“What’s this flippin’ explosive marketing you keep seeing,” you ask?
OK, the flippin’ is for fun. But explosive marketing is an actual term we use around our office. Why? Because it’s the philosophy we follow for all our marketing.
What explosive marketing means
At FlipSwitch, we don’t just through a couple door hangers together and call it good. Don’t get us wrong, grassroots marketing is essential for local schools. But, there’s a lot more marketing in today’s world to do.
And so we implement it. All of it.
Explosive marketing means we find all avenues possible and market there, then re-market, then re-market. We’re not saying to annoy people with ads. Rather, we advertise high quality materials that are useful to the audience, and therefore, catches their attention while developing a relationship, or trust. The more they are able to research you–and the more you stay on the top of their minds with ads–the more likely they are to convert. And higher conversion rates means higher student enrollment rates.
How to use explosive marketing
Finding the line between explosive and just plain annoying
We’ll get into the different avenues of marketing so you can really be explosive, but first, an important note we briefly mentioned before. There’s a fine line between explosive marketing and annoying people. The difference: You understand your audience and you focus on their specific needs. (This article explains this on tactic #12).
You might think casting a wider net gets more fish. But if you’re trying to catch a yellowtail in an ocean filled with mackerel, the big net will just get you a bunch of…well, mackerel. Getting a yellowtail means special bait and a lot of patience.
First, a history lesson…
To show an example, we’ll go back into television history. Remember when broadcast television was all you had? You tuned in to the right channel and watched whatever there was. Options weren’t really there.
Then came in cable.
Love fishing? There was a specific channel for that. Wanted more conservative news? Cable had it. While broadcast had one channel for everyone, it really meant it was for nobody. Because there were a whole lot of shows on a channel that you didn’t want to see before you finally made it to the show you liked. But not cable, cable had the show you want when you want it. And that’s how it beat out broadcast so quickly.
Marketing is the same. If you try to market to everyone, you end up reaching nobody. Learn your audience’ needs and interests. If your students are primarily at-risk, then market to them that you are a second chance and an opportunity to graduate. If most students are excelling, then that will obviously be a different message.
Learn your audience and market accordingly.
Another thing to explosive marketing over annoying ads
The quality. There’s something called digital native advertising. It means that you try to make your marketing look like it belongs there. So, a social media ad looks like a regular post in someone’s feed.
There’s such a high b.s. filter in today’s world that a low-quality ad won’t get hardly any results anymore. The brain can spot an ad and filter it out as unimportant in milliseconds. Make sure it’s designed well and the content/messaging is something your audience cares about. Include people, evoke emotion and keep it simple, stupid (known as the KISS method).
Digital marketing avenues
We know, we know, finally!
To use explosive marketing, you need to hit all the marketing avenues hard and fast. But first, a history lesson.
Facebook lets you narrow your audience down to males living in AwesomeSauce Town who only eat pickles if you wanted.
You can pick a location, pick interests, gender, age and other factors to narrow down your marketing. If you’re not sure, you can upload emails of your current audience for Facebook to review and create a similar audience. Or, you can do both.
Facebook is a cheap way to advertise to the right audience while getting decent results.
Facebook promoted posts
To help people become familiar with your school (known as brand awareness), promote your Facebook posts. This means regular posting on your Facebook page. Then, throw a few dollars behind one of your more engaging posts (You can determine that on “Insights” on Facebook) for a ‘promoted post.’ This will get you more visits to your Facebook page and ultimately your website.
Facebook sponsored events
Holding an open house event? Make sure Facebook knows about it. You can create an event and put dollars behind it to sponsor the event. This will help your community know about your event and get you more attendance.
We actually just did this for an online school. They did past Open House school events and created Facebook events, but did not ‘sponsor them.’ Their attendance was OK, about 30 people for the events. This past fall, we sponsored the event for them on Facebook (and marketed the event elsewhere) and saw more than 200 people in attendance.
This meant more interested students and families, and ultimately more enrollments.
Other social media
Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn are all other options for advertising. Use them not for enrollment (although they could help with that), but for community awareness. People will become to recognize your name the more you advertise on social media.
SnapChat, depending on your audience, could also be an option. When you have an event or your school is attending an event, create a special filter people will see when they are there. Other than that, SnapChat is extremely expensive, and most likely not the best avenue to throw your advertising dollars.
Digital explosive marketing
Ever feel like all you did was think about something you wanted to buy and then all the sudden it’s all over the place? That’s digital marketing. Of course, we can’t read your thoughts. But if you search for, say shoes, things very similar to shoes will start showing up in display ads on websites and Google everywhere.
This can work for schools too.
Google has display ads you can utilize for schools too. If someone visits your website or searches for it, display ads you create will show up on websites just about everywhere. This keeps you at the front of their mind, and allows them to continue to research you while they make a decision.
Re-marketing, or re-targeting ads are specifically for those who researched your website. Most don’t check out your website and say, “Wow, golly, where do I sign up, mister?”
They’re skeptical. They’re not sure if they want to go this route. After all, switching schools is a big decision. That’s why you want to re-market.
Once someone researches your website, ads will continue to pop up for them. That way, they might research the competition, but you’ll be the ones right there, ready to help.
That’s why having the right content is so important.
People need to be able to research. So have the right website copy, have a lot of pages to read through and a lot of content to go with it.
The way to create a lot of pages. Write blogs that are search engine optimized (SEO). You can find specific keywords by researching Google Analytics. But, you know your audience. You probably know what they are looking for. So, if your school is AwesomeSauce and they are made of ambitious students, write about graduating early and make that a key term. Have “Graduate Early” in your headlines so Google scans and finds it easily. Then, when someone Googles, “How can I graduate early,” you’ll show up.
Even including fun blogs will help. Sure, they’re not going to drive enrollment immediately, but they do show that you have a caring, fun community. Someone searching for “Easy after school snacks” might be interested in your school because you provide them with the content they’re looking for.
Write well, and write often. 🙂
As far as explosive marketing, it’s important to know that all of these avenues matter. And don’t give up on traditional marketing (public relations, door-to-door flyers). But, we know doing all of this on your own is practically impossible. You’re trying to provide a quality education. So, focus on that, and we’ll focus on getting your students through the door.