Digital marketing has drastically changed since the early days of the internet. Back then, schools rarely developed a digital marketing strategy. And if they did, they focused on websites, banner ads, and email marketing.
Today, there are dozens of digital marketing channels and platforms. Should you focus on SEO or PPC? Blogging or social media? Podcasts or video marketing? Email or webinars? Augmented reality or virtual reality? What should your budget be, and how will you measure results? Marketing in a digital world can be overwhelming.
Your school needs a digital marketing strategy.
A comprehensive digital marketing strategy will help you determine the most effective digital marketing strategies for your school and will lay out a blueprint for how to implement your plan. A digital marketing strategy will help you get organized and determine the best way to connect with your audience, engage with them and invite them to fill out an inquiry form.
A digital marketing strategy requires you to think ahead, coordinate between departments, and integrate your digital marketing for a more substantial impact.
What is a Digital Marketing Strategy?
A digital marketing strategy is a written plan that strategically lays out your digital marketing goals and the actions you will take to achieve those goals. Your digital marketing strategy should be a part of your overall school marketing plan.
A digital marketing strategy includes:
- Marketing goals
- Competitive landscape
- Digital channels
- Key performance indicators (KPIs)
- How you will measure and report key metrics
A digital marketing strategy is a roadmap laying out the specific route you will take to achieve your goals.
Without a digital marketing strategy in place, your marketing efforts will not be as productive as they could be. You will likely waste budget and not secure the inquiries and enrollments you want.
How to Develop a Digital Marketing Strategy
Here are the steps you need to take to develop your digital marketing strategy.
Define your digital marketing goals and objectives
Start by determining your long-term, broader goals. From there, you can develop short-term, measurable objectives needed to achieve each of those goals. When setting your goals and objectives, be as clear and concrete as possible. Include specific numbers and dates that can serve as benchmarks for your progress.
Define your target audience
For any digital marketing initiative to be successful, you need to know who you’re targeting. Start by focusing on groups of people you want to focus on. From there, gather data on your target audiences, analyze your data and draft your personas.
Conduct a competitive analysis
If you want your marketing to be effective, you need to understand the competitive landscape in which you are working. When conducting your competitive analysis, you will want to answer the following types of questions:
- Which audience segments are your competitors targeting?
- Which digital marketing channels are they using?
- What is their unique value proposition?
- What type of messaging are they using?
- What keywords are they ranking for?
- What are their strengths?
- What are their weaknesses?
- How will you differentiate your school from theirs?
Want an easy way to track your competitors? With SEO Coach for Private Schools, you can track up to 3 different competitor websites every month. You can see what traffic they receive, their top SEO keywords and more. You can also use their data to help with content ideas too.
Calculate your digital marketing budget
You need to develop a budget so you know how you will allocate your funds. Your budget will help you determine your channels, campaigns, activities and ad spend.
Define your digital channels
Before you develop your content strategy, you will need to determine your primary digital channels. Your channels need to take into account your audience, goals and budget. Common digital marketing channels include:
- Landing pages
- Organic search (SEO)
- Social media channels
- Paid search (SEM)
- Video marketing
- Social bookmarking
Determine your digital marketing strategies and tactics
Once you’ve identified your channels, it’s time to start thinking about the strategies and tactics you will use.
Let’s say you’ve decided to improve your search marketing this next year. In order to do this, perhaps one of your strategies will be to improve your local search marketing. Possible tactics might include:
- Optimize your Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business)
- Promote your Google Reviews page by sharing your link
- Optimize your website for voice search (i.e. Alexa, Cortana, Siri)
- Use local keywords and geotagging
- Take advantage of reputable online business directories
Create an editorial calendar
An editorial calendar will help you get organized and plan ahead. For example, if you’re planning a fundraising event, you there will be many marketing tasks you need to complete before the date of the event.
An editorial calendar will help you create a schedule for completing your tasks as well as coordinating your entire team. You can assign various tasks to each person on your team based on their areas of expertise. Invariably, this will increase the quality of your marketing assets and campaigns.
Measure your digital marketing outcomes
The final step in creating your digital marketing strategy is to determine the metrics you will track in order to measure the results of your digital marketing efforts. You will want to establish baseline metrics and then track your progress. If you notice there is an area that is underperforming, make refinements and then measure again. Be sure to track each of your channels so you can know how well each channel is working for your school.
The process of developing a digital marketing strategy is powerful because it encourages a greater impact in terms of marketing outcomes. Parents respond when you consistently immerse them in your messaging and calls to action. As a result, you will achieve more inquiries and enrollments.
It does take time and effort to put together a digital marketing strategy, but it’s well work the work. your marketing will be more effective and you’ll see greater marketing results for your school.
Does your school have a digital marketing strategy? If so, has it improved your marketing outcomes? Please comment below…