Digital Marketing Health Check | Week #6 | Messenger Marketing

Digital Marketing Health Check | Week #6 | Messenger Marketing

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Hello everyone, welcome to week six of the Digital Marketing Health Check for your school. Today we are looking at Messenger marketing. First of all, I will tell you a little bit about what Messenger marketing is and then I’ll go through a few elements that you need for successful marketing on Facebook Messenger. 

If you are not working with us through the Digital Marketing Health checklist, it’s a 60 point checklist that I made available in my school’s marketing toolkit.

Click here to access the toolkit and work through the checklist yourself.

First of all, what is Messenger marketing? It’s relatively new and not all of us are going to be familiar with what it is, but basically, Messenger marketing involves building a Facebook messenger list, just like you would build an email list and then broadcasting messages to that list. It’s a little bit different to email marketing, in that it also allows you to have conditional logic when people message you a specific message, you can reply with a response based on what they have said. We can also integrate Chat bots into our Messenger advertising.

 

Build Subscribers

 

The first thing that we need to do is focus on building subscribers. I would have a hierarchy of importance when building subscriber lists. So for example, you may have the first priority is to build your email list. The second priority is to build your Facebook page, you may have your phone number list, your SMS list, all of that. Once you’ve built those other lists, you can focus on building contact with people through the Messenger platform.

The reason why it’s so important to build messenger subscribers is that apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are becoming so prevalent in our society today and they get something like 80% open rate. It’s even stronger than SMS, stronger than email and it’s right at people’s fingertips.

To build subscribers, you will need third party software, just like you would need MailChimp for email marketing. You need third party software for your Messenger marketing to make sure that when people message your page, that they are then subscribed to your list.

 

Messenger Ads

 

The next thing is to actually run Messenger ads. For example, you could say: “if you would like to book a tour, message ‘book now’ and we will add you to our RSVP list”. It’s an option in Facebook Messenger, you can message your ads directly with Facebook or you can work with your third-party software to set it up so that it’s integrated and runs from your third-party software.

 

Website Chat

 

The next thing we can do, and I’ve seen some schools play in this area, is to have a website chatbot available. You can have a Facebook Messenger chat box on your enrollments pages or the main page of your website and if people message you using that chat box, they are then automatically subscribed to your Messenger list. It’s kind of killing two birds with one stone. It’s enabling them to chat with you live on the website but it’s also subscribing them to your Messenger list so that you can send them messages at a later date. 

 

Broadcast Messages

 

Next, we need to regularly broadcast messages. This can be anything from open morning invitations to tour bookings. Whenever you are emailing your audience, just think about, would this suit a Messenger campaign as well? If you have a few hundred people on your Messenger list, it’s probably well worth it to advertise an open morning to those people that are on your list. As I said before, you’ll need third party software to do that.

 

After Hours Messenger Bots

 

Then the last element for your Messenger health is to have after-hours Messenger bots. This is great for, say someone’s looking at your website at 8:00 pm, you don’t have an enrollments team on hand, but they have a question. You can set up what’s called a Facebook Messenger chatbot where people can ask questions like, “what are your school fees?” and you set up automatic replies to engage with them in a fun and light-hearted way, while still giving them the response that they need.

You can set up for it to send them the fees, you can set it up for them to give you your opening hours, you can set it up for them to go to a tour booking page, any of those options. It’s so effective because it’s right at that point of decision when people are on your website, and they want someone to talk to, there’s no one available but they want an answer to their question. It’s engaging, it’s fun and it solves their problem of needing information that they don’t need to then go and browse your website to find.

 

I hope that helps you. As I mentioned before, if you haven’t done so already, work through the Digital Marketing Health checklist. I’ve got a few things for you to go through and consider for your Messenger marketing. This is a field that schools haven’t really owned yet but I really hope that in terms of grasping new, innovative marketing concepts, that this is something that a lot of schools start to integrate into their marketing. Okay, thank you.

Digital Marketing Health Check | Week #5 | SMS Marketing

Digital Marketing Health Check | Week #5 | SMS Marketing

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Welcome to week five of the digital marketing health check for schools. Today, we are taking a look at SMS marketing. It’s often a little overlooked element of our digital marketing for schools, but I thought it was worth a place in this digital marketing health check series because it’s something that can enhance our marketing efforts dramatically.

 

We will be going through our 60-point checklist, remember to score your school as we go. It’s perfect timing if you’re planning for your 2019 marketing strategy, this is basically your to-do list for your digital marketing plan.

You can get the toolkit with the checklist on my website, it’s mararoberts.com.au/access-marketing-schools-toolkit/.

Okay, so let’s look at the elements needed for successful SMS marketing for schools.

 

Build a Mobile Database

 

The first step in building a healthy SMS marketing platform is to collect mobile numbers. The way to do this is to ask for people’s name, phone number, and email address on opt-in forms. Try to remember to collect the mobile number in international format so that it works across different platforms

 

Appointment Reminders

 

The next thing that you can do with SMS is to send appointment reminders. This is something that I learned when advertising our open mornings – to send SMS reminders the Friday before an event so that they could discuss it with family and make arrangements to attend. This step alone dramatically decreased our non-attendance rate.

 

Campaign Tracking

 

SMS is a very convenient way to track the effectiveness of our traditional marketing campaigns. When running a leaflet drop campaign, you could include the option to sms the words “book now” to register for an open event. The user will then get another sms to provide their email address. This provides you with both their email address and phone number in a trackable way.

 

SMS Broadcast

 

The last way to use SMS is to send out SMS broadcasts to your list. SMS is a very personal and private space, so make sure that you don’t overstep the mark and use this too much. Broadcast sms for one or two big events each year and make sure to include your college name in the message. You can assume that most people have a smartphone so don’t forget to include a shortened URL if needed.

 

I hope that you are actually using SMS in your school’s marketing strategy. Let me know in the Marketing Mastery for Schools Facebook group. Let me know in the group how you are using SMS in your marketing.

Digital Marketing Health Check | Week #4 | Search Engine Optimisation

Digital Marketing Health Check | Week #4 | Search Engine Optimisation

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Welcome to week four of the Digital Marketing Health Check for Schools. Today we are covering search engine optimisation, or SEO. In week one, we covered your school’s website, in week two we covered Facebook ads, and in week three we covered Google AdWords.

SEO is also vital part of any school’s marketing strategy. We need to be strategic about how we approach our SEO so that we’re not going around in circles and not having anything to show for all our hard work – it may be called “organic traffic” or “free traffic”, but there’s actually a lot of hours and work that go into making SEO effective.

We will be going through our 60 point checklist, remember to score your school as we go. It’s perfect timing if you’re planning for your 2019 marketing strategy, this is basically your to-do list for your digital marketing plan.

You can get the toolkit with the checklist on my website, it’s mararoberts.com.au/access-marketing-schools-toolkit/.

The first thing that we want to do when we’re looking at our school’s SEO strategy is to have a clear keyword list. We need to be really clear about which keywords we want to target and also know which ones aren’t really worth our effort. When I first got started out in search engine optimisation people would walk into my office and ask “are  we ranking for this keyword or that keyword?” And I could clearly know if that keyword was worth our time.

 

Which Keywords are worth targeting?

 

The first thing that will give you a pointer in the right direction is your competitor’s websites. Have a look at their content on their website, their site title, and their H1 headings to see if there’s any specific keywords that you can see consistently across a few websites.

Secondly, the Google Ads Keyword Planner is a great resource to use. You’ll need a Google Ads account though. This tool is really for people who are planning their Google Ads campaigns, but it can also be used to give insight into your search engine optimisation. Research possible keywords with the tool and look our for keywords that have high frequency in search but low competition.

 

Google Search Console

 

Google Analytics no longer provides detailed information on the keywords people searched to find your site, but you can use a tool called Google Search Console. You can also look your ranking for keywords – the position you are placing at for in searches. Lots of people may be searching for a specific keyword but because you are so far down in ranking, no one is clicking on your school’s website. These keywords would be the first to focus on.

 

Landing Pages

 

The next thing that we need for our search engine optimization strategy is to have specific website pages that match your keyword goals. This is why digital marketing is so much hard work, your whole digital marketing strategy needs to be streamlined and working together to get the best results for you.

Your landing page should be keyword rich, that keyword should be in the page hyperlink, the page name (page title), it should be visible in the first two lines of your copy, and throughout the general content of that page.

Images should be tagged with the keyword and also have the keyword in the image description so that your site can start to rank in image searches as well.

I recommend having a one-page checklist for your team to refer to when adding new content to your website. Good SEO is a habit that needs to be built into your team culture.

 

Google Maps

 

Another major SEO tool that a lot of schools overlook is Google Maps. This is absolutely huge and transformational for schools’ marketing and getting traffic to your site.

Not only do you have to have a Google Maps listing (most schools do), but a lot of effort needs to spend optimising your listing so that it appears on top of results.

You Google Maps listing should contain your overall site keyword used in descriptions and text. Make sure that your listing is also updated with your telephone number and website url and fresh images and videos.

Reviews are hugely important for your listing. A lot of schools switch their reviews off because they are petrified of negative reviews but putting a lot of intentional effort into getting positive reviews will really increase the traffic you get from Google Maps.

 

Regular New Content

 

The next thing you’ll need for your search engine optimization strategy is regular new content to your website. Schools may or may not have a blog as part of their website, but I recommend that you update your content and add new content to your website at least once a week.

Google is all about relevant traffic and the number one way that they know if your content is relevant is if it is timely and regularly updated. Google wants a constant stream of traffic that is fresh and regularly updated.

All of the factors that where covered in the first part of this series looking your website’s mobile friendliness, site structure and navigation play an important part in your website’s SEO. If you are going to start spending some energy on your search engine optimization I highly recommend working through the first episode.

Okay, so that covers the fundamentals of your school website’s search engine optimisation. Be sure to work through the questions that are in the 60-point checklist.

School Facebook Ad Gallery

School Facebook Ad Gallery

Stuck on the creative for your next Facebook Ad? We’ve compiled a Facebook Ads Gallery – examples that will feed your creativity! Click on the image to see the whole ad, or copy the link into a new tab to see the post.

Here are my top 5 tips for a successful campaign:

  1. Always include a clear call-to-action – preferably this should be the title of your ad
  2. Get creative with the images you use, don’t feel you have to use students in uniform for every ad
  3. Pay extra attention to the size of your image and test how your ad looks on different devices
  4. Add some substance to your ad copy. One two two lines that say you’re “the best school, so register now” are not going to cut it
  5. Split test images and copy, don’t just have one ad per ad set.

P.s. if you see a great Facebook ad, flick me the link and I’ll add it to the gallery.

DISCLAIMER: these are not necessarily successful campaigns, but a collection of ads from Facebook.s to give you ideas to create your own successful campaign. 

Facebook Ads Gallery

Does your school use online Enquiry Forms?

Does your school use online Enquiry Forms?

Every school needs to keep up to date with enrolment enquiries and the enrolments team will have different ways of doing this. I’ve seen it all, from an excel spreadsheets tightly kept in a back office somewhere, to a fully fledged CRM working it’s magic. Whatever method your school uses, it’s important to have an enquiries database.

Why is an enquiry database important?

In today’s competitive school environment, enrolments teams need to function as proactive sales teams that connect with families regularly and assist the decision-making process. An enquiry database enables you to reconnect with parents to give them College updates and invitations to open events and forward plan for year level availability. It’s crucial that follow up is timely after that first enquiry and because of this I highly recommend systemising our process and having digital enrolment forms.

A case for going digital

As a school marketer, you’ll quickly discover that it’s a challenge to keep accurate records of enquiries made. If you are collecting paper copies of enquiry forms from various sources such as the front reception and enrolments team, it’s nearly impossible to accurately ensure everyone has completed the enquiry and then have that data input into a usable database.

The benefits for going online are numerous including:

  • No missing forms.
  • Immediate data on how enquiries are going.
  • Tracking of email opens and correspondence from the first enquiry onwards.
  • Saved staff time, not having to type forms up.
  • Saved printing costs.

You’ll quickly discover that the system you put in to place needs to be quick and simple if parents are going to fill it out and your team is going to be able to complete it while on the go. I recommend only requesting essential data for the first enquiry.

 What data should I be requesting?

Schools are often tempted to collect as much detail as possible from families so that they feel comfortable in answering their enquiry. I often see enquiry forms that are a page long asking about academic history and medical details. This actually puts people off and you’ll have a lot of drop off at this point if that’s the case. The standard for most industries to have no more than two fields but I understand that this is not always possible. I’ve found a happy medium for schools and recommend asking for their full name, email, mobile number and year level/year of interest. This will provide you with base information which can always be padded out as the enquiry progresses.

OK, so are you onboard with going digital? You may have the will to get it setup but you’re asking ‘how’? Don’t worry, it’s relatively pain free to get started.

 

How can I set it up?

All you will need is email marketing software (I highly recommend , ActiveCampaign, see my training video here) with an easily setup custom form that will automatically add people to your enquiries list and email them a series of nurturing emails.

The key to success is having this form available to your whole team – some training time will need to be done to get the team on board. Your enquiry form should be accessible wherever an enquiry might occur including having a form:

  • On your website enquiries landing page for parents to submit their own enquiry
  • At reception, on the desktop so that the team can easily input enquiries into the form while they are on the phone with families.
  • On a portable tablet for easy access at events or while the enrolments team is out and about.

Once your enquiry form is setup and the team is onboard, you’ll be freed to throw away the bits of paper for good and enjoy the harvest of an automated enquiry process.

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