Past Newsletters

Issue 597 - 19-Oct-2014

World Teachers' Day

World Teachers’ Day was inaugurated in 1994 to celebrate the role of teachers in society.  Internationally the day is celebrated on 5 October, and in Australia, on the last Friday of October – this year, the 31st.

How could you acknowledge this month the great role of teachers in contributing to the lives of the children in your school?

Several years ago, one school used World Teachers’ Day to place an ad in their local newspaper commending their teachers on their fine work. The advertisement was in school colours with the school’s logo and a photograph of the Principal chatting with students. The words read from the Principal, and the whole school community, “join together in congratulating all College teaching staff on assisting our students to be the best they can be . . .”

This is an example of excellent school marketing! Clever marketers see opportunities at every turn.

For a little light hearted relief, watch this amateur, tongue in cheek YouTube video on the different types of school teachers.  Hopefully you don’t recognise too many from your school!

> Different types of teachers

Issue 596 - 12-Oct-2014

The law of the ridiculous reverse

This article, from a UK publication, whilst being cynical of school marketing, does provide some very practical ideas and insight.

> Choosing Secondary school: a teachers guide for parents

Here are more highlights to consider:
"The relationship between promotional material and reality is not always close. More than one teacher has found themselves gazing on the angelic hard-working children (often wearing safety glasses, a lab coat and a studious look) pictured on an advert for their own school before realising that one of the children in the picture has so far been responsible for a hundred disrupted classes, two flooded toilet blocks and an early retirement.

"The late Simon Hoggart coined the phrase "the law of the ridiculous reverse", which states that if the opposite of a statement is plainly absurd, it was not worth making in the first place. School marketing literature is a veritable treasure trove of such statements:  "We are committed to high standards" as opposed to "We aim to fail.”  Or, "We demand the highest standards of behaviour" as opposed to "Teachers gather to place bets on student fights." Or, "We aim to ensure all our pupils fulfil their potential" as opposed to "We only care about a few, and the rest can colour in pictures for seven years."

The article suggests parents should "speak to the students. Many schools will use students as guides on open evenings. Talk to them about their experience. Students tend to be honest about such things – occasionally brutally so. If the school doesn't let you near its students, that's not a good sign.”

Issue 596 - 12-Oct-2014

Spring Clean Your School Website

One way to stay relevant and functional in your online presence is to spring clean your website.  Follow these suggestions, or have a parent who loves proof reading to do it for you:

Dust your ‘About Us’ page
How long has it been since you checked the facts on your ‘About us’ page? Are your statistics still relevant and your most recent successes included? This is your chance to introduce yourself to prospective families, so make sure it's an informative and engaging experience.

Update your ‘Contact Us’ info
You may have new staff or a change of position title.  Check your Contact Us page to ensure these details are correct.
Go through your home page and if you have time, read your whole website
When was the last time you had someone read your website from 'cover to cover'?  If it's been a while, take this as an opportunity to see exactly what your visitors see, and find out if there are any problems along the way i.e.: events that have long gone, forms that are out of date.

Follow all your links
There are few browsing experiences more frustrating than trying to navigate a website filled with broken links. However, if you have an agile site that allows you to move content around and insert and remove products, it's inevitable that dead links will appear. Use free tools like Broken Link Checker  to your advantage.

Search for yourself
Hop off your website for a moment and try searching for some key terms related to your brand. If you see Google snippets with “oops” or “page not allowed by webmaster” or titles that trail off halfway through, it's time to do a little maintenance and check your metadata, content, links and permissions.

If you are looking at reviewing your website, a good place to start is to do a Website Audit 
School Website Audit

Issue 595 - 3-Oct-2014

Using technology for learning

St Stephen’s School in Western Australia has a Director of iEducation, Stephen Corcoran, whose primary leadership role is to integrate ICT into the classrooms.  The school is a large, multi campus independent K-12 school with approximately 2900 students and 380 staff.  Stephen represents the link between teaching and learning and mobile technologies.

One of the projects Stephen is responsible for is called many2one where the tagline is “Rather than educating people to use technology, let’s use technology to educate people”.  The many2one website provides a place where parents and students can find out the ‘how to’ of technology in their school environment.  There is also a blog linked to the website, where we found this video that educates parents on how to log in, comment on and subscribe to their child’s class blog.  

Providing such information helps create a link between parents and their children, and parents and the school.

Even if your school doesn’t have the luxury of a Director of iEducation, creating a quick video to teach parents how to access technology can support them in an area that they may feel lost in.  When parents feel supported by the school, even in these seemingly little areas, it creates a word of mouth opportunity, as  they’re more likely to talk about the extras they receive that they didn’t expect.

Issue 595 - 3-Oct-2014

Conducting School Audits

What does the word ‘audit’ conjure up in your mind? In schools an audit can be a boring, time consuming and at times threatening process. While an audit is accepted as an essential part of providing education it is often something staff wish to avoid! The dictionary describes the word ‘audit’ as ‘the inspection or examination of a building or other facility to evaluate or improve its appropriateness, efficiency, safety or the like’.

The two words EVALUATE and IMPROVE jump out from this definition. Isn’t that what we as school marketers seek to do?  To improve things so the school can be represented as well as possible to current and prospective families. Is it time you took an audit of your school marketing?

The three School Audits available are: School Marketing Audit
Following is a testimonial from Susan Curtin, Registrar at Macquarie Anglican Grammar   

Every once in a while you need to step back and view the big picture at your school, whether you like what you see or not! This has helped me do that. The Communication Audit through the Style Guide gave me a new set of marketing tools to help me take an overview of the way the school presents itself.
The step-by-step process engaged me throughout and I felt a strong sense of achievement working through it. The audit was clear, precise and gave me the confidence I needed to complete my own style guide.   
My marketing juices were inspired to flow with every chapter and I felt self-assurance with every page!

Issue 594 - 14-Sept-2014

Timing of School Announcements

When you confidently build a campus for 850 students and only grow to 300 it causes problems.

Murdoch College recently announced they would relocate to a high rise city building. The school has been located on the grounds of a University in Perth. After the announcement the College website did not mention the changes and was still promoting the existing attractions of the College.

When what originally attracted enrolments to your school is no longer on offer families can either embrace change or respond with "this is not what I signed up for" and leave.

Wherever possible, when making announcements about your school factor in the timing to allow changes to your website and social media so the message is consistent. For some families the move to the city campus would be a great attraction so presenting the new vision with the announcement could generate fresh enrolments.

> High Rise School Set for Perth City Centre

Issue 594 - 14-Sept-2014

Let your student testimonials promote your school

Brindabella Christian College in ACT, Australia has produced a simple but powerful video of student testimonials.  The school’s tagline on their website is ‘Well known Well loved Well taught’.  This comes through strongly in the responses of the students to the question ‘What do you like about Brindabella?’ 

Student testimonies * from Brindabella Christian College on Vimeo.

Issue 594 - 14-Sept-2014

School Helps Connect the Generations

Oran Park Anglican College has recently held their annual Grandparents Day.  It was a great success with over 300 grandparents in attendance.  The Day is an opportunity to connect extended family in a school community event and the story was picked up by the local media.

School marketer, Steve Moynan, contacted the local newspaper with the story.   The newspaper sent a photographer on the day and followed up with a phone call for a media briefing. The story conveys so well the joy of the Day, from the kids having their grandparents at school, to the grandparents connecting with  their grandchildren, and each other.  The story also conveys the caring of the school to have considered students whose grandparents couldn't come.  They extended an invitation to the local retirement village for surrogate grandparents to come for the day and connect with children who didn't have a grandparent there.

The other way around this is to make it a "Grandparents and Special Friends Day".

> Day Connects Two Generations

(Acknowledgement to South West Advertiser, photographer Jonathon Ng)

Issue 593 - 7-Sept-2014

Your School’s Social Media Policy

When it comes to your school’s Social Media policy, its one thing to have one … it's another thing to implement it well.  Even if your school parents know what it says, do they understand what they are agreeing to when they enrol?  Have you educated your parents on what is and isn’t appropriate in social media as far as comments are concerned?  Have you taken time to show them how you will manage the conversations in the space?

> Four-year-old boy expelled after mother took to Facebook to complain about 'ignorant' staff

This article discusses how a four year old boy’s position at a school was discontinued.  The mother puts it down to her comment on facebook.  Whether or not that is the reason, what it does show is that by commenting on her personal facebook page and tagging the school’s name, the school was able to see the comment, and take action in response. What this mother thought was a simple comment on facebook, where the post was potentially contained to her friends in her own network, escalated and was picked up by the media.

This can be a minefield if not thought through properly.  One of the largest parts of social management for a school lies not in simply the uploading of new content, but managing the comments that they generate or any posts that are made.

Has your school thought through how to respond to comments on Facebook, whether it is on the school’s facebook page, or a parent or student’s personal page, where the school may be tagged?  What would you do differently if you were faced with this scenario? 
Whilst this paper has been developed for the US market, there are some good tips about where to start to develop social media guidelines for your school.

> Social Media Guidelines

If you need more input into how to do social media in your school, consider investing in a copy of the book by industry expert, David Rawlings 501 Great Social Media Ideas for Schools  or engaging his input for your school via his website.  There are ideas on managing risk and privacy in his book. David was a highly regarded speaker at our last School Marketing Aforia.

Issue 593 - 7-Sept-2014

Ice Bucket Challenge and Schools

The Icebucket Challenge, to raise awareness of ALS, has gone viral since it began in June this year.  One school, Saint Joseph Catholic School in Athens, USA, has taken the opportunity to ride the wave of the challenge’s popularity.  Their choice to get involved was to not only fundraise for ALS, but to honour a former student of the school who died from the disease. 

How can your school take advantage of a local or global craze to fundraise or develop community? Crazes like this are short lived and sentiment towards them can change.  School marketers need to evaluate when to embrace the craze, and when to avoid it.

> Read the Article

Issue 592 - 31-Aug-2014

School expands based on Market Research for School Marketing Diploma

Based on the demographic research done by a student doing the Diploma in School marketing student in 2013, a secondary school in Australia has decided to expand to primary in 2015. The student did extensive research as part of Module 1, which identifies market position, demographics, target markets and market segmentation.   What a great discovery for the school. Doing this sort of research may help your school identify areas of future growth and new target markets.  You will also gain a clear Marketing plan and budget, and a School Style Guide.

> Diploma in School Marketing

Issue 592 - 31-Aug-2014

Take the bad and make it good

Your school will have many wonderful features, but there may also be some faults.  Rather than trying to hide those faults, there may be ways to highlight them and use them as a point of difference, with a positive focus. This video clip is an example of a French supermarket chain and an advertising agency working together to create an inspiring case study that tells a story very well.  They set out to encourage healthy eating, at a cheaper price, and in a way that helps the environment too.  

What do you have at your school that could be seen as a fault, but you’ve worked with it to see it become a positive point of difference?  We’d love to hear about it.

Issue 591 - 24-Aug-2014

Customer Service and Missing School Enrolments

When a $5m project at Covenant Christian School Sydney began many people were not aware of the details. Curiosity rose as trees were removed and a construction fence erected.  Covenant New BuildingConstruction fences are never glamorous so some large 2m x 1m signs of plans and architect designs were designed to help tell a story. Kwik Kopy, a national print franchise, were asked for a quote. It was received within hours. To ensure value for money an online request for a quotation from another national sign company was made. In the meantime, Kwik Kopy agreed to meet our tight timeframe to produce the signs. They were installed before students returned to school.  

Question: Is your school missing out on enrolments simply due to a response system being slower than your neighbouring schools?

If your customer service needs some focus, enrol your administration staff in the distance Customer Relations Course – there is still time to complete it this year, or plan for it in next year's budget.  Every staff member is a marketer, particularly your front line staff.  

For further details visit > Customer Relations Course 

Issue 591 - 24-Aug-2014

Understanding your students through public research

When research statistics are publically released, consider their relevance to your school community.  Statistics can help us understand the trends of things students love, what they’re worried about and where are some opportunities for schools.  

For example, the following article was written from data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.   

Stopping bullying top issue for Aussie students  

It’s interesting to note that:

  • Bullying is the social issue that causes students the most concern.  Therefore bullying needs to be addressed well and consistently by schools.
  • 23% of boys prefer hip hop as their favourite music style, and 39% of girls prefer pop.  Schools could incorporate hip hop and pop music into the assemblies, dance lessons or videos, to help keep the students engaged.  
  • Given that 14% of children aren’t eating breakfast at all before they come to school, could your school offer breakfast to students as well as lunch?  

Issue 591 - 24-Aug-2014

School Video Inspiration for Advertisements

We met Linda Belonje, Director of Marketing and Development at KIS International School in Bangkok, when she came to the School Marketing Aforia in 2013.  Linda has recently overseen the production of a video and related series of print advertisements for publication in English language magazines across Thailand. 

The video has KIS students talking about their passions, dreams and aspirations, which served as inspiration for the advertisements.  For example, in the video, Jun from Grade 11 said, “with the power of imagination, characters can actually fly off the page”.   This quote from Jun became the basis of an advertisement – and actually relates to a book he is writing, in a language he has created himself. 

Take a look behind the scenes to see how the advertisement was actually put together.  Very creative!

> Click on thumbnails to see behind the scenes photographs and advertisements

Issue 590 - 17-Aug-2014

Naming Your School Social Media Channels

Further to our article last week on Naming Your Social Media Channels, this website NameCk allows you to check name availability on social media.

Issue 590 - 17-Aug-2014

Slideshow Features School Activities

Sarah Kelly, Marketing and Events Coordinator at Belgrave Heights Christian School, touched base with us this week.  After looking at the school website we saw how simple it can be to showcase your school, not only to the current school community, but to prospective families visiting the website.  

Sarah produces a slideshow and embeds it in the school’s home page.  It shows the school’s happenings over a period of a week or two.  How many parents would watch the whole thing to see if their child was featured in the photo compilation that week?  In so doing they are getting a great snapshot of school life.  In this week's snapshot, a variety of student year levels are featured, along with sport competition, activities and a teacher farewell.  It also shows the belief system of the school in every day school happenings. 

“It doesn’t take a lot of technical expertise but it’s effective in showcasing the range of activities in our K-12 school.  The teachers play it in the classroom so everyone gets to see what each other has been doing.  It takes a couple of hours a week to put together, but we’ve found it to be so worthwhile”, Sarah mentioned.
Thanks for sharing your idea Sarah. Click through to the video on the school home page

Issue 589 - 10-Aug-2014

End of year school satisfaction survey

For schools in the southern hemisphere, as the second semester is now well under way, have you given consideration to surveying your school community before year end?  Perhaps capturing the comments of Year 12 students and parents as they graduate this term, and Year 6 next term, can be a great way to identify the positive things the school is doing, and some consistent issues that may need attention.

Centre for Marketing Schools completed a Year 6 Survey for a school. Below are some of the revealing messages that came out, which the school needs to consider for the future.

Overall, students made positive responses about the quality of their education, teacher/student relationships and pastoral care, but there were 5 areas where the school needs to pay particular attention:

16% of students felt they could be extended more in their work
11% believed teachers did not treat them as mature and responsible
22% said they did not feel fit and healthy
13% wanted clearer instructions about assignments
And very importantly . . .
27% did not feel they were adequately prepared for high school.

A survey can identify issues, and from there it is important the school takes action to address those issues.  

Learn more > School Satisfaction Surveys

Issue 589 - 10-Aug-2014

What Does Your School Video Convey?

Rachael Pearson, Business Development Manager of St Margaret’s School and Berwick Grammar School, shared with us their new video recently, which they have embedded on the home page of their website.  While the 4 minute video does showcase the school’s facilities and activities, the interaction between students, staff and parents is the focus.  It portrays the school as a personal, warm and inviting place.

“After watching many videos over the years I really wanted ours to capture the students and to get a sense of the whole child without too much focus on what we provide for them.  Most schools offer the same subjects.  I wanted to shift the focus on to the students personalities”, commented Rachael.  

Take a look > St Margaret's Video

School Life from St Margaret's Berwick Grammar on Vimeo.

Issue 589 - 10-Aug-2014

Naming Your School’s Social Media Channels

Simon Noakes of Interactive Schools, UK (twitter @intSchools #inspiringschools) has written a helpful and practical blog on naming your school’s social media channels. Even the ones you don’t use yet.  His guide will provide you with the rules and limitations that each of the main social media channels impose.


> Naming Your School's Social Media Channels

Naming Your School's Social Media Channels