Marketing Strategy

How to Set School Marketing Goals [Updated for 2021]

December 16, 2020

This post was originally written in February 2020. We've updated it to include more valuable information and recent statistics.

 

It's that time of year again! Your school is gearing up for 2021, making plans and working out what you need to do to achieve them. We all know that failure to plan means failure to succeed. But how do you ensure that your plans set up your marketing team for success?

In short, you need actionable marketing goals. Studies show that marketers who take the time to write down their goals and objectives are 376% more successful than those who don't. And marketers who set goals are 92% likely to achieve them!

The research is clear: goals are one of the big keys to carrying out a successful marketing strategy. The big reason for this is because they give your team direction, and a sense that what they're working on is contributing to something bigger. In turn, this keeps teams motivated and also helps you to demonstrate value to your board.


Illustration: celebrate

 

In this post, we'll walk you through a four-step process that will help your marketing team to set goals that you can work on. But first...

 

What are some common school marketing goals?

At Digistorm, we work with a number of schools to help them accomplish various marketing goals. Here are some common marketing goals that we see in marketing plans across the board.

  1. Support the admissions strategy — marketing teams can play a huge role in helping to drive enrollments, by nurturing families through their customer journey.
  2. Increase brand awareness — as we've mentioned previously, even the most well-known brands still dedicate budget and time to keeping their brand name top of mind.
  3. Build relationships with your current school community — improving and cultivating relationships with existing families is often a priority for marketing teams. 
  4. Contribute to school online donation efforts.
  5. Increase the number of subscribers or followers to your website, social media platforms, email marketing, etc.
  6. Increase the performance of your paid advertising.
  7. Improve conversion rates on your website.

These are just a small taste of the myriad of marketing goals that your school could set in 2021. So how do you know where to start? Let's dive in to our four step process for setting marketing goals.

 

1. Get clear on your overall school objectives

Before you even think about setting marketing goals, you need to look at your school's business objectives.

Your school most likely has a business plan with high-level goals or objectives that should guide all of your school processes. In 2021, it's even more important that every team within your school (including marketing!) is clear on your business goals and are working together to meet them. 

When you set your marketing goals, you should always be aiming to 'move the needle' on your school's overall business objectives.

 

2. Consider your current position

Take the time to understand where your school is at now in terms of your marketing — and be honest about it! There are a few things you'll need to take into consideration: the current performance of all of your marketing channels, your marketing resources, your team size and capabilities and your budget. Making plans to increase your website traffic by 50% might sound great on paper, but is it truly achievable? Unattainable goals are a surefire way to discourage your team and abandon your plans. 

Entrepreneur offers a series of great questions that help you to ensure your goals are grounded in reality:

  • Can I really and truly do this?
  • Have I come close before with similar efforts?
  • Do the numbers, time frame, and dollars seem somewhat impractical?
  • Has my competition or have other companies done similar things?
  • Am I avoiding the attitude/mindset that says, "There is no way possible this can be accomplished"?

 

3. Get your whole team involved

It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes a team to set marketing goals. Having the key people in the room while you're goal setting helps you to ensure that you have buy-in right from the start, and can also flag any potential issues that you may not have thought of on your own. For example, if you are planning an extensive video marketing campaign, a member of your team who is more experienced in video may flag that you need an additional resource or extra budget in order to complete this goal.

A good way to keep everyone on track is to make sure your marketing goals are SMART. SMART stands for: specific, measurable, aspirational, realistic and time-bound. When you agree on a goal, run through each quality of a smart goal to make sure it measures up before you add it to your plan.

If you're still having trouble setting your team's marketing goals, then try to...

 

4. Work backwards

When you picture your marketing results at the end of 2021, what do you see? By starting with the end in mind, it becomes easier to set goals and figure out the tasks that will get you to those results. Kathryn Aragon, editor of The Daily Egg writes,

"I always start with my end goal and work backwards. Where do I ultimately want to be? What do I want to be doing? And why does it matter? Then I evaluate the tasks and skills I'll need to reach that goal and their priority. By deciding what needs to be focused on first, second, etc., I essentially create a road map for reaching the goal I've set."

Once you have your results in mind, it's time to create a school marketing plan that gets that road map down on paper. A marketing plan is the best way to get everyone in your team on the same page about the results you expect to see and the milestones you need to hit.

 

Getting started

If you're ready to get started with goal setting in 2021, here are some excellent resources to get you on your way:

 

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