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22-year school comms professional
Former assistant professor
K-12 PR, marketing and branding agency owner
Crazy about design, efficiency and helping others
So, you’re thinking about launching an inbound marketing campaign, but you’re not sure where to start? Essentially, an inbound marketing campaign is a tactic to attract potential parents by offering valuable content tailored to their experience in exchange for, in most cases, their email. We typically call these initial assets, lead magnets, and they usually trigger a strategic automated campaign
Does this sound too technical? Have no fear because chances are the seasoned members of your leadership team already have the talking points for most of these content offers ready to go. It’s the information that they’re providing in parent meetings, admissions tours, assemblies and open houses.
Here at the School Comms Lab, we know families weigh many factors when choosing a school, so we put together a few prompts (and templates!) to help position your school as thought leaders and achieve your enrollment goals:
These are just a handful of ideas. We encourage you to chat with public-facing staff (admissions or enrollment offices, school administrative assistants, principals, etc.) to learn more about commonly asked questions. From there, figure out which type of content works with your school or district brand, which audience(s) you are trying to connect with and how to reach them.
If you decide to create a lead magnet based on #4 from the list above, you could craft a blog post about what your admissions director looks for in potential candidates, with a few tips on how to prepare for the process. Within the blog post, you would offer your lead magnet (in this case, it could be a “10 Questions to Ask Every Admissions Director” e-book) that a parent interested in admissions processes would be willing to give you their email address in exchange for. Using Canva (or one of our e-book templates in the School Comms Membership), create a branded e-book, set up an email and name capture form and if you have the inbound marketing software set up (programs such as Mailchimp, Flodesk and HubSpot), the interested party will automatically be sent the lead magnet once they submit their info.
Having great content is important but don’t make it a barrier to access. Studies show that by removing just one field from your contact form, the likelier someone will complete it. That’s why online retailers only ask for your name and email in exchange for 10% off; having you on their email list is valuable. Yes, your leadership and outreach teams will want to know the prospective parent’s phone number, zip code and each child’s name and date of birth, but all of that can come later.
The beauty of this strategic process is that you’re getting new content ideas for a variety of platforms: your website, e-newsletter, social media channels, media relations, blog, etc. And just because you can’t use the content now does not mean you can re-purpose it later–in fact, we encourage it.
Once you have a few ideas, start jotting them down, aligning them with your brand and target audiences. The winning ideas for an inbound marketing campaign should quickly surface and by organizing everything on one sheet, you can efficiently plan out content for weeks or months in advance. Wouldn’t that be great?
So, get started brainstorming, and if you need help planning content, download our free content calendar template (the actual one we use with clients at Holdsworth Communications). Have fun, be creative and stay on-brand!
At the School Comms Lab, we're dedicated to helping you communicate effectively, easily and creatively with your school's key audiences.
In a nutshell, we're here to help make your job a bit easier--and more fun.