Marketing for Schools: Expert’s Guide to Promote Your School for High Competition
When discussing marketing in the context of schools, we should keep two major strategic directions in mind: attracting teachers and students. Both make up crucial building blocks for any educational system and are equally important, and the effectiveness of both is tightly connected with school marketing.
In this short comprehensive guide, we will highlight the main challenges every educational institution faces in the UK now, and we will suggest exact ways to solve them with the best marketing strategies for schools to help you effectively attract teaching staff and student talent.
Not a Walk in the Park: Main Challenges to Address
Education has never been an easy business. But recently, challenges are not limited to the educational process—they spread to many social, economic, and marketing fields. Below are the main ones.
The latest reports reveal more than 2,300 teacher vacancies in the UK, surprisingly 2x that of 1,098 two years earlier. At the same time, ITT course enrollment dropped by 20% compared to 2018-2019. This demonstrates how the gap between the demand for teachers and the number of qualified candidates increased, and this trend will not fade away.
Lack of Funding
Limited funding for education affects its quality and impacts the working conditions for teachers, making some positions less appealing.
Also, it’s a very stressful and demanding profession with a heavy workload. With low budgets for salaries and school facilities, it often makes this profession unattractive to step into and stay in.
Nearly 1/3 of teachers who qualified in the last decade have since left the profession. There’s also a teacher retention crisis in UK schools. Teachers may carefully select a school for a job, as their career is at stake. And therefore, it takes longer to make a decision.
Intense Competition Rate
The UK has over 32,000 schools, and many new institutions open yearly. With the increasing staffing crisis in education and high teacher retention, the competition for qualified teachers has become enormously challenging.
The same issue arises with student attraction. Even if you’re a wonderful school providing a high-quality education that achieves students’ and parents’ dreams, the competition is high, and people have plenty of options.
The Basics of School Marketing
|You need to stand out as a great college from which to graduate and as an amazing place to work. |
Marketing is about making this visible to your best potential candidates.
Here’s how you start.
1. Define Your Goals
For teacher and student recruitment, you will need to take three simple steps:
- Write down the actual state of affairs concerning teachers and students separately. What does the situation look like, how many people do you have, what issues do you have to address, or what has to be improved?
- Write down the desirable state of affairs you aim to obtain in the same way.
- Formulate the difference as measurable goals—whom you need to attract, how soon, and how many.
2. Describe Your Best Target Audiences
It may not be easy because a school is, well, a school! It’s a place where numerous people meet, so how do you limit your preferred target audiences to just one, two, or three types? We’ll try to help.
- Imagine who your ideal teacher is. What are their professional qualities, certifications, personal traits, etc.?
- Align this vision with what your school has to offer. Ideally, there should be a match between “we want to attract these people” and “these people are looking for what we have.”
- Write down everything that comes to mind and formulate your main target audiences as “persona portraits.”
- Do the same for students.
3. Crystallise the Messaging
As we mentioned, there are two sides to the marketing process:
- What you have to offer;
- What your best target audience is seeking.
There should be a match, and the matching points should be formulated into the marketing messages you will use to promote your school.
For example, for teachers:
- “We pay competitive salaries and reward the best teachers.”
- “We have a supportive work environment and healthy work-life balance.”
- “We offer structured career progression pathways for teachers who want to grow as professionals.”
And for students:
- “We have a brilliant track record of academic excellence, preparing you for a successful future.”
- “We have diverse school clubs and extracurricular activities to explore your interests and talents and improve pupil wellbeing.”
- “We have various financial aid and scholarship opportunities.”
Proven Marketing Strategies for Schools to Implement
You can use these messages to improve your ads on job boards, recruitment websites, and education fairs, which will bring positive effects. But the problem is everyone is using these platforms! Every single school, college, and university is placing its ads there, and again, the competition is extremely high.
If you want to stand out, do these things, and you will increase the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
Create a Robust SEO-Friendly Website
Most schools have websites, but let’s be honest, most of their websites are very hard to operate. They are old-fashioned and poorly designed, and it’s the last thing a school usually finances.
But your website is what you should start with! It’s your official visit card that almost every candidate will check, and its convenience and informativeness will form most of the first impressions.
Statistics reveal that 88% of online users won’t return to a site after a bad experience. This means a poorly-designed website doesn’t just fail to make an impact but will have a detrimental effect, tarnishing your image and reputation during the initial contact.
So, you need to create a responsive and user-friendly website that’s easy to navigate, gives proper information to visitors, and clearly communicates your marketing messages.
Lastly, optimise your website to rank well in search engines (SEO) by using relevant keywords to ensure your potential candidates can easily find it online.
Leverage Social Media for Schools
A law of modern marketing states: communicate with your target audience where they are. And now, everyone is on social media.
A teacher searching for a new job or a new student—all of them are on Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, or other platforms, and lots of people visit them every day. They chat with friends, read the latest news, and discuss important topics, including their job, education institution searches, and the reputation of different schools and colleges.
By leveraging the benefits of social media for schools, you will:
- Enhance your recruitment efforts. Social media provides an ideal platform for promoting job vacancies for teaching positions. Share insights into your institution’s work culture, professional development opportunities, and benefits to attract top-quality educators.
- Increase your visibility. On social media, you can reach a broad audience of potential teachers and students who might not have come across your institution otherwise.
- Place the most targeted advertising. All social media platforms offer advanced targeting options, enabling you to focus your ads on specific demographics, interests, and locations, ensuring your message reaches the most relevant audience.
- Engage with your community. Social media lets you interact with your current and prospective teachers, students, and parents in real time. Respond to inquiries, address concerns, and foster a school community around your institution.
- Showcase your institution’s strengths. You can easily highlight your school or college’s unique features, academic achievements, extracurricular activities, and success stories by posting on social media.
- Optimise your marketing budget. Compared to traditional advertising methods, social media marketing can be more cost-effective, allowing you to allocate your marketing budget more efficiently.
The easiest way to start with social media marketing is with Soccialy, a social media advertising service and platform created specifically for educational institutions in the UK to make their recruitment efforts more time- and cost-effective.
|Advertising schools on job boards and using databases gathered by education recruitment agencies.||Using social media that teachers use daily.|
|Average working hours spent per campaign: 8 working days.||Average working hours spent per campaign: no more than 1 hour.|
|Average time to close a position: 41 days.||Average time to close a position: 23 days.|
|Average cost per candidate acquisition if applying through a recruitment agency: from £7500 per hire.||Average cost per candidate acquisition: from £391.|
|Requires a lot of manual labour, recruitment experience, or significant investment to hire an education recruitment agency.||Doesn’t need any technical knowledge; we’ve got you covered and will save you over 30% of your recruitment budget.|
If you seek to revitalise your recruitment efforts and adapt to the demands of today’s new normal, don’t hesitate to reach out. Working together, we can discover the finest talent for your school, ensuring a commitment to excellence in education for generations to come.
[Book a Free 30-Minute Discovery Call]
Utilise Digital Marketing for Schools
According to a recent survey, 39% of schools rate digital marketing as “very effective” for them. They have experienced how it boosts their overall marketing strategies by generating significant results.
Every teacher seeking job prospects may not visit your school, so you need to create a strong internet presence. Apart from social media marketing, there are plenty of strategies to try:
- Search engine optimization (SEO) to make your school website highly visible on Google and other search tools.
- Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising. Running targeted ad campaigns on platforms like Google Ads, social media, or thousands of other websites can help you reach job-seeking educators directly.
- Content marketing. Creating valuable and informative content such as blog posts, articles, and videos establishes your school as an authority in the education field and attracts potential teachers interested in your school’s values and teaching approach.
- Email marketing. Build an email list of interested candidates and regularly share updates about job openings, school events, and success stories. Personalised email campaigns can keep potential teachers engaged and nurture relationships with them over time.
- Online reputation management. Monitor and respond to online reviews and feedback to maintain a positive reputation. Positive reviews and testimonials can significantly influence potential teachers’ perceptions of your school.
- Video marketing. Create compelling video content showcasing your school’s facilities, faculty, student achievements, and campus life. Video content is highly engaging and can help you stand out from other institutions.
- Webinars and virtual events. Host webinars or virtual events where potential teachers and students can learn more about your school’s philosophy, teaching methods, and available opportunities.
- Referral programs. Implement referral programs to encourage current teachers and students to refer potential candidates. Word-of-mouth referrals from satisfied employees can carry significant weight in the hiring process.
To benefit from these methods and avoid losing money, it’s better to maintain the following approach:
- Choose one or two methods to experiment with. Don’t try all of them at once.
- Hire a trusted and professional agency or service for the first attempt to eliminate the risk of ineffective campaigns caused by a lack of expertise.
- Measure the results precisely. Based on service and advertisement fees and the number of candidates attracted with the method, track the candidate acquisition cost and keep the quality of acquired candidates in mind.
- Keep going with the methods that bring you the best candidates for the most optimal cost. The rest should be eliminated, or continue to experiment with them to potentially improve the initial result.
If you want to eliminate an agency or service and optimise your budget even further, you can hire an in-house professional after the specific method is tested, and its effectiveness is proven by data. Otherwise, you can continue working with your trusted partner.
Promote Your School In the Community
Outdoor marketing is equally important as digital marketing for schools. Lots of people, both teachers and students, are waiting for the right opportunity, so you need to reach them and make them believe your school is the best option by promoting it in the community as well.
For that, you can use methods such as:
- Billboards and banners with your school signage and messaging.
- Bus stop advertisements.
- Community events and sponsorships.
- Local newspaper ads.
- Flyers and brochures.
- Branded vehicles.
- Educational seminars and workshops.
- Community service projects and charity events.
- Local radio ads.
- School community creation.
You can also organise your own events with an appealing visual environment to increase your visibility. Moreover, you can host alumni meetups for brand advocacy, as your former students are essential in creating credibility for your school.
Given the increasing competition for teaching staff and students in every locality, it’s vital to promote your school among parents, potential students, and teachers. Here are practical ways you can market your school with the latest trends:
- Set your goals, specify your target personas, and formulate your marketing messages.
- Get a modern, user-friendly website to effectively deliver your messages and strengthen your image.
- Utilise the power of social media advertising to stand out and deliver your messages to the right audiences. Apply for a free 30-minute call with Soccialy to discover how your educational institution can benefit from this method and what results you can expect to obtain.
- Experiment with other digital marketing methods and make data-driven decisions to optimise your marketing budgets.
- Promote your school in the community.
Each step will bring you a significant improvement in your recruitment efforts.
What is school marketing?
School marketing is the activities and practices of influencing people’s perspective towards a school. It includes all the tasks a school does to enhance its brand discoverability to increase teacher recruitment and student admissions.
How do you market your school to parents?
You can use different marketing strategies to provide information about your school to parents, such as:
- Create a robust SEO-friendly website
- Leverage social media for schools
- Utilise digital marketing for schools
- Promote your school in the community
How do you make an effective school marketing strategy/plan?
You must decide your goals, understand your audiences, and showcase your missions and values using the right channel and methods to make an effective school marketing strategy.
Why is school marketing important?
There are thousands of schools in the UK, with several schools in every locality. But the country is facing a teacher shortage crisis, and school marketing can help you recruit more and better teachers. Likewise, it will help you get more admissions for your school.
Start with creating user personas of the candidates you’d like to target. Proceed with a content calendar and different categories for your profile posts, then set up analytics for your social media profile and track it regularly and use the available tools, like soccialy to manage the hiring process efficiently. Make an enquiry by contacting [email protected]