Is your school communications team beginning to discuss school district marketing plans for 2020?
Are you having trouble understanding the emerging marketing trends discussed by popular influencers?
What is your district planning to do to better your brand and expand its marketing efforts?
In this article, I discuss 11 exciting marketing trends to delight your school district leadership team and your board of trustees. This is part two. Part one can be found by clicking here
11 Exciting Marketing Trends to Delight Influential School District Leaders
Here is the second half of my top 11 marketing trends I feel your school district should explore moving into 2020:
7. The Rise of Podcasting – Is Audio Becoming More Popular Than Video?
In the last couple of years, we have seen a resurgence in podcasting. With smartphones and smart devices, including those in our cars, audio has become very popular. We can listen to it when we are driving. We can listen while we are working out. We can even listen to it in the shower. Audio is more convenient and has become very portable.
The brands and school districts with the best audio content are going to have a massive advantage over their competitors.
“Every influencer and individual interested in producing content, building a brand, starting or growing a business, selling a product, service, or idea should learn how to start a podcast on iTunes, Soundcloud, Spotify, Sticher, iHeart Radio, Google Play, and any other platform offering the real estate.” – Gary Vaynerchuk
I feel school districts should take a content marketing approach to podcasts. The audio content you create should educate and be helpful. You should be adding value to your audience.
“As multitasking culture continues to grow, podcasts take on a more important role in our everyday life. We all care about our time and if there’s a way to save some, we’ll do it. Just like music or audiobooks, podcasts can be consumed while doing laundry, going to the gym, washing the dishes, or just relaxing. They’re a great way to learn something new, catch up on news, or be entertained.” – Gary Vaynerchuk
As I have stated in a previous article, your goal should be to provide parents with useful content about your impressive school district. You want parents to be better informed, so they are confident they are making the right decision in their child’s education. You want them to trust your school district and all of the excellent programs you have to offer.
I do not think of a podcast as just recording school announcements or reading news articles. A podcast should educate and help.
The best overall advice comes from podcast expert Pat Flynn when he says, “you must internally commit to podcasting, as you have to do with anything that is potentially beneficial but takes some time and effort. Results take time, so you might as well enjoy it.”
Pat Flynn has a great article about starting a podcast. You can find the article by clicking here.
8. We Always Hear About Video – Still A Very Powerful Platform to Tell Stories
I still feel video plays a significant role in school marketing. We live in a visual society. We all know a picture or video can tell countless stories. And let’s face it, most of the social media platforms are now embracing video and making it their top priority.
Here are some top-trending social media platforms to focus your video efforts:
- YouTube – the number two search engine in the world. Enough said.
- Instagram – the rising popularity of Stories will be key in growing engagement
- TikTok – this new platform is perfect to engage your students
- Facebook Live – still a great tool to interact with parents
9. What the Heck are ChatBots – Controlling Emerging Messenger Apps
WordStream.com defines chatbots – also known as “conversational agents” – as software applications that mimic written or spoken human speech for the purposes of simulating a conversation or interaction with a real person.
They are software that pretends to be a real customer service agent. And now, several sites can set up chatbots on your website or Facebook without you having to be a computer programmer or coder.
SproutSocial states, chatbots leverage chat mediums like SMS text, website chat windows, and social messaging services across platforms like Facebook and Twitter to receive and respond to messages.
With so much use for excellent customer service and top quality customer experience, chatbots can help school districts with these tasks. They also cost much less than hiring a full-time customer service representative. Bots also can work 24 hours a day and seven days a week without getting tired. Automation is key in this age of quick responses and customer demand.
Just look at the customer survey results from Sprout Social on people’s wait time expectations on customer service issues.
To learn more about ChatBots, google them. There are countless articles on this trendy subject. To get started with basic chatbots, I suggest visiting MobileMonkey. They are the fastest-growing Facebook chatbot solution for small businesses.
10. Content – Building Blocks for All This Stuff
Content, Content, Content…
Content is not about posting the news of your district on your web page and social media channels. Content resonates with the audience when it helps their pain points. Your marketing should not be about your school district’s why. It is about the why of your audience.
As I stated above, I am a strong advocate of Content Marketing. You are creating content that adds value to your consumer.
The key is to be consistent with your content. Develop a schedule and content calendar to organize your content creation. When your audience develops a sense of when your content is going to come out, the audience will be more engaged. Quality over quantity, but do not be afraid to create many pieces of content across all of your channels.
11. Use Your Data – Analytics Will Guide the Way
In God, we trust; all others must bring data. That is a compelling quote. People want proof that something we are doing is making an impact. We must use analytics and data to drive our decisions to prove our campaigns are working.
We need to continually look at the trends, and make our decisions based on those predictions and audience insights. With an increased focus on social media and digital marketing, the tools are out there to analyze data and make it work for your school district.
Here are some top analytic tools to consider:
- Google Analytics
- Sprout Social
- Simply Measured
The key is to gather the data, analyze the data, and make predictions from the data. And through data, we make pivots that will improve the marketing experience for our consumers. If you examine your data, and your campaign is not making an impact, change it!
Marketing Trends Conclusion
School districts need to think of marketing as an investment rather than an expense. The more we can show our leaders our return on investment from our campaigns and promotions, the more they are going to trust what we are doing.
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