The world of independent schools has changed and the academic landscape is now a highly competitive industry. Independent schools can no longer rely solely on the prestige of their institution, league tables or word of mouth to secure a constant flow of admissions. Today your prospective students and parents live in a digital age and you will need to embrace technology if you want to keep your admissions high and stay in the minds of the right people. After ensuring you have a well presented and smooth working website, video is the next marketing tool you should set your sights on.
At Small Films we have created videos to increase school admissions for some of the UK’s leading independent schools including Eton College, The Oratory Preparatory School and Moulsford School. Here are our top five ways in how you can use video to promote your school.
1. Video on your websites homepage
A video on your homepage can be incredibly powerful for independent schools where your website acts as your shop window. In fact, a survey by Unbounce found that video on your landing page can increase conversion rates by 80%. This video holds all the information and knowledge that a prospective parent or pupil will need. It eliminates the time your prospect has to spend searching for information and engages them instantly with creative and meaningful content. In a matter of minutes, not only do they know everything they need to know about your school but they also form an emotional connection. They have begun to imagine what it will be like to be a pupil at your school or as a parent what it will be like to send their child there. This connection is hard to achieve through just text and pictures. It’s an instant way to stand out from other schools and demonstrate your unique selling point. When creating this video you should ensure it is concise, polished and easy to digest.
2. Facebook Video Marketing
If you haven’t already been using social media for your school then it’s a good time to start! After watching the brand film on your website, visitors will want to do further research online. This is where social media channels play an important role. The more interaction they can achieve with your school, the better they will feel about you and the easier it will be for them to build a relationship. Facebook has 1.18 billion daily active users (Facebook) and the average user spends 50 minutes per day on Facebook. Incorporating a Facebook page for your school will amplify the amount of people you can connect with and it is another platform where your brand film can be presented. Not only that but via your Facebook page you can begin to include “vignettes” of school life via both professional videos and “self-shot” videos. This could be films featuring different parts of the school like sporting life, 6th form, arts and drama, or calendar events like school trips and sports day. It’s a great way to add depth and character to your school. Facebook has options now to prioritise video viewing and your page cover photo can be replaced with a video. Consumers engage with branded videos the most on Facebook (49%), followed by YouTube (32%), then Instagram (24%) (Tubular Insights).
3. YouTube channel
YouTube is the second most visited site after Google (Alexa). Regular video posts onto a YouTube channel can achieve huge traffic and engagement from your prospects. The average mobile-viewing session on YouTube lasts more than 40 minutes (Kissmetrics).
Where YouTube excels over Facebook is that you can create your own “channel” for the school with lots and lots of videos. It can be an exciting way for pupils and teachers at the school to create their own videos to contribute to the channel. You can be a lot more creative with the types of videos you make and really show off the school’s character. YouTube can act like an extension of your website video where parents and students will be willing to spend more time watching a video about specific aspects of your school like sport, maths, or teachers and facilities.
4. Social media advertising
Video advertisements can be hugely effective online as you can target very specific demographics whether that’s pupils, parents or teachers. Different social media platforms will work more effectively depending on the target audience. For example, Twitter and Facebook adverts will work best on parents whereas Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube ads will work best on prospective pupils. These adverts can be either brand new content or can be created using your own existing videos. The optimal length for these is between 5 and 15 seconds. Social media advertising as a whole can be an extremely effective way of getting your school in front of a new audience, but you can also use it to keep your school constantly in the mind of your current audience. Using a simple feature of Facebook called “pixel” you can “re-market” to people who have already visited your website. This means that when they visit your website they will be tracked by Facebook or Instagram and shown an unobtrusive advert to remind them that they were interested in your school. This form of advertising is highly effective.
5. Video mail
The truth is not everyone is on social media, so how do you reach parents that are not on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube? One fantastic solution is through email marketing. It is a tried and tested approach that works time and time again. Whether you send out a newsletter or a personal email you can include video within that email. That can be your school video, a message from the head or a video about some other aspect of school life. Another way to get parent’s attention is to send out a hard copy of your video via Royal Mail. Rather than being old fashioned (i.e. a VHS sent in a big package) this is actually a very sophisticated form of marketing called a “video book” — it’s a school prospectus that when opened, contains a small screen that plays your video automatically. If you have an open day coming up and you want to target parents with something special then this could be the perfect solution.
There are so many great ways for independent schools to increase admissions in school using video and it represents one of the best ways to get high user engagement and a solid return on investment. There has never been a better time for schools to spread awareness, share their story and connect with new audiences. Video is one of the fastest ways for you to get your school out there in front of the right people and make your story heard by those that matter.
If you are looking for ways to increase school admissions and would like a discussion with one of our team about digital marketing or video production, then do drop us an email as we would love to help.