3 Keys to Getting the Most from Facebook Advertising in K-12 Education (Part 1)

In education marketing, we have our work cut out for us.

There are so many choices these days. So much competing for attention. More direct and indirect competitors. Shorter attention spans. A target market whose buying habits and preferences have changed drastically. A lot of rushed, time-starved people we’re trying to get our messages in front of who don’t want to be sold to.

For these reasons, it’s critical to strengthen your online presence and make sure that you’re being seen everywhere your target market is. And one of the easiest and most affordable ways for the Education market to stay top of mind and drive awareness and website traffic is through Facebook advertising. There are an infinite number of creative combinations you can do to further your marketing goals through this platform.

3 Must-Know Success Secrets to Paid Social Advertising with Facebook

Facebook advertising is relatively easy, as long as you can get past the initial technical set up and dedicate consistent efforts for the duration of a campaign. Whether you’ve already tried Facebook advertising and haven’t seen the desired success, or you haven’t ventured down that path before at all, you need to know these 3 keys to success:

  1. Understand the nuances of your target audience and their mindset. Here’s the piece I think most people forget. On Facebook, your perfect audience is not sitting around looking for you, your products or services (like they are with Organic SEO or Google AdWords which is housed on a platform where people are actively searching on keywords and answers). With AdWords Search there is intent, but you can’t control WHO is behind the computer searching. With Facebook, you’re targeting based on demographics that haven’t yet raised their hand and indicated they’re interested in you (unless you’re doing Facebook retargeting which is a different animal). Mindset, strategy, and carefully planned elements are keys to successfully targeting an audience who is likely to become a customer or prospect for your sales pipeline.
  1. Go beyond demographic basics if you want to turn up gold. Like all marketing channels, success requires knowing your target market inside and out. With Facebook, most people never go beyond spending a few minutes listing out basic interests and demographic details. That’s all fine and good if you want to stay broad and you have some budget set aside for brand awareness. But if you want traffic, clicks, opt-ins, or purchases, then you risk wasting a lot of money on an audience who will never convert. When pursuing conversions that take a prospect down the funnel from “aware” to “interested,” the key is specificity. Taking the time to fill out an avatar is the piece most of my clients want to skip, but it’s also the most important for going beyond basics and unearthing a target who is likely to click. Plan on taking 10-15 minutes minimum to go through this exercise. Digital Marketer has a great customer avatar PDF you can download for free. And, to get your wheels turning, Wordstream offers a fantastic infographic of targeting options you can review here. Targeting decisions and segmenting your audience with multiple ads is how you then decide on elements that will resonate with your theme. That moves us to the next point, which is the necessity of capturing interest with a very compelling image, text, offer and landing page.
  1. The creative elements must flow together. Obviously the creative aspect is one of the most important pieces of your Facebook advertising success: what is going to resonate with your target market and entice a click? Boring ads will be the kiss of death. Personality matters and will make or break your entire online presence. I’m constantly telling my SEO clients this. If you’re not different and proving that to Google, you won’t have a chance at raising and maintaining your rankings. In Facebook, without having a household brand name you can leverage, you have to catch people’s eye in a different way. You have a limited opportunity to pique and keep that initial interest with media, a heading, messaging, and an offer that flow together seamlessly. Remember, people make decisions very unconsciously and you have .0002 seconds to hold their attention. Oh, and think you can overlay text on an ad to squeeze more copy? Think again. Facebook is extremely particular about this. If your image contains more than 20% text you will experience reduced reach. Facebook has a tool here you can use to check your image: https://www.facebook.com/ads/tools/text_overlay#.


Facebook Ads: Ideas for Education

There is an infinite amount of creative possibilities you can pursue with Facebook advertising. Here are a few ideas for Facebook ad campaign targeting based on your audience and their interests:

  • Graduation
  • New drivers
  • Parents of preschoolers
  • Parents of high schoolers
  • Soccer moms
  • Students currently in college
  • People located near a certain university, college or school district
  • People interested in toys
  • People who read certain magazines or who are fans of an industry association Facebook page

Get creative! Especially because the K-12 education market revolves around nailing your marketing in the right season. Are you:

  • Running a special? You can upload a list of your customers who have already bought from you and market to them.
  • Wanting to bring your website visitors back to your site to keep them moving down the funnel?
  • Attending a conference or tradeshow?
  • Putting on a workshop?
  • Ready to target a new demographic?
  • Leveraging a list of new customers that you can upsell to?
  • Wanting to get new content in front of your existing Facebook fans?
  • Planning an upcoming product launch?
  • Encouraging app downloads and purchases?
  • In the midst of School admissions season?

In the next post, I’ll share with you Part 2 of “Facebook Ads Success for K-12 Education” which covers tips on putting together your Facebook ad strategy, ROI and budget planning, and of course one of the most important pieces of all: tracking. Stay tuned!

(If you would like to chat about making sure you’re utilizing Facebook effectively as part of your K-12 education digital marketing mix, reach out today.)

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Jenny Munn

Jenny is an independent Digital Marketer and SEO Consultant with more than 10 years of experience helping companies and content creators generate brand awareness, traffic, and conversions with SEO. She is a frequent speaker and is on the faculty for the AMA (American Marketing Association) and has taught SEO to thousands of marketers over the past 10 years.
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