"Summer is the perfect time to start conversations about future plans to improve or design a new school website, whilst pupils and teachers are off."
As the academic year begins to wind down slowly and the summer activities kick in for students, we know that it’s quite the opposite scenario for the school marketing teams. Budgets and plans need to be finalised (if they haven’t already!). Along with content preparation for new parents, events (open days and parents evenings) and admissions, these are just a few of the tasks which need to be completed.
Therefore, the summer holiday season is the perfect opportunity to ensure your marketing efforts are on the right foot for when the new academic year kicks off. Having a clear plan of what you want to achieve within the specific timeframe is a good place to start and to ensure you are spending your time productively rather than procrastinating.
In terms of digital marketing, we would suggest dedicating ample time to review your website copy during the summer, making updates and improvements. This is the perfect opportunity to ensure your website is a useful tool for parents, and in particular new parents, by ensuring content regarding uniforms, timetables, dinner menus etc, are accessible on the website.
As well as new parents your website should be targeted for prospective parents ready for when the admissions process begins in early September. Creating ‘parent personas’ may be a useful activity to undertake to visualise whether your website provides the right information in the right places and can ease them along their user journey.
Reviewing digital marketing tools
Being aware of and utilising the latest tools available will certainly make your life easier this summer. As mentioned, parent personas can be created using Hubspot’s ‘Make my persona’ tool, which will give you the option to create 3 different personas for you to understand and identify how to specifically target your marketing to the people who match these personas.
In terms of social media, a scheduling tool should definitely be in use (if it isn’t already) to have the ability to plan and schedule content ahead of time in preparation for events etc. We would recommend Hootsuite as a free scheduling tool or Content Cal (as shown in the image below) if you have the budget for a paid subscription.
We would always recommend MOZ to help have a better understanding of your website’s search engine optimization (SEO). The tool provides you with a visually easy to understand dashboard which highlights issues to be rectified which will help improve your ranking.
Finally, it goes without saying that your site should include the Google Analytics tracking code to have access to a variety of useful analytics all of which are measured from your website. Some of these useful analytics being: landing pages, bounce rates, time on page etc.
Photography and video
As a website design agency, we would always encourage schools to regularly update their photography for their website.
Photography is the opportunity to visually represent your school’s location, students, and ethos, which will be used across various marketing material such as prospectuses and advertisements. Ensuring your images are visually engaging, up to date and a true representation of your school, are all important to showcase and encourage parents to visit open days.
Summer term is the perfect opportunity to photograph the annual summer events i.e. sports days, summer fetes, results day. You could even capture drone footage of the school and its grounds on a blue-skied summers day!
We understand that not every school has the equipment or capabilities to undertake this in-house, however, why not use this period to get in touch with photographers to visit during the upcoming year. (We know a few that are great, ask us for an introduction!)
Get in touch with parents
Speaking to parents and asking for feedback is a great way of taking a proactive approach to fully understanding the thoughts and feelings of each child’s educational experience, along with their involvement in the school, which is very important.
Utilising testimonials from past and current families is a great way of reassuring your audience that the school is committed to growing and developing a child as an individual. With permission, the testimonials can be used across various marketing materials to boost the credibility of your school’s reputation and what it stands for.
We would suggest speaking to parents whose children have recently left your school or have just completed their first year, in particular. This will allow you to collate a variety of testimonials, those which give an overall perception of the school over the duration of a long period, as well as those who are able to speak about the introduction process and how they were welcomed.
…and review your website
Summer is the perfect time to start conversations about future plans to improve or design a new school website, whilst pupils and teachers are off. We’re always on hand to provide an initial consultation of your site’s performance and provide any pointers for improvements this summer.
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