Personalisation in marketing: How a personal touch can boost your marketing game
With more and more data available to marketers, and the continued refinement of how this data is analysed and sorted (especially with AI), it is becoming easier to understand audiences.
Who they are.
What they like.
Where they live.
What they do.
But what should schools do with this data? It deserves to be used for marketing and admissions, so how best can we achieve this? We found an interesting article around personalised marketing, and identified key takeaways which form an interesting topic for school marketers to explore.
Takeaway 1: Audience profiling by location enables brands to target lookalike consumers to expand their reach in a more targeted way.
This is something we actively employ when helping clients create PPC adverts on social platforms like Facebook. By understanding general likes and key demographic information about your existing community, you can use algorithms to create similar audiences, or lookalike audiences, to better target your ads with.
This of course does not end with PPC advertising, regardless of the platform you decide to use. Utilising this data can help with other campaigns you may run. Perhaps you can use this data to post out school information to certain catchment areas where you feel there might be a higher take-up on enquiries.
Takeaway 2: Personalised stories resonate, and there’s a wealth of consumer data at your fingertips to help you tell them.
You know what entry points you have for your school, so why not tailor marketing material to be more relevant for that age range? This enables you to send content that is bespoke to enquiring parents, offering something far more relevant and enticing.
This could include (but is by no means limited to):
Tailored prospectuses: you could change the colours to fit your junior/senior school brands (if different), styles of text and copy, style of photography used, and much more.
Video introductions to the school: adapt the feel of the video and style to suit the age range you are looking to market to/for.
Bespoke virtual, guided tours: focus the guided tour on sections of the school that would be of more interest to the desired entry point. The nursery or perhaps even the forest school would be more suitable for early years pupils. For secondary it could be the top sports facilities, state-of-the-art media studio or the school’s incredible library; the extraordinary elements of the school you want to represent, and which will entice.
Takeaway 3: The more data you get from your consumers [community], the more tailored your marketing can be.
It makes total sense, right? But what can you do with all this data?
An effective marketing tactic in this case, is to build personas of your perfect customers. In doing so you’ll be able to use them to tailor your marketing efforts to best match their likes, needs and habits.
Your personas should represent core groups of parents, pupils, applicants to your school, and even alumni. The more information you have on these groups, the more well-rounded personas you can with create. Studies suggest that three to four personas can help generate up to 90% of a business’ sales!
Takeaway 4: It pays to consistently develop your approach and get creative with your data.
Marketing, particularly in a digital setting, can be incredibly fluid. Trial and error often leads a good marketing strategy, as trends and consumption habits of audiences change year-to-year and month-to-month.
This could be achieved by implementing A/B testing across your marketing campaigns. This means that you would send out content to your audience as normal, but with slight variations. This could be anything from different copy, different images or videos, a change in the colour scheme, the format it is delivered (digital or non-digital), and much, much more.
You can then review which of the two versions was more effective, or rather had the better engagement/conversion rate.
Takeaway 5: Understanding how consumers use their devices, in conjunction with other behavioural data, you can optimise a campaign for more impactful results.
Mobile tech has changed how people consume content. It is essential to stay ahead of the game by better understanding where your community are spending their time online.
For example, video content is in right now but are you creating video with mobile in mind? We know from research that video is being consumed on mobile at a much higher rate than in previous years. In fact, 70% of YouTube views are on mobile devices.
In knowing this, are you applying up-to-date best practices when producing video content for your community? Can it be more impactful because you have taken the time to understand how your audience are most likely to view it?
Takeaway 6: Don’t just make it personalised, make it shareable.
Word of mouth will always be your school’s most powerful marketing tool! While personalised marketing has its huge benefits you still want your community to talk about and share what you are sending out.
Takeaway 7: Storytelling that leverages customer data enables brands to drive more meaningful connections on a personal level and increase brand loyalty.
Perhaps the most important takeaway of them all! Personalised content can certainly be a fruitful investment, after all it shows a caring and understanding of your audience, but the thing that will take this to the next level is content created with a story in mind.
#SchoolStories remain at the pinnacle of what we promote as the largest driver for schools on social media. It gives parents, pupils, and prospectives an insight into what makes your school unique, and what they can expect to get should they be a part of your community. It offers an intimacy between you and them which can have true longevity.
Personalisation in marketing can offer so much when employed well. It does require both time to put together and robust data to implement well. To summarise, here are a few key considerations that you can take away from these takeaways:
Know who you’re targeting by making good use of your data. This can include basic demographics to online behaviours, attitudes, interests and perceptions.
Build real-life, data-driven personas of your target groups, and personalise your communications for each of them.
Understand where your audience consumes data, and the devices they are most likely to use, to know what, how, and where to optimise.