Understanding Families’ New “Liquid” Expectations
As schools, we often think about how our marketing compares to our direct competitors — the private, charter or public school down the road. But now, families are no longer comparing your school only to direct competitors. They’re comparing your school’s online experience to any and all online experience they’ve had — even those with brands like Amazon and Netflix.
After a year of doing almost everything virtually, expectations are high across the board. If grandma can easily order grocery delivery, she better be able to easily pay her grandchild’s tuition online. If mom can order herself a new car in three clicks online, then she should be able to find your school’s calendar in less effort. And if dad can watch whatever sports game he wants on the web, whenever, he definitely wants to see his kids’ events live-streamed.
Across the board, your families expect more from online experiences, your school included. They’re harder to impress and harder to please than ever before — and your school’s marketing strategies need to reflect that.
As we look ahead to this year and the future, it’s important for schools and districts alike to invest time, budget, or resources into the following eight marketing strategies:
Redesign Your Website
Before you think “you’re a website company, you’re obviously going to tell us we need to redesign our website,” hear us out. There is plenty of industry research that tells us that a poorly designed website can be the Achilles heel of most brands.
Consider these stats:
We know that launching a new website is a lot of work in order to do it right. But before you invest any time, budget or effort into any marketing strategies, you need a strong foundation. If your school or district’s current website checks any of the following boxes, this is your top marketing strategy for this year:
On the fence about a website redesign? These articles might tip the scales:
Heat-Mapping to Collect User Data
There are very few things more powerful for your digital marketing than knowing how your website visitors are using your website . Having user data readily available or easily gathered when you’re crafting a marketing campaign allows you to more accurately provide your users with the information they’re looking for.
By adding heat-mapping software like Hotjar to your website, you can start to get aggregate insights into how far your visitors are scrolling down on each page (across device types), where they’re clicking, and also get a clearer picture of their journey on your website.
PRO TIP: Data is only useful if you act on it. Seeing that only 30% of visitors are viewing your form doesn’t do you any good. But, acting on that and adjusting your website to move that form up on the page so that 80% of visitors are seeing it can make a huge difference. Look at your data and make adjustments based on it. You’ll find patterns and themes of how people are using your website (or how they want to use your website). By changing your site to match your user’s preferred workflow, you can convert more leads, help them find what they’re looking for, and create a much better overall user experience.
Choose Advertising Platforms Wisely
Promoting businesses on social media such as Facebook and Twitter is huge these days. However, they may not be the best platforms to use for niche products because they are often saturated with too much noise from competitors and Internet trolls. So what do you do? You limit your visibility to highly relevant platforms.
This could mean dismissing more popular methods such as Facebook ads. Remember: You don’t need to be everywhere at once! Not only is this process expensive, but it’s also a lot of effort for little return. Be specific about your goals first, and then tailor ideas to meet those objectives.
A niche that’s rather difficult to promote is construction. But luxury home builder Toll Brothers were able to rise to the challenge. They understand that their customers usually prefer to visit real estate sites directly or receive email newsletters instead of simply hanging out in social media. With help from retargeting techniques and Google Display Network, they were able to increase their number of qualified leads and CTR.
How To Set Marketing Goals
In that example, the goal is to influence marketing-qualified leads. Remember, the point of your marketing strategy is to choose, prioritize, plan, and execute projects to influence profitable customer action. Therefore, marketing metrics closer to the ultimate purchase are often the best goals to set. However, all goal setting influences the right kinds of behavior. And when you’re just beginning, you may opt to focus on other metrics.
If you haven’t already, download the marketing strategy template kit. The first tab of the marketing strategy template spreadsheet is labeled Goal Tracking.
Look at the Assumptions area in columns A–C, and fill in the goal numbers and time frame in which you’d like to complete the goal. Enter your Start Goal number in cell C6. This is the amount you influenced toward your goal either the prior month, or you may opt to average several prior months of data.
For our marketing goal example, the Start Goal is 600, which is the average number of marketing-qualified leads generated in the months of October, November, and December. Enter your Final Goal number in cell C7. This is the number you want to influence by the end of your time-bound deadline.
Back to the marketing goal example, the Final Goal is 6,000. That’s to say, you want 6,000 marketing-qualified leads by December 31, 2018, which is the end of the time-bound deadline you defined in your SMART marketing goal statement. If you’d like to define a Stretch Goal, enter it in cell C8. This is basically 10x-ing your 10x goal.
In the example, the Stretch Goal is 7,000. That means you want 7,000 marketing-qualified leads by the end of 2018. The Months To Complete Goal indicates how many months you’ll need to complete the goal. The example spreadsheet is set up for 12 months, suggesting you’ll start working toward completing the goal in January and reach the goal in December.
At this point, you’ll notice the Final Goal and Stretch Goal numbers in the December column Q match what you entered in the Final Goal and Stretch Goal cells in the Assumptions area. The months leading to December amortize toward that goal, suggesting continuous growth every month leading toward the end of the time-bound structure of your goal setting process.