As a private institution, you need SEO marketing. Why?
The priority of any private school should be high-quality learning. After all, there’s a reason parents aren’t sending their children to public schools. They have the resources and priorities to pay for a world-class education, which is exactly what your school can provide.
After you’ve nailed the education portion, what type of people are you attracting? The goal for most private institutions is to attract a highly talented, diverse, well-rounded student body.
Private schools are known for churning out geniuses, artists, Nobel Prize winners, and future presidents. Why should yours be any different?
But to attract those types of students, you need the right audience. How do you find that audience? Parents are searching for the right private institution for their children, and they’re looking online.
It’s a perfect opportunity to draw them in with top-notch SEO marketing.
Research Your Audience
The golden rule of marketing for private schools is this: know your audience. Your audience has certain needs, desires, and priorities—they may come from certain backgrounds and demographics. They may fit within a certain income bracket.
If you don’t know your audience, you could waste your time paying for ads that target the wrong demographic. For instance, targeting twenty-nine-year-old mothers who are trying to figure out how to get their newborn to sleep is the wrong audience.
They might be the right audience in a few years but now is not the time. Marketing is a game of right time, right place, and the right person.
To target the right audience, start by asking the right questions. Demographic research is everything, and it starts with your site visitors.
Where are they located? How old are they? What is their income bracket? What are their religious and political leanings? What are their social affiliations?
This information helps you uncover customer priorities, but market research is much more involved than that. It’s time to conduct a survey.
Ask survey respondents questions that uncover their priorities. What information did they wish they knew about your school before enrolling their child? How did they learn about your school initially?
What are the best and worst things about your school? What do they wish your school offered?
These types of in-depth questions are hard for some people to answer since almost no one wants to be a negative reviewer. It might be worthwhile to offer incentives in exchange for completed surveys.
Optimize Your Website
Now that you know what customer priorities are, it’s time to audit your site content. Depending on who was in charge of your site initially, there may be limited content. SEO optimization might be nonexistent.
If this is the case, never fear! Start by translating all that market research into personas. What would a forty-one-year-old male Catholic marketing executive that makes six figures a year and wants his son on the lacrosse team search for when trying to find a school?
He might use terms like lacrosse team private school, lacrosse teams near me, and so forth. Search terms rarely make complete grammatical sense, and often only hit the highlights of what’s really going on inside the searcher’s mind.
Brainstorm fifteen to twenty keywords based on your research and personas. When crafting these terms, put yourself in the customer’s shoes. That’s what people searching for private schools to enroll their children in truly are—customers.
Build A Community
Since your preferred demographic is likely older, meet them where they are! Parents who have children enrolled in your school have likely already formed Facebook groups.
Sometimes, these groups are for coordination purposes, like bake sales or other parent-led events. Or, these groups are for a social aspect–a place for parents to connect with each other and stay abreast of community news.
Why don’t you give them an official place to gather? By creating a school-run group, all parents can participate and find the photos, updates, announcements, and other information they are looking for.
This is a form of organic visibility. Without putting any effort into advertising, friends of group members can see what school their children attend, what events are going on, and how well their children are doing in that school.
This is where all that keyword and demographic research comes in. You can tailor your Facebook listing with local SEO information, like location and industry. Facebook is also a place where you can post ads, which are again reliant on all that SEO research.
When it comes to search engine optimization, it’s so much more than putting the right keywords in the right places. It’s about building a comprehensive online presence, founded on users that are so passionate about your school, they do some of the marketing work for you!
Once you’ve built an organic group, it’s time to go big. You can start with ad performance, which starts right at home. You can hold raffle drawings or other small events where you reward participants for sharing to their own social media channels.
The goal is to get the word out about your school by highlighting what an involved, engaged place it is for students to attend. Of course, this type of marketing isn’t always free.
You’ll need to invest in different types of ads, such as pay-per-click. Your ads need to use the right keywords that spark action in viewers.
Remember that with SEO, the goal is to start luring viewers down the marketing funnel. The action you’re trying to prompt isn’t always immediate enrollment.
You might be prompting them to visit your website, sign up for your newsletter, or simply swing by your school to talk to a faculty member.
Private Institutions and SEO
Building your SEO presence is a big help when it comes to promoting enrollment and building your student base. By starting off slow with market research, you’ll be able to approach marketing your private institution from an informed angle.
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