Our brains crave learning new information nearly as much as our stomachs need food. We actually have a dopamine response when we receive new, interesting information, much like our brain is triggered when we enjoy a delicious meal, according to research.
As a school professional, that inherent thirst for professional development is a good sign that your brain is ready to learn more. You’re actually hungry to learn something new … Can’t you just hear that rumbling?
But with all responsibilities of your office throughout the school year, it’s never easy to find a quiet moment to catch up on the latest strategies and best practices that help your school or district’s marketing and communications meet parents’ rising expectations, or eat your lunch, for that matter.
Whether it’s finally getting that PPC ad campaign launched, drafting the perfect newsletter template, or finding ways to work smarter, not harder, the start of a new year is the perfect time to change that with some new learning opportunities.
Finalsite’s Learning Center offers some of the best free online courses for school professionals, taught by Finalsite’s experts in school marketing and communications, digital advertising, admission strategies, and web design.
We know you’re busy, so these learn-at-your-own-pace courses are perfect for school professionals with schedules that never stop. Each course comes with free resources, slide decks, and additional reading so you can dive even further into each subject and meet those new goals for your school.
Here are our top five picks for free school marketing courses that will jumpstart your learning.
Creating an accessible experience for all users is a top priority for schools and districts, not just because it’s the law, but because it's the right thing to do. From color contrast and alt text and proper heading structures, learn what’s required to stay compliant while engaging a wider audience.
We’re excited to launch this course in early February — register now and you’ll have first access to the course materials, resources, and more.
Expect to learn:
- What it means to have an accessible website
- How to create accessible content
- How to form a plan for ongoing maintenance
- How to conduct an accessibility audit
Total learning time: With about half a dozen videos, this course will clock in at just over an hour.
Within an increasingly competitive field, it’s more important than ever to implement a formal, integrated marketing plan for your school. Learn what it takes to attract, engage, nurture, and convert new families (and retain current ones!) Register for the course today and be among the first to access the course as soon as it’s released this February!
Expect to learn:
- How to set marketing goals & understanding your families
- How to map the family journey and create content
- How to plan your marketing initiatives and prepare for success
Total learning time: There’s a lot to cover, but you can expect to breeze through these six lessons in 90 minutes or so.
- School Marketing 101: 6 Steps to Build a Basic Marketing Plan
- Content Marketing 101 for Independent Schools
Digital advertising isn’t just for private schools anymore. Families have more options for their child’s education than ever before and boosting your school's online presence and digital advertising is now a “must.”
Consider this: Can prospective and current families find you quickly and easily, especially when they're using a mobile device? Whether you’re competing locally for enrollment, looking to bolster your reputation, or looking to do a better job telling your school or district’s story, digital advertising and inbound marketing should be a component of every school and district’s communications strategy.
Expect to learn:
- How to identify and prioritize the top keywords and search phrases
- How to optimize your on-site content for search engines
- How to improve your online reputation through Google My Business and online reviews
- How to get started with advertising, including setting a budget and finding the right outlet
Total learning time: Grab the popcorn! This course consists of eight videos, coming in at just under two hours.
Out of all your school’s mass communication efforts, your district’s emails are some of the most trusted and vital sources of communication, but are they getting 5-star reviews from your community? From mobile-friendly designs to creating your communications calendar, this course covers the latest email newsletter strategies to engage and inform your parents.
Expect to learn:
- The latest parent and community expectations
- How to build the most effective communications calendar
- Tried-and-true email newsletter layouts
- Time-saving tips to cut down on newsletter prep time
Total learning time: You can watch all three lessons in about 90 mins.
- Your No-Fail Recipe for Building the Best School Newsletter Layout
- 10 Proven Strategies for Amazing District Email Newsletters
It’s more effective to keep a customer than it is to find a new one — in some cases, acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing customer.
This course features seven lessons on all the new rules of parent retention — strategies you need to keep parents and students engaged, excited, and enrolled at your school. Heading into spring, this is a perfect course for admission and marketing offices, and even districts looking for new ways to keep their families at their schools.
Expect to learn:
- How today's families make decisions, and what proactive marketing and communications choices you can make to influence those decisions to retain families
- How to craft a year-long communication and marketing strategy for your website, email, and social media channels that keep parents engaged and excited about your school
- How to decide what content your parents and students want to see, and how to create and distribute it without increasing your workload
- How to build stronger partnerships between your school’s marketing and admission offices
Total learning time: Get cozy, these seven lessons span three hours, or about 1 Avatar.
Let’s make this the year you refine your admissions goals, improve your school’s retention program, or finally set aside some time to pick up new SEO and digital advertising strategies. With these free online marketing and communication courses, you can even enjoy your lunch while you listen and learn!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Connor has spent the last decade within the field of marketing and communications, working with independent schools and colleges throughout New England. As Finalsite’s Senior Content Marketing Manager, Connor plans and executes marketing strategies and digital content across the web. A former photojournalist, he has a passion for digital media, storytelling, coffee, and creating content that connects.