Website traffic is both an indicator and driver of marketing success. It can help you:
- See how well your marketing is working
- Gather insights about your audience
- Improve search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine credibility
- Generate more inquiries and increase enrollments
In order achieve these results it is vitally important to drive traffic to your website. In today’s post, I’ll cover the five best free ways to make this happen for your school.
YouTube is possibly the best free marketing traffic source for schools today. Why? YouTube is the second biggest search engine, which offers schools a gigantic platform to gain viewers.
Video marketing presents a unique opportunity. Used efficiently, video marketing will build trust and establish your school as an educational authority in your community. Plus, it makes it easier to connect and engage families.
People aren’t satisfied by physical ads or static marketing anymore. They want interactive, aesthetic, engaging material. Uploading video content provides viewers the opportunity to learn about your school’s offerings while providing the aura of expertise and authority.
Importing and uploading videos has never been easier, making it seamless to integrate with any marketing plan.
As a school marketer, you know trust is everything when it comes to enrolling new families. If they don’t trust you, they’ll never enroll their student into your school. For this reason it is imperative to build rapport and trust with your potential families. By uploading videos on YouTube, you are able to highlight what’s special about your school. Remember credibility comes from information. There is no simpler, more direct and easily absorbed way to share information about your school than video content.
Publish Evergreen Content on Your Blog
Regardless of the size of your school, blogging is still an integral tactic for attracting inbound traffic to your website.
Blogging will drive new traffic to your website, improve your SEO and position on search engine results pages (SERP). Blog content positions you as an authority and gives readers the opportunity to engage with you, possibly leading to inquiries and new enrollments.
When it comes to content, there are many different types of content for you to choose from. Some will resonate with parents more than others. However, there is one style of content that will attract traffic for years to come. All you have to do is invest the initial time in creating it. I’m referring to evergreen content.
Evergreen content is content that will capture the interest of your audience year after year. It’s not based on trends or events. It tackles a core issue parents face; evergreen content remains relevant even with the passage of time.
Evergreen content is timeless and won’t fade away. You might have to update these posts over time, as new information becomes available. But usually this type of content will stand the test of time without any massive changes.
Evergreen content is usually a “definitive guide” type of post. It’s very in-depth and covers the topic from every angle. These posts are usually long; it’s not unusual for them to get into five-figure word counts.
Want topic ideas for your school marketing blog?
- 50 Captivating Blog Topics for Schools
- How to find Blog Post Topics Using Google Analytics
- 15 Blog Topics for Your School
- 15 More Blog Topics for Your School
- How to Think About Blog Topics for Your School
- 19 Actual Blog Topics for Your School
On-Page Search Engine Optimization
Organic search results are even more vital today than ever for driving traffic to your website. Succeeding in organic search requires optimization of search engine criteria – on-page and off-page.
In today’s competitive SEO world, there has been an increased focus on off-page SEO techniques, such as link-building and other technical elements.
However, off-page SEO won’t do you much good if you don’t pay attention to the fundamentals of on-page SEO. Smart school marketers know that on-page optimization should be constantly prioritized. And, because the SEO landscape is ever-evolving, it’s important to make sure your on-page SEO knowledge is up-to-date.
On-page SEO (also knowns as on-site SEO) is the practices of optimizing your webpages to improve your site’s rankings and organic traffic.
On-page SEO is important because it helps search engines understand your website better as well and identify whether it is relevant to a searcher’s query. As search engines become more sophisticated, there is greater focus on relevance and semantics in search engine results pages (SERPs).
On-page SEO helps search engines find your website and blog content and makes it visible to your target audience.
The most important elements of on-page SEO include:
- High-quality content that demonstrates expertise, authority and trustworthiness (EAT)
- Title tags
- Meta description
- Compelling headlines
- Header tags
- Copy that includes long-tail keywords, is substantial and relevant to the audience
- Avoid keyword cannibalization
- Content audit
- Image optimization
- Engages users
Want more information about on-page SEO for school marketing?
- 5 SEO Tips to Improve Your School’s Search Engine Rankings
- The Enrollment Process and SEO
- Do This One SEO Tip to Rank Better in Google
- How to Optimize Images for Better Web Design, Social Media and SEO
Off-Page Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Off-page SEO refers to techniques you can use to improve the ranking of your website in search engine results. Many people associate off-page SEO with link building, but actually it’s more than that.
Off-page SEO is about promoting your website in order to gain a higher ranking in search results. The most important off-page SEO tactics include:
- Link building
- Social media marketing
- Brand mentions
Link building is one of the most popular – and effective – off-page SEO techniques. Each link you gain that directs people to your website is basically seen as a “vote” to search engines. The more “votes” you receive, the higher Google and other search engines will rank your site because it indicates you offer good information.
Link building is not only a matter of quantity, but also of quality. In the past the number of links pointing to your website was the most important factor. But today, the quality of where the link is coming from is more important than ever.
In essence, good links come from related and trusted websites and have relevant anchor text. Anchor text is the part of a link that is visible to users and is important for SEO. Your anchor text for both internal and external links can positively or negatively influence your ratings.
When choosing your anchor text, keep these guidelines in mind:
- Choose meaningful text
- Avoid using the URL (also called a “naked URL”) as the anchor text
- Write short anchor text
- Links should be easy to spot; use a color for your links that stands out from your text
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is one of the most versatile and cost-effective strategies schools can use to reach their target audience, boost inquiries and drive traffic to their website over time. That’s why 91 percent of marketers are using social media to reach their audiences today.
Potential families are more receptive to social media marketing. While parents usually don’t go to social media to be marketed to, but they will follow and engage with brands they like and find relevant to their lives.
As a school marketer, you want to ensure you receive the best results for your social media marketing efforts. In order to do that you need to consistently publish quality content.
One of the most baffling questions related to social media marketing is how often and when to publish your content. The best response is to focus on consistency. In other words, create a publishing plan and stick to it. Your audience will come to expect your posts and look for them if you publish them regularly and on a schedule.
Most of the time social media algorithms do not show content from brands in people’s newsfeeds. The exception is when there is high “social proof” that your content is relevant and elevated.
The more relevant and timely your content, the more value and engagement you will generate. Ever-changing social media algorithms want to promote the best content. While marketers may moan and complain about this reality, remember that consumers (that includes your target parents) want quality content.
A. Facebook Live
Facebook Live continues to be one of the most popular social media marketing tactics in use. Facebook Live is real-time streaming video that supports likes, comments and reactions from the audience. Facebook Live videos are recorded and are available for later viewing.
Facebook Lives are especially conducive to Q&A and educational sessions. Try generating a list of the most common questions potential parents ask and answer those questions in a Facebook Live session. At a minimum, hold a monthly Facebook Live session. Be sure to promote your session ahead of time in order to garner as large an audience as possible.
B. Instagram Live
Do you have a larger following on Instagram than Facebook? Today’s millennials tend to spend more time on Instagram than Facebook.
When you go live on Instagram, the algorithm will push notifications to your entire audience to let them know you’ve gone live. Still, expecting everyone to drop what they’re doing and tune in. For this reason you will want to utilize cross-function promotion. Be sure to let people know ahead of time your plans to hold a session.
C. Pinterest Tailwind Tribes
Pinterest is an important social media platform for school marketing. Leverage your Pinterest efforts by joining Tailwind Tribes.
Tailwind is a scheduling and analytics tool for Pinterest. If you’re not already using this tool, I suggest you check it out.
Tribes is a function within Tailwind. It consists of groups of like-minded bloggers and content creators that come together to share each other’s content. There are education-related tribes that you might want to join. Or, you can even start your own “tribe” if you don’t find one that suits you. Look for tribes that have 200 members or more and make sure they are publishing quality content.
Tribes is a collaborative feature; it is not just a way to increase your shares. You have to be committed to sharing other people’s content as well. If you need content to share, and you want other people to share your content, Tailwind Tribes is a good fit for you.
D. Utilize the Power of Hashtags
An important tactic for increasing brand awareness for your school is using hashtags in your post descriptions. Hashtags play a crucial role in developing interest in your school and are used on most social media platforms.
Hashtags increase your social media presence by making your content viewable by anyone who has an interest in your hashtag, not just your followers. Hashtags increase your visibility and, hopefully, garner new inquiries about your school.
Getting more website visitors doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and effort. Use the marketing channels above to leverage content on your website. Be consistent and make sure your content is the best it can be and soon you will be seeing higher traffic metrics on your site.
What are your favorite channels for driving traffic to your website? Please share your experience with the rest of the school marketing community by leaving a comment below…