Your schools website fulfills many roles in your digital strategy. It functions as a recruitment tool, a helpdesk for your parents, and marketing tool just to name a few. With your website performing such a wide variety of tasks, how should you go about measuring success?
Start by Quantifying Your Objectives
Before we are able to determine if your chosen digital strategy is working, you must have a firm understanding of what your objectives are. Let’s say for instance that you wish to increase enrollment into your school. Your objective may say something along the lines of:
“Increase the number of initial contacts with parents of non-students”
That’s a mighty broad objective, and because it’s so broad, is difficult to define success with. In this instance, the number of initial contacts isn’t a quality indicator as to if this goal was met. Why is that? Because you likely want to focus your efforts on attracting parents that are interested in attending your school, not just parents in general. You also want to define what initial contact is. If your school has an email marketing campaign, maybe you want to increase the number of emails that get submitted to you. If you prefer to give tours, then you may have a particular form that you wish to increase conversions on. Knowing this, let’s try to be more specific.
“Increase the number of emails that are collected from parents of non-students interested in attending our school”
We are getting closer, but we still want to be just a tad more specific. “Increase the number of emails” still leaves a lot of ambiguity. Let’s try to tighten up our objective just a little bit more by quantifying what it means to “increase” as well as by adding some sort of timeframe.
“Increase the number of emails that are collected from parents of non-students interested in attending our school by 10% within the first year.”
There, now we have a objective that we can measure. As with all goal setting exercises, be sure to set goals that are within reach. You’ll want to go through and quantify your goals for all areas of your digital strategy and for all of your objectives of your web presence. If you're unsure as to what your goals for your website should be, digital marketing agencies like us are available to help. Quantifying your objectives is one of the most important parts of this process so don’t hesitate to seek out help if you feel as though you may be in a little over your head or wish to have a second opinion.
Formulating A Plan of Action
Now that we have a better understanding of what we wish to achieve with our digital strategy we can begin to formulate a plan for getting there. There are a few things to consider when coming up with this plan.
Consider Your Audience - If your goal is to increase involvement in parents, what is the best way to reach them? How does that compare to reaching students? While you may find parents to be more reachable via email, you may find you tend to get more engagement from students on social media.
Consider Your Competition - How is your competition using the web? What are they doing well that you can adapt, and what are they doing poorly that you can learn from? Consider not only your immediate competition (i.e a rival school), but check out how other schools are using the web in various states or districts.
- Consider Your Tools - Your website is a great tool, but you may find that there are other tools that you can use to better achieve your digital goals. For instance it is often cheaper to use a service such as Unbounce, rather than your own website for creating landing pages. In the tech world there are many options for streamlining your marketing campaigns and so it is encouraged to consider the alternatives and determine if they are a better fit for your school.
Measuring Progress and Success
As you begin your plan, you’ll want to measure progress at every step along the way. How are your facebook or adwords campaigns performing? What sort of engagement are you getting on twitter? What type of landing pages are performing with the highest rate of conversion? Being able to keep track of your progress will help you determine what is working and what isn’t. Do be careful however to not change your strategy so often that you aren’t sure as to what is working and what isn’t. The trick it to make small changes, measure the results and repeat. By the end you’ll be able to walk away with a clearer idea as to not only what you wish to achieve as an organization, but what works and a plan for improvement.