Marketing on a Budget

In the spring of 2022, LARAEC surveyed over 6000 member-district students. 25% of them indicated that they learned about their class or program through the school website or social media. This means that about one out of every four students that walks into your classroom, counseling office, or registration office is probably there as a byproduct of having seen your school online or through Facebook, Twitter, or other social media. If this is true, then how does a school with little or no budget for marketing compete for students?

Tight Budgets Can Be A Blessing

In his article, Marketing on a Shoestring Budget, Bart Caylor of Caylor Solutions, lays out some fundamentals around marketing with limited assets that he compares to driving that beater car you had when you were young:  It can get you there as long as it has the right fuel. Some of his recommendations:

Don’t pay someone to create your content: take an inventory of the content assets you probably already have. That includes recorded seminars and lectures, audio and lighting equipment, research and articles created by staff, student testimonials, past infographics, flyers, and blog posts. From this, you can repurpose this content for marketing and save a significant amount of money.

Robust Marketing Shouldn’t Mean Complicated: a complicated plan can be overwhelming. A robust plan just means you’ll cover the basics. It should include:

  • Messaging: what values and opportunities do you offer?
  • Personas: who is your target audience and what do they need?
  • Focus groups: spend time with your target audience to understand their preferences and perspective
  • Conceptualization: what layout, design, and navigation do you prefer for your virtual footprint?

Do-It-Yourself Doesn’t Mean Cheap: to cut costs significantly, build your website on a management system like WordPress. Platforms like this are user friendly and simple enough to allow you to make changes to website content without calling a web master or marketing firm.  This results in the ability to make more frequent changes and maintain fresher content

Outsource Work You Can’t Do: rely on independent contractors, consultants and content creators who freelance. In today’s economy, it’s easier and cheaper to find the right person for much less than hiring a marketing firm.

The full article also offers a number of tools to help you create and edit content for marketing.  Though the author heads his own independent marketing agency, the article contains a lot of practical information and ideas to help you market your school or program on a limited budget.

To read the full article, click here.

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