Using your school’s digital marketing to make an authentic connection online has never been more important as admissions offices showcase their schools to prospective students and families who cannot visit campus in person.
And it all begins with a strategic, solid digital marketing plan. Here are a few tips:
Make the landing easy.
Having a virtual event? Be sure to create a custom landing page for each event that you host. The specific objective of a landing page is to convert visitors into leads. Custom-designed landing pages steer viewers exactly in the direction you want them to take minus the distractions they’d encounter on your website. Research also indicates that more people convert on custom landing pages than on websites. Drive prospects to your landing pages using social media and digital advertising such as Google ads.
The landing page should include key details and contact information for the event, along with a short registration form to capture leads. If prospects aren’t yet ready to commit to your event, give them the option to “learn more” about your school, so that you can still capture the lead and nurture it with valuable information or schedule a call with your admissions director.
Once viewers complete the registration form, drive them to a “Thank You” page to let them know that their registration was submitted successfully. Offer a link to your website to learn more about the school or watch a recent video created during this spring’s remote learning.
Test your landing page before going live to make sure that it’s mobile friendly and doesn’t drop any photos or important information that viewers will need to know. Confirm, too, that your registration form is easy to complete. This is especially important because most prospects will see your ads and respond to them on their mobile devices rather than desktops.
Select a user-friendly app to engage prospects at your events.
For your virtual events, select an app that meets your school and event requirements. Consider the number of people you’ll want to host at your event, the time length for the event, the need to breakout into individual sessions or rooms, and whether or not you’ll want prospects to pre-register.
Paid apps give you broader access to the app’s various features. PCMagazine offers pros and cons on some of the top video conferencing apps available today.
An important note: When setting up your virtual event, always include a password for participants. Because conference apps are highly used these days, hackers have found ways to highjack meetings. Password protecting your event will keep cyber perpetrators away.
Engage your conference participants before the conference starts.
Don’t just send a URL link. Have everyone register to participate, so you can track attendance and record when they join and leave your event. This helps you determine your event’s value and plan for future events. If people leave your event early, then maybe you’re not offering a program that is holding their interest and you’ll need to re-think how you want to present future admissions events online.
Send a custom confirmation to prospects after they register. Most apps include custom email capabilities, but I like to create a more personal email that includes the instructions and registration link along with details that the app will not include, such as “how to use the app once you get into the event,” or PDF-formatted handouts with useful information about your school that participants can download and view before or after the event. With most apps, after someone registers, he or she will receive a second email that confirms the registration and includes the link and password they’ll need to join your event.
Take the extra step and call each family to confirm attendance. Send a reminder the day before of day of the event (with the link and password) to all registrants.
Come up with a “Plan B.” Technology is not infallible. A good “Plan B” might simply be a Facebook Live event or even using Facebook Messenger Rooms. The new video chat feature recently went live and allows users to host video chat rooms for up to 50 people at a time. The good news is that participants don’t have to even have a Facebook account to join in, and there are no time limit on calls.
Ramp up your digital engagement.
Provide prospective families with useful resources that you promote in your digital marketing. Publish free downloadable content in the form of a PDF document about a topic important to your prospective families. Direct them to a unique landing page to capture their information before they download the content.
Think about the “pain points” of your prospective families right now. What are their most pressing questions as they consider their child’s education? And how can your experts answer them?
Some topics might include:
- How to Navigate Your School’s Virtual Admissions Process
- Camp Pandemic: How to Make the Most of Summer for Your Child When Camps are Cancelled (this is a good topic for parents of preschool and lower school parents, using your teachers and specialists to talk about techniques and tips to engage students this summer)
- Addressing College Admissions During a Pandemic (great if you are a 9-12 grade school, and a way to use the experts in your college counseling office)
- Valuable Tips for Homeschooling. Unfortunately, we’re in uncertain times, and it’s very possible that going to school could, once again, revert to remote learning. Offer vital information that can help parents help their child to make the best of the situation, at school or at home.
- A check list on how to prepare your child for the upcoming semester when they’ll be facing a whole new slew of changes at their school
Keep the content simple and no more than two pages. Families can download the resource for free after they provide their name and email (phone number optional). This way, prospects will be less hesitant to complete your form. After all, they know that you’re not just giving away free stuff to be nice. You’re going to reach out to them about your school.
Remember to publish valuable content on your social sites.
The semester may be ending, but you should continue to share content and information throughout the summer.
- Provide real-time updates about possible campus re-openings and the fall semester using trusted sites such as Facebook Live and Instagram Live.
- Create Facebook Groups for parents and staff to be able to connect with one another, ask questions and share how they’re managing to live and learn through the crisis.
- Encourage students to use Instagram Stories to document their experiences. If you have seniors graduating virtually, ask them to share their day and college plans.
- Stay transparent. Continue to publish content on your social media sites that lets viewers know the actions your school is taking and plans to take.
- Celebrate your strong school community by inviting families and staff to post stories and photos on your Facebook page of how they’ve weathered remote learning, projects, video conferencing choral concerts, etc.
How can we help you better leverage your digital marketing presence? Contact us today.
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