first stop to building meaningful relationships with your audience—even before meeting them—and it can be the tipping point in the final stages of their education journey.