How To Market A School On Google To Get More School Enrollments


As the owner or administrator of a private school, you need to market it just as you would any other business. As an experienced digital marketer in education, my passion is helping good schools get found online. I know how much of a struggle it can be to get enrollments, and how confusing the digital marketing world can be. If you want to know how you can make sure qualified families find your school on Google, take a look at my advice on making sure that you rank well in search results. Read on to find out my pro tips for marketing your school and getting more enrollments using Google.

Improving Your School Website’s Local SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is essential for any private / independent school who wants to improve how well their website performs on Google (i.e., how easily they’re school is found on Google by qualified families for enrollment).

Good SEO involves a large range of factors, usually separated into on-page and off-page. On-page factors include the keywords that you use on your school website, while off-page factors could be things like your school’s Google My Business page and links that point back to your site.

For improving your school’s visibility on Google, my top recommendation is to focus on improving local SEO.

Oddly, some private and independent schools target a more general audience that isn’t dependent on geography, though schools are essentially local businesses so it only seems right you should want to improve your local SEO – search engine optimization that includes specific location searches. Rather than trying to get your school’s website into search results like “private school” or “independent school”, you can benefit from using more specific keywords, such as “private school Martha’s Vineyard”.

Improving local SEO involves a range of techniques. They include building a Google My Business page to get your school on the map, and writing relevant local content. For example, we’ll create blog content for schools about family things to do in the area or articles showing parents what to look for when choosing a new school. This sort of content allows you to naturally incorporate local keywords and provides tremendous value to your target audience (many of which could potentially end up enrolling or re-enrolling at your school).

Citations in Local Listings

Schools have long used directories like the yellow book to find what they’re looking for when they needed a product or service. What’s changed is that things have moved online, and you now need to know how to make use of online directories.

Sites like Yelp, Yahoo!, and even the old Yellow Pages, and specialist listing sites like Great Schools are essential for getting your information out there and improving your school’s SEO.

The problem however with having lots of listings is that it’s difficult to manage. In an effort to provide the most relevant info available, many of these listings incorporate technology and automation to stay up to date and keep their listings fresh. Unfortunately bad user suggestions, poor data, and buggy technology causes many schools to have inconsistent data across their listings which negatively affects local SEO and more importantly, makes it difficult for families to find your school.

When something about your school changes, whether erroneously or you really do change a contact phone number or email, it means having to change all your existing listings. This is a critical component to your school being found online locally. There are a couple ways you can do this but the way I recommend for all my clients is a system that’s semi-automatic meaning some inputs are manual but then there’s an automated process that takes care of the more arduous tasks.

You can reach out to us if you’d like to learn more or see how it works for yourself by clicking here.

Improve Ranking for Existing Search Terms

Your school’s probably using a number of SEO keywords and phrases on your website already however if your school is ranking on page 2 or 3, or even just a few positions from the top of the 1st page, you’re not going to get the traffic your school needs. This is where content, advanced on-page SEO, and link building come into play. There are several ways we can improve a school’s site performance for keywords that attract qualified families for enrollment.

Introducing New Keywords To Your School’s Website

As well as optimizing your school’s website for the keywords you’re already targeting, it’s a good idea to find new ones to target. One easy way to find keywords is to research other schools. We already know these are search terms families are using to find schools like yours so by assessing and implementing what needs to be done to rank for these keywords, you’ll find that many times you can pretty easily rank for these terms over other schools in your area.

We refer to these as “easy wins” and incorporate it into our overall school marketing strategy to get immediate results for our clients straight out the box.

Improve Your Google My Business Page

Having a Google My Business page is essential for any private or independent school that wants to do well in the local search results. It helps to improve your school’s local SEO and literally puts you on the map. It doesn’t take much to set up a good school profile page, and it can be used to leave reviews (so important!) for your school too. Make sure you fill out your profile with as much information as possible and include many relevant photos and images.

Building Links

If you’re looking at how to promote your independent or private school, you need to remember there’s tremendous power in links. It’s the ultimate measure of popularity and authority which is why it can help to improve how well your school is found for local searches. Google, for example, looks for authority and a brand that’s respected by others when determining how to rank web pages for every individual web search.

One way to get links going back to your school website is to make sure you have online listings and citations set up (see above). You can also improve links to your school site through content marketing. We suggest keeping a blog that uses relevant keywords for most of our private and independent school clients.

Getting School Reviews

Reviews are fast becoming an uber critical component if you want to promote a school. Choosing a school is a very personal decision and families want to have all the information that they can find to make the right choices. They won’t just choose the school that appears first in search results or is closest to them. Reviews play a huge part in the decision making process because they show real people’s experiences.

PARENTS ARE ABSOLUTELY PAYING ATTENTION TO REVIEWS. This is so important to understand because reviews are quickly becoming “that thing” that makes or breaks a strategy and companies like Google and even Facebook are doing more and more every day to highlight those little review stars alongside search results and listings.

So how do you get more reviews for your school?

You need real reviews, so you need to encourage families to write them for you. One simple way to do this is to ask them – many people are happy to write a review if they are only requested to do so. You can make it easy for them to write a review by, for example, including a link in emails that you send out. There are lots of ways to get people to leave real 4 and 5-star reviews of your school (and we’re always implementing new ways for our clients).

You probably figured by now, we encourage all schools (private, independent, charter, and even public schools) to include Reviews in their overall strategy. It’s a great to build credibility and establish / re-establish authority in your space. We use a proprietary system for our schools but even if you need to go at it manually, do it! You can suggest one review site for them to use, which makes it easier and more likely they’ll leave a review.

If you want enhanced results and more 4 and 5-star reviews, you may be interested in creating technology to make the process more efficient and improve your results. The proprietary system our school clients use puts getting 5-star reviews on auto-pilot. It requests reviews, follow ups on requests, distributes it to multiple review sites, and even gives our schools a chance to handle issues before they turn into bad reviews for everyone to see.

You can learn more about this amazing system here.

Enhancing Your Google Ads So It’s More Profitable & Easier To Manage

So we’re a strong proponent of local SEO but sometimes a struggling school can’t afford longer term strategies like SEO. A few weeks sounds like an eternity. These schools need IMMEDIATE RESULTS and people booking tours NOW.

This is where PPC (pay per click) advertising comes in. It’s essentially SEO but instead of being dictated by authority and popularity, price is what determines where you show up and in what position. Essentially, it’s a pay-to-play platform where bids determine your school’s ranking and by enhancing some components of your campaign, you can get prominent positioning in search engine results, as well as on other websites including ad networks such as Google Ads (previously AdWords), Bing, and Facebook Ads.

You can also use techniques such as remarketing to retarget people who have visited your site and can benefit from a reminder to visit again. This technique is very effective and extremely cost-efficient when done right. Managing your PPC ads however can take some practice if you’ve never done it before and even if you have, requires considerable commitment of time and expertise which is why a lot of our clients ask us to help optimize their campaigns and make them easier to manage.

Also, the networks above are systematically shutting down remarketing campaigns retargeting faith-based or religious sites. Basically, the better your campaigns perform and the bigger your school’s reach as a result of it, the more likely you are to get your ads shut down (we personally experienced this a few years ago and have since found a great workaround for our faith-based private and independent schools).

I can help you to promote your private or independent school online and get it seen in Google search results by qualified families for enrollment.

Get a campaign tailored just for your site with my proven methods. I’ve helped schools just like yours do all of the above to improve their position in search results and successfully grow their enrollment predictably and consistently.

Get your free case study now if you want to do the same.

Why You Should Be Remarketing (and the number 6)

People go to multiple websites and apps to read reviews, comparison shop or look at photos.

It’s no surprise then, that consumers visit websites at least 6 times, on average, in the purchase process.¹

With remarketing, you can re-engage those families who previously visited your site and show them relevant ads while they browse websites and apps or watch videos on YouTube.

Wondering about remarketing numbers?

My clients on average are getting more than double their conversions using remarketing which allows us to use our click spend much more efficiently.

The remarketing outcome?

Our schools are spending far less advertising dollars than other schools who manage their own paid search.

They’re also getting way better results.

I recently spoke with someone who was getting the exact same results that I get but at 3X ad spend. He was spending thousands more OVER what my clients spend with my management fee included!

THE BOTTOM LINE

If you want to get the absolute best from your paid search / advertising tactics, make sure you’re remarketing.

If you’re only doing local SEO for your school, consider adding some pay-per-click (PPC) and remarketing so you can reach and engage with more qualified families more efficiently.

If you think you’re spending too much on clicks, chances are the biggest problem you have is that you’re not utilizing remarketing properly (so a remarketing fix or strategy session will drastically lower your costs and boost your results).

I have an incredibly effective tool that analyzes your Google AdWords campaign and lets you know if you’re wasting money and where you’re losing it. I run this analysis tool for new prospects to determine how much ad spend is being used inefficiently and to find missed opportunities.

If you’d like to know if I can get your school more enrollments by introducing my proven remarketing strategies and most likely save your school some money in the process, check out the free case study.

¹ Source: Google/Nielsen Study: Mobile Path to Purchase: Five Key Findings, November 2013.

How To Get More 5-Star Reviews & Amplify Your School Brand

Why Your School Needs Reviews

Almost Everyone Reads Reviews

93% of U.S. consumers check online reviews so you can be sure that whenever someone is looking at a prospective new school, they’re checking online to see if the school has reviews and if the sentiment is a positive one overall. FYI, not having any reviews isn’t a good sign either.

Reviews For Schools Are Trusted

72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as recommendations from friends and family. When it comes to school reviews, that number goes even higher.

Reviews For Schools Are Influential

4 out of 5 consumers have reversed a purchase decision based on negative online reviews. Schools especially suffer when hit with negative reviews.

Good School Reviews Are Under-Represented

Unhappy customers tell an average of 24 people about their experience. Happy ones tell 15 people (usually after being prompted). Unsolicited reviews are typically negative so it makes sense for you to be proactive building your school’s online reputation.

Good Reviews Are Waiting to Happen

90% of typical U.S. consumers read online reviews yet only 6% write them. They’re just waiting for an easy way to do it!

6 Reasons Why Happy People Don’t Write Reviews

  1. “Writing reviews is too tedious”
  2. “I forgot to write the review”
  3. “I have no time”
  4. “No one asked me”
  5. “I didn’t even think about it”
  6. “I don’t know where to write the review”

How to Convert More Happy Customers Into Reviewers

STEP 1: Ask them to write a review

STEP 2: Make the process easy

STEP 3: Follow up with them in a convenient way

The Reputation Solution: A “Review Funnel”


School Review Directories and Websites

How a Review Funnel Works
  1. Ask and remind customers to share their experience online
  2. Drive customers to a destination designed to convert them into reviewers
  3. Guide each reviewer through selecting the best review site and completing a review

Use Multiple Channels To Drive Parents & Students Into The Funnel

Email Drip Campaigns

Automatically email your parent with a drip sequence to encourage reviews!

Website Widgets

Put a review widget on your school’s homepage, blog, or parent resource pages to encourage reviews.

Printed “Invites” & Takeaways

Give parents printed take-aways to encourage reviews.

Convert Parents To Reviewers

STEP 1: Ask For The Review

With a easy-to-use clean landing page, we ask a for a review. Here, we pre-qualify the review to make sure it will be positive!

STEP 2: Review Site Options

Next, we present options on where we want the parent to leave a review.

STEP 3: Review Complete

The parent selects a website and leaves their review.

Identify Unhappy Parents Before They Write A Review

Happy parents are presented with review site options:

Unhappy parents are taken to a private form where you can handle the complain privately via email:

Monitor & Respond To Reviews & Promote Your Positive Reviews

Get Email Alerts For New Reviews

Display Your Positive Reviews To Increase Enrollment Conversions

Awesome Reporting To Track Progress



Unbeatable Features

Review Acquisition

  • Collect school reviews with a customizable landing page
  • Custom website widget
  • Email footer widget
  • Mobile-friendly experience
  • Generates reviews on major review sites
  • Industry-specific sites
  • Collect reviews on site

Review Funnels

  • Automated email funnels
  • SMS messaging
  • Printed review invites for offline integration

Review Monitoring

  • Sends alerts when new reviews are published
  • Alerts include review info and link for response
  • Comprehensively monitors all reviews
  • Monitors all review sites
  • Includes major, minor, and industry-specific sites

Review Marketing

  • Auto-share positive reviews to social media
  • Auto-publish reviews to your website
  • Embed rating with rich-snippet markup
  • Easy embed code
  • Includes aggregate reviews
  • Custom control over review publishing

Reporting

  • PDF and web-based performance / trend reports
  • Aggregate reports for large, multi-campus schools
  • Reports sent automatically on the schedule you choose

Click The Button Below To Start Getting Your 4 and 5-Star Reviews TODAY!


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