Digital Marketing For Schools : A Simple Introduction and Guide For Schools in Nigeria & Africa To Make Their School Stand Out and Increase Enrollment Figures
Technology and the Internet are taking over the way we ask questions, the way we review products and services, the way we interact, the way we question things before we choose to believe, even our lifestyles have been affected by technology and the internet. Not to mention the way prospective parents search for information about the types of school they wish to enroll their kids.
One thing of note is that these platforms, devices and operating systems being developed by the tech giants like Google, Microsoft, Samsung, Tecno, are changing the way we interact with the Internet and each other.
As the Internet continues to shift the way we seek information, technology is working equally as hard to change the way we consume that information. But change is difficult; people don’t like to adapt, whether to a new house or a different smartphone.
As hard as it is for people to face change, believe it or not, accept it or not, we now live in a digital world. And in this new world, traditional forms of advertising don’t work as well as they used to.
Yes. we still watch TV and listen to the radio, sure, but the ads we see and hear on these mediums are untargeted and reach us outside of the buying cycle. People now search for information before, or even during, the purchasing process.
You and I know that the notion of a person watching TV and running out to buy something they see in a commercial is no longer reality. Now, the buying cycle consists of a customer in a store searching their mobile device for information about a product they’re holding in their hands.
People are asking questions, looking at reviews, checking out what people are saying about the product or service on social media before they make the final decision to buy or not.
Enter digital marketing for schools, something else new and scary .First, schools dismissed the Internet as a fad, claiming they didn’t need a website. Now that those schools are online, they’re told to use social media, do mobile marketing and pay Google when people click on their ads and visit their website.
With so many ever-changing options, digital marketing for schools can be confusing. And indeed, many school businesses have chosen to bury their heads in the sand instead of accepting the challenge of digital marketing.
But savvy school owners and school heads who saw the immense opportunity of the digital landscape have certainly reaped the benefits. Luckily for you and your school business, digital marketing is in its infancy and there’s still plenty of time to catch up to speed.
Some schools have finally recognized what their prospective parents have always known. If they can’t find the content that makes your school services easy to use and enjoy, they are off to seek out your competitor. You’ve missed the opportunity to impress them or, in some cases, even get on their radar screen.
So where does digital marketing and technology fit in today’s school marketing plans? The short answer is everywhere. The more ways a school can enhance their online , the better. And as each new digital trend emerges, the schools that are best at adapting and making it work for them are winning online.
Digital marketing for schools – yes or no
There are really only two key questions you need to answer when it comes to deciding whether or not your school business needs a digital marketing strategy.
- Is my audience (prospective parents and students) online/is it going to be online?
To be candid here, If your prospective parents and students use digital technology to research and/or purchase the products and services you provide, then you absolutely need to embrace digital marketing now in order to engage with them and retain them.
If they don’t, then you don’t. It really is that simple. Just bear in mind that as the next generation of customers start to become your new customers, they are likely to demand more digital interaction from your school business. If you’re not in a position to deliver that, they could well choose to spend their money elsewhere.
Are my school products/services/brands suited to digital marketing? This can be a tricky one – but the answer is usually yes. Typically it doesn’t matter what your product, service or brand is: as long as you have established that there is a viable online audience for it (see question 1), then you should be promoting it online.
The thing is people go online to research, evaluate and compare their choices. They make enrolment decisions based on the quality of their online experience, then head to a physical school building to hand over their cash.
Digital Marketing for Schools Goals or Purpose – Your first step
The first and most important element of the digital marketing framework for your school is Goals or Purpose. It’s the longest phase and requires the most time and energy to piece together, but if done correctly, it’ll ensure the success of your entire digital marketing for school strategy. The core components here include:
- identifying goals and objectives
- selecting strategies and tactics
- exploring new opportunities
- and setting metrics and targets
Digital Marketing for Schools – How Best To Implement My School Goals
The second phase of the digital marketing for schools framework is the Internet Business Analysis for your own school. After your goals and objectives have been identified, the next step is for you to start researching how best to implement your digital marketing strategy
There are three specific tasks that will yield valuable information. They are:
- market segmentation
- persona development
- and competitor analysis
How Best To Implement My Digital Marketing For Schools Goals
In the process of market segmentation, you will consider which pieces of the market to target ( I mean which class of parents you want to target. They are going to be paying the school fees, isn’t it? ) and then analyze those areas.
You’ll have much greater success when targeting a specific class of parents rather than jumping headlong into a vast and uncharted ocean of consumers. This will involve you building a Persona of your target parent class.
Persona development involves the creation of fictitious characters that represent various types of your customers by incorporating different:
- age groups
- and behavior
Once personas are created, specific and more personal campaigns and strategies can be used to target the differing parent types which will lead to a higher conversion rate, more leads and a better ROI.
Competitor Analysis when implementing Digital Marketing For Schools
Before implementing digital marketing for schools tactics, it’s a good idea for you to analyze your competitors to see what they’re doing in the digital space. An in-depth competitor analysis often returns valuable information including strategies that are working for your competitors (which you can then implement) and areas where you can gain a definite competitive advantage.
If you are a school in Amuwo Odofin/ Festac axis, and you are a Cambridge Approved school for both Primary and Secondary sections, your competitors can S-Tee Schools and City Pride Schools.
Bringing together and building your digital marketing for schools strategy
The next component of the digital marketing for schools framework is bringing together or building your digital marketing for schools plan. The Build phase is where the strategic development of a digital marketing plan shifts into resource planning and allocation.
Before the requirements of a digital marketing strategy can be built or implemented for your school, your school needs to have a discussion about who will build it and at what cost? Are there enough staff members to handle it internally or do you need an agency or consultant? How much budget do you have available?
Schools that choose to work with consultants will discover that experts can alleviate the pressures of the entire digital marketing for schools plan implementation, since they are already familiar with these types of tasks.
Regardless of you creating a school team to implement your school digital marketing plan or you engaging a consultant, know that the Build phase is where you’ll set up or modify your digital assets. Your digital assets are things like your:
- social media profiles
- and the development
- of any other digital campaigns.
Digital marketing for schools strategy – It’s Time For Implementation
Once you are done building your plan and making sure all your digital assets are in place, the next phase is the Implementation phase. During this period all of the digital assets are all in place.
During this time, you need to be scheduled for launch and subsequently activated. A cohesive and well-organized launch strategy can pay dividends as it’s often an underrated part of most digital marketing efforts.
The Conclusion of Digital Marketing For Schools : A Simple Introduction and Guide For Schools
This strategy needs to go through some clear steps to becoming something you can believe in, clearly articulate, gain advocacy for and work to as a clear plan to deliver you goals. In summary the core areas are:
- understand what is possible;
- understand your business and market context;
- understand your customer;
- understand the potential challenges you face;
- plan your strategy for optimal delivery;
- understand the possibilities within the relevant digital channels and touchpoints;
- measure and evolve your strategy;
- gain buy-in.
- Once you have these in place you have a strategy and so this book is designed
- to address each of these steps.
Johnson Omoregie is an SEO specialist/Website Developer/ SEO Copywriter/Content Developer. He eats and sleeps Search Engine Optimization (SEO)/Digital Marketing. And help business generate leads and conversions through Organic Traffic. He is the author of Business Profit Blueprint: Million Dollar Tips To Promote Your Business And Increase Profit.