Email remarketing

How to re-engage old Open Day leads

You’ve done the bulk of the hard work - raised the level of awareness surrounding your school and attracted prospective parents and students. But now they’ve dropped off the grid entirely. 

This could be due to a number of reasons; the initial impact of Covid-19 and the time restrictions brought on by homeschooling, parents assuming your Open Days are now cancelled, or those that merely couldn’t make the last date you had in the diary pre-lockdown.

Reengaging with old leads via email remarketing is one of the simplest and most effective ways to boost leads for your now virtual open days.  Here are Digithrive for Schools' top tips to help you achieve new admissions through email remarketing. 

Email Remarketing: How to engage old leads

Utilise your Data (Cookies)

For email remarketing campaigns to be successful, you will need a browser cookie installed on your website. This cookie will monitor your site visitor’s experience and collect information on them. For instance, by using cookies you will be able to understand which Open Day your prospective parent was initially interested in attending, as well the factors they cared most about, whether it be your school’s academic achievements, school facilities or fees. This is all done by tracking the pages visited on your website. 

Automated Email Sequences 

Once you’ve collected this data, utilise it by segmenting your audiences into relevant categories, for instance academic year groups or day/boarding, then send them highly bespoke automated sequence email campaigns that provide answers to your prospective parents’ questions. As the sequence is automated, it creates multiple touch-points with the perspective parent and guides them down the sales funnel. Not only will this majorly increase your chances of conversion, it’s a relatively low cost digital marketing approach as it utilises the CMS you should already have in place. 

We use Hubspot and highly recommend it for setting up sequential email marketing campaigns.

Remember, it's not only website visitors who haven’t made direct contact that you can add to email remarketing campaigns. What about those parents who have contacted you via telephone, contact forms or school events, but haven’t taken the next step? Or what about those who have previously signed up to an Open Day but were unable to attend?

For example, if someone doesn’t attend an Open Day, you can send them a ‘Sorry we missed you’ email with details of the next one. Then once they've signed up, you can send them a second email can be your prospectus and vital information about the school that parents need.

Less is more 

Within your email, keep the information relevant and concise. To help parents take the action you want them to, you need to be specific. If they were looking at an Open Day for Sixth Form, don't mention other year groups in your email, only the dates of the upcoming Virtual Open Day for Sixth Form.

Make sure you include a clear CTA button that takes them to a sign up form (landing page) . Keep this specific to the event and easy to fill in and easy to navigate. 

Give options

Not only has the Coronavirus pandemic changed the way schools conduct open days, but it has also changed the behaviour in prospective parents when researching and considering schools. Some may dread the thought of attending an open day and feel most comfortable on a one to one zoom call with the Head or Q&A with the admissions officer. Whilst others maybe less risk adverse and simply couldn't select a school without experiencing a physical tour and talk. 

With our current campaigns, we have found giving three options work best for parents, with mixed results per event per school. These include:

  • A pre recorded tour of the School
  • Personalised Q&A session (via Zoom)
  • 1-2-1 Zoom interview with your Headteacher. 
  • 360 Tours of the school (if you have the time and resources)

Reset & Repeat

Another advantage of using email remarketing is once you’ve created these sequences, you can easily reproduce these campaigns and create an automated funnel for prospective parents going forward and open events in the future. This can easily be done by creating a ‘trigger’, that automatically enters parents into a remarketing funnel once they’ve taken a specific action on your website.

To read more of our guides for schools, click here.

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Informational Marketing for Schools

Informational marketing is a marketing strategy that involves informing the audience about a product or service rather than simply promoting its benefits. It places value on useful, factual content that is going to help its potential clients, in this case parents, in some way. In the digital world, this form of advertisement is especially important with 50-80% of search engine queries being informational in nature. In this article, we will show you three different types of informational marketing you can use to attract prospects to your school.

How to use informational marketing to answer prospective parents' questions

Infographics

Infographics are a way of representing information in a graphic format. They are designed to make data easily understandable at a glance, rendering them the perfect form of advertisement for social media. You can get quite creative with these in how the information is presented. One popular way is by representing different datapoints with small, brightly coloured images.

A school, for example, could create an infographic informing parents about the foreign languages most valued by employers. Each language could be indicated by a picture associated with it, such as the Eiffel tower for French. The more popular the foreign language, the bigger the image. Another infographic idea for schools is one that displays the extracurricular activities most enjoyed by pupils. 

How-To Guides

This is one of the most popular forms of informational marketing. It is a really simple way of informing an audience and answering any questions they may have in either written or video form. It is also great for SEO as many prospects use search engines to ask questions relating to education. 

A simple blog post on ‘how to choose the right school for your child’ would be an easy way to direct parents to your website. An alternative strategy would be to create short, snappy videos targeted at pupils. It could show them how to solve a maths question, analyse a certain poem, or complete a fun at-home science experiment.

Graphs and Charts

Informational marketing does not have to be fancy. A traditional bar graph or pie chart can be just as effective in informing an audience as any other strategy. You could even get the maths department involved in helping you to present your data.

Information you could present in this way includes the top subjects taken by people in certain careers, your leavers’ university destinations, and the grades achieved by your pupils. 

We hope you enjoyed reading about the importance informational marketing and how you can use it to attract prospects to your school. To read more of our guides, click here.

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How to improve your school's local SEO

Local SEO is an important marketing strategy for keeping your school relevant online. It's a great way to appear on the results pages for prospects looking for schools in the surrounding area, get more web traffic and engage with the local community. In order to improve your online appearance and drive more admissions, here are Digithrive’s top tips on how to optimise local SEO for schools. 

Local SEO for Schools

Create Consistency

Business Listings are one of the most important factors in SEO. They are used by parents to find out general information such as addresses, working hours, and phone numbers. They are also used by search engines in order to determine the validity of your organisation. In order to boost your online ranking, you must keep your school’s listings accurate and consistent across all online platforms. Keep track of your website, social media profiles, and online third parties. Look out for any outdated details and remember to alter them whenever there is a change in your operation. Also check for any discrepancies such as misspellings and abbreviations. 

Use Google My Business 

Google My Business is a tool used for authenticating businesses online. It helps to verify listings and boost their ranking on local searches. In order to optimise it for your school, first create a Google My Business page. Input general information such as your website, address, and phone number. Add imagery and encourage parents to go on to it to share their feedback of the school. Remember to respond to these reviews and build up your engagement. This will indicate to Google that you are valid listing, thus improving your local SEO. 

Optimise Content Data

Throughout your school’s website, ensure that you add content that is specific to your geographical location. This could be a Google Maps widget, a blog post about a local event, or headings that mention the area you are in. Every time you use a geographical keyword, you are boosting your local SEO. Remember to also input these phrases into your page URLs, meta descriptions, and image names to optimise your school’s chances of being boosted on search engine results pages.

Create Inbound Links

Search engines are not only concerned with the content on your website, but also mentions of your school on other people’s websites. It demonstrates that you are an authentic organisation and that your listing is relevant. In order to optimise inbound links, consider approaching local businesses and societies. They could be parish councils, community groups, or information hubs. Estate agents are also often eager to promote schools in their surrounding areas. Ask if they'd be interested in listing your website, or perhaps suggest writing a guest blog post for them which includes your link.

Utilise Social Media

The content that you post on social media such as Instagram and Facebook is also vital for local SEO. Search Engines use the data that you share to determine your school’s ranking. It is important to geo-tag your location and include any hashtags that are relevant to your area when adding a post. You can even go one step further and like or follow the pages of local businesses and community organisations to further your engagement.  

We hope you enjoyed reading about the importance of local SEO and how to optimise it for your school. To read more of our guides, click here.

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Create a school email newsletter parents will actually read

School email newsletters are a brilliant way to communicate with parents, share school news and success stories and move prospects further along in the journey towards enrolment. However, if they’re not executed well, email newsletters can be boring and clog up inboxes, leaving a negative impression rather than a positive one. Here are Digithrive's top tips on creating a school email newsletter that parents will actually want to read.

How to create a brilliant school email newsletter

Keep it focused

Decide what your email newsletter is going to be about. For example, is it...

  • School news for current parents (Sporting successes, information on inset days etc.)
  • Editorial content (Interviews with members of staff, articles from the school magazine etc.)
  • Attracting prospects (Promoting open days, sharing positive exam results etc.)

You can’t do all of these things in one newsletter. Keep it simple. If you have to, create multiple newsletters for different audiences. Current parents don’t want know about upcoming open days and likewise, prospective parents don’t want to know about upcoming parent-teacher evenings. Year 8 parents don't want to hear about GCSE revision clubs (yet), but that's something useful to let year 11 parents know about.

You can do this by segmenting data - splitting your email subscribers into different groups, and sending them personalised content.

This means that each email is targeted to them and includes useful information about their child's schooling rather than clog up their inbox with content they won't read.

Design is everything

As well as having great content, your newsletter should be visually appealing. Make it simple and use your school’s colours to keep it in line with your visual identity. Also bear in mind whether the majority of people will be viewing the email on a smartphone or desktop computer, and adjust your design accordingly. Don’t forget to include social media buttons so readers can easily click through to your channels.

Don’t go overboard with promotion

The majority of your newsletter should be informative and provide value to your readers. They are far more likely to click on a link that looks interesting or entertaining than a button that says ‘Click here to view our website’. Keep promotional content to around 10% of your newsletter, perhaps with a banner at the middle or end. Too much promotional content can feel like spam and be offputting.

We hope you enjoyed our tips for creating a school newsletter that will engage your subscribers.

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The best time for schools to post on Instagram

Better content equals more engagement, right? Unfortunately not. You can put lots of time and effort into crafting social media posts, only to find they underperform. That is why it is important to post when your audience is most active on Instagram. It gives your content the best chance of being seen and therefore interacted with. If you are not sure where to start, here is our guide to the best time for schools to post on Instagram.

When is the best time for schools to post?

First of all, it is important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the best time to post on Instagram. It is going to vary from school to school, depending on your audience. Think about your audience’s habits: what time do they wake up? What are their working hours? Think about the purpose of your school’s Instagram page. Is it to raise awareness about your school? To attract new students? To communicate with current parents? All of this should inform your social media strategy and when to publish content.

Since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, some schools have found it difficult to see a pattern in their audience's social media usage. This may be down to disturbed routines and new schedules, for example as working from home is now more common, people may be waking up later as they don't need to commute. Therefore, they don't check their social media until later on in the day, and aren't scrolling while on the bus or train.

The most sensible approach is to do some research and test posting at different times, recording how many likes, comments, and views each post receives. From this, you can work out the average best time. You can also look at your Instagram analytics. Go to the ‘Insights’ tab on your profile and click ‘Audience’. This page will tell you the times that your audience is most active. For more on how to create a social media marketing strategy, read our handy guide.

If you’re stuck for time or want some statistics to back up your strategy, here is what social media management platform Sprout Social found:

Cheat sheet

Sunday: 10am-2pm
Monday: 9am-5pm (Engagement peaks at 11am and 2pm)
Tuesday: 8am-6pm, *7pm
Wednesday: 5am, *11am-3pm
Thursday: 5am, *11am-4pm
Friday: *5am, 9am-10am, *11am-1pm, 2-4pm
Saturday: 9-11am

* = particularly high levels of engagement

Let’s talk about these results. In general, posting between 9am and 6pm Tuesday to Friday will give you consistent engagement throughout the week. However, there are a couple of popular times that you may want to test out. For example, posts at 5am midweek had high levels of engagement. This is probably because people check social media as soon as they wake up before work. Sprout Social also conducted research into the best times for certain organisations to post.

The best time for schools to post on Instagram

For educational organisations, such as schools, the best time to post on Instagram is 8pm on Mondays. Engagement was most consistent on weekdays from 11am- 4pm. The worst day to post was Sunday. This makes sense considering schools are closed on weekends and therefore people may not be as engaged with educational content.

To summarise, it is important to research and test different times in order to garner the best results for your school. But overall, the best time for schools to post on Instagram is Monday to Friday during the day.

Want to know more about social media management? Find out here, or book a call with one of our digital experts.

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