Digital marketing pros and cons
As with all things, there’s an up- and a down-side to a digital marketing campaign for your school. First, the positives… Detailed reporting tools like google analytics and insights tools linked to social media channels enable you to see exactly where you’re winning.
You can check on your campaigns at any time and, unlike traditional marketing methods, you can see in real-time what is and isn’t working. And, given the instant nature of online marketing, you can quickly implement adapted content to improve your results.
These tools also enable you to gauge your return on investment. You’ll be able to see cost-per-click, cost-per-lead, and the number of times your marketing content is viewed – and for how long. Analytics tools can show you how people prefer to receive information. Some people prefer to read a blog post, while others prefer to watch videos. You can see when people interact with your posts – parents most likely log onto their devices after the kids have gone to bed in the evenings rather than in the rush of breakfast and morning school-run. You can also track visit to your website and see which pages are the most popular, all of which help you to tailor your campaign even more finely.
A digital marketing campaign allows you to target very specific audiences, not only in terms of geography but also in terms of personal preferences, gender, age and lifetime milestones – like the birth of a child, which enables you to position your school top-of-mind with parents for many years before they start thinking about where to educate their children.
Website cookies, which track people while they browse, can dynamically place your campaigns on sites where your target audience will see them. Talk about bang for buck!
Social media platforms – Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn – provide opportunities to have conversations with your audience. These channels are interactive and invite participation, so it’s important that you monitor your pages and reply to comments pretty quickly.
On social media, as in life, it’s important to be honest. So, even if there’s a critical comment or negative feedback you should tackle the issue head-on and with integrity to create closure. Simply deleting contentious posts or blocking people isn’t an effective strategy.
Cutting competitors down to size
Digital marketing is cost-efficient. Even paid-for content comes at a far-less heftier price tag than traditional marketing channels. And, if you’re clever, you can re-package content for posting on different platforms. One video – your principal talking to your matrics at year-end, for example – can live on YouTube and LinkedIn, both with differently-angled written intros; be shortened into clips for Facebook; made into GIFs for your Instagram story; transcribed into 280-character bites for Twitter; and released to media for publication.
This really levels the playing field, so that your school can compete with institutions with much more generous marketing budgets. A properly considered digital marketing campaign that’s based on research insights, implemented strategically, monitored diligently, and updated often (google algorithms like new content on a regular basis) needn’t break the bank.
Quality is king
The average Facebook user – let’s call her Jane – has 190 friends. Around 12% of Jane’s friends see posts that she’s liked, which means that a message you post to your friends gets seen by 15 people outside of your network. Even more of her friends will see posts that she shares. So, the trick is to post content that Jane is sure to like and share… So that her friends also like and share it. See how quickly the audience for your content can amplify? This is why quality content is critical.
Online is always-on
The world of digital marketing is 24/7, and it’s all about immediate gratification. For all its advantages, its disadvantage is that being present on all your platforms takes time. Most companies either outsource this function to a professional, or they employ a full-time internal resource with experience in this field.
Another flip-side to consider is that a successful Facebook marketing campaign must incorporate paid-for ads – which means that some capital outlay is inevitable.
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