My 2 Favorite FREE Google Marketing Tools For Schools for 2019

2 Best FREE Google Tools For School Marketing

Anyone that knows me personally knows that over the years I’ve compiled a virtual toolbox of marketing resources for pretty much any situation.

Lately I’ve had people asking me about:

  • Getting their school website showing on Google
  • What tools they should be using
  • If they need to upgrade their existing toolset
  • What they should be budgeting for Google marketing tools

If you’re in a this position the first thing you should know is: A) If you’re getting results you’re happy with then stop reading this post, stick with what you’re using, and spend your time finding and fixing the real holes in your school’s marketing that’s costing you money

However if you’re not getting the results you want then you should know that when it comes to tools and automation, more expensive isn’t always best and sometimes free is the clear winner as long as you know exactly what you need and where to find it.

With that, let’s dive right into my two favorite [FREE] Google marketing tools for schools in 2019.

Google Analytics To See How Well (Or Not) Your School Website Is Performing

Google Analytics is the 800-pound gorilla when it comes to school website analytics monitoring.

It’s a Google product aimed at helping you do better on another Google product. That pretty much says it all so if you’re not using Google Analytics you should start ASAP.

This tool is a must for every school website because as with many things, making sure your school is top-of-mind with your audience is not a set-it-and-forget-it task.

Every team from the 1-person DIY marketer to biggest SEO firms know monitoring performance is a must when it comes to getting your website to the top of Google’s results pages.

Doing a full checkup every month or so is ideal. I would even go up to three months in between checks for some school sites (doing it more frequently than once a month is a waste of time because you need to see a bigger picture to make effective marketing decisions).

Regular check-ups and monitoring allows you to see how your school is ranking for your most important keywords, if any of your site’s pages are erroring out anywhere, and it also gives you a bird’s eye view of who’s going to your school’s website and what they’re doing once there.

Click to get started or learn more about Google Analytics.

Google Keyword Planner For Finding The Right Keywords Your Audience Is Using To Find Schools Like Yours Online

Google Keyword Planner is not only the #1 preferred keyword planning tool for school administrators and marketers, but also for the entire digital marketing industry because it works amazingly well.

You simply plug in a keyword and Google Keyword Planner starts suggesting similar / related keywords with estimates of monthly searches.

What I especially like about this tool is the accuracy of the average monthly search estimates which of course is thanks to the data that flows freely between the Google search platform and their keyword planner tool.

This is hands down the tool you need to find high-value keywords that’ll get highly qualified families for enrollment to your website.

Click to get started or learn more about Google Keyword Planner.

Find Out How I Help Schools Grow Tremendously Using My Proven System For Finding Qualified Families For Enrollment

If you’d like to learn more about me or my proven system to get your school in front of your audience, click here.

Why Your School Needs Digital Outreach

Taking It Online: Why Your School Needs Digital Outreach

I thought about writing this post in the past but every time I sat down to actually do it, I convinced myself that school administrators and owners understand the importance of outreach and by default would have already realized the importance of digital outreach.

Boy was I wrong… sort of.

So yes, almost every public and private pre-k through 12 school administrator and owner understands the importance of outreach (digital and otherwise) however many don’t see it from the perspective of “outside their school”. You know, the parents, community, and families that don’t already have a relationship with their school.

THEIR perspective. So it’s kind of understandable that you deprioritize your school’s digital outreach and even allow other cooler / shinier things take priority. What you SHOULD know however is that if your school doesn’t include digital outreach as part of your overall strategy, you’re ignoring an important way to connect with prospective families, referral sources, and even existing families (which you should be nurturing as your biggest and best source of referrals).

Digital OutreachIn our tech-driven society, parents who are interested in finding a school like yours are going to be looking at your school’s website and social media so it’s vital that your school makes a great impression online.

1st Impressions Count

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. That’s a lie. Thankfully. People are forgiving. We love the underdog. If haven’t made good first impressions in the past, it’s not too late to start now. That’s the good news.

That said, it’s usually way easier to make a good impression upfront than to come back from a bad impression and having a visitor-focused school website that is informative, highlights your principal message, and makes it easy for people to contact you helps your school create a positive and impactful first impression.

Your website allows a potential new visitor the opportunity to learn a little bit about your school before they even step foot in the door. This helps ease their fear and answer questions about what to expect at your school.

Staying Connected Keeps Your School Top Of Mind All The Time

Social media is all connectivity and that translates to relationships and community &emdash; which is also what school is all about. Gone are the days of talking AT your community. Now it’s talking WITH your community. Your social media presence, including Facebook and Instagram (IG), helps showcase the life of your school.

Keeping your Facebook and IG active and up to date with new and encouraging content keeps your school relevant and engaged with your community. I strongly encourage using their Ads platform to ensure you’re getting your message out to your entire audience.

This Doesn’t Need To Be An Overwhelming Task

Most schools are not equipped to keep up with the fast-paced digital world… and that’s okay. I’d rather my school focus on being a great school and knowing how to hire great outside talent for their digital marketing than be great at digital outreach and not be such a great school (which eventually kills any good outreach).

A lot of school administrators and owners fit this profile. They know at a high level what needs to be done but simply need help getting there and that’s where I can help.

I have a team of pros and we make it easy for your school to reach your community online through digital marketing. We’ll help you build relationships and increase enrollments predictably and consistently. Here’s how we can help you:

Onmipresence

Instead of “playing catch-up” and chasing after leads, we use a proven system that gets you everywhere your audience is. It’s an easy way to make sure qualified families know who you are and can help increase engagement 2-5 times your current level.

Learn more.

Messaging

Chances are your school already has a message. If you’re like most schools, you probably have a few (or more) and try to work them in wherever possible.

Not good.

Bombarding people with different messages is just as bad, if not worse, than having no message at all! It leads to brand confusion and ultimately parents just end up moving on to a school that has a clear concise message that resonates with them. If you can’t articulate your message to one basic point or you can’t focus it on something that’s truly great about or unique to your school, then your messaging is probably doing more harm than good and your school may even be suffering brand confusion without you even knowing it!

We bring your messaging to the next level by helping you determine what’s truly great about your school and what makes you stand out over your competition. We’ll show you how to make your message resonate with your audience and get them clicking and engaging with you. We’ll also show you how to use these same strategies for your non-digital campaigns to increase effectiveness of those as well.

Learn more.

Social Proof

This is typically where many schools fall short which is sad because without this, you’re handicapping every great thing you’re doing at your school.

Parents today are looking at reviews and testimonials more than ever before and if your school doesn’t have hundreds (more if your school is big or has multiple campuses) of glowing reviews. We’re living in a world where people can pretty much say whatever they want and get away with it so it’s no big surprise that parents are absolutely paying attention to those reviews to see if your school is worth engaging.

Also, sites like Google and Facebook are making reviews a big part of their platform and putting reviews front and center as people navigate different schools on their platform.

All that said, we take social proof to the highest level with automated tools that make it easy for you to get hundreds of 4 and 5-star reviews on Google and Facebook (as well as popular school review sites) so if you’re struggling with getting reviews or need an efficient way to massively increase effectiveness, you definitely want to reach out to us.

Learn more.

The Bottom Line

By this point, you should be thinking to yourself how you’re going to start / improve your school’s digital outreach. That’s great!

If you’re going this on your own, I recommend working backwards and starting with the Social Proof section (assuming you have a working school that’s already doing great things; if not, there are other ways to get social proof legitimately but you’ve got to be more creative and it’s going to take considerably more effort).

If you want help from someone who’s done it before, has a proven system, and can help you do it for your school, click the button below to get started with your case study and I’ll be happy to go over your unique situation to see if I can help.

All the best!

Free Digital Outreach Case Study

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.