Reach out to your community, strengthen relationships and integrate your school into their lives. Here are 7 marketing ideas for your backyard.
Building relationships with the local community is a foundation for any school’s success. The reason is simple: the vast majority of your prospective students will come from your immediate local area. From local media relations to sponsoring event, you need to get your school’s name out there into the community so people see it as part of their lives. We’re not just talking about the families you’re targeting either; reach out to businesses, churches, community groups, charities and retailers who will become your promotional allies and advocates.
Here are 7 ways to reach out to your local area:
1. Letterbox campaigns
According to recent research
, more than 75% Australian households received letterbox advertising in October 2014. And 60% of people said they shared the letterbox advertising
with another household member. Letterbox flyers are an effective and inexpensive way to get your message out to local households.
3 quick tips to make letterbox marketing work for you:
- Make sure your letterbox flyers are eye-catching and strongly branded so you get your school name front of mind.
- Add more value to your flyers by including valuable content such as the latest school news, charity events and educational information.
- Send out a calendar of important school dates for families to stick on their fridge. Anything that keeps your mail piece in the house for longer is a good thing!
2. Give time to PR
If your school is doing great things in the community, tell them about it. PR is often thought of as the poor cousin of advertising, but in reality it’s an effective, low cost way to get your school’s name in the local media for all the right reasons. Get to know your local newspapers and media outlets, because they are always on the look out for great stories to tell. You might even be able to offer a regular column on the school’s activities.
3 quick pointers to remember when you pitch your story:
- Always pitch a creative photo op with some students – Children have huge photographic potential and will help you sell in your story. (Just make sure you get permission from their parents first.)
- Do your research – Make sure you send your pitch or media release to the right person. This might be a general editorial email address, but a better way is to find the educational writer or news desk contact.
- Be available – Once you’ve sent your media release, make sure you are available to answer any calls, provide extra information or images, and give interviews.
3. Sponsor the local team
Sponsor your local footy or cricket team, and show your support for the community. Plus you will put your school’s brand in front of parents and potential students every weekend.
4. Social media
Creating online communities can act as a powerful promotional tool to secure your school’s reputation and image. Every business knows that Twitter, Facebook and various other social media channels are necessary marketing tools, especially when targeting the younger population. But schools are still lagging. However, when used creatively, social media can be a great way to engage local students and parents, building relationships with the teachers while also encouraging confidence in the school.
3 ideas to get your started:
- Fill a Pinterest page with boards that relate to the school – profiles of students, photos from school sports days and charity events, educational content and more. Check out this one by Elmwood School in Ottawa.
- Facebook is another vehicle to provide timely information to parents, families and students – and get feedback on new initiatives and ideas. Post events, upload videos, run polls, and promote a two-way conversation.
- YouTube is a great tool for promoting educational videos on specific programs for enrollment.
5. Give it some face-time
What are the big events, dates and celebrations where the local community comes together? Make sure your school is represented at those events. Look for ways to get in front of people and speak to them one-on-one. This approach is intimate and personal, and will help you understand more about who your community is.
6. Guerilla marketing
The best form of advertising and promotion is word of mouth. So give your community something to talk about with creative guerilla marketing techniques. Does you school have a budding art class? Get them involved in a (completely legit) street art project. Have you got links to a local not-for-profit or charity? Get staff and students involved in volunteering or fundraising in a big way. And whatever you do – remember to give time to PR.
7. Local search marketing
Did you know that more than one in five Google searches in Australia are local? You need to have a strong local online presence. Make sure that the school website contains keywords to match local search terms. Create a Google My Business listing which is linked to your website, so you will rank well when people search locally for good schools. And target local search terms words in your Google Adwords campaign too.
]For an instant quote on a letterbox distribution to attract an audience to your website, click here.