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6 simple digital marketing ideas for schools over the summer

4 June, 2014

website

The end of the school year is around the corner. It’s a busy time, with final revision, exams and planning for next year. But now is a great time to think about how you can keep students and parents informed and engaged over the summer.

Your school website is your main portal for information and the first place potential new students and their parents will look to see how well your school performs and how happy your students are.

So why not use the summer downtime to make some improvements to your schools website?

Here are a number of tips and marketing ideas for schools on improvements you can make to your website this summer, ready to hit the Autumn term running.

(1) Develop some case studies to share on your website

Case studies tell an in-depth story about an achievement or success.

Has your school won any sports trophies this year? Have any of students been nominated for national awards? Did one of your teachers run an extra curricular programme that had a real impact on your students? Now is the time to gather information and take photographs of everyone involved for case studies, before people leave for the summer.

Develop a consistent style and present all the testimonials in the same way on your school website design. Good quality photographs are essential and video clips also help to tell the story.

(2) Gather testimonials for your website

Telling your school’s story through testimonials is a powerful way to show what value you bring to students.

Gather written testimonials from students by using a ‘Q and A’ style feedback form – either in paper format or on email. Photographs next to each student add credibility and a genuine face to each testimonial. Testimonials written in students’ own voices are perceived as more credible to prospects, so use the comments as they were written.

If possible, capture video testimonials as they have much greater impact. You could task students to create their own videos on what they like about the school – and turn editing and uploading them into a fun end-of-term lesson.

Keep videos to less than two minutes long – any longer and viewers can lose interest.

(3) Create a mobile optimised website

Thinking of going mobile? A growing number of people now use their mobile phones to access websites and online material rather than desktop computers (more than  50% in the US and it’s going the same way here). If you want students to engage with your school website over the summer, you need to go mobile. This means ensuring your website looks good and all the functionality still works when viewed on a mobile device such as a tablet or smart phone.

mobile phone

 (4) Build some games into your website

Kids and teens love playing games on their phone.

The summer break is a long period of time for them to fill. If you want them to still be using their brains while on holiday, why not develop a couple of games that they can play online, incorporating both a fun and an educational element.

For added incentives to play, you could offer prizes such as book tokens for students who engage with the games. The potential of gamification for student recruitment is also huge, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see rising interest in these kinds of digital communications for schools over the next few years.

Games console gamification

(5) Embed a Twitter feed into your home page

Twitter is a great place to quickly share news and information. For example, exam dates, results collection information, summer opening/closing dates and September term dates. Parents often instinctively go to the website for this kind of information, so even those who don’t have a Twitter account will be able to find the information out quickly and easily.

(6) Use social media to promote events

If you’re running events over the summer – summer school, sports academies, visitor days or staff training – you can improve the reach and build your invitation list really easily using social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

If you post events on your website, make sure they have social media sharing icons. Or use the Facebook events facility to create your event and send invitations. Not Facebook friends with your attendees? That’s OK – you can ask them to RSVP to your Facebook event via email instead.

Search engine optimisation for schools (SEO for schools) is becoming increasingly important as parents are offered more choice. Websites that have a strong social media presence are ranked more highly on Google search.

Which social media channel should you use for broadcast messages and event invitations?

Twitter works best with larger audiences (over 1000), while Facebook is better for social events.

I hope this post has inspired you to think about how you can use your website to engage with parents and students over the summer.

Here are some other blog posts you might find useful:

Does your school web design need an overhaul? Give me a call on 0113 320 2121.

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