In this article, we’ll discuss how to do our best to collect more enquiries for your school, by using online advertising, such as pay per click, graphic advertising and paid site inclusion. If you haven’t yet, I encourage you to read the first seven parts of this series: step 1, step 2, step 3, step 4, step 5, step 6, step 7 and step 8.
Going one further to drive qualified traffic
We’ve made many changes to our website over the last few chapters, we’ve learnt how to measure the impact of these, and we have strategies in place for both social media engagement and being found on search engines.
Frequently we’re now being asked to do more, to be found by the right audience and more frequently. How do we do this without taking out billboards on our highways or full page ads in local press?
We wrap up this book with discussing some of the exciting options for paid advertising online. Australians are now spending more on advertising online than in traditional newspapers, and there is good reason.
Pay per click
The results you see on Google search at the very top and down the right hand column are pay-per-click advertising spaces. Most other search engines, and sites such as Facebook work the same way. The way this works is like an auction; the organisation who pays most per click comes first, and the second highest comes second, etc. using keyword research you’ve done earlier, you can create an advertising targeting these phrases, and many are very cost effective,
To find out more about Google AdWords, watch the An Introduction to Google AdWords video.
The best method to ensure great return is to create various ads within a campaign, and split test them against each other. By running two ads targeting the same keywords, you’ll often see a large difference in response, based purely on the ad copy.
These are the banners you frequently see on websites, with various sizes and placements. The most well-known graphic advertising platform is integrated into Google AdWords, and work in an identical fashion as the text ads.
The great thing about these in particular, is that you can use Google AdWords to target third party websites for these to display. Google states over 80% of Australians see their graphic advertising regularly.
Ever visit a website, and then notice advertising for this website elsewhere over the following days? This is remarketing, a powerful new system to target visitors to your website.
Let’s say a person visits your website looking for enrolment information. When they leave your website and start viewing other sites, your advertising could start appearing, encouraging the visitors to return to your website or complete an action.
We’ve had great success using Remarketing as a method to keep users engaged. You can choose how long the advertising is shown for (say, 14 days after the user has been to your website) and all it takes is a small code insertion on your website, and creation of a campaign on Google AdWords.
There is more information about remarketing at How remarketing works.
Paid site inclusion
Some websites allow for paid listing or advertising directly on them. These websites typically make their money this way and work hard to get good results. Not all websites are the same though; be careful to read through their media pack, research their own traffic where possible, and perhaps trial a short, small budget campaign to see the effectiveness before spending significant money on them.
Sites can range from the large ones, such as most of our national news websites, through to small niche ones, targeting a particular topic. The best sites isn’t necessarily the most trafficked either; they need to have users that are looking for what you offer, not general users that will ignore your advertising or listing efforts.
In a previous blog, we learnt the youtube.com is the second most visited social service for Australians. YouTube allow advertising both at the start of video plays, as well as ‘Featured Video’ advertising by topic. You can geo-target as well, so only those visitors from Western Australia looking at education videos may see your video.
Video advertising is an engaging way to both illustrate what your school is all about, as well as targeting those looking for videos about schools or education in a certain geographic area.
We’ve learnt that even with a modest advertising budget, we can draw people to your improved website through advertising. Pay per click is a cost effective method to attract prospective students to your website through careful keyword and placement considerations.
Every week, more Australian organisations are spending budget on this form of advertising, and with good reason; the right campaign with the right placement can attract great results for minimal outlay.
Consider trialling a short campaign using these methods, and track the return in investment. You can either do this yourself, or hire an expert to create and manage these campaigns for you.
Miles Burke is an Author, Public Speaker and Managing Director of Perth-based digital agency, Bam Creative. His team has created websites and digital marketing campaigns for dozens of schools, and their work has been featured in the media, won plenty of awards and most of all, helped schools demystify the digital marketing space to attract enrolments and better communicate to their communities.