School marketing has fundamentally changed, possibly forever.
Of course, the goal of marketing is still the same – initiate brand awareness, increase inquiries, create affinity, and ultimately secure enrollment goals.
The COVID-19 global pandemic forced us to change the way we lived our lives and conduct our marketing.
The health crisis impacted schools of all sizes, and everyone has had to adapt their approach as well as the implementation of their marketing strategies – possibly from here on in.
Here are seven ways COVID-19 has changed the future of marketing.
Increased demand for SEO and paid search
The importance of SEO and paid search has increased.
While SEO was essential before the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, people have come to rely on search engines to find what they need. Local search engine optimization, as well as local marketing, has become even more critical.
The demand for digital paid advertising has surged in response to the way people search online. As shut-down orders were put in place, print advertising dwindled almost immediately. Suddenly, in-home media usage soared, including:
- Television viewing
- Streaming services
- Social platforms
- And other in-home media
Since this consumer behavior shift to increased online usage is likely to continue post-COVID, marketers now have to focus more on advertising using the right messages on the right channels.
For some schools, focusing on a digital-first marketing strategy has been a vague concept until now. However, today it’s more critical than ever to have a digital-first approach. This is especially true for schools, which have had to adjust their method of communicating from a very personal, face-to-face approach to communicating virtually.
So, instead of starting with devices, channels, and mediums, schools must focus more on relationships than the technology.
Simply put, digital-first is about approaching new problems with the assumption that solutions need to be as virtual as possible.
Both organic and paid social media marketing have become more popular due to the need for social distancing.
Many parents already were using social media, but now they have come to rely on it more for socialization, and therefore are more familiar with the various channels, all of which have experienced a massive increase in use.
All of this has led to a greater emphasis on building and maintaining strong communities. Independent schools are close-knit, caring communities. Schools need to demonstrate they care about more than just educating children, that they bring a holistic approach to education. That approach shows what a great institution your school is and why you’re able to do what you do.
Schools today will see positive results when they engage the whole family. It’s always beneficial to have parents involved and to build a long-term relationship.
There has been a dramatic rise in the demand for virtual meetings and events necessitated by the coronavirus outbreak. This has led to a permanent shift in behavior; virtual events are here to stay.
Schools are making use of tools like Google Meet and Zoom to help them stay-in-touch throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. With tools like these, schools are able to continue to connect with families.
This strategy of focusing on relationships and building community is something that will likely continue long after the coronavirus pandemic is over.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, people were choosing video over other forms of content. Today, video marketing continues to grow at an incredible rate.
YouTube and other video-sharing sites have become even more popular. Video marketing will continue to provide opportunities for schools that can create high-quality, informative videos.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced school marketers to find innovative ways to do more with less. When it comes to getting the word out about their school, school marketers need to be brutal with priorities and choose tactics and tools that will improve the return on investment.
Doing more with less will continue post-COVID. Marketers will continue to focus on campaigns that generate the most value for their school while increasing engagement in order to strengthen relationships.
The bottom line is that marketing has fundamentally changed. While we may have to adjust our marketing strategies, the key to success in an ever-changing environment is to not get left behind.
The world was already moving into the direction of a digital world; the global pandemic has further accelerated that trend. School marketers will find it hard to stay ahead if they don’t understand the ways marketing has changed and how to adapt in the short and long term.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your marketing approach? Please share with the rest of the school marketing community by commenting below…