Your School’s Marketing Budget

Last week I had the opportunity to lead a webinar for 100 school administrators throughout the nation. As a follow-up to this webinar, this week I hosted a Q&A session with the same group.

There were some great questions that were asked that I may write about in future posts. However, two key questions were asked about a school’s marketing budget that I wanted to address.

1. What percentage of a school’s budget should be allocated to marketing?

Your marketing budget should be at least 2% of your school’s total operating budget. Typically, I recommend to school administrators that they should allocate 3-5% of their budget to marketing initiatives. Most schools I have worked work don’t allocate nearly enough!

2. What are the top priorities and initiatives that should be included in a marketing budget?

There are two main areas that I recommend including in your marketing budget. First, all of your initiatives should be focused on fueling word-of-mouth marketing. You should ask yourself this important question: Will this initiative help generate word-of-mouth marketing for our school? If not, then you might want to think twice about including it in your budget. You should include dollars to build your parent ambassador program, customer service, internal communications, video vignettes, your school’s brand and more.

Second, your dollars should be focused on developing an exceptional website and utilizing key online marketing strategies. After the word-of-mouth referral, the prospective parent will take a look at your website. This is a critical first impression and must be a budget priority. Beyond your school’s website, you should allocate resources towards search engine optimization, Google AdWords, Facebook and more. Web-based marketing must be a priority in your budget.