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school marketing news

Marketing tools to grow awareness of your school

Posted by Laura Sheahan

Inbound marketingInfluencers and advocates are one of your school's most valuable assets. Yet very few have a systemised way of identifying and harnessing them. Today, we crack open what is arguably the simplest and most powerful of all marketing communications tools to grow awareness of your school.

An advocate (student, parent, alumni — whatever is suitable to your situation), or anyone who has a positive brand experience should be recognised as one of the most valuable assets in your marketing and communication efforts. Here is an example from James Kilby, a Year 12 Boarder and advocate of The Scots College in Sydney:

"For me, Boarding has been a lifechanging experience. I have made many new friends, learnt to be independent and organised and become part of a unique community."

Testimonials go by many names and there are quite a few species to choose from. Unfortunately they get a bad name from the old time direct marketing pieces that quoted an unidentifiable person making an unbelievable claim. “’Each time I took one of these diet pills I shed 2 kilograms,’ Tammy of Sydney.”

Let me say clearly that this is an abuse of a fundamentally powerful tool. This abuse should never be tolerated. If your advocate is not prepared to be identified and stand by their words, don’t ever be tempted to use their name. Readers — and particularly education readers — can sense the smell of a fishy story with exceptional skill.

Let’s do a quick species survey of the ways in which advocates can help you grow the awareness of your school ...

  1. Social Butterflies: When hosting events, parties, networking functions to spread brand awareness. Typically, social butterflies have large networks of people who will show up and you can take it from there.
  2. Early Adopters: When launching a new program or service, know the influencers that will be interested and allow them to test it before it goes to market. Not only will it form part of the launch campaign, but you can also tweak the product or service before it launch based on their feedback.
  3. Experts/Gurus: Need advice? If you’re trying to convince the market that there is a need for your program or service, then you’re going to want a social media expert to agree with you.
  4. Celebrities: Need to get known fast and have a sizeable budget? Celebrities become influencers without even trying.
  5. Content Creators: Do you need to spend less time and money on word of mouth marketing and developing online content? These are your guys. They are constantly writing, blogging, etc., and love spreading the word about things they like, and also make great guest bloggers.
  6. Broadcasters: If your content leads to enrolments, you’re going to want it to promote it as much as possible. While broadcasters may not always use your product or service, or even maintain a relationship with your brand, they are the ones who are sharing as much content as they possibly can, and usually have lots followers.
  7. Your parents or advocates: They may not be advocates yet, but they’re the ones who will require the least amount of effort to connect with. Once you communicate with them enough, they’ll become the next generation of brand ambassadors, and eventually, influencers of your own.

Influencers are one of the most versatile marketing communication tools you can develop. Their uses are almost endless — press releases, websites, enrolment counters, and direct mail. All the time adding credibility to your school.

If you need help growing awareness of your school, let’s arrange a time to talk free of charge! Schedule your session 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: Education, Inbound marketing, imageseven, Communication, School marketing strategy, Content marketing