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.
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.
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).
In 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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.