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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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 about 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.  For more on 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. Here are some examples of how we have achieved great work and real work for our clients.

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, read our guide. 

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.