Where to start when creating a school marketing plan
Before we get started it is worth noting that this is a simple guide to creating a school marketing plan, however, we are confident that it is a great place to start.
It is difficult at the best of times to work out a plan for your marketing, let alone given the crazy nature of the past 18 months. Schools have been closed, schools have been open, masks have been out of fashion and then a basic requirement. The good news is that in our experience a good plan makes everything that little bit better!
So, where to start? The basics make a good starting block:
- How much budget do you have?
- How will you execute the plan?
- What support do you have in-house or from a school's marketing agency?
- What goals do you have?
Once you have this you have a strong base to work with. It might be worth considering how your school's reputation has changed over the last 18 months. For many schools their marketing budget has taken a hit, impacting their reputation and brand reach. There any many great market research companies out there, contact us for some of our tried and tested partners.
We recommend you set out your plan under the following titles:
- A summary of your school's marketing goals
- An overview of your school's current marketing position
- A clearly defined timeline that you can build on through the year
- Key performance indicators (KPIs) that can help you define if you have been successful or not
- A rough description of your school's target audience
Weave in the answers to the questions above and your school's marketing plan will be taking shape! A marketing plan shouldn't be as detailed as a marketing strategy. It is there to give you guidance for the coming 12 months, not to define your marketing approach for the next 5 years.
Doing this by yourself is much harder than working with a colleague or a marketing agency. Marketing agencies, such as Bright, are keen to work with you so do ask them if they will read through your plan and sense check it. As a school's marketing agency will work with a range of education providers they can make sure you are not making the same mistakes as other clients.
There are many structures for creating great marketing goals but one of our favourites is the SMART model. With this model you can create clearly defined goals that are easy for everyone to understand, simply write down your goals in the following structure:
- Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
- Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
- Achievable (agreed, attainable).
- Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
- Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).
Once you have your goals it is important to know whether you are on track to achieve them in the time frame that you are aiming for. Our top three marketing KPIs are:
- Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) or in this case, Pupil Acquisition Cost (PAC)
- Lead conversion rate, what percentage of open day attendees sign up to the school
- Traffic to lead percentage, how many views or impressions do you need to generate a new lead
We enjoy using these because they are a great way for our clients to demonstrate their marketing department's value to their school. They also allow you to track progress over time.
This really is just the start but once you have the above we are confident that you will be well on the way to feeling confident about success in 2022!
If you have any questions, need any advice or would like us to feedback on your school marketing plan, please contact us here.