Innovations International Charter School of Nevada
Five miles from the Las Vegas Strip, Innovations International Charter School of Nevada had the odds stacked against them.
Like other charter schools, IICSN faced a set of unique challenges when it came to marketing its program — many families simply don’t understand what a charter school actually is, the benefits of a charter school education, or even how the enrollment process works. So when a school has to market to AND educate its audience, it can feel like a bit of a roll of the dice without a clear strategy and solid plan.
IICSN was taking a gamble — its old site’s content was outdated, the look and design weren’t cohesive, and the message wasn’t getting across to new families.
But its luck was about to change.
While serving 850 students from kindergarten through grade 12 across two separate campuses, Innovations, sponsored by the Clark County School District, is not actually part of the district, and there are certain regulations it's held to — just another one of the hurdles charter schools face with their marketing.
“It's a delicate balance,” said Mackenzi Creel, Innovations’ Promotions and Marketing Manager. “It's about getting our message out there and getting families to realize that we're tuition-free, we offer all-day kindergarten — all the things that would be hot-button issues for families who are disenchanted with the districts out here. We need to make sure our website hits on everything that would catch a parent's eye and speak to those who are asking, ‘I wonder what else is out there?’”
It was time to innovate. With goals centered around creating easier navigation and modernizing the site design, Innovations partnered with Finalsite for its website redesign project. The school also wanted a no-fuss backend editing experience so someone in-house could easily maintain the site.
Translation was also a big factor — Innovations needed a site that would make a great first impression but also be accessible to non-English speaking families and connect its program with a larger audience.
In addition to working with a supportive Finalsite deployment team, Creel and the Innovations team decided to pair its website redesign project with the partnership of Finalsite Advantage, gaining access to ongoing, personal strategic advice to support the school’s branding efforts, marketing strategy, and site launch.
"The whole system of working with Finalsite absolutely made it so much easier...Their knowledge and dedication allowed our site to go live without a single issue, and I feel so much more comfortable working with the website because of the team of people that we were given to work with. The whole process was phenomenal.”
PROMOTIONS & MARKETING MANAGER
Now, IICSN is “educating for life” as it serves students from all four corners of the Las Vegas Valley. A school on a mission, IICSN does a thorough job explaining its programs and marketing its vision to users.
Oversized hero images are placed throughout the site, content elements serve as enticing calls to action, and a well-organized site navigation provides information on how Innovations sets itself apart. Now, families are greeted by an intuitive user experience with easy access to portals, a search overlay with quick links, and site translation, among many other features.
“The whole system of working with Finalsite absolutely made it so much easier,” Creel said. “Their knowledge and dedication allowed for our site to go live without a single issue, and I feel so much more comfortable working with the website because of the team of people that we were given to work with. The whole process was phenomenal.”
“We’re expanding our marketing and targeting our demographics with messaging about what we do here that's different from the school district,” Creel shared.
Now, when edits to the site need to be made, Creel and other administrators can log into Finalsite’s content management system, Composer, and quickly make the updates using the drag-and-drop user interface.
Under public transparency laws, charter schools must maintain open discussions, notify the public of meeting schedules, and keep detailed records of proceedings, with some states conducting up to four audits a year for compliance. With a more streamlined process, Innovations can easily upload, access, and share its necessary documents, ensuring seamless audit processes and demonstrating its commitment to transparency.
“The Composer platform is user-friendly, and it’s easy to update and create new content and pages. When the auditors have questions, I can send them links because I know exactly where to find what they're looking for,” Creel said. “It’s so much easier just to upload what I need to the website, have it there, and be able to move on to something else — it has definitely given us a lot of time back, saved us a lot of headaches, and it allows me control.”
After more than 17 years in operation, Innovations had gone through several variations of its logo but had never really fallen in love with its logo design. The Advantage team worked with the Innovations team to develop a new visual identity, one that would look great whether it was in print or online.
“It was 100% a partnership. Having somebody who could speak to different portions of the project was really helpful. Everything that we asked for, we were given options, and we were allowed to put our feedback into every single piece of it.”
“None of this would've been possible without the support team that Finalsite provided,” Creel said. “I have never done anything like this before, so having the training modules and forums has made it really easy for those of us who are new.”
Aside from a new visual identity and site design, one of the biggest upgrades was the added translation feature. By partnering with Weglot, Finalsite’s preferred translation partner, Innovations’ entire site can now be translated into Spanish with just the click of a button. That’s been invaluable for IICSN, which can now engage with a broader, more diverse audience and draw students from 52 different zip codes, expanding beyond the traditional boundaries of the school.
“When people are requesting tours, they're coming from parts of the city that aren't necessarily within our core area,” Creel said. “They say, “I saw your school online, I'd love to get more information, I'd love to take a tour of your buildings.’ Families are interested in their options, so being able to offer them something else through the website is a really great first touch point.”
With the time saved, Innovations is looking forward to reinvesting resources back into its marketing strategy and continuing to educate families about all IICSN has to offer.
“It’s really the best of both worlds. I can educate families through the website on what charter schools are specifically, and also what's unique about our charter school and getting our brand out there to show people what we’re doing.”
Now, Innovations is ready to win big.
“We're getting decent conversion rates now for people who are searching for charter schools, and they're actually enrolling,” Creel said. “The website gives a great first impression of what the school is about. Our forms have been absolutely invaluable — I'm getting submissions almost every day for tour requests, and families want to get more information about what charter schools are all about, especially our charter school.”
See for yourself how Finalsite's full suite of tools will save you time and improve your school's online presence!
Does your website make a good first impression? Get expert feedback on your school's website sent straight to your inbox!