Whilst the end of July may still be fresh in your mind; the start of September and the new academic year is right around the corner – with pupils and staff due to quell the quiet school campus in a matter of weeks. No doubt, especially due to COVID-19, you’ve already got a long list of things you want to start ticking off as soon as you start to settle into the new normal that September is due to bring.
But where should you start?
If you’re struggling to prioritise your to-do lists, we’ve put together our top five things to concentrate on at the beginning of the new academic year.
#1 Do you know what the marketing trends are for the start of the year?
It’ll come as no surprise that the last six months have drastically changed the way schools are looking at their marketing, moving onto a more digital-focused approach compared to previous years. One of the most important things for the start of September is figuring out what you need to focus on to keep ahead of this rapidly changing environment. Remember, what might have worked really well for your school last year, may prove less effective this year due to this shift in focus.
When planning your marketing strategy, identifying these marketing trends early is crucial in getting the best results, things like school videos, virtual tours and virtual open days are just some of the new digitally accessible ways to reach your wider school audience.
#2 Review the data collected from last year
One trend that remains one not to be overlooked is the importance of social media.
One of the biggest things to review as the new term starts is the data that you collected from last year’s marketing campaigns – whether it be to figure out what approaches from last year need to be tweaked, which social channels are working the best for you or identifying which areas you’d like to improve. Reviewing this early means you can set yourself new goals for this year, and start seeing if your campaigns are working towards achieving these.
#3 Start planning your content
Once you’ve reviewed the data captured last year and figured out what sort of content your audience engaged with the most and where you can start to utilise this information, you can start mapping out your content for the upcoming year.
Create yourself a content calendar, with the important school events and dates that you’re already aware of included, so you can continue shaping and moulding this as the year progresses. Starting off with a solid base will give you some extra time when your attention is turned towards promoting things like school events and open days, all whilst not letting your content slide.
#4 Review your current website and parent communications
Whilst focusing on what new initiatives you would like to implement for the new school year is important so is a review of your more constant areas that are already in place.
This doesn’t have to be a long and complicated task; you can review and ensure the information available to parents and pupils alike is easily accessible and as up to date as possible. This can be as simple as updating your school website with any new information or reviewing how parents receive school news and updates from yourselves through email newsletters etc. ensuring the communication to those already engaged with your content is streamlined.
#5 Marketing Inventory – is it up to date/do you have enough printed materials?
Have you just finished having a renovation that you’re proud of? Is your school photography an accurate representation of the school that you want to shout about? Do you have enough printed marketing materials to not be stuck if people request a few copies of your school’s prospectus?
September is a great time to check and review your printed and digital marketing material to see whether the information included is still relevant or if it’ll need updating this year. You can also check if your photography/school videos need a refresh to include some physical updates to the school or to reflect new members of staff that are starting with you.
You don’t have to start updating these straight away but having an idea that these need to be looked at this academic year so you can start organising plans early, avoids any unnecessary stress later in the year.
By ticking a couple of these items off your back to school to-do list, you’ll be a great position to further your school marketing for the upcoming year. Is there anything we’ve missed? Let us know.