Cyber Charter Schools face unique challenges, setting them apart from traditional public schools. One of the biggest challenges they face is being profitable in order to keep their doors open. Many Charter Schools, unlike publically funded schools, have to market like today’s businesses. Being found online is one of their critical marketing challenges.
Establishing Online Prominence
Many Charter and Cyber Charter Schools are trying to be found on Google and other major search engines, but the competition is fierce to be in line of sight of parents and students who are searching for alternative educational options. Their search could be for a variety of unique reasons: they may be looking for a stronger academic environment, ability to change a student’s social climate and influences, they could be professional athletes or performers/entertainers who are looking for ways to pursue their education while continuing their career.
Due to the competitive environment on Google, many Charter and Cyber Schools are resorting to buying ads on the search engines. Unfortunately, many users shy away from clicking on ads because they don’t trust them. For this reason, click-through rates for an ad campaign tend to only be 2–3% – not a very successful yield.
In working with several Charter and Cyber Charter Schools, we found that the average school was spending over six figures every year to be ranked. Charter and Cyber Charter Schools know that it is expensive and the results are limited, but they feel it’s a necessary spend. Furthermore, if they cut off the spend from ads they fear disappearing from prospective parents and students altogether. We were asked by one regional Cyber Charter School to help them change this. They understood that being in the top organic listing was important for trust with prospective parents and students.
We researched the appropriate keywords and phrases that we were seeing prospective parents and students using consistently. Then, we specifically targeted low competitive phrases that had a high return of leads. What was critical was not simply ranking position but that leads were converting due to the quality of search results.
Once the search strategy was implemented, there were several instances where we refined a search query because there was little to no conversions of leads, or there was not enough volume to justify the work.
Within six months of the search campaign we were able to rank the Cyber Charter School on 143 keywords and phrases, which in turn allowed the school to cut nearly 50% of their spend on ads. Additionally, they hit their annual enrollment goals early.
“A solid and diverse strategy can grow your business, but it’s important to understand that a good search campaign is not simply about being ranked first on Google, it is ultimately about finding the right mix of users who are looking for your services. With this Cyber Charter School, we were able to find the users, cut spending, and meet business objectives.”