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school marketing news

How to effectively communicate with parents

Posted by Laura Sheahan

shutterstock_163229387.jpgTechnology in the education world has rapidly developed with trends, software and social media constantly evolving. The question now is how does your school measure up? With prospective parents demanding a deeper level of engagement, it may be time to update and re-evaluate how effective your school is at communicating with its parents.

In order to build a stronger connection with current and prospective parents, as well as industry leaders and suppliers, it is important for all aspects and departments of your school to commit to implementing a change in tactics, and creating a consistency with it. Adjusting your marketing communications to become increasingly parent focused doesn’t necessarily require additional funds or time, all it needs to start off with is recognition and awareness of the need for change.

Here's how to effectively communicate with parents ...

Planning
As soon as you start thinking about a new marcom project, parent engagement needs to be recognised as the main objective. At the start or end of a (financial) year when you’re planning ahead, try to avoid planning around your own schedule. Instead, put yourself in your parent’s shoes and identify main events in their calendar.

In order to obtain the highest level of customer engagement possible for your parent, a clear strategy is required, with a defined target audience and the best way to interact and reach them.

Besides the important tools and techniques the marketing department or your agency may work with, it is vital that all your staff are aware of how they can better engage with a parent or prospective parents. Not only the school but also the parents will benefit significantly from this company wide level of understanding, which will in turn improve your school’s chance to build long-term relationship with your parents.

Technology
We all acknowledge that a school’s website is most likely to be the first point of call that prospective parents are exposed to. This is therefore where the initial engagement needs to take place. An invaluable tool for doing so is by managing your content in-house so it can be regularly updated. Again, it is important to assess your content from a parent’s point of view and make sure it both educates as well as triggers further interest among your website visitors. If you have web analytics set up (such as Google Analytics), this will help you significantly in determining key traffic areas and the information needs of your website visitors.

In addition to communicating via your website, find out which social networks your industry peers and parents are involved in, and which networks appear to be the most successful. It is essential that you take the time to research this and adjust your strategy accordingly, more importantly; you need to be aware of what is being talked about. Understanding the role of social media in your parent’s professional life will assist your school in predicting future parent activity, shape upcoming marcom projects and initiate or nurture relationships.

Listen
The most important skill of any school when it comes to parent engagement is your ability to actively listen and observe. When you start a project with a new parent, you need to recognise the different stages of the project and the multiple opportunities to improve individual parent engagement that will arise.

Do you want to know more about parent communication, maximising the potential of your website, but not sure where to start? Our free ebook will help you get started. Download it now ...

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This blog was written by Laura Sheahan

In her role as Strategic Communications Director at imageseven, Laura manages and develops the company’s European business, drives imageseven’s corporate marcoms, and continues to work with many of her clients in Australia from the Emerald Isle. Outside the office, Laura can be found with friends, on a green perfecting her golf swing or tennis serve, trying out Cork’s trending eateries, or checking out the high street.

 

Topics: Lead generation, Education, Inbound marketing, Website, imageseven, SEO, Branding, Communication, School culture, Marcom, Internal communication, Customer service, Leadership