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Marketing Automation Example for Schools

I was just looking for a way to simplify our Marketing Automation strategy to a new school that we're working with, and it accidentally turned into this blog post:

Authors Note: We work with many industries, but our specialty is School Enrollment Marketing. Although this story features one of our school clients, Lead Nurturing & Marketing Automation applies to any industry where the end-customer has to make a decision about a substantial  investment.

What is Lead Nurturing & Marketing Automation?

Lead Nurturing is the strategy and execution of getting in front of parents of school-aged children in a specific geographic area, and offering them something of value (premium content) in exchange for their name and email address. Then we continue to communicate with them consistently with our messages culminating in a specific call-to-action, such as “hopping on a phone call” or an invitation to an Open House. This process is pre-strategized and automated, hence the term “Marketing Automation.”

The Story

Mary was sitting around looking through her Facebook newsfeed. In between the pictures of cats, the latest political tirade, and what her neighbors had for dinner, she sees a sponsored post “A Parent’s Survival Guide Evaluating a New School.”

She’s not satisfied with her children’s education, or the school environment, but really wasn’t sure what her options are.

This looks interesting, so she clicks on the post and goes to a landing page offering more information about how the enrollment process works. It looks pretty straight forward, and she doesn’t have a lot of extra time on her hands, so this guide might come in handy.

She is intrigued by the thought of her children moving into a safer environment that caters to individual interests. She fills out and submits the form with her name and email address so that she can receive the free guide.


She instantly gets an email with a link to where she can download her free guide. It lays out some interesting facts that she didn’t know about the advantages of a charter (or private) school. It’s not an overt promotion of the school, but it does reference some of the programs and activities as examples.

A couple of days later, Mary gets an intentionally personalized-looking email that says “Hi, Mary. I trust that you found value in the guide you downloaded a few days ago. I know that you’re concerned about your children’s education, so I wanted to pass on a bit more information that wasn’t in the guide.” This may include some information on the benefits of personalized learning, or statistics on school bullying in public schools, etc.

A week later, she gets another “personal” email with information on study tips.

On about the 4th or 5th email, she gets an invitation to attend a webinar, or Open House, or to talk directly with an admissions counselor, etc.  Mary accepts the invitation and takes the next step toward enrolling her children.

(What happened behind the scenes)

When Mary first saw that Facebook sponsored post, she wasn’t actively looking for a charter school at that particular moment. She was actually at the top of the “Sales Funnel.” She was the one that “opted in,” thus making her more receptive to what we were about to send her.

Once she submitted that form to get her guide, she went into the school's contact database. At that point, the Marketing Automation strategy and software took over.

Each of the emails that Mary received was pre-written long before she ever saw our Facebook post. The software automatically inserts her name to personalize the message. Each message was strategically designed to build credibility, and “earn” the right to sell her on the concept of a charter school education.

How did we know to show our Facebook post to Sara in the first place? Well based on our Buyer Personas (fictitious representations of your ideal parents), we know our ideal candidate for enrollment had certain demographic traits and interests. Based on that data, we strategically set up our Facebook filters to market only to the "Mary's" of the world.

Another Typical Scenario…

Whereas Mary was at the top of the Sales Funnel (Awareness), "Kathy" already knows what she wants for her kids. She actively searches on Google for “elementary schools with small class sizes near me” and goes directly to the website to learn more. Since Kathy is farther down the sales process (because she's the one who initiated the search), she just picks up the phone and calls to get more information.

Of course, she may want to download the free guide or fill out a contact form instead. Either way, she too will start receiving “personalized” emails.

So, what do you think? Was the concept of Lead Nurturing and Marketing Automation easier to understand as you walked through it step-by-step with Mary?  

Marketing Automation is NOT for every business. Typically, products and services requiring some degree of consideration (like the life changing decision of what school to choose for your family) are better candidates.

If you would like to learn more about School Marketing techniques, I invite you to download one of our free eBooks from this page.


Digital Marketing Blueprint

Enrollment Strategies & Support for Schools & Businesses

Enroll More Students

The Schoolmasters Guide to Enrolling more Students

Schoolmasters Guide

The Schoolmasters Guide to Selecting the Best Marketing Team

25 Website Must Haves

Sometimes just doing the basics makes all the difference.

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