Advanced Facebook Ad Targeting – “Your Competition Doesn’t Know About This Yet”

As our digital world gets more complex, the ability to precisely target our desired audience is becoming more and more critical.

We already have some great targeting options available with digital advertising, but wouldn’t it be great to say to Facebook…

“Can you just work out which types of people are more likely to enrol their children at our school, and only show our ads to them instead of the other three million people.”

Well, now that is possible…

As you know, Facebook knows everything about you, and everyone else. From the types of movies we like, to where we like to eat out, to which style of clothes we like, to how many children we have etc.

What is now possible when it comes to online advertising, is to give Facebook a list of people that have enroled or shown interest in enroling, and get back a much bigger list of people with similar interests, and matching demographic information.

What’s even better, is that you don’t have to troll through your school admin system and dig out names and emails. You can simply place a small bit of code on your website, and Facebook will work out the rest without breaching anyone’s privacy or personal information.

Can you see the potential in this?

Super Targeting.

This is where we are headed. Online advertising will be all about placing “pixels” soon.

Now, there is a right and wrong way to do this. Hint** Start by placing a pixel on your Fees page instead of your home page.

You can easily blow your ad budget if you do this wrong.

To learn more about how to effectively advertise online, take a look at our training for the “Enrolment Booster Execution Plan”.

Talk soon,
Mike Leembruggen

Get Better Response Rates From Your Online Advertising

Today’s quick tip is on how to achieve greater response to your online ads.

I see schools fall into this trap all too often. They like to emphasise the features and qualities of the school in their advertising, which looks very professional on billboards, but when it comes to online advertising you can afford to be a little more creative.

People by nature love talking and hearing about themselves, so if you can tailor your ad to focus on your prospects thoughts or feelings, you will have a much better chance of capturing their attention.

When creating your ad, put yourself in your prospects shoes. Think to yourself… what are their biggest fears or concerns when choosing a school for their child?

Identify those concerns and create multiple ad variations. Then simply run a test to see which ad receives more clicks. Once you have an identifiable winner, tailor your landing page to be congruent with your ad text and scale up your campaign.

One little extra tip for when you are writing your ad copy.

Don’t try and target every concern in one ad. The purpose of your ad is to get a user to take action and click through to your landing page. You aren’t trying to convince them how fantastic your school is, and how much their child will learn, and how great it would be if they filled out an application form right now… all from your three lines of ad text.

Keep each ad focused with a strong call to action. Don’t be subtle about what you want your prospect to do next. Discover the pain points of your prospects and you will enhance your marketing effectiveness.

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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:

 

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.

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.

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:

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

Enrolment Boosting Test Results #2

I finally did it!

It’s been a long time coming but last month I ran a test for one of my Platinum Package clients that I have been wanting to run for a long time.

This was one of those things that I have been hesitant to do as it’s quite bold, against the norm, and not common for schools.

I was pleasantly surprised at the results. Typically I take the “gradual” approach when starting with a school and introduce strategies slowly over time so principals, registrars, and marketing directors can get used to these seemingly radical changes to their website and marketing messages.

In this particular case, enrolment enquiries needed to be bumped up, there wasn’t much happening on that front, so a radical change was necessary and welcomed.

Here’s this weeks “new prospect” stats over last week: (This number has been growing week to week)

As you can see, this week achieved a 35% increase in enquiries over last week, and that number has basically come up from 0 with the same amount of traffic and no change in the overall website design.

This school’s website doesn’t receive a massive amount of traffic but this goes to show that it’s not always about driving more traffic. Greater results can be achieved with just a few modifications to individual pages.

The “radical” thing we did to generate these new enquiries was remove the enrolment pdf’s from the site, and require users to fill in their details to get the pdf downloads. We also added a nice whiteboard animation video underneath the optin form to give prospects a sense of what the school is about.

There’s a few ways to think about this. Some would argue that putting a roadblock in front of enrolment and fee pdf downloads would stop people from filling in their details and submitting an enrolment application. I argue the opposite. If you think about the 80/20 rule. 80% of your enrolments will come from 20% of your prospects. Those that are seriously interested in enroling or finding out more about the school will fill in their details as opposed to people who are just price shopping and downloading fee pdf’s from multiple schools.

The other thing is, there is more to your school than the price of fees. Your fees may be lower than other surrounding schools and you may offer a better program. Your fees may be higher than other schools because your students have access to better facilities. By retrieving the email address of your interested prospects you have the opportunity to convey those messages and put across your point of difference to them in a way that can’t be done through a fees pdf.

If you would like to know more about this strategy and the test results, please email me at [email protected]

Enrolment Boosting Test Results #1

In my quest to achieve higher online enrolment enquiries for schools, I’m constantly testing a number of variables for optimum conversion rate.

Here’s the results of our latest test:

That’s quite a jump from 9.52% to 20.59%. That gets me excited. 116.18% improvement is fantastic.

There’s no external promotion or campaign that would otherwise have boosted these results and still we see a massive improvement in day to day enrolment enquiries by changing a few key elements on the website.

This particular test was aimed at the enquiry form button. We tested a few different styles and a few alternate text variations on the button to see which would convert better.

So, the big question… What was the winning variation you ask?

The winning variation used the text “Continue” on the button and the simple grey background outperformed a more fancy graphical version.

If you are using the standard “submit” text on your buttons, change it! You are losing out on more and more enrolment enquiries every day.

If you would like to find out more about this test and how I can help you boost your school enrolments, please email me at [email protected]

Yours in success,
Mike Leembruggen

Why A Schools Marketing Message Doesn’t Get Results

When I speak to schools, I’m always trying to find out what sets them apart. How are they different from the surrounding schools.

The answer I get is usually the same.

Not to sound too harsh, but it’s not quite enough to be a “caring” school. Every school is caring, and when I talk to marketing directors and business managers, they all care about the students. The teachers care, the staff care and it’s obvious they care when walking around the school.

That message is most effectively conveyed from current parent to prospective parent, and from the registrar and principal when a prospective family comes for a tour.

When designing an external marketing campaign for online promotion, you need to pick something different. Something unique. Something your students have received external recognition for, and something that can be conveyed in just a few words.

The most important thing to remember when creating a campaign is that you don’t have to get across everything at once. I know there are lots of things you want to tell prospective parents, but a much better strategy is to target just one thing at a time.

Instead of overwhelming your prospects with every reason why your school is fantastic, just pick a total of 3-5 qualities. Choose a great image to represent that quality, and write a short content piece for each. If you want to take things to the next level, include testimonials from current parents, and feature stories of student achievements in each of those messages.

The advantage of digital marketing means you can track and test which message resonates higher with your audience, and can deliver subsequent messages over time through automated email messages which helps keep you in the prospects mind, generates trust, and creates stronger relationships.

If you are interested in creating a compelling marketing message that hits your target markets pain points, and emotional buying decisions, email me at [email protected] for the worksheet.

Talk soon,

Mike Leembruggen
onlinemarketingforschools.com

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:

The 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:

 

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.

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.

 

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.


 

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 .

 

 

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

Step 2. Create a shared folder on Dropbox

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

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

Select “Photos or videos”

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

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

Choose the “Export” menu item

Scroll down until you see “Instagram”

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

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

Select an image from one of your Albums

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

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

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

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

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.