Horror. Comedy. Drama. Action. Romance.
Not all films are created equal, right? Some audiences might love a weepy romantic drama, while others cringe at that sap (couples around the world are nodding in agreement).
Likewise, just because you’re in the mood for a nail-biting thriller tonight doesn’t mean that’s all you’ll ever watch into eternity. Next week, you might be ready for a side-splitting farce.
It goes to show that videos aren’t one-size-fits-all. And that applies to school marketing videos as well.
Last week, we wrote about live video, giving you insight into how simple and effective it can be to tell your school’s story through this engaging medium. We discussed why video is a crucial component in any private school marketing strategy (hello mind-blowing stats about video usage trends).
Now, we’re going to zero in on one significant factor in your videos that will make or break their usefulness in getting families to visit your school and, ultimately, increasing enrollment.
The Buyer's Journey.
If you ignore the stages of the Buyer’s Journey that each prospective parent goes through when they are choosing their child’s education provider, most of the work you put into your snazzy videos will fall on blind eyes and deaf ears.
If you want to convert more parents into visitors, applicants, and enrolled families, you must understand each stage that any given family may be in when they are encountering your content online. And then, you must ensure you have adequate content to speak to those respective stages if you want to move them through the funnel.
Of course, a complete and effective school inbound marketing plan will include more than just video, but in this post, we will specifically guide you through each stage of the Buyer’s Journey, and how your school can use video to reach prospective parents every step of the way.
VIDEO MARKETING FOR PRIVATE SCHOOLS THROUGH THE BUYER’S JOURNEY:
Connecting with Prospects Where They Are:
In the Awareness stage, parents are just beginning to realize they may have a problem in their current schooling situation (or, for younger families, may just be in the early stages of choosing where to send their little ones to school). They have concerns about their child’s well-being, but aren’t yet sure what the solution should be.
Your Angle: Educate!
Find out what issues are near and dear to your target parents’ hearts. How? Well, the best way to find out more about your target audience is to talk with your current customers (i.e. current school parents)! Poll your community or talk with parents and teachers about what their biggest concerns are with their children. This is all part of getting intimately acquainted with your Parent Personas.
Depending on the kids’ ages, it could be social development and friendships, technology use or screen time management, spiritual development, discipline strategies, cultural issue navigation, romantic relationships, or academic challenges like learning to read. Truly, the spectrum of parenting concerns is wide-reaching. Find out what your community’s hottest buttons are.
Simply calling out those concerns to the parents and putting a name on them can be a viable tactic for the Awareness stage. You’ve hit on something that strikes a chord in these parents, and their ears and eyes are perked up realizing that you just might “get” them. This video from a Schola client does that...by using the kids to talk straight to the parents.
Once you’ve discovered these “pain points,” tap into knowledgeable people in your community (teachers, administrators, or parents) who can speak into these issues and give practical ways for parents to deal with their concerns. Then, create tutorial-type videos that educate parents on these buzzworthy topics. Often, this may be part of a bigger campaign that includes blogs, webinars ebooks, or even live events.
The key is to ensure the solutions you offer are cohesive with your school’s mission and values. You are showing them that you are in their corner, that you are a trustworthy partner and supporter in their endeavors to raise up their children.
- To show that you are a school that understands their needs and is capable to help them overcome their difficulties.
- To put your school into their mind as a place they might want to look into.
- Drive traffic to your website...and get them to stay for a little while to watch your video.
- Bonus: Get them to sign up for your email list.
Connecting With Prospects Where They Are:
At this point in the buyer’s journey, parents are actively considering their education options. They know they have a decision to make soon, but they’re not convinced of what that decision should be. Do they stay in the public schools? Do they homeschool? What about charter schools? And where does private education fit into that mix? They are researching options related to their child’s development, education, and community, and they are looking for answers to the pains, problems and frustrations you emphasize in the awareness stages.
Your Angle: Guide!
You want to get them from the Consideration stage to the Decision stage as smoothly as possible...and guide their minds and hearts to your school in the process.
Mind you, this is NOT the time to “sell” them on your school. Not to say your videos shouldn’t somehow feature your school prominently and show your culture in action, but this isn’t the time to be “all about me!” It’s still (and always is) about the parent and their children and their needs. Your videos should address the voices of questioning and concerns that these parents struggle with regarding their children.
This is a time to dive deeper into the solutions to the “pain points” you touched on earlier in the Awareness stage, further positioning your school as a thought leader, a supporter, and a like-minded champion for these families.
For those parents who are slightly further along in their journey, you may be able to specifically start talking about education-specific solutions. What are the common objections you hear from prospective families? Are finances the biggest issue (this is often the case)? Concerns about transportation to the school? Wondering if a small private school has the extracurricular and supportive programs necessary for their children to thrive?
This is a good venue to address (in positive terms) solutions to parents’ concerns related to private education. Hone in on the barriers that generally keep parents from applying or enrolling. Be real and open, and help them discover practical ways to overcome those hurdles.
- Do a video that shows how families can make private education work financially. For example, you can feature stories from families who at first thought perhaps they “couldn’t make it work,” but found a way through financial aid, tax credit programs, scholarships, creative work/child care arrangements, and more. Or, produce a short, animated piece (sort of like a moving infographic) that gives some tips that have worked for your community of families.
- Show specific ways your school is different than each of the other options in your area (public, charter, homeschooling, etc.). Consider what your parents’ biggest concerns are with, for example, public schools (like Common Core or gender issues) and stack prive Christian education up against it to give them a (favorable) comparison. Or, hit on the frustrations homeschooling parents have (concerns about being able to keep up with child’s growing intellect, lack of resources) and ease their concerns by showing how a school like yours can be an extension of the home. Again, in this stage, take care to avoid being “salesy.”
- Emotionally connect with parents to show your depth of understanding of their struggles, problems, and frustrations.
- Drive traffic to your website and encourage your site visitors to stay and explore.
- Put your school at the top of these parents’ “short list.”
- Get them to sign up for your mailing list and become a confirmed “lead.”
- Get them to contact you for information or sign up for an open house.
Connecting With Prospects Where They Are:
They are thinking that private schooling is probably a good option for their family. They are ready to begin the process of narrowing down the school(s) to which they might apply. The first step: they will start to sign up for visits and open houses to help them make that decision.
Your Angle: Show!
As in, SHOW them why your school is worth their time and trust for visit. This is the time to court them and (hopefully) make them fall in love with you. Here are some ways to accomplish that:
- Try giving a virtual tour of your school! Take viewers through a “typical” day. You may want to create separate videos for elementary, middle, and high school students. Take the camera into the classroom so they can watch the “magic” happen, and be sure to include some student and teacher interviews. See an example below of one Schola client who walks us through their kindergarten program.
- Have some of your truly delighted families give testimonial videos (again, be sure to include families of elementary, middle, and high school students to provide the full spectrum). If you’ve got some moving before/after stories to feature, this is a great way to do it!
- Do a featurette on specific aspects that families love about your school. When you KNOW the main reasons why parents enroll at your school (is it for the biblical foundation? The solid academics? The tight community? All three?), you can provide video content that puts them right in the middle of those benefits. Do a segment showing how you integrate scripture in your curriculum, with clips of students walking out their faith and teachers actively shepherding them. Give an overview of your curriculum (complete with any statistics that corroborate its effectiveness).
- Feature your alumni to show the fruit that comes from completing an education at your school (a sort of “where are they now” segment).
This time, at this stage, your videos can be all about you...but always touching on the specific heart needs of the parents you’re reaching. This is the time to close the deal.
- Be seen as a trustworthy friend and resource to the parents.
- Convert your leads: Get them to come for a tour/open house
- For those that have already visited, get them to apply or enroll!
Bonus Stage: RETENTION!
Any of these videos can help your school with your student retention! By continually putting out there the ways that your school resonates with parents’ hearts and meets their needs, you’re reminding your current school community why they are paying tuition year after year, and why you’re worth it!
However, there are some other types of videos you can do to “delight” your current families. These include:
- “Thank you” videos with highlights from the past season and a message that you are glad they’ve been part of this wonderful community and mission.
- Quick snippets of fun and sweet moments in your school day that will make parents smile (and share with their friends and family) like student song times, art projects, classroom feasts, and more.
- Special performances or guest lectures.
MAKE IT COUNT
With this vast, creative medium, the options and opportunities abound to reach parents in a meaningful way. That said, be sure to take the time and resources to do it right. The quality of your video - including the sound, visuals, and actual content - is crucial, because you are presenting yourself. A poorly produced video will be a poor reflection of your school, so take care to put your best foot forward.
Video is the closest emotional connection you can make with your audience without actually being there. When done well, you will find it one of your most effective tools for building relationships with prospective families!