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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.

Internet and the School Website

Thursday, June 23, 2016
The internet and the school website provide so many school marketing strategies that are:

• very contemporary
• popular with a significant and ever-increasing number of our school community
• ever-growing in possibilities
• often inexpensive or free
• fun!

The modern school needs to be actively involved with many of these internet opportunities, otherwise they will unnecessarily fall behind the interest level and communication methods of an ever-growing number of our students, staff and their families – with what could be serious ramifications for all concerned.

The CHALLENGE has been issued! Topics covered in this chapter in the School Marketing Manual for the Digital Age (3rd ed), 2011:

Headings
Website
Website Management Software Sample
RSS Feeds
SEO s
Blogs
Emails
e/i-Newsletters and e/i-Flyers
Social Networking Websites
Video Uploads
Chat Rooms
Skype

Website

The school website is one of the most important forms of marketing the school. It is often where school information is initially found, especially by families new to the area.

The website is often one of the first places that potential families, students and potential staff get an overall feel and basic appreciation of the potential for their involvement in school life.

Creating a Website - Background

Investigation in this area is critical.

  • The school will need expertise to create and then continually update a good website.
  • The initial construction of the website may come from school IT staff or other staff, systemic
  • IT specialists, parents with special IT skills or from outside commercial consultants.
  • The continual updating would best be done within the School. In-servicing staff for making
  • these updates would be money well spent
Website Inclusions

Many good ideas can be gained from exploring the Web and noting characteristics that may be included on your website. This exploration would be relevant both for those about to create a website and those who are / will be doing the updating.

Homepage

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.

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

Target Audiences

The website is also where more and more students and parents will continually visit throughout their time in the school.

School Marketing Managers and key school staff should use the website for interactionbetween 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.

The 'Internet and the School Website' 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  and all good internet bookstores.


Management Software for School Websites

Wednesday, June 01, 2016
A popular marketing strategy for many schools is to have the website embedded in to management software which allows
for management of the site. This takes the site beyond the static and into the realm of continual fluid development – Web 2.0.

The expense of this option is not considerable and with negotiation within the field a reasonable monthly cost would be expected. I would suggest speaking with trusted others in deciding on the businesses offering this support.

This software allows for various detailed reports of website usage. It could include:
  • • the whereabouts in the world of visitors to your site
  • • number of webpages they visited
  • • the content viewed from webpages and applications they visited
  • • where they entered and exited the website
  • • who is exploring your site, through IP (Internet Protocol) addresses
  • • the browsers they used to link to your website
  • • any commercial activities you may have as part of your website, etc.

This allows for the non-IT expert to update the website regularly, from uploading photos, literature items, to adding webpages, blogs, galleries of photos and videos, etc.

There are numerous other capacities depending on the management software. See the right hand columns in the screenshots below for details available though the management software I use.


Always Interactive supplies my management software. My specific interest areas I find most valuable are:

  • Geographic Locations and Viewing Numbers
  • Webpages Viewed and Numbers per Page
  • Search Engine Transfers to my website
School Websites

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.

St Joseph’s Hunters Hill and Brisbane Catholic Education sites see the News as central to their homepage. Another similar site worth viewing is the Loreto Toorak site.

Another often used style for homepages emphasizes detail. It is very important that it is presented in an attractive, clear and succinct format. A good example of an archdiocesan website is the Archdiocese of Brisbane. Another good example follows and is reproduced with permission of Saint Ignatius College, Riverview.

The 'Management Software for School Websites' 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 
and all good internet bookstores.


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


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