How to Market a School

School brochure for the Chinese marketIn an increasingly competitive market it’s essential to market a school strategically to ensure a solid return on investment (ROI).

I regularly talk to principals and school boards who simply don’t understand how to:

  • get a positive message out to the community
  • communicate effectively online
  • reduce marketing budgets whilst increasing ROI
  • compete for pupils and highly qualified staff with other schools

How Do Parents & Pupils Find a School?

Traditionally it was enough to trust a school’s reputation and word of mouth to bring parents and pupils in to the school. It still, of course, counts a lot these days, as will excellent teaching, outstanding grades, and student care help build your brand.

But nowadays word of mouth has moved online; a lot of parents who are the key decision makers when it comes to the choice of schools are on Facebook. Social media discussions have become one of the biggest ways in which we connect with people we trust. As a result additional traditional marketing activities like sprinkling adverts in the local and or national press in key competitive marketings like the boarding school sector or private sector just aren’t enough.
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Make it Easy for Your Customer to Remember You

I just got back from Rome having fled the minus degrees of the last of the Stockholm winter for a couple of days.

One of the key marketing tactics I noticed was how just about every boutique or store made a point of handing over their business card as we left. Even if we didn’t buy anything.

It goes without staying that in true Italian fashion all the cards were exquisite objet d’art.

Aren’t Business Cards So Yesterday?

Business_card_in_hand 2No.

Absolutely not.

Even if I made the mistake of thinking they were.

Why ?
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How to Create Custom WordPress Email Opt-in Forms

In this video tutorial I show you how to to easily create great looking custom email opt-in forms for WordPress using OptinSkin and place them at the end of a blog post.

Find out more about OptinSkin!

Building a list of email subscribers is incredibly important for your business if you’re trying to get vistiors who come to your site into a sales funnel for things like digital training products.
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Get Targeted Traffic – The Key to Digital Marketing

There’s no point in investing time and money in digital marketing and content creation, whether it’s social media. blogging, video, podcasting or digital information products, unless the traffic you drive to your website is targeted.

Time and time again clients push for us to help with SEO to get them onto the front page of Google, create podcasts, videos or written content all with the specific aim of “getting more traffic”.

Whenever we sit down to talk data all the questions are about “hits” or “page views” instead of looking at the most important data: conversion rates. [Read more...]

Should You Put a Video or Slider on Your Website?

The only way to know whether a video or slider (slide carousel) will help you achieve your digital marketing goals is to try one. And then test the hell out of them.

split-testingFor example, we tested the front page of this site that we recently built with a slider first and then a video. Initially I thought the video would distract but the data revealed it converted better, driving more people down the sales funnel.

A/B Test

Although there are some excellent pro solutions out there like Visual Website Optimizer that allow you to do A/B split testing, there are also lower price options like Premise, which make WordPress landing pages and split testing easy!

If you’re on a really tight budget you might just want to do a manual test, running a video for a number of days or weeks and comparing it to another page. I personally wouldn’t use this approach because it brings more variables into the equation but at least you’re doing something more than just whacking up a slider and waiting to see how it does. [Read more...]

The 4 Best Digital Marketing Platforms for a Consulting Business

It’s easy to drown in the different forms of digital marketing out there if you’re running a consulting business. Because time is precious, particularly if you work as a consult, juggling every aspect of your business, you need to focus on doing what’s imperative – not just helpful.

To help keep things simple but effective, here are the content marketing platforms I think you need to include in 2013 as part of your strategic online marketing plan.

1. Blog.

Do not ignore the power of a blog. They help get you found in Google and other search engines, generate leads and give prospects an insight to your core skills. What’s more, a blog is full of personality. If you write in a tone of voice that reflects just who you are instead of “corporate speak” you’ll show customers a personal side of who you are. This is important because we do business with people, not businesses.

Get a blog right and it will bring new customers to your door. If you’re thinking of starting a business blog or have let yours go on hiatus too long, check out this post on what makes a great business blog.
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Sometimes the Best Team Loses

Liverpool FC, who I often refer to as my first love, lost yesterday. To Manchester Utd.

It was an important day being our first home game since the Hillsborough Independent Panel concluded that the 96 Liverpool fans who died at Hillsborough in 1989 died because of “multiple failures” by the police, emergency services and public bodies.

That aside, it was an important game for footballing reasons because we needed to win.

It’s been the worst start to the season for over 100 years but the team are actually playing some great football. Yesterday, for large parts of the match, we completely outclassed Utd despite fielding a rookie team. Yet we still lost.

Despite taking a 1-0 lead after going down to 10 men after a dubious decision by the ref to send of Jonjo Shelvey, Liverpool lost 2-1 after Utd leveled with a wonderful piece of individual skill by Rafael and then the referee managed to award one of the most dubious penalties I’ve seen in years. Add to that a host of other woeful refereeing decisions and I was left with the feeling that we were robbed. The best team lost.
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How to Approach Integrated Marketing on a Tight Budget

If you’re a small business owner, chances are you don’t have an armoury of tools to implement a first class integrated marketing plan – even if you have a plan!

Many of the so-called best practice solutions are aimed at larger businesses with much bigger marketing budgets that small businesses (SMBs) bootstrapping their way forward can’t afford to get started.

Still, there are technologies and tools out there to ensure there isn’t a disconnect between your marketing and services on offer.

For Customer Focus, Run a Blog

One of the biggest stumbling blocks online for SMBs is getting found. Even if you have the money to invest in a well-designed website running on an open source solution like WordPress, you have to put time, energy and resources into generating content.

Why content ?

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How to Get People to Click a Link in a Newsletter

Most marketing consultants will tell you that one of the keys to growing your business and building connections with your audience is to develop your mailing list.

Also, the news is good. The email marketing sector recorded its most successful half-year figures in 2011, according to research by the Direct Marketing Association.

Once you’ve got people subscribed you can target them with offers for your own services, products or affiliate links. But some of my customers ask me why doesn’t anyone click our links?

So How Do You Get People to Click-thru?

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Why Consultants Need a Marketing Plan

Most successful consultants have a clearly defined marketing plan and strategy.

Even if you’re just starting out you need a marketing plan because it will help you:

  • identify and target prospective customers
  • figure out the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors
  • get you mentally set for what you have to do
  • remain focussed on achieving your goals

The great thing about a really comprehensive marketing plan is that it will also help you figure out the key strategy and tactics you need to attract and retain customers to your consulting business, as well as budget your money carefully.

A marketing plan should include:

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