A popular saying goes thus “if parents are online and students are online themselves, why not schools?”
It’s no longer news when we say the Internet has become part of our daily lives.
In Nigeria (with a population of over 250 million), we have up to 97 million individuals with access to the Internet, allowing for an increase in the use of the internet for information about any topic of interest.
Making use of the opportunities available in the online space has become a critical route to reach families. A popular saying goes thus “if parents are online and students are online themselves, why not schools?”
So how can schools use digital marketing to reach out to and attract students to their schools?
It is important for schools not to jump into posting just about anything on their social media pages or just doing this and that for just doing sake.
It is important to have a properly mapped out digital marketing plan and a strategy document on what the school wants to achieve, the message the school wants to communicate and a schedule posting what is posted online and when.
Having a well thought out digital marketing plan and a strategy document will ensure that the school’s communication goals are clear and every material furthers these goals.
Understand your target market
There are so many things flying around online these days and people are beginning to ignore anything that does not interest them. It is important to understand your target market and the better you understand your target market, the easier it will be to create content that will be of interest to them.
To understand your target market, you need to understand;
Their demography: You might be targeting parents or prospective students from different locations, different socio-economic backgrounds, different age groups etc. The different demography will need different approaches, so you will need to carefully segment your target market, as this will affect the type of material you publish online.
Their concerns when it comes to education: Understand what their concerns are about education, and be ready to address these concerns
Why should they choose your school: It is good to properly understand how your school stands out and how your school plans to address their concern. It is also necessary to properly communicate these advantages.
When you have a well-defined strategy, with a proper understanding of your target market, it is necessary to then pay attention to the tools you will use in reaching out to your target market.
The first tool and one of the most important tool is your;
Website: It is important to know that your school’s website is your main portal for information and the first place potential new students and parents will look to get information about your school.
Why not use this period students are on holidays to make some improvements on your website.
SEO – Optimise your schools website. Optimising you website will allow your website get ranking on search engine. Rather than having a website that no one can find, optimize your website so as parents are searching for schools over the holidays, your school can get ranked and even become popular on search engine.
Mobile ready website – Make sure your website is built to open on any device. Nigeria has 82% of internet users connecting via their mobile phones, so it will be a loss if you website does not properly adjust to mobile devices or tablets for people to gather information about your school while on the go.
Share case studies on your website – Let people know what good things your school is achieving. Has any student been nominated for a national award? Has your school won a national award? Is you school the best in a particular field and has been recognized nationally or globally in this field? Gather these information and put them on your website.
Gather testimonials for your website – Telling your school’s story is highly important and allows prospects feels closer to you. It shows what great value you bring to students. Let parents and your current students do the talking.
Use social media to build relationships
Using social media goes beyond just posting anything, every post should be intended at engaging parents and prospective students.
Choose the platforms you would like to use and put up topics that people will want to engage with. You can put frequently asked questions on your blog with answers, you can share your events on Facebook and Instagram, and you can reply people real-time on Twitter.
Tell Stories – You can share a story about how your student has been able to overcome a challenge or how a student has gone from totally disliking a subject to now loving that subject and getting A’s. You can share a day in the student’s life in school on your social media platform.
Go visual – Social media is increasingly driven by images. You can tell your stories with images and videos.
The beauty about advertising online is that it can be precisely targeted. Are you a faith based school, looking to attracts students living in Lagos, whose families belong to a church or a mosque or would you like to target parents or students who has visited your school’s website or other schools website over the past three months can be targeted and your ads shown to them.
Have you been thinking of how to use digital marketing to promote your school, contact RDM and we can help you design a strategy for implementation.
Written by Blessing Popoola.
This is a feature by RDM.