9 ways video can boost school admissions

small films founder, george hughes

28th June 2021

written by George Hughes

You’re sitting at your desk. You’ve got a mountain of marketing tasks ahead of you. Your inbox is full of emails from companies promising the next “shiny thing” that will help you. You wish there were either more hours in the day or there were two of you. But of course there isn’t. And that need to drive more admissions for your independent school just isn’t going away. 

But what if I told you that you’ve already got a tool that you are almost certainly not making the most of? A tool that could dramatically shift the tide for your school and not just boost admissions, but boost the right type of admissions. I’m talking of course about video. 

It’s highly likely that you’ve dabbled with video for your school at some point in the past. And if you haven’t then it should be very high up on your priority list. Video now accounts for around 80% of all internet traffic globally and we spend an average of 84 minutes online watching video content. If that doesn’t blow your mind then you’re made of much sterner stuff than I am! 

But why is that important for you as an independent school marketer? It’s simple really. If the prospective parents you are trying to reach are all spending hours of their day watching online video content, then you should be harnessing the same medium to communicate with them. Not only that, but consider that most people are watching videos on their smart devices like iphones and tablets. That means you have a unique opportunity to communicate with them wherever they are 24/7. Imagine that? What an opportunity we have as marketers! Commercial brands get it. They’re using video more than ever. In fact video is the fastest growing marketing tactic and mobile video accounts for 70% of all digital advertising. So you see, as a school, if you aren’t riding that video wave yet, then you should be. 

Creating a video for your school should not just be a box-ticking exercise. It should be a tactical and ongoing marketing project that delivers results. And in the vast majority of cases, that means increasing your school admissions. Don’t think of video as a one-off project where you create a promotional video that just sits on your website until it needs to be refreshed every few years. Think of video as the cornerstone of your communication strategy and something you should be using on a regular basis throughout the year. 

So how exactly can video boost your admissions?
Here are my 9 ways to boost school admissions with video. 

1. Increasing visibility

You can use video to increase visibility for your school so you get noticed by the parents you want to reach. Think about creating a short 15 second advert about the school and then running a Facebook, Instagram or YouTube advertising campaign targeting your ideal parent. Video is not only more eye-catching than a static picture, but you can also communicate a lot more information quickly.. If you are trying to reach parents abroad, in a different UK region or just locally, this will work wonders. 

2. Changing perceptions

Do parents think of you as being a sporty school or an academic school? Do they see you as being aloof or unapproachable? Are they worried about your fees or whether their child will “fit in”? In that case, the right video content can easily change their perceptions about your school. Think about the “objections” that your parents have about considering your school and then fend them off with some videos. 

3. Conveying your Ethos

Video is a wonderful tool for storytelling. Not only is it an exciting medium that people find pleasurable to watch, but you can be far more succinct with your stories than when you write them down on your website or prospectus. Through storytelling, you can truly convey the unique ethos of your school. You can put your head teacher on camera talking about your mission, values and how you give pupils far more than just learning. You can interview some of the pupils to show what calibre of individual you turn out at the school. You can interview the teachers to show the caring nature of your staff. Writing your core values on paper is one thing but showing them on video – well, that’s quite another. 

Banner for marketing an independent school

4. Showing your best side

Every school has something that makes them unique or an aspect of the school that they are particularly proud of. Have you just built a new sports centre or started offering a unique set of after school activities? Is your art department second to none or your boarding facilities out of this world? Then you should definitely make some videos about it. Parents will be scouring your website for relevant information and if they get pointed to the right video that shows your best side, it’s going to help them fall in love with your school. 

5. Differentiating you

Here’s the thing. Not all schools have video. And in most cases, they don’t have good video. So if you produce a great looking school promotional video for your homepage, you’ve already differentiated your school from all the other schools you are competing with. When parents are doing their research online, they can find all the schools get a bit “samey” after a while and so get frozen by “analysis paralysis” as my Dad loves to call it. If you create a video that really jumps out at them, you are going to make a great impression and be far more memorable. 

6. Creating a Feeling

Video is the one thing that can give parents the feeling of what it would be like to drop their children off at the school gate. No other medium comes close. A great promotional video on your homepage will use image, music and great storytelling to bring your school alive for prospective parents. You want to make them feel something. Because when they feel something great about your school from a video, they’ll be desperate to know what it feels like to visit in person. 

7. Amplifying Word of Mouth

Many schools rely on word of mouth to drive admissions for their school. Parents talk to parents and everyone’s got an opinion. Without a doubt, your existing parents are some of your greatest marketing assets. If they love your school then they will act like evangelists, taking your message out into the world. This is where social media comes in. It’s like word of mouth but amplified 100 fold. So start to put out videos about your school on social media. Make them exciting and entertaining so your existing parents like, comment and share them. Their friends will see it, their friends friends will see it. And before you know it, the phone is ringing off the hook. 

8. Increasing your Brand Image

Your school is a brand like any product we would buy. It’s your brand image which enables you to command top fees and win the admiration of potential parents. This has never been more important than it is today. It’s the reason you have to make your website look really whizzy, why you create school values and mottos and change the uniform every few years. Video is the ultimate tool for increasing your brand image and making your school stand out as being an aspirational institution that parents will be desperate to send their children to. 

9. Removing obstacles 

People are lazy. I’m sorry but it’s true. Parent’s might have already discounted you for any number of reasons and so they can’t be bothered to come for an open day. This apathy will result in them missing out on an opportunity to send their child to your school which is such a shame. There’s also the possibility that if they live abroad or are time-poor, they simply cannot come to visit. But with video you can make it far easier for parents to get a good feel for your school without coming to visit in person. This is where the “school tour” video comes in. It’s a longer piece of video content where you get a teacher or pupil to take parents on a behind the scenes tour of the school. They present to camera as if talking to the parent and walking them around the school. With these videos you can give parents a true flavour of your school from the comfort of their own home. 

Video really does offer incredible opportunities for school marketers and it’s one of the most under-used tools. If you start to use video in the right way, you can give your school an edge. 

If you are interested in working with Small Films on your next school promotional video then why not give us a shout at info@smallfilms.com