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School Marketing Blog

The professional school marketing manager needs to be up-to-date with the latest school marketing strategies and resources to successfully implement the school marketing plan. This school marketing blog enables school marketing professionals to engage in blog discussions relating to the school marketing issues of today. The 'School Marketing Manual for the Digital Age (3rd ed)', 2011, by Bryan Foster, forms the basis for most of these blog posts.

Top 10 Free School Marketing Strategies

Monday, April 02, 2012

Free or Inexpensive

A successful school marketing plan and budget will need to incorporate most of the top ten free school marketing strategies if it is to be successful. The top 10 strategies can be free, or at least relatively inexpensive, depending on the school’s present arrangements.

By effectively using the media and the school website, there should be little expense activating these top 10 strategies, especially when the digital option is the primary method used, instead of hardcopies. If it can assumed that the school has a website, which can be managed by the school, as well as a school signboard and a good digital camera, then these strategies can be implemented for free or little expense.

The first strategy is in itself free, yet is also reliant upon a number of other key strategies to be implemented successfully – ‘Word of Mouth’.

Top 10 Free School Marketing Strategies

1.    Word of Mouth - School's Reputation
2.    Quality Teaching and Opportunities for Students – Curricula and Extra Curricula Activities
3.    Professionalism of staff in action and appearance
4.    School Website
5.    Use of the Media - both traditional and contemporary – including editorial, images  and advertising
6.    Information Sessions - night and day times – including observation of the school in action (a transparent approach), parent nights, entertainment by students, school boards and parent associations, open days, etc.
7.    Newsletters and Flyers - digital (and hardcopy where needed)
8.    Front Signboard
9.    Social Networking Sites e.g. Facebook and Twitter
10.  Cross Information (within the region’s schools or parish)

The number 1 strategy, ‘Word of Mouth’, is dependent on those espousing various views about the school being well informed. To do this, the next 9 strategies have an important role to play.

The school needs:

•    to have a high quality curriculum,
•    an easy to use professional website,
•    the ability to engage the local media so that the good stories are told to the whole community, and even the negative stories being told with the school’s professional approach for solutions being seen in a positive light,
•    openness to various visits to the school and
•    the acceptance of the place of the digital flyers and newsletters

•    acknowledgement of the place of social media in today’s digital world.

Conclusion

Free key strategies are often the best approaches to marketing your school. When the school has set up a professional website and the school community has a positive attitude toward the school and what it offers, along with what the digital age can offer, then a free, or relatively inexpensive, school marketing plan is possible. This approach can also work when the attitude of the community is not as high – however, there may need to be a need for various forms of paid advertising to counteract such negativity. The best school marketing plan would incorporate most of the free top 10 strategies for marketing your school.

The 'Top 10 Free School Marketing Strategies' blog post was written by Bryan Foster, author of School Marketing Manual for the Digital Age (3rd ed), (2011) - the paperback and ebook manual for school communications and marketing personnel - 340 pages of easy to read and implement summarized points - allowing for a considerably large number of quality strategies and examples to be detailed - with copyright remaining GDPL. Book available from Amazon.com and Createspace.com



Television Advertizing for Schools - Beware the Challenges

Sunday, April 01, 2012
Schools may gain considerably from television advertising but there are a number of challenges to initially overcome if this advertizing pathway is selected. Is television advertizing a part of your school marketing plan?

It’s cool!” Even more cool than radio - A commonly held view by many in the school community. Televsion is one such form of media advertizing for schools.

Television advertising is an expensive form of advertizing. It is difficult to justify the expense / success ratio! Television is most likely seen as the coolest main-line commercial medium.

Beware: the challenges!
  • Quality

Television advertising is fraught with various levels of the ‘cringe factor’ if not produced and presented in a very professional manner.

Quality is paramount, as all weaknesses are multiplied when shown on air.

  • Large Cities
Capital city advertising is very expensive. Similar to radio, there remains the question as to whether there is any benefit in advertizing over a large area for a specific school in one location.

System level advertising would often be of benefit for those schools within the region. There is also the flow-on effect of like schools e.g. other Catholic Schools being seen as equivalent to the advertised ones.
  • Smaller Cities and Towns

Smaller cities and towns also have the question mark over the effectiveness of this form of advertising against the cost involved. Quality of production may also be questionable.

The local television channels usually only produce a nightly news program. All other shows are normally direct feeds from the main networks. The advertizing is added from the local station and interspersed with the major companies’ adverts.

The major question here is - how many people watch the local station when they could be watching the main networked station?

Hence, how successful would placing local adverts through the local station be?

Television Station Advertising List – Learn from…
  • The best way to decide on this is to see the local channel’s list of advertisers.
This is easily obtained from the station’s advertising consultants. Once you have the list, check the businesses, schools and community groups, etc, which advertise.
  • Does this advertising list inspire you to also advertise with this channel?
It may become apparent that no really significant local or larger business accounts exist and hence there is probably little reason for you to use this form.

If the major businesses and community groups don’t use it, there is usually a good reason why. This reason is most likely that the number of viewers is limited.

A case could be made for regional or system level advertising in these smaller places.
Once again, check who are the present advertisers and decide whether this suits your SMP.

Other topics and strategies covered in the School Marketing Manual for the Digital Age (3rd ed) 2011 are:

Creating a Television Advertisement for schools:
  • The Proposal
  • Professional Quote / Professional Proposal
  • School Marketing Manager and Advertizement Preparations
  • School Personnel and Facilities
  • SMM's Role in Production
The 'Television Advertizing for Schools - Beware the Challenges' blog post was written by Bryan Foster, author of School Marketing Manual for the Digital Age (3rd ed), (2011) - the paperback and ebook manual for school communications and marketing personnel - 340 pages of easy to read and implement summarized points - allowing for a considerably large number of quality strategies and examples to be detailed - with copyright remaining GDPL. Book available from Amazon.com and Createspace.com

Branding for School Marketing

Sunday, April 01, 2012
Branding is often a person’s first contact with the school. It is usually a visual image seen. It may also be a verbal input. This should be a key aspect of your school marketing plan.


Branding’s importance must not be underestimated.

First impressions do count!



First Impressions

The first impression may be gained from the following:

•   Reputations of school as espoused from someone within the community or other family member, friend or work asscoiate

•   Website design

•   Welcome by office staff  / office decor, etc

•   Prospectus / Information Pack - cover, pages and inclusions

•   Uniform of students and office staff

•   Stationery received

•   e/i-Newsletter, newsletter or newsletter design and front page content

•   Telephone call response by office staff / voicemail response / telephone transfer instructions / dedicated line for upcoming events recording, etc

•   White and Yellow pages listings

•   Advertisement in newspaper or magazine, radio, etc

•   e/i Flyer or Flyer

•   Student or staff at school

The branding of the school needs to be well considered and representative of the school’s vision and mission.
It needs to show how the school is to be seen within the community.


Uniformity

Branding needs uniformity to be a powerful, positive tool.

Mixing and matching branding causes a weak and disjointed image to be apparent. This is to the disadvantage of the school in a number of ways. The confusing images distract and hence do not leave the desired impact. The school may be seen itself as disjointed and ‘not together’ and hence causing various follow-up difficulties.

Other sections covered in the school marketing manual include:
  • Key Branding Areas - Primary, Secondary and Tertiary
  • Branding Changes
  • Creativity of Design

The 'Branding for School Marketing' blog post was written by Bryan Foster, author of School Marketing Manual for the Digital Age (3rd ed), (2011) - the paperback and ebook manual for school communications and marketing personnel - 340 pages of easy to read and implement summarized points - allowing for a considerably large number of quality strategies and examples to be detailed - with copyright remaining GDPL. Book available from Amazon.com and Createspace.com


How to Write Your Own Book or e-Book and Get it Sold - for Schools

Wednesday, March 14, 2012
This may seem quite difficult for most school staff, and it is, however, I very much believe every teacher and school leadership person has at least one good book within themselves. It may or may not be on the theme or genre that you initially expect, but it is there.

All school staff have particular skills, be these professional, trade-based, business, religious or spiritual, artistic, social or family-based, etc. These days people who 'have made it' want to tell us how they did it. May be this is your area. May be you are very creative, tell great stories, or consistently have people eager to listen to your every word - may be a fiction book or autobiography is your best approach.

Unfortunately, we are not going to see the fruits of all these skills as most people will not ever get to complete their masterpiece. Do not be one of these. Make the commitment, plan the process and Begin! Begin! Begin!

You will then need to commit to either a full time or part time writing schedule. Extended breaks dedicated to writing are the best options. However, a well scheduled weekly part time regime and out of work hours is another viable option.

Options to Sell Your Book / e-Book

The key approaches a new author could take are:

  • Chasing a Publishing Company to Publish Your Book - often quite time consuming and with a minimal chance of success.
  • Self Publishing - Printing, Marketing, Selling, etc - printing costs are high. The problem of getting your book marketed and into the stores - difficult.
  • Creating Your Own Professional Website and Online Store for e-book sales - relatively expensive to do well, however cheaper options are developing right now - but this method will get your work out there in a reasonably quick time. Then there is the challenge of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), i.e. the process of getting your website high on search engines - quite difficult but not impossible.
  • Selling e-Book Through Commercial Online Stores - probably the simplest and least expensive. This is the area which has taken giant leaps in the past  2 years.
  • Creating a Hardcopy in a Way Which is Inexpensive and Then Sold Online Through a Commercial e-Book Store - developing now before our eyes - and often offered through the top end online commercial bookstores themselves. This way allows for both the book and e-book versions to be sold, often by the same company - doubling your marketing options.

Check out the top end online bookstores for what they offer, such as Amazon.com. At Amazon com you can Amazon self publish your books inexpensively as well as sell your book as an e-book at their Amazon Digital Text Platform.



Check out various options to build your own website in relatively simple and inexpensive ways, such as at Yahoo Site Builder. Also see various search engines and others who offer this option, as one possible route for this to occur. This will allow for both the sale of your book as a book and an e-book online through both commercial online bookstores and though your own website and its online shop.

The more options you give yourself for sales, the more books and e-books you will sell.

You may also be interested for more information the blog post: How to Write an e-Book Yourself - Yes You Can - My Experience Writing 5 Quality e-Books

The 'How to Write Your Own Book or e-Book and Get it Sold - for Schools' blog post was written by Bryan Foster, author of School Marketing Manual for the Digital Age (3rd ed), (2011) - the paperback and ebook manual for school communications and marketing personnel - 340 pages of easy to read and implement summarized points - allowing for a considerably large number of quality strategies and examples to be detailed - with copyright remaining GDPL. Book available from Amazon.com and Createspace.com

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