Education Marketing in the Age of Moving Targets
In education marketing, it can be challenging to find the right target audiences to market to. Charter school marketing or private school marketing strategies must be flexible to navigate changing educational, geographic and social changes. This can include peak enrollment time frames, parameters for target zip codes, changes in demographics by geography, and yes, even COVID-19.
One of the most important components about education marketing that converts to enrollments is timing. For example, most education marketers have their summer enrollment plans ready to roll for July and August. What happens when no one knows when school is really going to start? Or if students will be online or on campus? How do you market a safe, supportive campus environment to attract new students when you don’t know if they will be going to school from home?
What’s Most Nimble in Education Marketing?
Nimble means you can change your strategy, create new content, and publish quickly to adapt to changing circumstance. Maybe a better way to ask the question is, “What’s NOT nimble in your marketing strategy? Hmmm…. high quality television commercials are not nimble. It takes time to write scripts, book shoots, shoot the commercial, and edit after the video shoot. Billboards are not nimble. They take time to design, get printed, and then installed. They are expensive to change out and it doesn’t happen on a dime. Radio commercials are easier to change out than TV spots and billboards. Radio can be nimble. You just have to be sure you have the right target audiences at the right time.
What about social media? If you have followed the appropriate education marketing process, you have already identified your target personas. Are you reaching parents or students? Correctly identified personas definitely inform where your target personas hang out online. And the good news is that content for social media marketing has a much faster turn around than TV, radio, or billboards. You control the content and the publishing dates.
What about YouTube? Video content doesn’t have to be TV quality, but it does have to be genuine and compelling. This is another reason to emphasize knowing your personas, because you have to speak the language of the person you want to communicate with. The first step of inbound marketing is to attract people who are interested in the schools you are marketing. You can’t attract those people if they don’t relate to what you have to say.
Successful Education Marketing Requires a Conversion Strategy
Attracting the right target audiences to your website is great! But, if you don’t know who your visitor is, you lose the opportunity to convert that person to a newly enrolled student. Data capture and nurturing is critical to your education marketing plan because your success in attracting people is only as good as your ability to convert that interested person to a lead, nurture them, and then convert the lead to an enrolled student. Part of your nurturing strategy can include information about current COVID-19 conditions and ways your school is keeping students safe.
There is much more to the successful education marketing strategy to hit the target and transform into new enrollments. Despite the moving target of the current environment, the basics of the effective education marketing process remains: Attract, Lead Capture, Nurture, and Enroll.