It can be challenging to develop new strategies when you are the only person in charge. When reflecting on your marketing strategies and setting new goals, it's important to consider what other organizations of similar scale are doing and what their priorities might be.
The key goal to keep in mind for all schools and districts is that these strategies must be implemented to further ensure that your messages are reaching your entire audience. Certain marketing tactics take longer to implement, but in the end, they could have a larger return. Pay attention on maximizing each marketing activity to get the most bang for your buck.
Here are the top nine ways a small or single-person marketing team can prioritize their tasks to see the best results.
According to Michael Mankins, most organizations face a constraint when it comes to making decisions quickly. As such, pace and quality are crucial. It is important that the goals align with the mission of the organization.
Marketing can be thought of like taking a trip – you wouldn't fly to a new country without planning where you’ll stay, how you’ll get there, and site-seeing effectively. So, in the same way, you should map out the activities that will grow and connect with your audience to keep it growing and engaging.
The goals need to be:
You must be specific in what you wish to accomplish when setting the goal.
A goal is more tangible when you are able to use metrics to determine if you meet the goal. A project may take weeks or months to complete. You must be able to identify the specific tasks that need to be accomplished to achieve the overall goal.
This is all about what the goal means to you and what you must to do in order to attain it.
This refers to the goal aligning overall with the organization. If your district is focusing on engaging students that are new to the district and community this year you want to ensure that your goal is aligned with those initiatives.
Timing is key! If the goal is lacking a realistic time frame, then its highly likely the goal won’t be achieved. It is imperative that you set deliverable dates. Outline what must be achieved along the way and set small deadlines first. If the project is going to take 2 months, questions you should be asking yourself are:
You must be able to numerically indicate how long the project will take.
Just as you would budget your time, you also need to budget the amount that will be spent on marketing. Break down spending based on the type of ad and the platform that is being used, include things like;
Often referred to as internet marketing, you can leverage the internet to share your messaging and information with your community.
Digital ads can include various internet technologies including:
Mass media that can reach a mass audience often through television, radio,billboards. It can be a great way to reach out to your audience in a channel they aren’t expecting to hear information from you on.
Having a strong website that outlines what you do is important. Tips for building a strong website for your organization are:
In order to effectively budget, know how to measure the effectiveness of your strategies. Using measures such as the amount of traffic on your website or the number of clicks on your ads will help to allocate your budget efficiently. You might find that a certain strategy is not giving the organization any return and as such that funding could be used elsewhere.
“After all, without understanding yourself, what basis have you for right thinking?”
Before you can understand the needs of the target audience and how to educate others,it is crucial you understand yourself. Understanding yourself means finding your voice, understanding what you are good at and what you are not so good at,but also knowing what you want to achieve and developing strategies to make your goals attainable. It is important to develop this understanding for yourself as a marketer, but also for your organization. Your district should have a distinct voice,personality, and goals to achieve – imagine your district is an actual person and give it these traits, it will help you ensure your messaging and communications maintain a consistent look and feel.
The ability to speak up and to feel safe expressing your wants and needs while facing the possibility of strong criticism can sometimes be difficult to come by. When developing and maintaining communications with the schools and districts, you always want to present yourself well in the sense that you can deliver new and improved solutions to meet the needs of your audience.
Your personality is made up of several characteristics that shape the character of a person. According to Insights For Professionals, there are four distinct personalities that are ideal in a successful marketing team. They are:
While these are the four personalities are considered an ideal to any marketing department, you are not limited to these. In other words, you don’t need all four to be successful.
The goals you have as a one-person marketing team must align well with the intentions of the organization. Things to consider as a goal are:
Understanding your audience is crucial as you don’t want to spend time creating content that doesn’t reach them. Essentially knowing who they are is the foundation for when you begin to develop a marketing strategy.
Not having a clear understanding of who your audience is will result in lost time and effort. However, casting too large of a net can weaken the focus of your message. For example, many groups (i.e., parents and guardians, teachers, and principles want to be involved in their schools. But not all want to be involved in the same way or for the same reasons (i.e., student grades, field-trips, events, fundraisers). Sharing a news story to a teacher about the easiest way to view student grades won't generate the same results as marketing to a parent to view the grades of their child.
You can use models, like personas, to layout information such as:
Developing personas is helpful not only to understand your audience but can be helpful when you are understanding the voice of your district as well! When you know and understand your consumer, it will be easier to develop quality content effectively to attract customers.
Social media platforms are considered key places to connect and communicate. Social media marketing is an imperative tactic that drives engagement and develops relationships with your audience.
Before deciding on which social media platform to focus on, you should be able to identify which platforms might or have created the most traffic and engagement,such as which are giving you the most interaction with your audience.
The most common popular social media platforms include:
Over 2 billion users each month, with most users being between 18 and 29 years old. For education marketers, Facebook should be top priority to communicate directly with people and keep them updated. Traffic will depend significantly on how many posts are made. At the same time the posts must be directed in such a way that allows the direct audience to give feedback.
330 million active users each month contributing to 200 billion tweets annually, with 63% being between 35-65 years old. Twitter has a search engine providing individuals with the chance to search for organizational names, personal names, and specific topics. The platform can be used by education marketers to post news and updates about their school and district. Ideally, it can be used to give the school a voice,share important updates, and allow one to interact with the parents, guardians,and students.
Over 303 million active users each month, 37% of adults between 30-49 use LinkedIn,and 28% of adults age 18-29 are using the platform as well. LinkedIn is a large platform to promote an organization while staying aware of what other school communications organizations are doing (a great way to assess your current strategies).
Different mediums can engage new and different audience members for the organization. In order to get the highest return on investment, the Content Marketing Institute suggests that marketers should share content in new ways that engage your audience. In other words, you want to stay relevant by delivering across interactive channels.
Creating a series of short videos that provide additional information and education to your audience.
Illustrate organizational data that will be more visually appealing to the audience and provide a call to action.
A forum that allows anyone to share content that can engage viewers within seconds of streaming. But with any video, the content will still require some thought to make sure that the video will have an intended value to the audience.
Content marketing is continuously shifting to more customized levels. This gives viewers the chance to interact in ways that cannot be achieved through other channels. Essentially this method of providing links at the end of content to related pieces gives the viewer control to select different options that are best suited to them. If the content makes sense with what the organization offers, it can be used to your advantage, keeping people more engaged and better informed.
There are several ways at which one can “choose your own adventure” such as:
A social network to share videos designed to capture and present short forms of mobile uploads. Most of its users are teens and young adults. As a result, the main audience would range anywhere from 13 to 24. So, the question becomes, how can you use TikTok? You can:
Like TikTok, Snapchat also provides a network to share pictures and videos either individually or to create stories. The user can decide whether to make their content public or private. Usually, the pictures will only last a few seconds, but stories will last on the platform for up to 24 hrs and are then deleted.
You would typically use similar strategies across TikTok and Snapchat, engaging in trends and sharing fun stories. These platforms are best kept to light-hearted and fun content, while more serious pieces should be saved for your website or Twitter.
Reusing content is a great way to keep past posts, information, and news stories relevant. Simply linking them in the current blog, or social posts can give the viewer the chance to connect more with your content and treat you as a trusted source for information.
Today schools and districts can take a page out of B2B marketer handbooks and leverage other forms of media content including:
By bringing together various blog posts on a topic you can quickly create a great e-book. According to Thomas net, the organizational expertise can be showcased in several forms such as Q&As, case studies, troubleshooting guides. E-books can help position education marketers as industry experts that result in greater credibility. Just as in writing a blog post, each eBook requires careful research and editing. It is crucial that the content is engaging and well-developed.
From the Content Marketing Institute, Webinars are considered the second-most important marketing strategy. These seminars can be held live or prerecorded.This method of presenting information is much more personal as it results in showcasing what the school is currently doing and will also answer common questions that parents and guardians may have. Webinars are great for reaching anyone and creating engagement as well as building a stronger reputation. After a webinar is recorded, you can easily take snippets and highlight videos out of the full-length video to share across your social channels or on your website.
Creating blog posts that are easy to read and understand are ideal in promoting the school. Posting several times a month on relevant topics such as graduation dates or after school programs can be effective in driving traffic to the main website. You can also take small sections of your blog post to share on social media, during events, or update and re-release your post to get further life out of your content.
Education marketers can link webinars within blog posts and re-post relevant articles on social platforms such as LinkedIn. Another strategy that would be beneficial is to add on to past articles to illustrate what has changed.
Creating a bond between your organization and the needs and desires of your customers is also known as emotional marketing. At its core all of marketing is designed to tell a story, and the more your content and messaging is designed around that story, the more your audience will resonate with it and engage with you.
The following inspire emotion:
Storytelling using emotion is a way to engage your audience and interact with them. As a result, it is important that you know who your target market is and how you can incorporate emotion that will resonate with them.
Marketing strategies should align with other departments in the organization. You want to ensure that when you are talking about an exciting new event for the school district, teachers and other staff are also talking about it, engaging students, and becoming involved in the process. This is also a key aspect in writing expert content when you are not the expert, as more and more departments are tasked with creating content far beyond the scope of their role – from flu season updates to managing mental health.
Ideally, you want to be able to reach out to other co-workers such as:
It is important that you develop and agree on a shared vision and goal for the school district. This can lead to a sense of belonging in the organization. For example, you could set up monthly peer-2-peer meetings that promote relationships and exchange information regarding educational events or concerns. Ultimately you want to discuss possible ways to engage your audience. This creates the chance for you to receive feedback from different people and for you to hear their ideas.
Additionally,you could reach out to other districts that are having similar problems, they may know what strategies could be useful.
There are often great resources already available to you nationally or regionally- like CACE or NSPRA!
Essentially, better communication and collaboration among departments builds:
As a one-person marketing team, it can be challenging to assess and implement new strategies, these 9 priorities can help by providing a checklist of overall goals:
Setting realistic goals helps to improve efficiency. Once you have set yourself realistic goals you need to keep in mind the budget for marketing, which includes anything from brochures to websites. Following the budget, understanding yourself is key to knowing what you are good at and finding tools and skills to improve on things that are not your strength. Developing your district voice and personality will help you stay consistent in your messaging.
When you're looking to engage and connect with your audience, it is important that you're understanding your target audience and who they are. Interactive social media platforms can be a great tool to get the audience interested in upcoming events and overall become involved in the school or district. By changing the use of mediums,the audience has further opportunity to be exposed to your messaging and finds a new way to hear your content.
Next, it is beneficial to reuse the content in order to keep past information relevant and updated and maximize your limited time in creating new content. Educational marketers can often evoke emotion through storytelling and focusing on your story will make your content more engaging.
Finally, if the collaboration among the different departments is lacking, it can cause issues in successfully engaging with parents and students without their expertise and can be a huge drain on your time educating yourself about those topics. It is important that you as a marketer communicate with departments such as teachers and principals and secretaries, so you know how and when to best strategize marketing.
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