Here’s the reality: when families are deciding with private schools to send their children to, their search is bound to start on Google. If your school cannot be easily found on that first page of search results, then you’re going to be invisible to countless parents.
Of course, when it comes to the school parents entrust their children to, factors like reputation, word of mouth, and tuition costs still play a crucial role. But without a highly visible online presence, traditional tactics like word of mouth can only get you so far. According to the National Center for Education, 10% of U.S. K-12 students (or about 5.49 million kids) attend private schools. Every year, more private and charter schools are competing for these students.
That’s why marketing for private schools has taken on new importance in the digital age, as private schools race each other to the top of the Google results. Our digital marketing agency understands the unique challenges that come with marketing private schools; we understand how high the stakes are. While elite schools once relied entirely on traditional outbound forms of marketing, like TV commercials, print ads, and outreach events, the focus has now shifted.
Today, many of the most successful private school admissions departments have a strategic inbound marketing campaign designed to bring new parents into the fold. Because with the right digital marketing for private schools, new parents and students will come to you, not the other way around.
Inbound Marketing for Private Schools: Digital or Bust
What is inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing refers to marketing tactics that draw customers (in this case, prospective families) to you, rather than marketers who go out to find them first. So what does inbound marketing for private schools look like in 2016?
To answer that question, we have to come back to Google.
The fact is that the vast majority of people never bother clicking past the first one or two pages of Google search results. On top of that, as our local SEO agency will tell you, searches like “private schools near me” have shot up recently. Since 2011, Google searches involving the phrase “near me” have increased 34 times as of 2015. When it comes to private school marketing in the Google era, local SEO campaigns are some of the most effective inbound marketing tactics available to you.
Additionally, you need to focus on your overall digital presence. Once you bring people in, what kind of website do they find? Private school parents expect to be wow-ed. In another report from the National Center for Education, fully 78% of private school parents said they were happy with school staff, compared to 49% of public school families. And in 2016, parents first impression of your school’s reputation and personality will come online. Without professional web design, your digital marketing will only go so far.