Quick Wins to Help Your School's Website Convert Better

Your website is your strongest online asset and for most prospective parents, the first place they look to find out more about your school. With trying to make your school’s website as informative as possible, digital marketers forget that it’s a 2 way street - as well as giving information to your prospects, you should also be trying to get information! 

With the social distancing and isolation caused by the coronavirus outbreak, more than ever people will be rushing online to get information, especially since they can’t attend open days. We’ve compiled our top tips to help your school website convert better during this time.

Keyword Optimisation

It's most likely that a lot of your school services have been suspended and you are working from home. Using this time away from planning busy open days can be handy for general ‘housekeeping’ as it were. Use this quieter time to optimise your keywords used in your website as well as any PPC campaigns. Take time to research and figure out the best keywords for your websites content pages, clarify what message you are trying to get across in each page and make sure the keywords reflect this.

CTAs

Another really great thing you can do for your website is conduct an audit of what CTAs you have on each page (if any) and think about adding in some more. Make sure every page has a CTA, from simple things like ‘read more’ to ‘sign up to our newsletter’ or ‘download a prospectus’ or ‘sign up to an open day.’ Just remember to not scare them away - think about what kind of prospect would be viewing this page - for example a prospect who reads your blog about ‘how to choose the right school’ will only be very early on in the journey, so there is no use putting a CTA like ‘sign up to our open day.’ Instead, you should be using CTAs like ‘read more blogs like this’ to continue to build authority.

Refresh current content

Now is also the time to go through current content on your website and update it. Not only will this ensure prospects have the most up to date information on your school, but it will also put you higher at the top of Google and other search engines when you are shown to be consistently updating and refreshing your information. Google will see your website as a more trustworthy source, placing you higher above in the ranks over other schools. This will ultimately lead to more conversions  - the higher up you are in search results the more likely you are to get a click on your website.

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How to generate content ideas for your school's blog

Marketers who prioritise blogging are 13 times more likely to see positive results - this is because search engines love a constant stream of fresh engaging content and prospects love reading them. Blogs are a great way of presenting your school values, ethos and curriculum as well as showcasing how your school is unique. However don’t be intimidated - filling your blog with relevant and interesting content doesn’t have to be as time consuming as you think! Here are four ways to generate content for your school’s blog.

Answer questions, solve problems

At the awareness stage of the enrollment process, blogging can have a significant impact. Although people won’t sign up to attend your school from a blog post, they will remember that you wrote something which made their journey to finding the right school easier. Blogging allows your school to become a resource, increasing your authority and therefore opening the door for prospects to come back to your blog again and again. By providing this information, and answering key questions, your school is a lot more likely to be considered when it comes to shortlisting potential schools, as the prospect will see that you clearly know your stuff

Focus on your personas

In order to keep your blogs interesting for your audience, it is important to know them well, and anticipate what kind of questions or problems they will have. The best way to do this is to work on your personas before building any kind of content strategy for your blog. You can use our free persona template to help you discover your top three personas, their interests and the challenges they face. Once you have done this, you will know exactly what kind of content to produce in order to keep your blog interesting, and keep those prospects engaged and coming back.

Utilise what you have

You can get lots of interesting content out of the material you already have, so you don’t have to be a creator all the time. Each subject has its own syllabus, programme descriptions and even internal productions like newsletters. Review all of this content, as well as any others you may have created for admissions purposes. Your students are also a great resource - you could look to the student newspaper, or even publish something written by a student. However, one thing to bear in mind is that when you are repurposing content, you shouldn’t just copy and paste, but rewrite it so that you are answering the questions your prospects have. 

Pro tip: Look at blogs already live on your website and see which ones get the most traction - this will give you an idea of what your prospects are most interested in. With this information, you can brainstorm new ideas related to your most visited blogs!

Explore comments about your content

Another great tool to keep your blog interesting is to hone in on the conversations around the content you are posting. Often, people will ask questions and make comments inspired by your content. Some prospects may send emails to admission officers or course administrators, leave comments at the bottom of your blog, or raise questions on social media. Try to make it a habit to check and respond to these and you'll discover a wealth of topics to address in your blogs.

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content to engage prospective students and parents

5 types of content you can use to engage prospective students and parents

The majority of people visiting websites are usually just looking for more information and not ready to take the big leap yet. Whether your goal is to get more attendees to an open day or increase applications for a place at your school, content marketing has a huge role to play in helping you engage prospects and getting the conversions you want. We’ve rounded up 5 types of content to engage prospective students and parents which you can easily create and publish online.

1. Guides and templates

A great way to get email addresses is to create career guides or CV templates which students have to provide their email addresses in order to access. You can create downloadable guides or templates to help guide students’ futures. If parents and students see that you as a school are knowledgeable in this field, then this pushes them further along the funnel, and they will definitely want to hear more from you. Why not create specific guides or CVs depending on the career or subjects they are interested in? This is also a way to segment your email data, and depending on what subject areas they are interested in, you can then later create email content around this.

2. Testimonials

The number one way to give prospects a sense of what it would be like to attend your school is through current student/parent testimonials. Not only does it offer insight into the real student experience, but it can also help your school stand out amongst the competition, especially at a time where people make the majority of decisions based on reviews. Make it easy for people to leave their thoughts and comments - create your own hashtag or an email account where people can easily submit what they have to say. You can then share these on your social media and other channels.

3. School news

Showcasing your school's news and achievements is a good way to keep your school at the top of mind. A newsletter is usually the best format for this, and you can create a few different types to send to your email list segments, depending on what they are interested in. For example, you can create newsletters by age group - one for your prep school and one for your senior school. You can include the latest updates such as sports team wins, school productions, academic achievements and more. Or you can create newsletters for developments and news in specific subjects such as an arts newsletter, or a sports newsletter - the possibilities are endless. To figure out what you should do, analyse your email data to see what kind of contacts you have and what they interact with most. This will give you a good idea of what content you should create for them.

4. Alumni achievements

Future pathways are very important for prospective families. They want to know how an education at your school will increase the chances of  finding a job or getting into a good university. By providing stories of your successful alumni, segmented by industry, you can connect prospective students with those that have graduated and gone on to build admirable careers. Reach out to your alumni office and gather these stories for your blog and social campaigns on an annual basis. You could even create LinkedIn groups for your alumni and invite prospective students to join them so they can connect directly with graduates

5. Video content 

The use of video content is increasing exponentially every year and people engage with it more than any other type of content out there - 78% of people watch online videos every week, and 55% view online videos every day. And it’s not just humans that prefer video content - a website is 53 times more likely to reach the front page of Google if it includes a video. Therefore if you really want to appeal to students and parents then video is the way forward! You probably already have so much written content you can use and easily turn into an engaging video. Repurposing already existing content is a good place to start - for example the career guide you created previously can be made into a step by step video guide to finding the right career for you. Video projects can also be an opportunity to bring current students into the project too - imagine how impressive it would be to prospects if your video content is produced by your own students!

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3 emails to send to improve your admission rates

The purpose of schools sending emails to contacts is twofold: to update current/prospective parents and students on key event dates and to move prospects further down the journey to enrolment. While other forms of content such as social media and blogging are also important, email still remains special because you can personalise the content depending on who is receiving it.

A foreword

The way to ensure you are sending the right content to the right people is to collect the correct information through sign up forms. This is an easy way to see what kind of content each person is interested in receiving. Ensure to ask questions such as ‘are you a student or parent?’ or ‘do you already attend the school?’. It is important to not ask too many questions on form fills (as this leads to reduced conversion rates) but rather focus on asking the right questions. For advice on creating effective forms for conversion, get in touch here. 

Once you have effective form fills, you can use this to segment your contact list and send appropriate emails to each group. For the purposes of this article, we will be focusing on three effective emails to send to prospects, to eventually nurture them to conversion.

1. Informative resources

These are ideal for prospective students and parents who are early on in their journey to signing up to your school and who would benefit from more information on the syllabus/ course material/ and subjects offered as well as any financial aid or scholarships. For instance if you know a student has spent a lot of time on your drama and theatre page, then sending them some links to videos of previous shows, or details of plays covered in previous years may help to push them down the funnel and decide on enrolling to your school. If a prospective parent has shown interest in your alumni page, they may be looking to see what kind of opportunities attending the school will create for their child. Send them a link to an article about the acceptance rate of your students at Russell Group universities, or research written and conducted by your alumni. This is a great way to answer any questions they may have in their mind, or even questions they didn’t know they had, and will push them further down the funnel.

2. Lead nurturing emails with important dates

If a prospective parent has already signed up to attend your open days, then sending reminder emails before the day is very useful. Post open-day, sending information on relevant application closing dates or financial aid form submission dates is handy and subtly encourages prospects to make a decision. An email encouraging them to confirm their place before the deadline is proven to boost admission rates. In addition, sending useful emails about the process with ‘soft deadlines’ such as when to ask for references or when your children should begin preparing for entrance exams can also be very helpful and bring your school to the forefront of their mind when they inevitably begin preparations. Finally, engage prospective students/parents by getting a copy of your student activities calendar and sending them dates of key events to give them a feel of the school. Invite them along to watch a sports game, theatre performance or attend an open lecture/ taster day. This is a great way to make people feel included and a part of the school’s community even before they sign up. 

We provide a full lead nurturing service to turn prospects into real admissions. To find out more, get in touch.

3. Opportunities to connect

Finally, make a list of all the direct face-to-face contact points you offer and categorise them by journey phase. You can start by considering all the ways prospective students can interact with staff members, current students and alumni. You can send them an invitation to a taster day or a weekend programme, or simply let them know they can call you if they have any questions. For prospective parents, you may want to offer signing up to a private tour for those who cannot make it to open days. As prospects move further down the funnel, you may want to offer meetings with an admissions officer, head of year, subject teacher the school board or even the headteacher. Applicants who have been accepted can get offers to meet with a student mentor or form tutor. This is a great way to keep all prospects engaged, no matter what stage they are at in the funnel. 

Final note

Whatever the topic of your email, make sure it includes a call-to-action (CTA). Example CTAs could include ‘book a tour’, ‘find out more’ or ‘download our prospectus’. This tightens the relationship between your institution and the prospect and gives you further information on what kind of content they want to receive more of.

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If you would like to see how Digithrive can help your school get more admissions, book a free consultation.


Persona Work: What it is and why your school needs it

Customer personas are a great way to analyse your target audience, allowing you to create content and other communications that will be relevant to their needs and desires. In this guide we will cover exactly what personas are and why they are necessary for success in your marketing efforts. We will also show you how you can go about identifying them, with a free template to help you work this out!

What is a customer persona?

Your personas should be a profile of the ‘ideal’ person you want to appeal to with your marketing. The profile should include attributes such as the person’s demographics, intereSts, goals and any challenges they face. 

Here are some good places to start when building your persona:

  1. Current pupils and families
  2. Prospective pupils and families
  3. Applicants for vacancies at your school

Since the needs of each group vary, creating unique and specific messages for each of these groups is essential.

How do I find out the key attributes of my target audience?

You probably already have an idea of which types of families are already at your school so this is a good place to start when completing personal work. Look at the data you have and analyse it for any key trends such as household income, careers, interests and more. You can also gain insights into your target audience by:

  1. Creating forms (on your website and on your application process) to capture this important persona information. You can even ask questions like ‘ what social platforms do you frequent most?’
  2. Creating surveys to try and identify the key challenges and considerations prospective and current parents have when looking for a school for their child. For example ‘what’s more important to you - location or extra curricular offerings?’
  3. Making some educational guesses on the kind of families that would be interested in what your school has to offer.

Use our free persona template to get started:

What are the benefits of using personas for my marketing?

Personas have many benefits and are a real asset to any school marketer. They can:

  1. Help you understand what platforms are best delivering your message to different groups
  2. Guide you on what kind of language you should use
  3. Clarify what content your personas are interested in receiving

Simply put, personas are the foundation of effective school marketing. Without them, you may struggle to get your message across and attract quality leads and prospects to your school.

If you would like help building your personas, get in touch.


5 Education Marketing Trends to keep an eye on in 2020

One thing’s for sure - content, SEO and email marketing are key elements of successful marketing campaigns and should not take a back seat. However with so many developments in the digital sphere, it's important to acknowledge and utilise these new marketing tools, to keep up with your competitors. Here are the top marketing trends you should watch out for and implement in 2020:

1. Video content

Engagement stats for video content are unparalleled and they keep on growing. People watch content online more than ever before, with nearly half of Millennial digital video consumption happening on mobile. Therefore, incorporating videos into your marketing strategy should not be optional - your school has a lot of live action, news and events that are definitely worth capturing. With consent, it’s great for prospective parents to see students in action, in classes or extra-curricular activities. This is a great way to highlight the uniqueness and best traits of your school.

2. Personalised content

Personalisation is the future of digital marketing. Most social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube are already customising a user's newsfeed based on their likes, interactions and click preferences and it is not impossible for you to do the same. One of the easiest ways to do this is through email marketing, as you can easily get statistics on what each person in your email list is opening and clicking on. A simple place to start is to segment your email data. Send relevant and different content to each group on your email list.

3. Niche platforms

Whilst Facebook, Instagram and Twitter cater to a large variety of audiences, we will see the rise of platforms like LinkedIn which serve a more niche purpose. It’s important to keep a lookout for these to see if there are any more niche platforms which you can use that will allow you to reach an audience with the right intent ie. parents looking for a school for their child. Even doing things like joining forums or groups online and taking part in conversations can be a great start.

4. Advanced insights

With the rise of AI and platforms like Google Analytics/ SEO analytics programmes constantly developing, in 2020 we will have access to data about people’s online activity more than ever before. This means it will be easier to produce content that prospectus parents, students and the wider community will enjoy - so it’s important to invest in a good platform which provides you with these insights. At Digithrive, we have our own easy-to-use marketing platform where clients can sync all of their social media and content outlets. Our analytics tool - Advertising Intelligence - analyses data across all of your platforms and frames it in a way that is easy to understand and analyse trends. To find out about getting your school signed up to the platform for free, get in touch.

5. Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented Reality (AR) is the layering of digital objects onto the real world as seen through a screen - for example, the Snapchat dog filter. The inclusion of these digital objects can enhance and amplify the real world perception for the viewer and as we shall see, the application of this technology offers almost endless possibilities for marketers, as well as the opportunity to increase your competitive advantage. For example, did you know that you can create your own filters on Snapchat and Instagram? This is a great for promoting school productions and events such as sports days. Augmented reality is a unique way to keep your target audience engaged and interacting with your material.

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Top tips for a memorable open day

Most school Open Days follow a standard itinerary - a welcome reception, followed by a talk from the head, then free time for attendees to explore the subjects they are interested in, whilst speaking to students and teachers. Whilst this may appear effective in showcasing your school during the limited time you have, it's difficult to stand out amongst the sea of competition to parents who are looking for the best schools for their children. Digithrive has pulled together our top tips for those organising open days, so your school can stand out and be remembered by both prospective parents and students. 

Don’t just focus on the parents

Whilst the parents are the lead decision makers, it's also important to not forget that children also have a say! Why not try having taster lessons for each subject during the open day. This could be just 15 minutes - get teachers to pick out their favourite material from the subject and conduct a mini lesson where prospective students can get involved and answer/ask questions. This is a great way for students to get a sense of what being a student at your school would be like, as well as for parents to see the quality of teaching.

Showcase your school’s talents

Does your school have a specialism, perhaps in music, theatre, or STEM subjects? If so, get some of your most talented students to showcase what they’re best at. Have the choir singing as parents come in, or your best violinist performing in the welcome hall throughout the night. Do you have any budding actors or actresses? Have them perform a dramatic monologue in the theatre room!  Does your school have special equipment in the science labs? Get some students to demonstrate an experiment! Open Days are about showing not telling, so actually demonstrating what makes your school unique rather than just talking about it will be sure to make you memorable to prospective parents and students.

Get endorsements from current parents

There’s no stronger marketing than word of mouth, so why not see if any current parents would like to make themselves available for prospective parents to talk to at the open days. This would be a lovely way to close the night and have a lasting effect on prospective parents. If you can’t get a hold of any current parents, request some testimonials. If they can write a short statement about how they feel about the school and how it has benefitted their child, this is all you need. The headmaster or teachers could read out the testimonials, or you could get the children of these parents to read it out & be available for questions afterwards.

Don't forget to follow up

While the physical open day may be the climax of your campaign, it’s important to ensure that you follow up with everyone that attended as well as those who couldn’t make it. Nurturing your leads is so important - don’t forget this element as you could lose touch with parents and students who were genuinely interested in your school! At Digithrive we use a 3 pronged approach for lead nurturing - this first step is pre-open day - we send reminder emails & texts to those who signed up, with a clear itinerary of the night. The second step is to post open day, we create emails to go out to those who attended, as well as a different email to those who couldn’t make it. Including photos of the best parts of the night is a great way to showcase your success to those who couldn't make it, as well as bring back fond memories to those who could. Finally, offering other options to visit the school for those who couldn’t make it is essential! Offer private tours, or taster days in your post-open day emails to ensure that those who are interested have the opportunity to attend.

Get feedback

Post open day surveys are an excellent way to find out what you did well and what needs you could improve on for your next open day. In your follow up emails, include links a short survey to those who attended to find out their thoughts about the school overall as well as their experience at the open day. This will give you great insight into how to improve your marketing for the next open day, or what would make your school more attractive overall. For those that didn't attend, send a survey to find out why, then you can understand what kind of marketing will be most relevant for them going forward. Was it just because they couldn't make the date? Send them email reminders of other open days throughout the year. Was it because the time was inconvenient? Let them know they can arrange a private tour.

We hope these tips were of use, and if you would like to find out more about our lead nurturing services, get in touch.


How to keep your school’s marketing running during the holidays

Schools are out for a total of thirteen weeks in a calendar year, that’s one fourth of a year that you might be missing out on marketing opportunities to promote your educational institution. From providing key information to new pupils and parents to maintaining your public image and online presence, there’s a lot to keep up with. But how can you keep up with the demands of modern day marketing whilst away? 

Here are our top ways to keep your schools marketing running throughout the holidays:

Schedule your social media posts

Having a social media presence is a must. This is a key way to get the word out and relate to parents checking for updates on the upcoming term. Potential parents may like to keep an eye on information to make up their mind on enrolling to your school. By posting consistently throughout the break, you can keep your audience engaged and keep your school at the forefront of their mind. 

Our Social Media App, part of our best-in-class marketing platform, allows you to schedule social posts far in advance. Don’t let the holidays stop you from engaging with your audience. You can sign up now for just £30 pm. To find out more, get in touch or read more about our social media service.

Outsource your blogs and social media posts

Writing blogs is a great way to introduce new ideas and features, as well as establish your school as an authority. When you combine this method with scheduled posts, it can put you ahead of the competition in terms of keeping current and prospective parents and pupils engaged. 

But what might parents want to hear about during the holidays and how can you plan an interesting content calendar before you break up? If you have little time, then outsourcing content might be the best option for you. With a fresh round of open days coming in January, this is the best way to capture the attention of prospective parents - don’t miss out on this opportunity. 

Digithrive are able to write high quality relevant content and promote it for you via various social platforms. To find out more get in touch or read about our content services.

Utilise paid advertising campaigns

The ultimate way to reach your target audience is through paid advertising campaigns. With open days around the corner in the new year, parents will be searching on Google and other platforms for the ‘best schools’ nearby, so they can attend open days! 

The greatest way to appear to this audience is by setting up or refining your Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns. This has many benefits including increasing visits to your website, generating interest interest in your school as well as increasing awareness. PPC campaigns can be run consistently, even during the holidays, so you don’t miss anyone searching for you whilst you are away. 

It’s also worth considering paid advertising on Facebook for lead generation. Targeting the right audience on Facebook for your school can allow you to reach potential parents during the holiday down time!

Digithrive, can set up PPC and Facebook lead generation campaigns on your behalf, so they gather leads throughout the school breaks. To find out more get in touch or read more about our paid advertising services.


Five proven ways to improve your school's marketing

First things first....

Before deciding which marketing strategy best suits your school and needs, you must first identify what parents are looking for in a school. You can start doing this by collecting data about the parents whose children are already attending your school. 

You can also target potential new parents during or after open events. Important questions to ask should include: why existing parents were initially interested in the school; what were the main factors to consider (location, results, facilities, extra-curricular activities) and what demographic they are. If you are able to contact parents who didn’t choose your school, they can also provide useful insights for identifying how you can appeal to this audience. 

Once you have gathered this information, you can build personas about the families/ parents/ children you want to target, based on the above. At Digithrive, we use sophisticated personal profiling methods to help create your ideal persona. We are able to use your existing data to help you create the ideal personas to target in your marketing campaigns. 

Here we share five proven ways to improve your school's marketing:

Channel 1: Social Media

Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or another channel, social networks are a great way to expand your school’s presence. They are a great tool for allowing parents to keep apace with events and other news from the school. Make sure that the name of the school, the logo, and core values are immediately visible. Keep your profile up to date with regular posts featuring a variety of media that represents your school’s values. At Digithrive we are able to create a social media schedule to generate social leads and engage with them through the click of a button. We create a steady stream of professionally written content designed to engage with your current and potential audience. To find out more out our social media service click here.

Channel 2: School Websites

A school’s website is an excellent space to promote your school. It is more customisable than social media sites and will allow you to provide more in-depth information about the school. Your website is just as important as your physical school reception - it should look beautiful, and be loaded with information and hooks to attract potential parents. It is the perfect place to showcase what your school is about - your ethos, your teaching methods and curriculum. 
There should be information about key dates and open days, and clear calls to action, with an easy method for signing up. Digithrive is able to help with optimising your website - we can assess your overall digital presence and suggest key improvements to ensure that your website is converting potential parents, as well as being a useful source of information for existing parents. Our digital analysis also shows you how highly your school website is appearing on Google, and we can use our listings software to claim and cleanse all your listings across main search engines.   If you would like to find out about our website creation/ optimisation service click here.

Channel 3: School Newsletters

A digital newsletter is a great way to notify parents about school news and getting their support for events happening at the school. Newsletters that work best have a clear with an uncomplicated format. We create newsletters for many of our school partners enabling their parents to be kept abreast of the school’s most recent and relevant news. To read about the Dallington case study, click here.

Channel 4: Open Events

There’s nothing like interacting face-to-face with potential parents and students as they are really able to get a feel of your school and decide if it is the right fit. This is the reason why open events have the highest conversion rates in terms of securing admissions. At Digithrive, we are experts in running successful open day campaigns for our partner schools, which lead to real admissions. We use the most sophisticated digital marketing techniques, including PPC and online advertising via Facebook, Instagram and Google to get schools open day sign ups and attendees. We then use a carefully curated lead nurture system, which continues to send communications to interested parents, eventually converting them into real admissions. To read about the great work and real results we have achieved for our school clients, click here. 

Channel 5: Advertising

Now more than ever it is essential that you focus your advertising efforts on Digital Marketing. Not only is it the most cost effective way to reach potential parents, but you can also track and amend all of your campaigns and see real results. For a full break down on why digital marketing is essential in modern day marketing strategy, click here. 

At Digithrive, we provide an array of advertising opportunities for a 360 marketing campaign for your school. We use carefully curated content, lead generation and retargeting initiatives to capture all interested parents. We are also able to leverage print media, due to our sister company Zest Media who own the largest education portfolio of education magazines in the UK. We have inhouse designers and content writers, meaning we can design or improve your adverts, both in print and online. 

To find out more about our advertising opportunities, click here.

If you would like to discuss your schools marketing needs and get real solutions to achieve your goals, book a consultation now.