I have three big tips to ensure you have a call to action – in other words a sales pitch – in your school marketing.
Well, we can generate and publish loads of great content on our achievements and events, but if we do not actually create a sales opportunity, we are not going to grow or maintain admissions.
The strategic post, the sales event and the online sale are therefore three practical elements of your marketing strategy.
1. Strategic posts
A strategic post is a sales post on social media to help the client to buy your product or service.
In school marketing, I believe there are four basic types of social media posts (some may have other ways to group these, this will do for now):
- Information posts
- These are the most common posts, where we share the latest happenings like a drama production, a soccer match, awards, outings – with lots of visuals
- Helpful/ educational posts
- These are less common, but most parents love tips that make their lives easier, and so in these posts you can add value by posting tips such as how to reduce exam stress or device advice for teens
- Video posts
- Video has become so popular online that it gets its own category, 1-minute videos are best (useable on Instagram) but video is still not used enough
- Sales/ social proof/ testimonial posts
- These posts are the least used, yet they’re important for prospective customers and for pupil retention because you are re-selling the benefits
When writing a strategic post, include the following:
- Who you are (your brand, what you believe in)
- What you do really well (choose a specific area for each post, such as leadership development)
- What it means for the prospective customer (benefits)
- How much it costs (optional)
- How they can contact you or take the next step (add a button or contact info)
- Plus a professional image
- And perhaps a tagline in the hashtag
- They are NOT advertisements and are not boosted, they are regular posts
Note that testimonial posts or social proof posts are also strategic and help sell the school.
- These are quotes from happy pupils, parents or staff or past students that are posted in text or in an image (e.g. using Canva) or a video
- They sell the school because customers believe other customers more than they believe other sources so I have included them in this category
- Make sure to use these as much as possible across all platforms
- You can also create a random rotation for your homepage to show testimonials that are different every time you open the page
So, the strategic post is a vital part of the marketer’s toolbox. Use it regularly, get good at it. You can produce a series of these ahead of time and post them when you need content, but remember to intersperse them among other content, so it is a drip-drip-drip approach rather than an overdone.
An excellent example of a school that uses well-created strategic posts is Woodridge College and Preparatory School in Eastern Cape, South Africa. Have a look at their Facebook page to identify the strategic posts. Here is one as an illustration, see more on their Facebook page via their website on this link.
2. Sales events
Typically, only the Open Day (or similar) is a sales event.
But I would suggest you give every event a sales angle, even if only small. This is because prospective parents may attend an event with a view to buying, and if there is no call to action, they may never get around to buying.
In order to ensure your event has a call to action, you can consider the following:
- Promotional material and information on the school should be available at an info desk or similar, even if it is a website address on the event programme with an invitation to come back for a follow-up
- Create a campaign ahead of the event, secure the contact details of all visitors through a lead magnet or online registration, then create points of follow-up with info so at any point along this process the sale can be made, as you are leading them step by step long the pathway into admissions
- During the event, make it experiential so that they get to know how it will feel to become a part of the school, then ensure they have a clear ‘next step’ to take, (a flyer, an email the next day, a phone call in a week, further follow-up points)
3. Online sales
A website is a basic necessity for a school.
It must be mobile-friendly, up to date and provide the key information required, especially for prospective parents. Use your website as a sales tool.
With this in mind, ensure:
- You have an enquiry form or a lead magnet that is easy to use to capture the contact information of prospective parents and nurture the leads
- You have online admissions to enable the prospective parent to take the next step online
- There are a number of buttons or click through areas on the website to click on for more information or to book a tour, for example
- You can also explore payments online, financial aid support and online application for scholarships, calculators for entry age and fees. By offering all these facilities, you are guiding the prospective through the sale step by step and the final close becomes an obvious step.
Here is an excellent example of a lead magnet on the website of the Eastern Christian School in New Jersey, USA. It encourages visitors to download their ‘Ready for Success’ Parents’ Guide to Preparing for Preschool, which is then emailed to them. See more on their website.
These are only three tips to ensure you have a call to action. There are more!
Remember to use strategic posts, sales events and online sales in your school marketing in order to always be closing the sale!
See more on my YouTube channel Keryn House by clicking through here.
I'm Keryn House
I enjoy creating marketing anecdotes and visuals related to my horse as there is a lot to be learned from animals, and this provides a unique context to my writing. My horse Slick (aka Sports Express) has been with me for many years and is a source of inspiration and relaxation for my strategic mind. He lives on a friend’s farm in KZN and I see him twice a week.
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