Digital Technologies and Education Tweet Recap, w/e 02-17-18

Digital Technologies and Education Tweet Recap, w/e 02-17-18 Inspiring, informative, useful, or just plain fun tweets posted on Twitter over this past week … collected here to share with our blog readers. This week in the wrap, we start off with an…

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Advocate: Racism killed early childhood education proposal

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10 Components of a Successful Education Marketing Plan – Part II

10 Components of a Successful Education Marketing Plan – Part II

Marketing is a disciplined approach to corporate communications that increases your organization’s bottom line, expands the scope of your influence, and broadens your impact.

Marketing isn’t gambling. Marketing is not magic. So why do some schools’ marketing efforts work and others do not?

Well, because successful marketing is a discipline. It’s work… work that pays off when done well.

Education marketing that fills recruitment pipelines and builds donor pyramids requires specialized skills and knowledge. But the one thing that ties it all together for you and your team is your education marketing plan.

Last week, I showed you the first five must-have components of a successful education marketing plan. Today, let’s dive into the final five.

6. Competition (Price) Research

The sixth component of a successful education marketing plan is that it documents the advantages and offers of other schools like yours. Limit your research to the top 3 or 4 competitors who’re reaching out to the same target audiences you are or who have similar distinctives.

Key Questions to Ask

  • How much do my competitors charge?
  • What do they do better than we do?
  • What do we do better than they do?

7. Content Strategy

In today’s world, content is king. With more ways to consume information, and more devices to access content, prospective students and their families look for corporate brands (like your college, university, or school) to produce informative and entertaining content as if they were media companies.

Thankfully, content marketing isn’t new. Major brands like John Deere have built their empires on it. And now that methods and equipment for media creation have become more cost-effective, even schools on tight budgets can create and distribute irresistible content for their target audiences.

Key Questions to Ask

  • What content channels (blogs, videos, infographics, print, etc.) are we best equipped to create?
  • What content channels are most effective to reach our target audiences?
  • What content channels fit within our budgetary restrictions?
  • What content channels can we best measure to know our return on investment?
  • What are the questions our audiences are asking?
  • What content could we create to answer their questions?

8. Distribution Plan

If content is your “product,” then you need a way to get it to your “customers.” You need a distribution section for your education marketing plan.

Here is where you line up the various platforms that you’ll use to announce your newly published content. By using well-written headers, banners, images, popups, social media posts, and more, you will be able to drive traffic to your content.

In this section, you’ll write out the various requirements you have for those managing each platform. For example, if you’re posting to Instagram, you may specify that every post must have stunning imagery, or hashtags, or other specifications to assure the successful use of your distribution channels.

Probably the most important reason to include this section in your plan is that it will focus your messaging in places where your audience hangs out. By creating a distribution plan, you’ll avoid wasting your efforts, resources, and time on distributing content on platforms that fail to catch your audience’s attention.

9. Editorial Calendar

Please, please, please… don’t forget your editorial calendar! Your editorial calendar is where the rubber meets the road.

Your calendar tells you and your team what content will be created, for whom, and by when.

The editorial calendar is your accountability tool that keeps content production up to speed and running like a factory. Without it, you’ll get slowed down or lost in the process.

10. Marketing Budget

At last, we come to the end of our list. But although it’s last on my list today, a successful education marketing plan will be written with the budget in mind from start to finish.

However, it’s a good idea to include the marketing budget within your plan for quick reference. You’ll also want to have it there to see how well you stayed on budget. This information will prove helpful when you rework your marketing plan in the future.

Besides serving as a quick reference to your larger marketing budget, the budget you put into your marketing plan should also connect each activity within your plan to the more general numbers of your departmental budget.

Most marketing budgets are rather high-level. So for your education marketing plan, you’ll want to take the broader categories of your marketing budget and drill down to tactical levels like…

Education Marketing Plan Service

At Caylor Solutions, we absolutely love helping schools like yours identify their greatest areas of opportunity and plan for marketing success. We’re here to help you take the mystery out of successful education marketing!

Get ahold of us today. The call is free, and there’s no obligation.

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This post was originally published at:  https://www.caylor-solutions.com/10-components-education-marketing-plan-2/

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10 Components of a Successful Education Marketing Plan – Part I

10 Components of a Successful Education Marketing Plan – Part I

You’ve heard it before. Failing to plan is planning to fail. But not all education marketing plans are equal. The quality of your plan will determine the quality of your success.

Sometimes institutional leaders view marketing as if it were gambling: You pay the money. You give it a crank…

And you watch with bated breath to see what happens.

Eventually, after years of few to no results, board members and executive staff stop playing altogether. At best, they come to think marketing’s just a financial sinkhole or, at worst, a scam—resulting in ever-diminishing enrollment pipelines.

But marketing is not a game of luck.

There are proven methods, strategies, and principles that can create measurable progress towards your school’s organizational goals.

But to do this, you need an education marketing plan.

And your plan has to include all the pieces of successful, proven marketing.

Here are the ten components of a successful education marketing plan you must have.

1. Marketing and Brand Audit

To get to where you’re going, you have to know where you are. This section is where you will describe the current status—the good, the bad, and the ugly—of your school’s marketing activities and brand perceptions.

Out of your entire educating marketing plan, the audit section might take you the longest to create. You’ll need to gather data from your revenue centers, like enrollment and development, and your core programs. This might require a series of interviews with various department heads, managers, and faculty.

Key Questions to Ask

  • What marketing content is currently being created and by whom?
  • How well do current marketing materials visually (colors, typography, images, etc.) represent your school’s brand?
  • How could the visual elements of your school’s brand be better?
  • How well do current marketing materials communicate your brand?
  • Are there key parts of your brand that are not being conveyed?
  • Are your marketing materials answering your audience’s questions?
  • Do your marketing materials contain emotional elements, or is it presented in dry, academic style?
  • What is working and what is not based on your school’s Key Performance Indicators?

2. Target Audiences

Your academic institution isn’t for everyone in the marketplace. Your education marketing plan must identify who needs to receive your brand’s messaging. Your school isn’t for everyone, but you must clarify the ones whom your school can best serve.

In this section, you want to spend time sketching out the various audiences for whom you will be creating your marketing content.

Write out their physical characteristics like their age and gender. Think through their dreams, fears, concerns, and frustrations. Give them names and even pull generic photos to create target-audience avatars for each target audience.

The marketing personas you create for this section will be sources of inspiration for your marketing campaigns in the future—so don’t cheat yourself here.

Key Questions to Ask

  • Who is best served by what my school has to offer?
  • How do they see their world and the role education plays in it?
  • What are their goals or dreams, and how’s my school best positioned to help them reach them?
  • What are the questions each of my target audiences is likely to ask of us as a school?
  • What fears or concerns do my target audiences have about my area of education that I can allay?
  • Who are the influencers and decision makers?

3. Brand Distinctions

There’s no other college, university, or academy on the planet like yours. Your uniqueness is your greatest advantage, so you must identify the various ways that you stand out from your peers.

  • Your cutting-edge research in a specific field
  • Your innovative programs that combine various learning methods, disciplines, or activities in a way no one else does
  • Your educational philosophy as a faith-based school, an eco-friendly school, or a working school
  • Your pricing

Truthfully, the hardest part of this section is simply deciding on a set of distinctions that your education messaging will emphasize.

There are so many ways that you could set yourself apart from the rest of the pack, but your content must be laser-focused on a limited set of distinctions. This is the best way to create a space in the market only your brand can truly fill.

That’s why you’ll need to have defined your target audiences before this section. Knowing your target audience’s preferences and needs will help you choose which distinctions are the ones you should be communicating through your marketing.

4. Brand Statement

Your school’s brand statement is where you synthesize all of your brand distinctives with your corporate values and beliefs. From these, you create the promise you make to your target audiences.

Your brand statement can read like an elevator pitch. Here’s an example:

At [INSERT YOUR SCHOOL’S NAME HERE], we believe education should [INSERT YOUR BELIEFS HERE]. We help students [INSERT HOW YOU HELP STUDENTS ACCORDING TO YOUR BRAND DISTINCTIONS] by [MAKE YOUR PROMISE TO THEM HERE].

The statement can also be several paragraphs, but not longer than a page. For good measure, you can also write out nuanced brand statements for your various audiences.

But in my experience, the only necessary brand statement is the one you make to your primary audience—which, if you’re an education marketer, should be prospective students.

5. Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

Your Unique Selling Proposition is where you take your brand statement and distill it even further. It is your brand in its most concentrated form. It is your school in its most authentic form.

Key Questions to Ask

What problem are you uniquely positioned to solve? (Special needs education, spiritual formation, job preparation, etc.)

  • For what kind of student are you solving the problem?
  • What are the outcomes of graduating from your school? In other words…
  • What will the student be like or be able to do when they graduate?
  • What will the world/community/industry be like because they graduated from your school?

Take your time on this one and think it through.

If you had 60 seconds to tell a prospective student why they should choose your school, this is the proposition you should give them, because it is the unique quality that is most likely to “sell” your school.

Education Marketing Plans Work

Next week, I’ll share with you the final must-have components of your plan. But you don’t have to wait until then to get your marketing plan up to speed.

If you’re tired of the spotty results you’re getting from your education marketing, stop gambling! Get to work on your marketing plan today.

And if you could use an experienced hand, we’ve been creating education marketing plans for schools like yours for over thirty years—and we’re proud of the results!

So get ahold of us. We’d be happy to help!

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This post was originally published at: https://www.caylor-solutions.com/10-components-education-marketing-plan-part-1/

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