How an institution communicates with its constituents is necessary because there are different stages of “buy-in,” which makes the process challenging. In other words, how a school communicates with the parents of a second grader should be different from how it communicates with the parents of a tenth grader; similarly, how the school communicates with prospective families should be different from the other groups.
Varying communication tools build a relationship over a period of time – think of it as a well-written novel. When a writer hears that the reader was so riveted and engaged that she couldn’t put the book down, a bond is built that goes a long way.
Clarifying the message is essential to instill an understanding of the brand and to build confidence about the education or the institution.
Consumers love to share success stories! When they have an incredible experience, they want to share it with friends and on social media. This needs to be the bar that institutions strive to reach. Communication plans should examine the customer perspective from a retention standpoint.
Because marketing and communications is all about connecting, building, retaining and deepening relationships, feedback is essential. Developing a culture where stories are shared internally, on a blog and through social media will offer benefits. Allow the world to see into a deeper part of the organization and educate key audiences about why it matters.
Key takeaways include:
- Developing inbound strategies to pull people into the website by sharing relevant information and creating useful content
- Updating the newsfeed and blogs frequently – share opinions, philosophies and articles to keep the message visible and relevant
- Sharing stories and testimonials as an organic strategy for building a relationship with a prospective family
- Adding videos that discuss why an activity or performance accentuates the school’s message and mission
- Asking parents to evangelize about specific programs is an ideal communication tool. More often, parents believe other parents, so a good word-of-mouth program can be instrumental in furthering the message. Parents want to help and involving them in the process of evangelizing to their friends, neighbors and relatives will further accentuate the message
- Using stories as a way to accentuate photographs, videos, blog posts, podcasts, social media, ads and media relations is pivotal. Anecdotes convert a great photo into a reinforcement of the message by sharing perspective
- Reinforcing the mission through tactical e-mail will improve critical thinking