Brand identity for schools: why it matters

Brand identity is something you may hear a lot about in the world of marketing. A strong brand identity means having a cohesive look and feel throughout everything your organisation does, for example social media, advertising, newsletters, your website and more. Brand identity makes it clear what an organisation stands for — its values and purpose — as well as creating a recognisable look and tone that people become familiar with.

But why does it matter for schools? You may think that brand identity is something that only businesses and sales people have to worry about. However, brand identity is an important part of the way a school presents itself. A strong brand identity will help your school stand out to prospective parents so they always recognise and gravitate towards you. What makes your school different from the sea of navy and red out there, and how can you communicate this?

While colours, fonts and logos are all important, it's not just the look of your communications that need to be cohesive. What sort of language are you using and what does this say about your school? Is your school more formal and traditional or does it take a more personal and informal approach? These are all things to think about and ensure that everything your school puts out fits with its identity.

Now that we have explained why brand identity for schools is so important, here are three examples of schools who are doing it well.

Brand identity for schools: three excellent examples

Cavendish Education

Cavendish Education is a group of schools that provides specialist support for children with dyslexia, dyspraxia, autism, Asperger's and other learning difficulties. Each school in the Cavendish family has its own distinctive character, atmosphere and facilities; but despite this, all the schools manage to keep a cohesive brand identity. One way the Cavendish group does this is with the use of their logo, a flower on deep purple background.

The school says: "At first sight this is perhaps just a lovely symbol but it carries more significance than that. The flower represents the blossoming of learning and life and each petal is a ‘C’, representing the main attributes we strive to instil in each of our pupils during their time with us. 

The 4Cs are:

  • Confidence, 
  • Competence,
  • Creativity, 
  • Character"

Schools in the Cavendish Education group are immediately recognisable because of the logo, which appears on all Cavendish marketing materials. It is also an important symbol of the school's ethos and beliefs.

James Allen Girls' School

James Allen Girls' School (or JAGS) has crafted a clever campaign to stand out from the crowd. 'Picture yourself at JAGs' speaks directly to prospective students, encouraging them to imagine the possibilities that a JAGs education can bring about. On the website, next to a portrait of James Allen (the school's founder) there are portraits of JAGs girls doing everything from karate to playing the trumpet. JAGs is clearly communicating that they encourage students to be ambitious, hardworking and pursue plenty of extra-curricular activities. They are also throwing outdated stereotypes out of the window, showing that girls can be anything from athletes to filmmakers to musicians.

This clear communication of values is extremely memorable and is repeated across different platforms, from their print advertising to their school website. This ensures that all prospective parents will come across the campaign.

The portraiture concept is extended even further, with the school's blog presented as a 'Story Wall' with framed images. They have done an excellent job of communicating their identity as a progressive girls' school in an entertaining and engaging way.

Dallington School

Dallington is another example of a school with a strong brand identity. Dallington is a Prep school for children ages 3-11, which is immediately obvious from their advert. The illustrations and charming logo create the impression of a welcoming, gentle and friendly school, further reflected in the mention of it being a 'family-run' school. The copy includes personal testimonials from students, a sweet touch that makes it clear that the children's wellbeing is the focus at Dallington, a visual manifestation of the 'Dallington Difference'.

Head to the Dallington website and the soft blue colour scheme and illustrated logo is repeated, along with a welcome from the Headteacher on the first page. This extremely personal and friendly introduction is the first thing that prospective parents will see when they reach the site, a brilliant impression for parents looking for a nurturing community for their child.

The three schools above have managed to create strong brand identities in order to communicate with and attract prospective families. If you'd like to find out more about how Digithrive for Schools can help your school grow, get in touch.


Print vs digital marketing: when schools should invest

Every school marketer knows how important digital marketing is, not only for improving your school's reputation and online presence but for attracting new prospects. However, print advertising should not be forgotten in the digital age; in a previous guide, we explained the benefits of print advertising for schools and how it can help build awareness and trust.

But knowing when to invest in print and digital marketing throughout the year can be puzzling. When will you see the biggest return on investment? When is your target audience most likely to engage? How can you combine the two types of marketing to create a cohesive strategy? In this guide, we explain when to focus on print advertising and when to focus on digital advertising.

Forward planning

First of all, mark out the school calendar and any upcoming special events as far in advance as you can. This will give you a clear idea of at least the next school year ahead.

Note down any open days, parents evenings, application deadlines and all the other important dates in the school year.

Next, look at your school's data to see when your largest influx of leads are. Is it a last minute rush right before applications close? Is it months in advance when parents are first looking? Decide whether you want to capitalise on this busy period, or focus on less busy times to create a more measured flow of admission leads.

When to focus on digital advertising

Digital advertising, such as pay-per-click advertising (PPC) and paid social media campaigns, is most advantageous when you have a specific target. This could be promoting a virtual open day and getting as many sign ups as possible, driving more traffic to your school blog or targeting local parents to get more admissions.

Whatever your goal is, digital advertising can make it happen thanks to the ability to target an extremely specific audience online, considering age, location, interests and much more.

Digital advertising is fantastic for getting tangible results in a short amount of time. For example, if your Prep day school for boys has a virtual open day happening in three weeks and you want more sign ups, a highly targeted paid social media campaign will show your advert to the most relevant people - parents living in the local area who are looking for a boys' Prep school.

During and after the campaign, Digithrive for Schools can track the results and either retarget people, or tweak the campaign to get even better results. Have a look at some of our past work with schools here.

So when should you focus on digital advertising campaigns? It completely depends on your school's calendar. But you should definitely increase your online marketing activity around the same time parents and children are looking and applying for schools. For example, if your application deadline is in January, parents will be starting to look for schools during the summer. This is a great time to target them initially, and then you can retarget them to sign up to your autumn open day later on.

When to focus on print advertising

Print advertising is all about brand awareness and building trust with your audience. It can be extremely effective when used as part of a holistic campaign.

Rather than expecting tremendous tangible results, like our previous digital marketing clients have seen, print advertising will support your school's overall marketing efforts.

While of course you can use your print advert to promote an open day, which many schools do, it's not necessary. Unlike digital advertising where a strong call to action is required, take advantage of the more gentle approach that print advertising has.

You don't need to advertise in every publication out there - select the ones that you know your target audience will be reading. For example, there's no point advertising in a national newspaper that has a completely different demographic to your school's. Just because they have a readership of one million, doesn't mean you'll see results. Work out your personas and you will find it a lot easier to locate your target audience.

For example, parents on the hunt for the best independent school for their child are likely to conduct thorough research and read education titles such as Absolutely Education. Advertising in publications like this will align your school with the top establishments in the country and make parents aware of the high quality education your school provides. The type of publication matters just as much - if not more - than timing.

While digital advertising should focus on specific targets, print advertising should be consistent but can be less regular - perhaps every month in key publications with the right target audience.

Need help with your marketing strategy? Get in touch.

Digithrive for schools

Lessons from Lockdown: 6 top schools reveal all

Recent months have been an extraordinary chapter for education and the classes whose public examinations never happened will certainly never forget this year. There has been – justifiably – much concern over the potential harm to young people of all ages and stages denied 'normal' school life, with all that this entails. But behind the negative stories, a quiet sense that something rather revolutionary happened in Summer Term 2020 is beginning to emerge. 

Schools around the country managed the unthinkable – shutting their gates but finding ways to ensure both academic continuity and their spirit of community carried on. Plans were brought forward, remote learning ideals became practical necessities and staff and school leaders dug deep to prove the old adage about the 'mother of invention' in delivering pastoral, extra-curricular, sporting and creative provision. In this article, Libby Norman asks six schools to give us their early impressions of the lessons learned from lockdown.

Lessons from Lockdown

James Allen's Girls' School - "Pupils are very resourceful"

At James Allen’s Girls’ School in Dulwich, remote teaching and learning swung rapidly into gear to support some 1,000 pupils aged 4 to 18. While there were inevitable teething problems, inventiveness saved the day. “If anything, this made the outcomes even richer as colleagues and students found creative solutions for common issues,” says JAGS Deputy Head Pastoral Samantha Payne. She describes a period of remarkable agility, especially in the use of technology, and with real enthusiasm from everyone to keep the learning varied and enjoyable. “An added advantage to working online is the ease with which pupils and teachers can share their resources, and the outstanding sense of collegiality that comes as a result of this.” The way in which pupils and teachers have been able to communicate more broadly is certainly something that the school wishes to retain. 

Wellbeing surveys and daily contact with form tutors enabled robust formal pastoral support, but clubs and regular assemblies have also played a pivotal role. Girls responded enthusiastically to extracurricular opportunities – virtual quizzes, sports and baking challenges and music, drama and art events. The JAGS’ Parent Talk programme also flourished. Larger numbers of parents engaged and some noted that it was far easier to join a Zoom event, so the school hopes to continue live-streaming to benefit parents who struggle to attend in person. Counsellors, nurses and chaplain made themselves available to staff and parents, as well as pupils, and this has informed future plans. “Online pastoral support will certainly feed into JAGS’ wellbeing strategy as we face the coming months – and we will adapt and tweak – and embrace good ideas, as ever,” says Samantha Payne. Read Digithrive's guide to communicating well with parents here.

Pangbourne College - "Parent communication and pastoral care are key"

Pangbourne College in Reading, Berkshire has spent the last few years rolling out a ‘Bring Your Own Device’ policy across the school. “Originally intended to cater for the increasing use of technology in education, this turned out to be a boon for a rapid transition to online learning. College students and teachers quickly adapted to a normal timetable of lessons conducted via Google Classroom, Meets, Hangouts and Gmail” says the school’s Director of Development Karen Hartshorn.

Inevitably, while some pupils thrived on remote learning others found the absence of classroom and social routines more difficult. “We were surprised by how quickly and how well nearly everyone adapted,” says Headmaster Thomas Garnier. “We quickly realised that good pastoral care and regular communication with parents were key, as school was suddenly more visible to them and they were more involved in the day-to-day education of their children.”

A key part of Pangbourne’s ethos is pastoral care. The College uses the AS Tracking system, an online assessment tool which monitors student mental health and can identify when an individual needs extra support. Combined with weekly online staff pastoral meetings, this ensured that teachers were able to provide support as and when needed.

Pangbourne also held virtual focus groups with parents to understand family expectations for a return to school – and any elements from the lockdown worth keeping. The overwhelming message was ‘back to normal, please’, with parents talking about how much they valued the social interaction, teacher-pupil interaction and co-curricular activity.

There were positives which may continue. Parents like the option of online parent-teacher meetings and the increased visibility of lessons and teaching. For times when pupils are unable to be in school, due to illness or circumstances, the College has invested in additional technology to enable hybrid learning and live broadcast of classroom lessons.

Queen's Gate School - “Digital literacy has been enhanced significantly”

Uncommon with other schools, Queen’s Gate rose to the challenge of moving its entire operations online almost overnight. “The management of this change was not in accordance with text-book advice, with limited time for planning and no time at all  for pilot schemes – but it had to work and it did,” says Queen’s Gate Principal Rosalynd Kamaryc. 

The school selected Zoom as its platform, and with a few quick lessons on the basics staff were ready to go. “We always encourage our pupils to take risks in their learning, to enjoy ‘having a go’ at something new and to learn from failure and what a wonderful opportunity we had as staff to lead by example as we learned how to set up meetings, send out invitations, share our screen, annotate and use break-out rooms. It was a steep learning curve, but one which staff embraced,” she adds.

GCSE and A-level pupils were particularly affected, so staff created Extend Programmes of taster lessons for the next stage of education, as well as lectures and enrichment opportunities – parents seemed to enjoy joining the lectures too. From the beginning, it was clear that social contact should be offered at every opportunity, so the External Relations team set up an online weekly newsletter. Before the end of term, there was a discussion about what might continue after Lockdown and staff were enthusiastic about continuing Zoom for some meetings, lectures from visiting speakers and collaboration with other schools. “Lockdown was a unique opportunity, but we now look forward to using the best of our experience to enhance the educational opportunities we offer our pupils,” says Rosalynd Kamaryc.

Repton School - “We can support those who need more hours in the day”

Repton found positives in online school life, says Deputy Head and Director of Digital Development James Wilton. “For us, Microsoft Teams was the killer app for Lockdown. It was extraordinary how quickly the staff and pupils got behind this.” Perhaps the greatest indicator is in the stats – 203 messages via Teams on 23rd March, as opposed to a daily average of 8,957 messages each day towards the end of summer term. 

The Derbyshire school took what James Wilton describes as an “arguably risky” decision to adhere to its regular timetable. Every class had its own Team, but also every boarding house, every sport and every single co-curricular activity. Not forgetting Chapel, which had two virtual Team services each week. Lessons were a blend of pre-recorded video, live streaming, interactive presentations and quizzes. Assignments set tasks to complete in the lessons and tried to leave it at that, avoiding additional ‘homework’ to reduce screen-time and the wellbeing issues that might follow. For overseas pupils and those who could not join live lessons, recordings were stored in Microsoft Stream.  

One key takeaway is the potential flexibility of online learning when it comes to co-curricular activities. “Remote learning showed us we could support those who needed more hours in the day; there is no longer any reason why a Repton pupil can’t participate in learning because they are on a coach to play sport or give a concert. They can learn actively from anywhere, on any device,” says James Wilton. “Perhaps most exciting of all is that great use of technology should give us time back to invest in the things that have an even greater impact.”

Southbank International School - “Primary age children have impressed us with their independence”

At Southbank’s three campuses in London for children aged 3 to 18, technology-enabled teaching held no fears, even for those at Primary level. “Our school community were already used to an integrated technology approach – especially our Hampstead campus, which has an Apple Distinguished status,” says Hampstead Principal Shirley Harwood. Daily ‘live’ teaching and pastoral meetings ensured teachers maintained a finger on the pulse. 

Another important facet of teaching was the social side and Principal of Southbank’s Kensington  campus Siobhan McGrath says here Google Meet proved vital. “It allowed teachers to develop social interaction across a class.” Staff found some things easier using remote learning – for instance, finding out what students could manage independently and when more support or instructions were required. “Some children really impressed us with their creativity and independence,” she adds. 

While Upper Primary children were able to complete and submit work independently and could ask teachers for a Google meet if they needed help, the youngest children did need extra support. Here short videos and live ‘meets’ proved invaluable. Staff rose to the challenge, often re-thinking how best to present new material or enable activities to continue. For instance, the Music department found ingenious ways to cut videos so that students could play along virtually with ensemble pieces from their own homes. 

 Hosting whole-school community events online has also proved successful. Siobhan McGrath says Southbank parents made the online journey easier. “We have always had a great community and although we were physically apart, this shared experience seemed to make us stronger.”

ArtsEd Day School and Sixth Form - “A hefty dose of positivity has meant the show did go on!”

For all schools Lockdown was a test, but for ArtsEd Day School and Sixth Form in Chiswick there was an extra challenge – the logistics of delivering its nationally recognised programme of creative teaching. Its pupils are used to singing, dancing and acting together, so how to create that ensemble spark remotely?

Well-laid plans, a switched-on IT team and a hefty dose of positivity ensured that the show did go on during the summer term. “In spite of not being in the same building, let alone the same room, students and staff made full and inventive use of remote platforms, with dance classes, singing lessons and drama sessions continuing right alongside Maths, History, English and the rest of the full academic curriculum,” says Headteacher Adrian Blake. 

“The smoothness of our transition to a virtual timetable was the result of our excellent teaching staff, our hard-working IT Team, and our dedicated pupils all working together. Regular one-to-one catch-up sessions also ensured the continuation of our pastoral care, and the educational and vocational guidance that is so valuable in enabling pupil achievement.” With Year 13 pupils heading off to leading drama schools, universities and direct into acting work, the graduating class of 2020 have certainly had a crash course in managing performance under pressure – surely experience to stand them, and their fellow pupils, in good stead in their professional futures. 

A longer version of this article originally appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2020 edition of Absolutely Education magazine.

To find out more about how Digithrive for School can help your school achieve its digital marketing goals, get in touch.


4 Examples of schools with excellent social media profiles

Social media is a hugely significant aspect of digital marketing, and shouldn’t be seen as an afterthought for schools. In our guide to creating a successful social media marketing strategy, we explained how to engage prospective and current parents with your content, and provided you with 8 must-have tools for school marketers.

But what does a successful social media channel look like? We’ve found four schools who are doing it right, whether it’s beautiful Instagram feeds, frequently updated Twitter accounts or innovative YouTube videos.

4 School social media profiles to take inspiration from

ArtsEd

One glance at ArtsEd’s Instagram and you immediately know what the school is all about. Vibrant colours and action shots of performances show this is a dynamic, modern school with a focus on the arts. The Instagram Story highlights have cover images which also match the school’s bold branding.

They’ve made use of a clever tool for their Instagram bio, lnk.bio, which allows you to link to multiple web addresses so users can find the content they're looking for straight away, improving user experience and driving more traffic to your links. Later and Linktree are also good tools for this.

@artsedlondon, artsed.co.uk

King’s Ely 

This is a brilliant example of a creative way to promote an open day. King’s Ely created a YouTube video called ‘A Day in the Life of a King’s Ely Student’, which shows prospective parents and pupils what to expect from the Cambridge-based school in a fun and engaging way.

The school then shared the video to their Facebook page, with a call-to-action and direct link to reserve a spot at one of their autumn Open Events. Finally, they’ve used a number of relevant hashtags so the post reaches a wider audience.

facebook.com/KingsElyOfficial, kingsely.org

Cumnor House

Cumnor House School in Sussex’s Instagram page is clearly in-line with the school’s red and white branding. By focusing on a colour scheme, everything looks neat, cohesive and visually appealing, which is important for making a professional first impression.

As well as standard images, the school has included different types of graphics to appeal to prospective families, like testimonials from a current parent and an explanation of ‘The Cumnor Way’, the school’s values. This immediately informs prospective parents about the type of learning environment their child would experience.

@cumnorhouseschool, cumnor.co.uk

Merchiston

Merchiston School has several Twitter accounts for different departments - for example, there's one for sports, the library and sixth form - but their Merchiston News account keeps parents and pupils alike up to date with the school's events.

Video content is hugely important. In 2019, the average person spent an estimated 84 minutes a day watching videos online, which is set to rise to 100 minutes every day in 2021. Merchiston's video called 'What have you enjoyed about Merchiston so far?' shows pupils talking about everything from seeing friends to delicious lunches. Not only does this lighthearted content put parents at ease that their children are settling back in well, but it shows prospective parents how much pupils enjoy attending the school.

@merchinews, merchiston.co.uk

If you're inspired by these school social media accounts and would like help with your school's marketing, get in touch.


How to effectively communicate with parents

Effectively communicating with parents has always been important, but it’s now more crucial than ever. Due to Covid-19, parents are extra worried about health and safety, and may have questions about the ‘new normal’ we are all facing.

Both day and boarding schools should always keep parents informed about everything that’s going on, whether it affects the whole school or just their individual child.

But how do you address these concerns and communicate well, even if the parents are based internationally? Here are Digithrive for Schools' top tips for communicating with parents in the current climate.

Top tips: Communicating with UK-based and international parents

Post on social media

Posting regularly on your school’s social media channels is a great way to communicate with prospective parents. As it is a public medium, social media is the place to shout about your school’s achievements, whether it’s excellent exam results, an exciting project or a sporting victory. Social media scheduling programmes like Hootsuite are incredibly useful, as you can bulk schedule content in advance and choose the exact time and date for it to be posted. 

Keep your school’s profiles looking professional with sharp images that are in-line with your school branding. That doesn’t mean you can’t post candid moments, but make sure that they are taken with a good quality camera. Encourage parents to follow your social media accounts and post at least 2-3 times a week, and soon enough you will have built an online community that adds an extra dimension to your school’s communications.

It is also important to create a private Facebook group for parents, as not everyone is comfortable with images of their child being shared publicly on social media. A private Facebook group provides parents with a safe, discreet place to communicate with each other and staff. You have the ability to approve who joins the group, to make sure they are actually a current parent. This adds an extra level of security and allows you to freely post information that you only want parents to know, as well as more candid, casual images and videos of children.

Send email newsletters

Social media is fantastic, but email newsletters should not be overlooked. Not all parents have social media, and you don’t want them to miss out on important announcements. Plus, social media is better for visual, snappy and informal content, whereas emails are better for longer, more detailed and formal content. Both are key to successful communication.

You should have a school email newsletter that you send out to parents at least every month (if you don’t, read this). It may include a note from the Head, extra-curricular news, dates for the diary and other important information. 

Segmenting data is extremely important for school mailing lists. By dividing your newsletter subscribers into categories, for example by year group, you can send them personalised emails that are relevant to them. For instance, while parents of year 11 pupils should be kept up-to-date with the latest GCSEs news (e.g. coursework deadlines and revision clubs), this wouldn’t be relevant for year 8 parents.

Frequently update the website

Your school website will often be the first port-of-call that prospective and current parents alike turn to for information. Make sure the site is regularly updated and accurate so parents are clear on everything they need to know, from how to contact the school to upcoming open days.

You should also have a school blog or news section on your website. This doesn't have to create a lot of extra work for you - after sending out your email newsletters, you can repurpose the newsletter content on your school website, which allows prospective parents to see the impressive news too.

Schedule digital meetings

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, teachers and parents are not able to communicate in-person in the manner that they used to, for example open days are now mostly either private tours or virtual open days. 

Hosting regular virtual meetings between school staff and parents is a great way to keep them up to date with their child’s schooling and address any questions and concerns they may have. Both group meetings, where the Head or another senior staff member addresses lots of parents, and one-on-one meetings to discuss individual grades and progress, are an effective way to communicate during the pandemic, particularly with parents who are overseas.

After the meeting, send an automated follow-up email thanking them for their time and check if they have any further comments or questions.

Listen to feedback from parents

It’s important to give parents a chance to have their voices heard. Read our guide to online review management for schools and how to increase good online reviews for more. Not only will good online reviews improve your search engine rankings, but it shows parents that you are open to feedback.

All reviews and comments, both online and offline, should be listened to and treated with respect. Rather than making excuses, or trying to change the parent’s mind, show that you have taken their comments on board and that the school will take steps to justify the matter, or at the very least, discuss it.

To find out more about how Digithrive can help with your school’s communication, book a consultation now.


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.

Digithrive for schools

Benefits of facebook advertising for schools

The benefits of Facebook advertising for schools

Facebook is one of the most popular ways to engage with parents and promote your school to prospects. It is simple, fast, and effective. Never before has it been easier to update families with news and events through the use of your page.  However, if you want to increase your online presence even further, consider using Facebook advertising. This paid-for service offers you the best chance of attracting parent’s attention in an overcrowded marketplace. In this article, we will discuss the four main benefits of Facebook advertising for schools.

Why Schools Need To Use Facebook Advertising

  • It's great for outreach
  • You can target your ideal audience
  • It's highly personalised
  • It's cost effective
  • It's data driven

Read on to find out more about Facebook advertising for schools.

Outreach

Facebook is the largest platform on the internet. With over 2.45 billion monthly users, it dwarfs all other social media. To put it in comparison, Twitter is the second biggest with 330 million. It is also boasts a diverse audience; people from all age groups log in to spend an average of 18 minutes a day on the site.

Placing a paid advertisement on Facebook gives your school the opportunity to be seen by a large number of people. It also reinforces your image as a trustworthy brand since you are appearing in a place that they go daily to engage with family and friends.  This goes towards explaining the findings of a recent study that showed that 52% of consumers were influenced by Facebook when making both online and offline decisions.

Targeted Audience

One of the main benefits of Facebook advertising is that is allows you to target specific audiences.  When setting up your campaign, you can decide which users with particular geographic backgrounds, ages, and interests you want it to appear to.  This helps to focus your marketing on those most likely to respond to it. Use our persona tool to work out what type of people your advertisement should be trying to reach.

Facebook ads are also adaptive. The images that they display change according to who is viewing them. If a prospect displays an interest in arts on their profile, for example, then Facebook will show an arts-related picture. This means that your marketing is more likely to grab their attention and thus be more effective.

Highly Personalised

Facebook advertisements are one of the most modifiable forms of marketing on the internet. Their basic components can be specially tailored to meet your requirements. With every advert, schools have the option to put in their own imagery.  This is important because studies show Consumers are significantly more likely to think favourably of ads that emphasise photography over ads that emphasise text.

Facebook adverts also offer you the choice to display a Call to Action. CTAs are buttons that ask the user to engage with the campaign in some way. This could be by taking a quick survey or visiting a page on your school website. By adding in an element that they can interact with, your marketing immediately becomes a lot more memorable.

Cost Effective

Another key draw of Facebook advertising is that you can adapt it to fit around your budget. They offer cost-per-click (CPC), cost-per-thousand (CPM), and Optimized CPM (OCPM) methods to its advertisers. These are some of the most effective marketing strategies out there. A school can further decide on spending limits for a single day, allowing you to keep track of every penny spent.

We hope you enjoyed learning about the benefits of Facebook advertising. 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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5 Examples of Outstanding School Adverts

Increasing numbers of schools are using digital marketing to spread the word to prospects, whether it's to target highly specific audiences with paid advertising or provide useful and engaging articles via content marketing. However, you will see brilliant results if you use a combination of digital and traditional marketing as part of a well-rounded campaign.

Digithrive's successful print magazine titles, Absolutely London, Absolutely Weddings, Absolutely Mama and Absolutely Education are read by highly engaged audiences. To find out more about the benefits of print advertising, check out this post.

Creating a great print advert is key to ensure the effectiveness of your campaign.

Your school's advert should be:

Eyecatching - A bold and beautiful image is likely to catch someone's attention as they turn the page. Hire a professional photographer to take images, whether it's a proper photoshoot in a studio or candid photographs of children playing sports or in class. First impressions are everything, so make them count.

Readable - Remember, your audience will be a lot more relaxed when they are reading a magazine than, for example, looking at a bus stop ad or looking at their phone when on the go. Take advantage of this and include some text explaining the vital information you want to get across in your ad. However, it's important that the advert is readable. Too much text will make everything too busy and be off-putting.

Colourful - A print advert is a brilliant way to showcase what your school has to offer. Use the school's signature colours on your print advert to keep it in line with your school's branding and ethos. More traditional schools may want to stick to more conservative colours, whereas a more specialist or creative school may take more of a risk. This communicates with readers what your school is all about without them having to read a single word.

Easy to understand - Pick one clear message and purpose of your print advertising campaign and stick to it. It could be to showcase a new building, share your excellent exam results or simply raise awareness about your school. Make sure that every element of your advert works towards this purpose. For example, if your goal is to let parents know you have just opened a sixth form, don't have an image of a Prep student on the advert. Keep it relevant and show sixth form students instead. Make sure the text explains that your new sixth form centre is now open, and how people can get more information.

If you want to raise brand awareness, build trust and communicate with a receptive audience through print advertising but aren't sure what an effective advert looks like, here are five examples of outstanding school adverts.

5 Examples of Excellent School Print Adverts

Repton School

School print adverts - Repton School

Repton is a co-educational independent day school in Derbyshire. repton.org.uk

Mayfield School

School print adverts - Mayfield Girls School

Mayfield is an independent day and boarding school for girls in East Sussex. mayfieldgirls.org

Southbank International School

School print adverts - Southbank International School

Southbank is an International Baccalaureate school catering for children from 3-19 years old. southbank.org

Emanuel School

School print adverts - Emanuel School

Emanuel is an independent, co-educational day school in southwest London. emanuel.org.uk

Hurstpierpoint College

School print adverts - Hurstpierpoint College

Hurst College is a coeducational day and boarding school in west Sussex. hppc.co.uk

All of these adverts are simple yet effective. They are bold and visually appealing while containing all the relevant information parents and students may need, including web addresses, open day information and the school logo. Follow these tips and your print advert will look incredible and garner the results you need.

Like this? Read more of our guides for schools.

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improve school website user experience

7 Ways Schools Can Improve Website User Experience

Living in the digital world, websites are at the heart of most businesses. They provide clients with the information they need and often act as the face of the company. Creating a clean and efficient interface is therefore vital to engage with prospective parents and students. In this article, we will share with you 7 ways to improve your school website user experience

How Schools Can Improve Website User Experience

Be Consistent

Good web design creates associations between your brand and values such as trustworthiness and professionalism. One of the best ways to do this is to keep your all the pages on your website consistent. From font and colour choices to spacing and button styles, every page on your site should follow the same coherent design scheme. This provides your user with the assurance that your business pays attention to the small details. It suggests that you are reliable and consistent, creating a positive brand image.

Make your Website Responsive

Technology is always evolving. The last decade has seen people increasingly leave their desktop computers behind and instead accessing the web from the palm of their hands. By making your site mobile-friendly, you ensure that it is easy to navigate and looks good regardless of how users access it. Talk to a designer if you are unsure of what steps to take to make your website fully responsive.

Optimise Page Speed

It is all very well having a great-looking website, but you must first get the visitors there. Having a slow loading time can increase your website’s ‘bounce rate’ by more than 20%. It loses customers before they have even had a chance to learn more about your business. Improving your page speed fortunately is not that hard to do. The most effective way of increasing loading times is to compress all your images before uploading them onto the website. There are plenty of free online tools that can help you to do so.

Use Effective Language

Visitors to your site are there to learn more about your business and what you do. It is therefore important to be as concise as possible in conveying your message. Headings should be short, direct and lead users to the relevant content. Using verbs and action words are also a great way to get visitors to interact with the webpage.

Create Calls to Action

Calls to Action (CTAs) are effective marketing tools that make your website easily navigable and direct users to certain pages. Colourful buttons, for example, lead visitors to other areas of the site and keeps them engaged for longer. Banners, on the other hand, often appear as pop-ups on the top of the page and can be used to alert customers to news or specials offers. As with site headings, implementing concise language will make CTAs more effective and appealing.

Segment Key Information

As users scroll down a webpage, you want their eyes to be drawn to the most important content. That is why using bullet points, bold fonts, and coloured hyperlinks are vital to conveying information to your visitors. These tools visually separate different ideas and points, thus improving user experience and the overall design of your site.

Be Personal with Imagery

Attractive websites are those which visually stimulate their users and using photography is one of the easiest and most effective ways of doing this. You should be careful, however, in how you approach this form of imagery. Stock photos are so readably available on the internet that lots of businesses resort to using them to illustrate their content. This can create negative associations such as genericity and dishonesty. Where possible, use your own images to convey who you are as a brand and what you stand for.

We hope you have enjoyed reading about these top tips to improve your website user experience. To find out more about how we can help grow your business, book a consultation now.

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