Back to School Checklist

September is upon us, so it’s time to start thinking about your back-to-school marketing strategy.

Schools are always competing to attract new students, so your marketing strategy must be strong, consistent, and professional from the start. The first appearance is everything! With that in mind, if your marketing is not as good as it should be, you will not be able to compete successfully with other schools in the area that are promoting their school better than you are.

But where should you start?

If you’re struggling to prioritize to-do lists, we’ve put together the top five things to focus on at the start of the new academic year.

1. Prioritise

Don’t try to do everything right away. When you start making a list of goals, it can often feel a little overwhelming. Prioritise your goals and be realistic about what you can achieve in one year instead of perhaps three or five years.

Some initiatives can be easily completed in one year, others can last two or three years. The feasibility of achieving each goal will depend on the school community and the resources available, and many common goals will have a subset of goals that will work towards achieving the overriding outcome.

For example, while new admissions may be the priority, it is unlikely to double in one year. Instead, look for a smaller goal that will help you reach that bigger picture, such as increasing enquiries by say 10%.

Choose your top three or four goals that need the greatest attention or will have the most impact on your community this year, and be realistic about what to expect.

2. Implement a School Marketing Plan

Writing your school marketing plan doesn’t need to be a master of War and Peace, and it doesn’t need to be difficult to produce. You will need to put in the effort but the best plans are usually simple, light yet effective.

There are many great online tools to help you build your plan, from free project management software like Trello to marketing plan templates that you can download directly. Or you can simply use an Excel spreadsheet.

The key lesson here is that you don’t spend hours writing lengthy texts detailing who, what, when, why, and how you want to accomplish every aspect of your marketing – stay focused, keep it light, and most importantly, make sure you are aware of the best way to proceed based on your actions.

3. Review last years data

At the start of the new school year, it’s important to perform a review of the data you collected from last year’s marketing efforts. This can help you to review which campaigns from last year worked best for you along with those that need some improvement. Reviewing this data creates a clear picture of your current social efforts and shows you the best way to improve results.

  • Track down all your social media accounts
  • Make sure each account is complete and on-brand
  • Identify your best posts
  • Evaluate channel performance
  • Track results over time
  • Understand your audience for each network
  • Decide which channels are right for you
  • And then start again. Quarterly or biannually is best

4. Start planning your content

Once you’ve got your priorities in order, your marketing plan of action, and reviewed your data from last year you should be able to see the content that your school’s audience engaged with the most. So now is a great time utilise this information and start to think about what content to use this year. Content calendars are a great organisational tool where you can add all of your school’s events and dates. From here you can schedule in all of your blogs, event tweets when you need to promote your school’s important dates such as open days, etc.

5. Review your current website and parent communications

Along with consideration about all of the new initiatives you would like to put in place for the new school year it is also important to consider and review those that are already in place. 

This doesn’t have to be a long and laborious task; ask a colleague to help you with a review to ensure that nothing is missed and all information available to parents and pupils is easily accessible and as up to date as possible. 

This could be as simple as updating your school website with any new information or checking how parents receive news and event updates from your school along with your email newsletters, etc., communications with your stakeholders is key and now is a great time to ensure these are engaging and streamlined.     

Reviewing your school’s website is an important annual task. The DFE and Ofsted require certain information on your site and if it’s not readily available this can trigger a no-notice Ofsted Inspection so yet another reason to make sure everything is up to date. 

We hope this guide has helped you with your back-to-school preparations and wish you a happy and successful academic year ahead.

If you would like more professional tips on marketing your schools do get in touch with the Digithrive For School’s team who are always happy to help. contact us here

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