The most important thing to remember when marketing a school is that you are talking to people about a very emotional and important aspect of their lives – their child’s education.
It is about creating relationships, sharing the exceptional stories of your students, staff and school, and encouraging your prospective parents to take the next step in finding out how their son or daughter will benefit from joining your community.
With this in mind, there are many wonderful benefits of using a persona for online marketing, especially if you create a persona that is based on the very real lives of your prospects.
Marketing or buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal prospects. They are essential tools to establish and improve your marketing strategy which will help you communicate more effectively and efficiently with your prospective parents.
Below we share our top 4 benefits of using a persona for marketing your school:
1. Personas make the process real
Christina is 35 years old and works as a part-time nurse at the local hospital. Her husband, Gavin, is 39 and is in the construction business. Their children, Harry 8 and Lucinda 5, attend the local primary school.
The persona above is very real and if you continued to read, you would learn about the family’s hobbies, interests and possible grievances they have with their children’s current school. There would be information about what Christina and Gavin want for their children’s education and what they feel is important when choosing a school.
Personas make the marketing process more intimate. They remind us that we are dealing with people and their emotions, and we need to find a way to connect or interact with our prospective parents on a personal level.
“It’s hard to target a message to a generic 35-year-old middle-class working mother of two. It’s much easier to target a message to Jennifer, who has two children under four, works as a paralegal, and is always looking for quick but healthy dinners and ways to spend more time with her kids and less time on housework.” – Elizabeth Gardner
2. Personas help you understand your prospective families
When you understand the needs and wants of your prospective families, you can tailor your content, messaging and services. If you provide them with what they want, they are more likely to have a positive emotional response to your school.
You can also personalise your marketing for the different segments of your audience, e.g. families beginning to look at schools, families in the process of attending open days/events, those already registered to attend and those making their final decisions. This too will encourage a positive emotional response from your prospects as they will see that you understand and care about their process in choosing a school for their child.
3. Personas allow you to visualise and understand your prospects online behaviour
When you have created a persona, you are more likely to understand the kind of people your prospects are. This allows you to track their online behaviour through analytics and social media. You will have a better understanding of their page views, time spent on sites, items downloaded and what they take an interest in reading. You will also see how they interact with others on social media and what issues are close to their hearts. All of this information is greatly advantageous when creating your marketing plans for the future.
4. Detailed marketing personas help you plan for the future
Planning for the future is essential to the success of your school. Your marketing personas allow you to understand you prospective families and create a marketing plan that will specifically target those prospects. If you know your prospects aren’t interested in radio advertising, don’t include this in your plan. If you’re aware of their interest in short and succinct blogs on current educational trends, ensure you focus your time and energy on this form of marketing.
By working with personas, you are targeting your message to ‘real’ prospective leads with specific interests, needs and wants. You are talking to your prospective families with knowledge of their lives and what they are looking for in a school.
“Our job is to connect to people, to interact with them in a way that leaves them better than we found them, more able to get where they’d like to go.” – Seth Godin