There are many different ways to create a marketing plan and of course it depends a lot on your school and what you need marketing to achieve. But there are 5 things every plan should contain...
If you'd like more help with planning or would like to learn more about the whole marketing process, consider booking a place on one of our School Marketing Workshops or our online School Communications Course.
You could start a marketing plan by listing the 'marketing' things that you're already doing and carrying them forward, but this approach quickly becomes divorced from the needs of your school (and leads to people complaining that 'marketing is a waste of money'!) If you're not part of the senior leadership team of your school you need to ensure that they share the school's priorities for the next year. If possible these should be as specific as possible ('we need more income and better staff' isn't as helpful as 'we need to raise £50,000 from lettings and recruit 3 maths teachers'.)
2. SMART Marketing objectives
Each business objective will have at least one (and often more) corresponding marketing objective. These are objectives that are within your control as a marketer - you can't recruit 3 maths teachers through marketing activity as you don't control the recruitment process - but you can increase the number and quality of applicants and see this feed through to better hires. It's worth setting targets and making them SMART (that's Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound). So you might set a target to get 20 Maths teachers to register their interest in working for your school and 10 to come for interview over the next 6 months.
3. Marketing tactics
Each objective will have at least one tactic. For example, taking the recruitment objective, you might run adverts on a national website - or you might create a recruitment section on your website, make videos showing the great things you do to develop Maths teachers and share them via social media and Maths teaching networks. Or you might do both and compare effectiveness.
4. Budgets (Money and Time)
In order to show the impact of marketing it's really important to have a clear budget for each tactic - and particularly if you're marketing around other responsibilitie at school you need to allocate your time in a similar way. This allows you to compare different tactics - a series of national adverts might cost several thousand pounds but only take a few hours to write, while videos and websites are cheaper but more time consuming. You also need a contingency of spare time and money to allocate in case things don't go as well as you plan.
You need to be regularly checking and adjusting your marketing plan at each level. It's a good idea to set time aside monthly to look at how each tactic is working, how you're working towards your marketing objectives, and if there's any changes (hopefully not!) to school objectives.
If you haven't already, download our template here
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