An Inbound Marketing Storytelling Strategy at Eastern Christian School

Screenshot 2014-06-04 08.02.32During the year, I have guided the leadership team of Eastern Christian School, in North Haledon, NJ, in their enrollment and marketing effort through my Enrollment Catalyst coaching program. I meet weekly with Tom Dykhouse, Dick Van Yperen and Gloria Tenewitz through video conference calls to help them implement our plan.

As part of this process, we recently launched a new website (April). North Star Marketing has been a key partner in this effort by developing their brand and website, as well as providing implementation of their SEO and PPC online strategies. The website was created on a WordPress CMS platform.

Through this process, our goal was to develop a marketing focused website that features stories about Eastern Christian School of their faculty, parents and students. Using the website as the base, our strategy has focused on the use of Facebook to push these stories out for engagement which, in turn, has helped to drive traffic back to the website.

Let me share our process and strategy.

First, as the website was being designed, we decided to feature a primary area on the homepage that would focus on these stories. We believe that the core of our strategy is to tell why people love the EC experience. The homepage showcases a rotating photo and quote which links to their specific story page. We can showcase five stories on the homepage in these rotating images.

Second, we also placed a priority within our main navigation to include a section called, EC Stories. Our goal is to use this section to build and house the EC story library. We will continue to add stories to this section.

Third, in order to collect these stories, we decided that it would be easiest to develop a Q&A format and send this out to our target groups through Survey Monkey. The administrator sent out these survey questionnaires to all of the faculty and staff.  Most of the faculty and staff submitted their responses to the questions.

Then, we followed this same approach, while altering the questions, by sending out surveys to all the parents and to selected students. In the email correspondence, we communicated to the recipient that their responses would be used on the website and on Facebook and by responding, they were giving us approval to use their story online.

This strategy has been very effective in collecting stories especially since we didn’t have the personnel to conduct personal interviews and write individual stories. Essentially, the 100 faculty, parents, and students that responded wrote their own story.

Fourth, a staff member has been instrumental in this process to capture photos of the individuals that have shared their Q&A story. As you can see on the website, these photos make a significant difference and brings to life the story of the person.

Screenshot 2014-06-04 08.04.57Finally, once the stories have been posted on the Eastern Christian website, we share these posts on the school’s Facebook page. The success of this strategy is that these posts feature real faculty, parents and students at the school and link back to the website.

In April alone, we found that this strategy increased social media traffic as a direct source to the website by 300%. We are using these stories to engage our audience on Facebook and to drive traffic back to the website.

In addition, to maximize these posts, we have boosted these posts to increase the exposure to the school’s Facebook fans and their friends. For a minimum cost, the reach of these posts and stories has been significantly enhanced. What we have found is that the posts with the most engagement feature the school’s faculty.

The stories are also being used in our admissions lead nurturing email that is sent every two weeks to our inquiry base. By doing this, we are able to specifically target our prospects with real stories about the Eastern Christian School experience and we can continue to keep the school in front of them.

We believe that this storytelling effort is the key component to our inbound marketing strategy at Eastern Christian School.

Do you have an inbound marketing strategy to collect and tell stories about your school?

Does your website tell stories about your people—your faculty, parents, students and alumni?