As the new school year kicks off, school marketing and admissions offices are often caught in the throes of the back-to-school admissions hustle. With open houses on the calendar and campus tours around the clock, per-click (PPC) ads for schools become the linchpin of a successful digital marketing strategy, aiming to attract prospective students and make a strong impression in the crowded world of marketing for independent schools.
Yet, as with any paid digital marketing, schools need a fine-tuned strategy, one that could be the difference between a successful admissions season and one that falls flat.
Managing your community’s digital marketing and PPC ad strategy is no small feat — there’s a lot to consider, especially when there are over 12 observable changes to Google each year! If you’re new to the world of PPC ads for schools, Google Ads is a great place to start because that’s where your families are searching — Google racks up more than 8.5 billion searches every day, accounting for more than 80 percent of all online searches.
From planning to deploying, there are a lot of steps in between to ensure you are targeting a relevant audience and reaching goals for enrollment and marketing your private school.
If you want to revitalize your admission team's fall PPC campaign and secure a spot at the top of search results, there are tips that can elevate your paid advertising ad campaigns and ensure that your school stands out for all the right reasons.
1. Harness the Power of Callout Extensions
Whether you’re marketing for a private or independent school, you will want to leverage this tool in your paid Google Ads strategy. In the world of PPC Search Advertising, every character counts. Callout extensions offer 25-character opportunities to expand beyond your core advertising copy and deliver more information to attract relevant prospects.
This is where your school can really shine! Your content can entice your prospective audience with all the amazing reasons their child should attend your school. If you aren’t sure what will grab potential families' attention, partner with your admissions office to understand your audience and then fine-tune your messaging for potential students.
It’s important to note that these callout extensions don’t come with any added costs, as they aren’t clickable. If anything, this could be a potential cost-saving strategy, and like the example from Avenues The World School above, it can help you reduce low-value clicks that eat into your budget. As mentioned, every character (and dollar) counts to deploy a winning digital marketing strategy.
2. Elevate Your Ads with Sitelink Extensions
Sitelink extensions are even better than Callouts because they are 25 characters of text that link to specific pages on your website, typically different from the one indicated in the main ad headlines. This way, prospects can navigate directly to the most compelling aspects of your school’s story, such as “Small Classes”, “Nationally Ranked Debate,” or “IB Curriculum.”
Agnes Iwon School applies this approach by connecting with potential families based on their priorities rather than leading them to a general landing page. And for all the marketers out there, the good news is this will likely improve the clickthrough rate (CTR), allowing prospects to jump directly to their preferred content with a click. That sounds like a win-win!
3. Boost Your Ads’ Effectiveness with Call Extensions
Call extensions allow accessibility to your school while also creating legitimacy for your school’s brand. According to Google research, 70% of mobile searchers use the click-to-call feature, and 47% of mobile searchers say that if a business does not have a phone number associated with their search results, they will be more likely to explore other brands.
Call extensions, like this one from St. Thomas School, enable mobile ad viewers to initiate a phone call to your school with a simple tap on the ad, generating a personal connection quickly, which is crucial for families to develop confidence and trust in your school. To make the most of this cost-effective feature, schedule it to run when your staff can connect with parents. For added convenience for searchers, along with the phone number, a QR code appears to scan and call quickly!
Investing in paid Google Ads for your school can be a major tipping point in getting in front of prospective families this fall. Ad extensions will increase your opportunity to capture a relevant audience's attention and deliver your school valuable results. While making sure you’re staying on track with your advertising budget, ad extensions also increase your ad’s presence in search engine results, which can push competing results below or toward the fold, providing an added advantage.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Teryn is the Sr. Growth Marketing Manager at Finalsite where she is responsible for developing strategic inbound marketing tactics. With 4+ years of experience in driving demand for organizations, she is always ready to dive into data or discover new ways to convey a brand's story. She has a passion for developing marketing campaigns that unite customers with solutions tailored to their specific needs!