How to stretch your school marketing budget
Schools are under constant pressure to cut costs and make processes more efficient. We've identified some key ways to promote your school successfully and efficiently with even the smallest of marketing budgets.
Writing new content for your school blog and social media can be time-consuming. But if you think creatively about ways to recylce existing content across different channels, you can save time and increase your message reach. For example, you could take the points covered in a blog post and re-post them as individual tweets. Post the same tweet more than once to catch anyone who may have missed it the first time around.
If you've created a PowerPoint presentation for a meeting with parents about a forthcoming school trip, why not upload the slides to SlideShare and embed the presentation in one of your web pages so that parents can easily access the information online. Let parents know the document is available by posting about it on Twitter or Facebook.
If you're managing three or four social media platforms, posting content can take a lot of time. Marketing automation tools enable you to schedule posts in advance, such as reminders about events the evening before they happen, taking the strain off your workload. Some automation tools such as Hootsuite offer a free basic package that includes content scheduling, RSS feed integration and customised content suggestions to share with your followers.
Open source software is publicly available software that is continually updated by a community of developers to make it more efficient and easy to use. Joomla and WordPress are ideal open source platforms for a school website. They come with standard templates which are free, or you can pay a small fee for a more advanced template design. Another option is to commission a developer to create a bespoke design that will fit with your school's ethos and brand.
The vast majority of Joomla and WordPress templates are responsive so that your website will be easy to read on mobiles and tablets. The websites have built-in content management systems which are very user-friendly so updating your website is easy and quick.
Searching for good quality free stock photos on the internet needn't be a hassle, nor should it cost you. There are a number of reputable websites that provide high-quality stock photography free of charge. A couple of decent sites we like are Picjumbo and Pixabay. They both feature a search facility where you enter key words and any relevant images will be displayed.
Get more teachers and key stakeholders such as parents and governors sharing your social media content and commenting on posts. The more people who interact with your content, the greater the exposure it will get to an increasingly wide audience.
Monitor the effectiveness of your marketing activity to help you identify what isn't working well and adjust your efforts accordingly. Twitter provides three months' worth of free analytics which will highlight your top performing tweets, how many followers you have and the number of impressions generated by your tweets.
Google Analytics offers in-depth analysis of your website peformance including the number of visitors to each page, how many times a PDF has been downloaded and where your traffic is coming from. Use this information as a guide to tweak content on pages that are performing poorly or remove pages that consistently underperform.
Web Foundry are experts in online marketing for schools. We have a track record in advising schools on their digital strategies and in producing Ofsted-compliant websites. Get in touch if you need help on how to market your school on a reduced budget.