Step 1 School Marketing Plan Challenge

Step 1 School Marketing Plan ChallengeI’m really excited that so many people have decided to join me in the School Marketing Plan Challenge (SMPC). In this post I share the first step in the SMPC but before I do I’d like to offer a little background and my opinion of marketing plans.

I Hate Marketing Plans

OK. I really don’t hate marketing plans but there are certain things I hate about marketing plans.

The first thing I hate about marketing plans is when people spend hours creating a plan only to put it on a shelf, or leave it in a folder, and never consult it again until they need to update their plan the next year.

The second thing I hate about marketing plans is when they are too theoretical and don’t include specific-enough action items. I believe that school marketing plans should share some over-arching theory or explanation of new initiatives and the direction of your enrollment efforts but they should also include actionable items explaining how you are going to get the work done.

The final thing I hate about marketing plans is when they don’t include any goals or measurable statistics through which you can evaluate the results of your work. It makes no sense to me to have a school marketing plan which is simply an essay with no action items or outcomes. I prefer plans that include lists or are even in outline format.

In summary, I prefer a school marketing plan that is an actionable, measurable, working document that you can consult, and should consult, during the admission cycle. The beauty of the SMPC is that I don’t plan on sharing a specific plan but rather, a process which can help shape YOUR school marketing plan.

Do you have to follow the SMPC exactly?

No. Feel free to modify/change/adjust anything as you see fit. As I mentioned in the introductory post for the SMPC there is no perfect marketing plan for each school and there shouldn’t be! By following this process you’ll end up with the school marketing plan that is prefect for your school.

A Final Inbound Marketing Thought

At Sewickley Academy we’ve been utilizing inbound marketing for a number of years now so most of the concepts I mention will be related to inbound marketing and social media but I will mention a few offline initiatives as well. It’s OK if you don’t use the same channels that we do so just adjust the plan accordingly.

Let’s get started!

Step 1 – Marketing Channel Audit

It’s my belief that in order plan for the future you need to look back and see where you’ve been, what you’ve done, and analyze what you can do to get better.

The first step in creating my school marketing plan is to conduct a marketing channel audit. In this audit you’ll list each and every one of your marketing channels, it’s reach, your content strategy for that channel, and finally your posting days and times. Although you won’t be able to complete each item for each channel – try your best. I’ve included some examples below for each item.

Marketing Channel:

Example: Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Blog, Email Newsletter, College Guidance Landing page, Facebook Ad, Print Ad, Open House, etc…

Note: Include anything/everything that you use to market your school.


Example: Likes, followers, subscribers, clicks, conversions, attendance, etc…

Note: List a metric which will allow you to measure your marketing efforts with this channel.


Example: Pinterest – we are trying to provide value and inspiration for families with school-aged children. As a result we publish information related to that end as well as our own content which will drive prospective families back to our website/blog and convert them into an inquiry.

Note: What type of content do you post or share on or through that channel? Are you simply using your channel as a scrapbook? What are you hoping to achieve by using this channel

Posting Schedule:

Example: Facebook – we try to post a twice a day with content geared toward parents posted in the morning and content geared toward students posted in the evening.

Note: How frequently do you post and when do you post? Are there different purposes for your posting times? In the case of live events like and open house what day of the week do you conduct the open house, what time is it, how frequently do you have open houses?

In order to help you complete step 1 I’m sharing the spreadsheet that I use to conduct this audit. Simply click this link:

Download the Marketing Channel Audit Worksheet

[reminder] Good luck with Step 1 and let me know if you have any questions by posting them in the comment section below.[/reminder]


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