How to jumpstart your online marketing on a shoestring budget

“What’s your marketing budget?”

If this question makes you laugh – or cry – hysterically, then you have come to the right place. Keep calm and carry on reading.

There are ways to jumpstart your online marketing on a shoestring budget.

Get found by prospective parents

1. List your school on Google My Business:
It’s free – two words we love to hear. And best of all there’s no catch. Google wants you to be found by the right people (they even provide free training), so what are you waiting for? This free listing will get you on Google Search and Maps, and gives you more control over how you appear to prospective parents. Keep contact information up-to-date, add photos of your school and respond to Google reviews. Start building a relationship with prospective parents and give them valuable information before they even get to your website.

2. Optimise your website for on-page SEO:
SEO is like that one unpredictable friend that always changes their mind, is hard to please, but at the end of the day you can’t live without them. Search Engine Optimisation is a long-term commitment (like that friend) but there are components that you can do yourself. If you have a WordPress website, use a plugin like Yoast SEO to optimise on-page content. There’s more to SEO than this but on-page SEO is easy to manage by anyone – and the scoring feature on Yoast makes it (almost) fun.

Build your online community

3. Delight parents on your Facebook page:
Online community engagement is key for a school with a small marketing budget, and your Facebook page is a great place to do this. This is best used as an authentic and public presence for your school so make sure you keep your activity here as real as possible. ‘Salesy’ posts generally don’t do well on Facebook. If you need a guide on how to approach social media platforms, this blog should help.

4. Expand your reach on Facebook Groups:
While pages are more official representations of businesses and public figures, Facebook Groups are great for bringing together people with a common interest. For example, if you work at a high school, you could start a group focused on parenting teenagers. Groups can be public, private or require administrator approval to become a member. It all depends on what is appropriate for its audience and purpose. A word of warning though: you will need to commit to regularly monitoring activity and guiding the conversations. This will ensure the community grows in the way you want it to.

Delight your audience

5. Create and distribute great content:
By ‘great content’ we mean unique, high-quality and consistent content. There’s enough noise online so you need to cut through it. Before you start creating content, work out your strategy. What is your objective, who are you targeting and how will you measure success? Then work out tactics – how will you execute your strategy? What kind of content will you create? How often, and where, will you distribute it? If you need a place to start, check out other schools that are doing it well.

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