23 Feb 2022
With many schools closed to visitors, showcasing what makes you great has never been harder. We explore 6 innovations and ideas from the marketing community, including the latest in video technology and new groups being set up online to support you.

PictureA virtual tour from 360 Marketing Lab

1. Keep talking

Apologies if this comes across as patronising, but it can be easy at this point to think that your stakeholders aren't interested in you, or that they will react badly to communications. US marketing expert Nick LeRoy puts it very well in his latest newsletter...
The most critical thing that you can do as a school leader is to stay in communication with your parents and prospective parents.
Social Media, emails, announcements on your website and yes, even phone calls. Now is not the time to go quiet. If anything - err on the side of over communication.
Tell your prospective parents how you are managing through this crisis. Tell your current parents and students how much you miss them.
Now, more than ever, it is important to tell your school’s story
2. Show off your school in 360 degrees of glory

Taralyn Cox has just set up 360 Marketing Lab. The company creates online tools that she describes as “the marriage of a self-guided, interactive, 360 degree ‘visual’ school tour, with the added benefit of rich, embedded, audio-visual content. It’s not a film of your school and it’s not just pretty pictures of rooms. It’s not static and you certainly do not just ’watch it’ - you explore it".

Remote viewers can explore each space, on any device, including a VR headset.
You may think you’ve seen a ’virtual tour’, but you’ve not seen one like this before! If you can't get into your school now, consider this for the summer. 
3. Create a virtual tour

If there are people in your school - for example children of key workers - why not set them the task of creating a virtual tour? They can use a phone, an iPad or a video camera and walk around the school, while keeping social distancing? Photographer Simon Jones explains that the quality isn't what matters in his vlog on the subject.

4. Host virtual events 

Website design company Finalsite produced a very good blog analysing what schools can do online in the current crisis. But I was especially taken by their last point - hold your open events online! We're all getting used to Zoom calls now, even young children, so why not offer this personal opportunity to ask questions. 
5. Start a blog - or use the one you have

A blog is an ideal communication tool for this type of crisis - it conveys your school's ethos and sense of community. Schools often run them from the perspective of the headteacher but why not ask different members of your community to share their experiences? (Thanks to AMCIS for the idea in this blog!)

6. Join a school marketing community and see what others suggest

In these times, no one person is going to have the ideal solution. So why not ask fellow school marketers? Join Toucan Tech's new forum for ideas around development and our own Marketing Advice for School LinkedIn group for marketing!  

And please share any more ideas that you have!