When you ask the question, “How do I get started with online strategies for Montessori marketing?” the most common answer is, “Start with SEO!”
That’s not a surprise. SEO is the go-to method for Internet marketing. Everyone, from clothing designers to local, mom and pop restaurants, uses SEO to attract new clients.
But is SEO necessary for you? Is it truly the most effective way to market your school to your local community, or is there a better answer out there?
In this post, we’ll discuss why SEO may not be the best option for marketing your Montessori school, and what other type of marketing you can do instead.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization, SEO, is one of the most common Internet marketing strategies. You’ve probably heard the term before, but your understanding of it may be fuzzy. Here’s what SEO means in a nutshell:
SEO is an expanding list of strategies to optimize your website so that you can reach more search engine users.
The idea behind SEO is quite simple. You have a website for your Montessori school. You want to reach prospective families who are interested in the Montessori method. You optimize your website so that search engines like Google and Bing decide to promote your content to its users. Ideally, when the search engine user types a question into the search box and hits send, they’ll find your website. That’s because (once again, ideally) you’ll have a content blurb, article or blog post with the answer to the user’s query. After exposure, they find out more about your school and fall in love, and you live happily ever after.
While often associated with website content, like blog posts, SEO encompasses much more. SEO also includes other strategies, such as making sure that your website is mobile-friendly and that it loads correctly on smaller screens like smartphones and tablets. Google considers this and over 200 other factors to determine your ranking on the search results page.
What’s not simple about SEO is the implementation. No matter how many “SEO for beginners” posts that you come across, it’s not that easy, especially if you’re a true beginner.
Why SEO Doesn’t Always Work
Let’s take a look at the reasons against using SEO for marketing your school.
1. It’s a huge time commitment
SEO doesn’t deliver quick results. It requires months of careful implementation before you see your article among the first 10 results on Google. (And brace yourself because it may never happen.)
2. It doesn’t always work
Here’s what they don’t tell you about SEO: It doesn’t always work. What if your target audience isn’t searching for “Montessori schools?” If no one’s searching for Montessori schools in your area, you won’t be able to reach anyone.
3. You’re at the mercy of the search engine
Search engines are notorious for changing their policies on a dime. From penalization to downright blocking your website, search engines determine whether or not their users get access to you.
4. SEO is complicated
SEO requires a lot of fancy footwork. In fact, you may need to hire an SEO specialist to help you. That’s because SEO is ever-changing. What worked last month won’t work today.
5. You may not make it to the first page of results
It’s essential to be ranked within the top 10 results, or the first page, of a search engine query. If you land on page 2, it might as well be page 102. Very few people look past page one of the first.
If Not SEO, What Can You Do Instead?
Now that we’ve taken an even-handed look at the pros and cons of SEO for private school marketing, you may see that SEO isn’t the right answer for your school. So what’s the alternative?
As it turns out, you’re probably already familiar with the answer: Facebook.
While Facebook has built up a reputation as the most popular and ubiquitous social media platform in existence, it is also a powerful marketing solution. In fact, no other marketing solution can come close to Facebook marketing. That’s a bold statement, but we’re about to explore why it’s true.
Why Consider Facebook for Private School Marketing?
Why should you go with Facebook to market your Montessori school to prospective families? Let’s discuss.
Target the right audience
While SEO relies on the use of targeting keyword phrases, Facebook is a lot more exact. You can target individuals based on demographics and behavior. This type of targeting is a lot more precise than the SEO strategy, which requires a bit of mind-reading and a lot of guesswork on your part.
Typically, the SEO strategy works like this: First, you must define your target audience. Second, you must create content around keyword phrases that you think your audience will type into the search bar.
However, with Facebook, you don’t need to guess. You can target the right audience every time. Want to reach parents between the ages of 25 and 45? You can’t do that with SEO, but you can with Facebook.
Additionally, you can reach people on Facebook who’ve visited your website before but didn’t make a decision. Those prospective families may need a gentle nudge, and you can provide that through a thoughtful Facebook marketing strategy where you nurture and encourage action.
Set your budget
One of the benefits of SEO is that it’s “low cost.” In fact, this is perhaps the most important benefit that SEO holds over Facebook marketing. However, when you consider that SEO isn’t actually free, you’ll start to see the benefits of Facebook. SEO requires content creation, website maintenance and an ever-watchful eye on search engine algorithm changes and system-wide updates. In other words: SEO requires manpower. You’ll still need to pay someone to perform all of these tasks.
Facebook allows you to set your budget to as little as $5 a day. Also, there’s no long-term contract, and you can start and stop whenever you’d like.
See the effectiveness of your campaign
Through Facebook Ads Manager, you can evaluate the effectiveness of your ad campaign. There’s no need to fool around with the ever-confusing Google Analytics to see which pages are bringing in the most traffic.
You can use Facebook to find out, at a glance, which ads are most effective, how many people have viewed your ads, how many have clicked on your ads and a plethora of other metrics. Results are straightforward and you can immediately amend your campaign based on what the metrics tell you.
Change on a dime
As mentioned earlier, one of the drawbacks of SEO is that it takes a long time to see whether or not your marketing strategy was successful. For example, with SEO, you can create a series of blog posts surrounding the importance of hands-on learning in early education. The intended goal of your posts may be to pique interest in your Montessori school; however, you may not achieve your goal of stirring up interest, and it may be months before you find out that your effort didn’t work. Then, all of your hand work in writing that series of blog posts is destroyed and you’re back at square one.
With Facebook marketing, you can see immediately (and I’m talking within hours) the efficacy of your ad campaign. If something doesn’t work, you can change it right then and there.
We know that navigating the world of online marketing can be challenging and we’re here to help. We offer a done-for-you enrollment marketing service that’s built to increase enrollment and retention rates. We’re limiting this program to only a few schools, so sign up now for a free consultation.