The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Lisa Griffin

Marketing your school

School marketing is a vital part of raising your profile but how can you do it effectively? Use our tips, resources and advice to implement a marketing strategy.

Effective school marketing and PR can make a huge difference to pupils, whether through improved communication or by making sure that parents understand a school’s approach to educational provision. With this in mind, marketing should be a part of any school’s long-term planning.

So what does it mean when we talk about successfully marketing your school? A shiny prospectus and fancy, hi-tech website?

These play a part, but good marketing is about encouraging the whole school, from governors to pupils, to feel proud of their school and talk positively about it to spread the word.

In our Marketing your school webinar, school marketing consultant Paul Sample shares 14 secrets of school marketing success with us, including:

  • building strong links with local parents, pre-schools, nurseries and – at secondary level – feeder primary schools
  • knowing and promoting your unique selling proposition (USP)
  • inviting people into school
  • creating an engaging and user-friendly website.

Developing a marketing strategy can improve your school, not only financially, but also by making you think about how you want to be seen by others. It’s a chance to highlight your strengths and communicate them. This becomes your brand and branding is a vital way of communicating your school’s individual message to others.

Reflect and promote your brand on your site, in your logo, your uniform, everywhere! It’s all part of a marketing strategy to make your school attractive. Our school profile model policy provides a great way to communicate your school ethos and achievements to potential pupils and the rest of your community.

Have a great website

First impressions count and for your school, that’s likely to come from its website. So it’s more than worth making sure you’re showing people exactly what you want them to see. What’s happening in the school at the moment, what have you achieved and proudly want to show off? The website is the perfect platform for this.

The site should be of use to the whole school as well as being a key method of communicating with staff, governors, parents, pupils, and those who know nothing about the school and want to find out more.

There are also statutory requirements for school websites that schools must follow. The tricky task for some schools is finding a balance between making their website user-friendly, engaging and easy to navigate, while also fulfilling statutory obligations.

It needn’t be tricky though! Our webinar, What makes a good school website? lets you in on six secrets of the perfect school site. We’ve also provided some handy examples of both primary and secondary websites to help guide you. 

Schools are no longer required to publish a prospectus so you have a great chance of doing something a bit different. How about a short video featuring testimonials from pupils or parents? Or a snippet of an inspirational teacher in action? Visual displays like this can really bring your school to life and provide a warm, open environment to engage users.

There are lots of other ways to market your school in the way you want to be seen, to both existing members of the school community and prospective. Social media such as Facebook or Twitter can also be used to communicate with parents. They are quick and easy to update and maintain, create a strong school identity and are a great way to promote recent successes or highlight upcoming events.

Open days are the perfect opportunity to showcase your school to outsiders – why not decorate with framed pictures of pupils taking part in activities or display awards and trophies? We have 29 more great tips like this in our Open day at your school: 29 expert tips article.

Spread the good word

Word of mouth is often the most effective form of publicity. It's important that everyone connected with a school is positive when they talk to others.

Involve the whole staff in developing the marketing strategy for your school by talking and listening to them. Where do they think the strengths of the school lie? What should the school brand look like? Making it a whole-school effort gives a sense of ownership and responsibility and plays a vital role in spreading positive messages about your school.

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