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3keys

The 3 Keys To A Successful School Marketing Campaign

Having worked with schools and universities for some time, there has been a consistent basis of techniques that I use over and over again that works far better than any other method.

The problem for marketing managers is that implementing these techniques on their own can be quite technically daunting.  (I’ll tell you how to overcome that below)

As you know, the online world of digital technology is constantly changing. Keeping up with the changes can be difficult at best.  Most schools struggle to implement effective online marketing techniques simply because they “don’t know what they don’t know”.

What I’m going to give you now is the basis for almost every marketing campaign I have setup for schools and universities. It’s the secret to effectively targeting, capturing, and engaging with online prospects.

it’s not complicated. You may have heard of these things before, but implementing them correctly can make a massive difference to your ROI.

Key #1 – Target the Right Audience

I’m referring to online advertising here. If you don’t have traffic, you have nothing. It doesn’t matter how good your message or website is if no one is there to see it. This is the starting point, and there is an abundance of instant traffic available to purchase from Google and Facebook.

Targeting the right audience is crucial. You can waste a lot of good advertising dollars if you aren’t spending your budget attracting the right people. This can also be technically challenging as you really need to know how to use the advertising tools these large networks provide to derive the maximum benefit.

Key #2 – Capture your audience with an effective message

I’m referring to a “landing page”. This is different to your main website. The purpose of a landing page is to get the user to take your desired “call-to-action”. Typically that call-to-action is asking the visitor to enter their details into a web form.

The problem with your main website is that it has a lot of information on it, and while you may be thinking that is a good thing, it is likely reducing your conversion rate on your web forms. The header menu, the sidebar menu, the scrolling images and text all distract your visitor. You will get a much higher conversion rate from a separate page with a clear message and a distinct call-to-action. (I’ll show you an example landing page below)

Key #3 – Engage your prospect over time and build trust

I’m referring to using an email autoresponder. Once you have captured your prospects details, you now have the ability and privilege to communicate with them over time and build trust.

An autoresponder email sequence can be used to move your prospects through your online sequence, or give them compelling reasons to enrol their child at your school, or remind them about your upcoming open day etc.

it’s a common fact that users get diverted, distracted, and forget what they signed up for, so engaging your prospects and keeping in their mind through email marketing will help improve the overall ROI of your campaign.

“Putting It All Together”

There are a number of third party services you can use to create landing pages and deliver autoresponder messages, however you will need to be quite technical to set this all up and integrate your landing page web form with your autoresponder service.

Setting up your online advertising campaign is another story. You will need to get familiar with tracking pixels, interest and demographic targeting, split testing etc.

“There Is An Easier Way”

Implementing these 3 keys is of great benefit to schools but also very time consuming and technically challenging. The solution was to recognise the common scenarios schools would need to implement this system and create a template that was easy to duplicate and modify.

“School Marketing Execution Plans”

This is a combination of a pre-built landing page and autoresponder sequence combined with a tailored advertising campaign. We will handle the advertising, you get 4000 visitors and a pre-built landing page and autoresponder sequence designed for maximum conversion.

Take a look at these demo landing pages:

If you would like to talk about implementing the 3 keys for your school and taking advantage of our School Marketing Execution Plans then please email mike@onlinemarketingforschools.com or visit http://www.onlinemarketingforschools.com to find out more information.

Talk soon,

Mike Leembruggen

Google Image Ads

Which ad sizes work best for online ads?

Most people are familiar with the Google text Ads that show at the top and right hand side of the search results but what you may not be aware of is that Google also runs what they call a “Display Network”. These are the image ads you see on various websites while browsing the internet. There is huge potential here for you as most people will simply run a standard text ad campaign and miss out on the avalanche of traffic available through the display network at cheap prices (if you setup your campaign correctly).

Read more

Online Marketing For Schools Mobile App Now Available

Brand New – Online Marketing For Schools Mobile App.

You can now get the latest updates on how to effectively use digital marketing in your school communications sent directly to your mobile phone or tablet device.

Available on IOS and Android.

IOS – Download Here

Android – Download Here

If you’re looking for practical advice and strategies on how to effectively manage your school social media accounts, website landing pages, and online advertising campaigns then download our new mobile app.

Specifically designed for school marketing directors, principals, alumni officers and communication managers

CoSchedule-Homepage

Social Media Marketing Strategy For Schools

Further to my previous post on how to create your marketing message… here I want to expand on that idea and give you the tools to effectively turn your multiple marketing messages into distributed content that drives prospects back to your website.

At a recent schools conference I attended, there was a speaker from a U.S university talking about how they organise their social media posts and keep up to speed with where content is being shared. The simple solution was a spreadsheet. As basic as that may seem, it is effective.

I took this a step further and created a Google Sheet that you can copy, modify, and share with your colleagues. The great thing about Google Sheets as opposed to Microsoft Excel or Apple Numbers is that you can invite other users to collaborate. Everything is stored in the cloud and updates are real time amongst all users. It’s a fantastic service.

Here is the link to that Google Sheet:

google sheets

 

When you open that up, click File -> Make a Copy. That will copy the doc to your organisation where you can start editing and adding content rows.

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To take this even further. There is a fantastic plugin available called CoSchedule that is now included in EDUconnected (you will still need a subscription through coschedule) to make all of this much easier and more streamlined. You can schedule all your future posts, collaborate with team members, and most importantly schedule social promotion of your content to a number of different networks.

CoSchedule-Homepage

marketing-message

Free Resource: “How To Create Your Marketing Message” Worksheet

If you have been following me on LinkedIn, you would have seen a post I created that talked about why a schools marketing message doesn’t get results. One of the main reasons is that schools have a very broad and undefined message they put out to attract prospective families.

Often times when I ask about their point of difference, they say “we are a very caring school” which is great, but not always the most effective campaign message as most schools are caring or are naturally perceived to be caring.

For an external promotional campaign you want to use some hard hitting facts and emotional desires that will draw people to your school. Most importantly, you want to be communicating to the right audience about what they are looking for.

I’ve put together a worksheet to help you identify and create your marketing message/s. The main point in doing this is to separate your overall message into smaller messages that can be delivered over time. As you move more into digital marketing, this can be achieved much easier than ever before.

Here is a link to the PDF so you can print out the worksheet:
Download the PDF

Here is a link to the Google Doc with comments about what each section is for and why:

Google Doc

Alumni campaign email statistics

How To Engage Alumni – Case Study

Here is a case study example from a recent campaign aimed at bringing alumni back into the school community portal where they can update their details and connect with other alumni.

This campaign used EDUconnected for the school alumni portal as it includes functionality for email marketing, landing pages, lead tracking, profile updating, and internal user connections.

Through EDUconnected, we were able to easily import our email list, setup a quick landing page, craft an initial email message, and track the results of every step.

The Email

To create the initial email, we wrote something simple that explains why we are contacting them, what we are planning to do with the alumni portal, all the exciting things coming up, and finally a call-to-action which was to click the link to the landing page where they can fill in their details to create their account.

We split the email database into two segments purely to run an initial test to a smaller group of users. Here are the results of the email campaign:

Alumni email engagement statsThe important things to note here are the “open” and “click” statistics on the right hand side. “Open” is the percentage of users that actually viewed the email message and “Clicks” is the percentage of users that clicked a link in the message.

It’s important to know your “open rate” as that will tell you how effective your subject line is. These emails received an average 30% open rate which is quite good. In general, that number will go down the bigger your email database. Take note that “open rate” is never going to be 100% accurate. It can only be tracked if the user is viewing your email with a html email reader. If they have a plain-text reader, then the “open” won’t be tracked.

“Clicks” are the more accurate metric to take note of and ultimately the goal of the email. These emails received an average 11% click-through rate which means we are getting good initial response from alumni.

The Landing Page

We used a very specific and simple landing page for alumni. This was very easy to setup. Just select a template in EDUconnected, add a logo, headline, and web form to capture the visitors name and email address. The other benefit of EDUconnected is that it allows for social sign-on so alumni can click one button, and login with their Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc. account making login so much easier.

Here’s the conversion results of the landing page:

Alumni landing page stats

 

87% conversion rate is amazing. That’s the benefit of having a specific landing page designed to do just one thing. One call-to-action and very simple input fields to not scare away the visitor. This page wasn’t cluttered with school news and events, menus, and hyperlinks to distract the user. It was very focused and the results were very positive.

Next Steps… Taking This Further

Here’s how to get even better results from this campaign and skyrocket alumni engagement. I’ve included the actual email and landing page screenshots below for you too.

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Looking at the email results in more detail, you can see at the bottom of the screenshot below, there are links to view different users based on clicked, opened, unopened etc.

Alumni campaign email statistics

I would firstly target users who didn’t open the initial email, and see if I could get them to open an email with a different subject line.

A good strategy here is to write back to users who haven’t yet created an account in the portal, and use “social proof”. Talk about how great your response from the last email was. Thank users for connecting, sharing their stories, and highlight some of the benefits other users received from connecting to the portal. This will make them feel like they are missing out, and make them want to connect even more.

Secondly, I would target users who clicked a link in the email but didn’t create an account. For these users you could write back asking if they had trouble loading the page or creating an account, and again highlight the benefits other users received from connecting to the portal.

Here’s a look at the initial email. We included an image in this email to give a visual representation of the school, how it has changed, and also technically, you can add an “alt” description to images that will show if a user has images disabled. This motivates them to enable images to see the picture and will help give us more accurate “open rate” stats.

Alumni email creation

 

Here’s a look at the landing page for this campaign. You’ll notice it’s very simple, but converted really well. We used an impressive school campus background image which was consistent with the image in the email message, and a simple headline.

Screenshot 2014-07-12 13.10.38


 

I hope you enjoyed this case study and viewing real world results from a real school campaign. If you would like to know more about EDUconnected or would like to speak to Mike about consulting, please email mike@mikeleembruggen.com.

 

 

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How to Upload Photos From Dropbox To Instagram

As you may have realised… Instagram is a predominantly mobile based platform. You can only upload photos to Instagram using your mobile device. This can be a roadblock for schools or any organisation that has multiple people taking photos and managing the one Instagram account. In this tutorial I’m going to show you how you can utilise Dropbox to collect photos from multiple staff members, and also moderate which photos go to Instagram. The moderating aspect here is a huge advantage, especially to schools who have one or two key people who decide which content is appropriate for public distribution.

For those that don’t know, Dropbox is a file sharing cloud application that lets you easily share folders on Windows or Mac between multiple users. It syncs in the background and is an extremely useful tool.

I’m going to demo both Android and IOS platforms below. There are a few more steps on IOS but the process is relatively the same.

Step 1. Install both the Dropbox and Instagram apps on your mobile device

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Step 2. Create a shared folder on Dropbox

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Share this folder to everyone that will be contributing photos. You can name the folder whatever you like. I have named it “Shared Photos” for this tutorial.

Android instructions

The following steps are for Android users. Scroll down to see the steps required for iPhone users.

To upload your photos to Dropbox – Open the Dropbox app, Navigate to the desired folder, and click the “Upload here” dropdown option

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Click the top right icon with the three vertical dots to see this dropdown menu.

Select “Photos or videos”

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Choose the photos you would like to upload to the Dropbox folder

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All contributors can follow these previous steps to upload photos for the Publications Manager to see and choose which photos should be uploaded to Instagram.

Publications Manager – Choose a photo you would like to upload to Instagram and select the “More” option

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Choose the “Export” menu item

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Scroll down until you see “Instagram”

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Add filters etc. just like normal and upload your chosen image to the schools Instagram account

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IOS Instructions

The following steps are for iPhone users.

Uploading to Dropbox – Navigate to your desired Dropbox folder to upload a photo from your mobile device. Click the “Upload” dropdown option

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Select an image from one of your Albums

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Publications Manager – Select an image in Dropbox to upload to Instagram and Tap on the bottom left icon

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Select “Save Image” to save the Dropbox image to your internal IOS Photos

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This is an extra step required for IOS users. You can’t export directly to Dropbox on iPhone.

Open the Instagram App on your mobile device and Tap on the bottom left icon to select a photo from your IOS device

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Add filters etc. just like normal and upload your chosen image to the schools Instagram account

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Thats it!

Now you have the power to leverage multiple users taking photos on multiple devices, and are able to moderate which photos make it to the public Instagram account. Here’s how I can see this being really effective in a practical situation. At a school event such as a sports day, open day, fete, graduation etc. you can have multiple different staff members taking photos on their own phones, saving those photos to a shared Dropbox folder, and one primary person uploading specific or appropriate photos to the school Instagram account. This gives parents a real-time update on what’s happening at the school. Of course you need to be sensitive to student privacy etc. but how much more effective is this process as compared to the traditional way of having one person run around campus with a digital camera, then having to sort through hundreds of photos, and then uploading select photos hours or days after the event?

I think the main benefit of this process is the ability to moderate which photos go public. Schools are very particular about which content goes public on their social accounts. Rather than giving out access to all staff to upload directly to Instagram, now you can give them an option to save as many photos as they like to the Dropbox folder, and have one person in charge of which photos go public.

pinterest

How To Setup Your School Pinterest Account

Pinterest has a unique way of sharing and browsing interesting things. It’s primarily a curation style network where people gather pictures and share them on their own boards. By setting up a Pinterest account for your school, you can create your own boards pinning general topics, links and pictures related to your school and school brand. To find out more about using Pinterest for marketing, check out the webinar on onlinemarketingforschools.com

A. Setting up your school’s Pinterest account.

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Open pinterest.com. Sign up with your School’s existing Facebook account or with your school’s email address.

If you choose to sign up with your school’s email address, click on ‘Click here’ next to ‘Are you a business?’.

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Fill in the details on the page that opens.

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Institution/Non-profit is most relevant for schools.

Add your logo and basic details to start your profile.

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After filling all details, check ‘Business Terms of Service and Privacy Policy’ and click on ‘Create Account’.

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B. Creating Pinboards.

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You may want to create pinboards for different topics such as ‘About School’, ‘Alumni’, ‘Academics’, ‘Meeting Teachers’, ‘Great Ideas for Projects’, ‘School Blog Posts’, ‘Recommended Books’, Thoughts, ‘Fun Stuff’, etc. To create a new pinboard, click on ‘+’ sign on top right corner of the webpage.

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Next, click on ‘Create a board.’

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Fill in all details and click on ‘Create Board’.

C. Adding pins to a board.

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Click on ‘Add a pin’ on your board to add pins.

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You have the option of adding a pin from the web, your PC, and from Pinterest.

Adding a pin from a website.

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Adding a pin from your PC.

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1. Click on ‘Choose Image’, 2. Select path for image file on your PC, and then click ‘Open’.

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You may now add a description. You also have the option of selecting another board. Click on ‘Pin it’ to pin the image.

Shortcut for Adding Pins and Creating Boards.

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You may add a pin to existing boards or create a board directly from the homepage by clicking on ‘+’ button on the top right as marked.

D. Editing boards.

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Click on ‘Edit Board’ to manage your board pins, add a map and manage administrators.

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Make changes and click on ‘Save changes’.

E. Sharing boards.

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Click on ‘Send Board’ to share your board with people through their email addresses, School’s Facebook friends, and School’s Google+, Gmail and Yahoo account contacts.

F. Editing/Deleting Pins.

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Click on Pins as marked. This would open all pins.

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Click on highlighted Edit button on the pin you wish to edit or delete.

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Make changes and click ‘Save Changes’. In case you wish to delete the pin, click on ‘Delete Pin’.

G. Sharing pins.

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Click on ‘Send’ on the pin you wish to share.

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Share your pin with people through their email addresses, School’s Facebook friends, and School’s Google+, Gmail and Yahoo account contacts.

H. Sharing your Pinterest Profile.

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Click on ‘Send Profile’ to share your School’s Pinterest Profile with people through their email addresses, School’s Facebook friends, and School’s Google+, Gmail and Yahoo account contacts.

I. Finding friends and following boards.

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Build audience to your School’s Pinterest account by finding friends and following other school boards. Click on marked icon on top right and then on ‘Find Friends’ or ‘Follow Boards’.

J. Change School Pinterest Account Settings.

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Change ‘Basic Info’, ‘Email notifications’ and ‘Social Networks’ settings. The last one i.e. Social Networks settings is key to build appropriate and quick audience to your School Pinterest account.

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Use your School’s Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Gmail and Yahoo mail accounts to build audience. Make changes and click on ‘Save Settings’.

K. Explore interests related to your School.

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Click on top left icon as shown to explore interests related to your school from a categorical list.

L. Creating Secret Boards.

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Pinterest has a cool option for limiting audience to boards. You may want to limit audience of a specific School Board. Click on ‘Create a secret board’ on your profile’s homepage and set up audience for the secret board.

M. Adding Pinterest Widget to your School website, blog or webpages.

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Click on marked icon. Then copy the code and paste wherever you want to add your School Pinterest account’s widget.

Get started now!!

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To find out more, visit www.onlinemarketingforschools.com

Facebook Advertising For Schools

Facebook Advertising Insights For Schools

Here’s a quick look at some stats from a recent Facebook advertising campaign I ran targeting parents. I realise most people won’t be familiar with these numbers so I will give you a run-down of the basics so you know what you are looking at.

Below is two separate screenshots I compiled into one image. The top section is from the admin area of EDUconnected and shows the different landing pages I am running. The bottom section is a screenshot of my Facebook campaign.

FBcampaign-parents

In the bottom section you can see the cost per ‘website click’ or ‘post engagement’ and also the CTR (Click-Through Rate). I’ll focus on these two numbers for now. To give you an idea, if you are getting a cost per action of less than 70 cents on Facebook, you are doing well. If you are getting a CTR of more than 1% on Facebook, that is also quite good.

So, now you know those general indicators, you can see this campaign is doing really well. If you are just getting started with Facebook advertising, don’t expect those kinds of numbers. To be getting a ‘post engagement’ CTR of over 20% and cost of 5 cents per action, is ridiculously good.

I wanted to create this post to show how effective Facebook advertising can be for schools because I know a lot of marketing directors, and principals especially are very skeptical as it’s a new/unknown area.

Looking at the top section of the image, you can see I’m getting a conversion rate of 5% on one page and 10% on another. These are totally different pages and it goes to show that creating the right landing page can make a massive difference to your campaign effectiveness.

To give you an idea of typical conversion rates, if you are getting a conversion rate of over 1% on your landing page, you are doing well. This will vary quite a lot depending on what your call-to-action is. If your asking someone to purchase something, that is obviously a bigger ask than giving them something for free in exchange for their email address. Keep that in mind as it’s quite possible to get conversion rates of 30% up to 70% depending on your offer and how targeted your traffic source is.

These landing pages were setup through EDUconnected which gives you the option to split test different elements of the page to increase your conversion rate. Very cool feature! These campaigns were relatively new so there is no split test data there yet.

Now you know just a little bit more about how online advertising works, so in your next conversation you’ll be able to impress people with fancy terms like CTR and Conversion Rate. 😉

google-plus-for-schools-tip

Don’t Make This Mistake When Setting Up Your Google Account

Here’s a quick tip for you when setting up your Google accounts. If you don’t set up your accounts this way, it could cause you headaches down the track.

Google have quite a number of products available and with the purchase of Youtube you may already have an account that will need to be merged into one central account before you sign up to their new products such as Google+.

Before you create a new Google+ account, check out your current Google Places listing. You will want to upgrade that account to what they call “Google+ Local” instead of creating a brand new Google+ profile.

Their options are a little strange at the moment, while they are rolling out new features and madly trying to integrate existing services under one umbrella. There is an option in Google+ that seems more relevant for schools but if you don’t want to manage two different Google+ profiles you are better off going with the local business listing you already have and upgrading that to Google+ Local.

Watch the video below to learn more: