School Marketing Budget: How to Control Digital Marketing Costs

Industry: K-12 Education SEO

"Conversions are tracking. We know what are marketing is doing and how it’s getting there. We were paying too much and we also had several holes that needed to be filled in. We’re staying on target and doing better than in the past years. We’re close to full."

View The Results

While in growth mode, undertaking (and testing) multiple digital marketing channels in an effort to diversify will lead to a competitive advantage.  However, organizations and schools that have a more mature digital marketing program inevitably find themselves in the same predicament: expenses that have risen to an unsustainable level.

I was recently hired by a former client to assess their digital marketing effectiveness and to reduce costs while maintaining growth. We prioritized the following activities:

  • Review of analytics data and help determine where their best leads are coming from
  • Make determinations about keeping, dropping, or reducing advertising with Google Ads, Bing, etc.
  • Create powerful Facebook marketing campaigns using storytelling to create a connection with potential customers, for all segments (child care, private PreK, private elementary, ASP, camps), that changes monthly/quarterly
  • Conduct a general website content review–we don’t want to do anything that will mess up SEO

SEO Activities:

Before any change, an expert analysis and benchmarking process must be done. That requires pulling in and reviewing accounts and data to see where traffic, conversions, and leads were coming from, including:

  • Google Analytics
  • Google Search Console
  • Google Ads
  • Ranking Reports
  • Local SEO dashboards
  • Facebook Ads
  • Retargeting Platform – AdRoll

The following activities were then executed on:

  1. Improved Conversion Tracking and Reporting

  • Identified and implemented micro and macro conversion tracking measurement
  • Used Google Tag Manager pixels for event tracking and call tracking
  • Added more Google Ads integrations
  • Customized Google Analytics goals tracking
  • Created a SEMrush ranking report and weekly website crawl
  1. Organic and Local SEO refinements:

  • Refreshed the copy and cut down on overuse of keywords
  • Refreshed on-page SEO with image alt tags and an internal linking strategy
  • Recommended and worked with the owner and developers to:
    • Migrate from to a separate mobile site to a cohesive mobile friendly site
    • Add an SSL certificate and migrate to a secure “https” protocol
    • Enact several changes to speed up the site
  1. Google Ads Refresh:

  • Created new campaigns based on priority age groups
  • Added new call-only ads and implemented call tracking to measure calls that were attributed to paid search
  • Tightened up target keywords and reduced the max CPC to cut down on unnecessary spending
  • Did a big one-time, much-needed sweep to add negative keywords and then began to manage then on an ongoing weekly basis
  • Significantly simplified the structure to make it more manageable based on performance
  1. Facebook Ads/Paid Social Restructuring:

  • Established and reported on metrics and performance
  • Recommended photo updates with more relevant, updated, marketing minded imagery
  • Wrote new copy that was more relevant, included more CTAs and highlighted more emotional copy; tested using testimonials and reviews in more ad copy
  • Restructured the account
  • Built out lookalike audiences/similar audiences and added retargeting for priority groups

After tracking and priority channel improvement execution was done, I began to reduce monthly spend strategically to ensure neither conversions nor results decreased.

The Results

Within 5 months, we:

  • reduced total digital marketing costs by 60%
  • increased traffic 32% year over year
  • not only maintained inquiries, tours and enrollments but also increased inquiries and enrollments during a key fall Admissions month by 40%.

At the end of 6 months, this favorite client of mine shared the following:

Conversions are tracking. We know what are marketing is doing and how it’s getting there. We were paying too much and we also had several holes that needed to be filled in. We’re staying on target and doing better than in the past years. We’re close to full.

Want to get a professional’s outside perspective on your digital marketing lead generation effectiveness? Reach out now and let’s set up a call.

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