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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.

Photos - Key to a Successful School Marketing Plan

Saturday, April 28, 2012
Photographic images are the basis of any successful school marketing plan. The more relevant and appealing the better! Remember - 'a picture tells a thousand words'!!!

How often have you been inspired by a photo or image? The higher the content relevance of the image the greater the success should be. In any school marketing campaign it is the relevance of each component, which will decide the campaign's success. One poor choice can turn that campaign into a flop. A poorly chosen photo / image can lead to the viewer ignoring or not seeing the message on the one extreme, to being totally against the whole message on the other extreme.

The quality of the image is also important, yet this would also depend on the artistic use of it. Most often a quality photo of the chosen subject is necessary for success. Yet, sometimes a poorer quality, or artistically enhanced, image may be quite appealing in a specific circumstance. The product and demographic of the campaign would decide this.

The digital camera has opened up a whole new world for most people. No longer are very expensive cameras and add-ons needed for that successful photo. The quality of many of these digital cameras is quite extraordinary now. The raw photo is often quite good, however add to this the qualities that software, such as Photoshop can add, and a whole new world opens up to even the least qualified photographer.

Of course, quality DSLR cameras, associated lenses, lighting apparatus and software such as Photoshop, will lead to considerably higher quality images in the hands of a photographer of merit. The marketing campaign will dictate the quality of image required.

Even the basic editing tools included with most Windows, Apple and Android products can enhance an image. Often all that is needed is a little cropping or light adjustment.

The smart phone supporting a large enough camera these days can become a part of a successful marketing plan. A smart phone with the appropriate apps downloaded will allow various images to take on that 'Wow' factor.

The digital camera allows for a large number of photos to be taken. Don't be a miser here. You will find that some photos work for you while others won't. Hence, the more you take, the more chance of that 'magic' shot. In time you will develop an appreciation of the number of shots needed to achieve your aim.
The moving video image also has a place to play. The photo image is more often used within a video for special effect.

The photo image is a key component of any successful marketing campaign within so many common media. When an image is used effectively it grabs the attention of the viewer and makes them take note. Use it well and that 'thousand words' will become part of your marketing campaign.

The 'Photos - Key to a Successful School Marketing Plan' 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


The Number One Strategy of School Marketing - Word of Mouth

Monday, April 02, 2012

Word of Mouth - #1 Strategy to Market Schools

Let's keep it simple. From my experience there are a number of classic and contemporary methods to market your school. These should be at the forefront of any successful school marketing plan. A number of these are free or relatively inexpensive. The number 1 method though is ‘Word of Mouth’ is free!

School and Wider Community Support Needed

Now this may seem quite obvious and simple to many, that the number one strategy in a school marketing plan is word of mouth, unfortunately it can be anything but that. Word of mouth requires the great majority of people to be speaking positively about your school. This not only includes those directly in the school community e.g. staff, students and parents, but also those in the wider community who may influence those within and without of the school community. This would include: grandparents of students within the school, others directly associated with the school e.g. suppliers of school goods, professionals e.g. those charged with the finance guidance and auditing, architects and engineers of the building plan, people on the school parents and friends / citizens association and the school board, past students association, etc.

Hence, these people need to be fully informed and communicated with, concerning all the events and happenings within the school. This includes the positive and the negative.

Negative News Can Become Positive News

Why the negative you may ask? If the school is run effectively it will have policies and procedures to deal with most, if not all, circumstances it may face. When people within and without the school see that the school is dealing with those negative aspects in a professional, caring and effective way, they will more than likely support the school. For many of these people they will go much further and espouse how wonderful the school is in the way that it deals with negative issues. This can be a very effective method, overall.

Conclusion

Once this strategy is accepted as the primary means to market a school, it then becomes evident that the next challenge is to select numerous forms of communication and a number of strategies, which are going to be needed for the ‘word of mouth’ strategy to be fully informed and hence, successful.

The 'The Number One Strategy of School Marketing - Word of Mouth' 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

School Website Homepage Integral to School Marketing Plan

Monday, March 05, 2012
The School Website Homepage is essential for a successful School Marketing Plan.

The homepage is the most important page to get correct. It is the page the viewer normally reaches on their initial search. First impressions are critical.

Appearance

The appearance needs to be in-line with the school’s selected branding styles:

• colors
• photos (for ease of acquiring and using professional images, check out such sites as: istockphoto (http://www.istockphoto.com/index.php) and crestock.com (http://www.crestock.com/). These sites provide professional standard images at relatively inexpensive rates. You buy royalty-free images which you can then use on your website. You may, however, have good professional ones done for you. These photos need to be professionally presented. Don’t skimp on costs here.)
• logo
• motto or catchphrase
• selected key words and key phrases
• good graphics
• clear, directing toolbar/s and other links
• attention grabbing inclusions e.g.

  • news updates
  • upcoming events
  • webpages on your website listed

This website is discussed through the school marketing manual by Bryan Foster.

The School Marketing Plan must include provision for a professional and inspiring school website homepage. This is where more and more students and parents will continually visit throughout their time in the school.

Target Audiences

School Marketing Managers and key school staff should use the website for interaction between the various stakeholders within the school e.g. their students, potential students, staff, families and other interested people including parishioners.

Regularly updated bulletin boards and newsletters, upcoming liturgical and social events, St Vincent de Paul and other charitable needs and requests, photo and video galleries of school activities, etc, are needed.

School Website Examples

To view good school websites, for ideas for your own school’s website, just go to your browser and type in such words as: ‘outstanding school websites’, ‘school websites’, ‘best school websites’, etc. There are so many good examples out there.

You may also visit various school websites, system-level office websites and diocesan websites for both ideas and for key personnel.

Three good examples which see the News as central to their homepage are:
 
St Joseph’s Hunters Hill at  http://www.joeys.org/index.cfm
Brisbane Catholic Education at http://www.bne.catholic.edu.au/
Loreto Toorak site at http://www.loretotoorak.vic.edu.au/home/

Another good example follows and is a more detailed homepage version http://www.riverview.nsw.edu.au/, yet quite effective!

The school community will continually deelop their appreciation of the school's website and expect to interact more with it.

The 'School Website Homepage Integral to School Marketing Plan' 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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