How to Grow Enrollment Using Content Marketing
Every private school, from startup to established, is looking to grow their enrollment. Enrollment is your lifeblood. A healthy enrollment provides a steady income stream, something especially critical for young or startup schools.
I once had a school administrator tell me that “...marketing is by its very nature, self limiting. At some point enrollment will reach a threshold and you will no longer need marketing.” I could not disagree more. While there is a tipping point where everything starts to click, you will always need marketing. Hit your enrollment goals for next year? Great! What about the following year? The year after that? You get the point. Marketing is not self limiting. Come back to me when Apple, one of the richest companies in the world, stops spending billions of dollars in marketing/advertising each year.
Attracting prospective families to your school is not a one time event. It's not even a few times a year kind of thing. It's a year round effort that never ends. School leaders need to ensure that they have proper systems in place to guarantee a steady stream of prospective families to help consistently achieve your enrollment goals.
Enter content marketing.
What is Content Marketing?
Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating a distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent continent to attract and retain a clearly defined audience.”
Unlike conventional marketing and advertising efforts such as TV ads, radio ads, billboards, and others that focus on broadcasting a message, content marketing focuses on providing valuable content through the power of the internet. Examples of this are blogs, videos, e-books, email newsletters, social media, etc.
Get Your Leadership on Board
In short, you can’t do this alone. You have to have top down leadership here. First, share the value of content marketing with your head of school. Make sure he/she is on board before moving forward. Employing these strategies to effectively broaden your marketing funnel and increase your enrollment, requires the commitment of all school leaders. You will need your head of school to lay out the vision and hold others accountable.
All top level schools leaders are critical to the success of this strategy. Content creation, such as blogging, cannot fall on one person. Besides the general workload, you will need the buy-in of each department/school leader to create relevant content in their area of expertise, something that you as a marketing cannot and should not be producing.
How to Create Content
Creating content might be the most difficult piece here, but the good news is once you start adding content, it will quite literally work for you for eternity. Blogs will serve as marketing material for anyone searching the web for your school. The same is true for social media posts. You’re creating a log of dynamic content for new families to browse rather than static pages on a website.
Be sure to search engine optimize your blog using one of these DIY SEO tools. Need a way to make high quality graphics for your school to use for social media and other digital platforms? Consider a tool like Gipper.
One of the added benefits of content marketing is the ability to share! The power of social media enables your constituents (students, parents, grandparents, friends, etc.) to not only engage with your content for their own benefit but to share that content to an even broader audience.
People love sharing articles on social media. Why not write a share-worthy blog and get your name in front of new prospects. We all know the power of word-of-mouth-marketing. Maybe it’s helpful to think of content marketing as digital word-of-mouth marketing. Provide great content and people will gladly like and share thereby turning your school community into organic digital marketing ambassadors!
While it does take an involved effort to effectively pull off, the benefits of content marketing far outweigh any potential difficulties in getting going. Employing these strategies at your school can have profound effects on your enrollment health.
Chaston Hart is a School Marketing Specialist at Gipper. Gipper is a platform that helps high schools create professional visual content for social media - in seconds, on any device, and without needing any design experience.
Learn more @ gogipper.com