FinalsiteUniversity-London Day One
LADY ELEANOR HOLLES
Day 1, 23 October 2018
Day 1 Highlights
We welcomed almost a 100 delegates from more than 20 countries to learn, collaborate and ‘reboot.’ We shared 18 compelling presentations across Admissions, Marketing and Communications.
During our presentations and thought-provoking round table discussions, there were two clear messages we heard from you: that school marketing is shifting its focus to human connection and need for brave, bold marketing.
We heard a lot about honest, heartfelt connection - whether it’s through personalisation in web design or customised email messages, there is a significant interest in what drives prospective families and alumni - emotion.
Meanwhile, technology and integration have become inseparable - how we use data and technology to connect with each other and add value to each other's lives.
Welcome to our delegates who have come from over 20 different countries, from Mozambique to Milan!
Day 1 FinalsiteU-London in a nutshell
- 90+ Delegates
- 53 Schools
- 20+ Countries
- 18 Compelling presentations
- 15 Speakers
- 3 Streams of discussion
- Plenty of Finalsite Cookies!
- A lively round table discussion
Keynote - Reboot Your Strategy
Jon Moser, CEO and President
Jon Moser, CEO and President of Finalsite, kicked off day one with his keynote highlighting the importance of addressing the needs of your audience. They depend on technology, they want information at their fingertips, and tracking progress and staying on top of what’s on their plate is imperative. Engaging them with an awesome site experience and content that adds value.
"They say marketing has changed, but has it, really? The core concepts of marketing transcend the decades, but need a reboot for 2018 and beyond."
Jon Moser, CEO and President, Finalsite
3 Important Insights
- The message you're trying to get across hasn't changed, it's the medium.
- You must be able to pinpoint the pain points and obstacles of your ideal prospects, as well as the questions they ask to find answers when they begin researching and by creating an inbound marketing strategy to attract, recruit and retain families.
- Never stop selling the value of your school
– A Behind the Scenes Review of Zurich International School's Parent Portal
– Getting Started with Inbound Marketing Basics
– SEO 101: The Basics of Search Engine Optimisation for Schools in 2018
A Behind-the-Scenes Review of Zurich International School's Parent Portal
Speakers: Michaela Seegar and Penny Morgan
School: Zurich International School
Michaela Seegar and Penny Morgan returned to FinalsiteU-London to share how to gain parent engagement in communication by having a clear strategy by combining the weekly newsletter with social media. During their presentation Michaela and Penny gave us a unique opportunity to look into their new parent portal.
Strategic planning is the crucial beginning of the communication journey, followed by customization and personalization of messages. That way we can achieve engagement with our stakeholders.
What current families want:
- Timely information that is relevant to them
- The ability to find information from other areas of the school if desired
- Short news items
- Easy ways to find and navigate the news
Getting Started with Inbound Basics
Speaker: Lauren Barth, Finalsite
During Lauren's session we learned how to build a successful inbound marketing strategy from the ground up that attracts, converts, and delights prospective families and donors - what more could we want! Lauren's session explored the basic concepts of inbound marketing to help identify where your school should focus its energies. We finished up with a few simple tips that we can put into action today!
By now, you've heard the buzz around 'inbound'...but where to begin?
Are you interested in learning more about inbound tools?
- Yes, please
- Not right now
- Maybe in the future
SEO 101: The Basics of Search Engine Optimization for Schools in 2018
Speaker: Red Abbott, Finalsite
Organic search success in 2018 requires a mix of tactics. Red gave us an overview of the four cornerstones of SEO and the things you can do now to snag the low-hanging fruit without deep SEO experience.
50-60% of school site traffic comes from search engines.
- Schools are local businesses in the eyes of Google
- The Keywords tag has been irrelevant for a long time
- Reviews are an increasingly important part of the search experience
Red's recipe for success:
- Local SEO
- Directory optimization
- Branded optimization
- Themes have replaced keywords
- Reviews are here to stay
Which describes your site?
- Has never had SEO
- Some SEO, in-house
- Active SEO, in-house
- Some SEO, outsourced
- Active SEO, outsourced
– Moving Mountains: A Journey to Peak Project Performance
– Hands On: Getting Started with Composer
– Hands On: Building Landing Pages that Convert
Moving Mountains: A Journey to Peak Project Performance
Speakers: Michelle Starke and Rosie Paxton
School: Leysin American School in Switzerland
Michelle and Rosie gave us a walk through of Leysin American School's website redesign, highlighting key tips for a successful project along the way. They talked about the importance of looking into commercial websites as well as school websites for inspiration, and the importance of connecting with your community of Finalsite users to gain insight into how they tackle industry-wide challenges.
Remember: your website is never 'finished'; it's a living and breathing marketing tool that needs constant updating.
Michelle's tips on managing a full-time job while launching a new website:
- Use your Finalsite team as a resource
- Plan the best time to launch and take your time
- Set aside time every week to work on your website
Hands On: Getting Started with Composer
Speaker: Vina Kapasiawala, Finalsite
Vina didn't just walk the walk, she talked the talk and showed us how Composer's intuitive, simple drag and drop interface will have you creating beautiful mobile-friendly pages in no time. We explored how you can use Composer's modules like Calendar and Forms to bolster the types of content you can add to your pages. Vina showed us how we can mix and match any type of content with Composer's flexible elements, and to remember to use the "mobile preview" feature to see what your page will look like on different-sized devices.
Composer is the core of a Finalsite website. You can create, manage and publish content for the web without any prior web-development experience...
Did you find this session useful
- Yes! Very
- It was okay
- It didn't address my needs.
Hands On: Building Landing Pages that Convert
Speaker: Lauren Barth & Alexander Wack, Finalsite
Lauren reminded us of the importance of offering a pleasant, relevant and efficient experience when a prospective family or donor is ready to either take the first steps to offering their details or indeed ready to make a transaction!
Never have a button say 'submit'.
Have a clear value proposition
Include a video or slideshow
Use social proof
Keep it short and simple!
Create a 'Thank you' page
Are your landing pages working for you?
- Yes! I must be a star!
- They seem to do the job
- They need a makeover!
– www.canford.com - How we did it!
– Hands On: Advanced Composer
– Digital Advertising 101: Where to Start
– Getting Buy-In
How We Did It!
Speaker: Philippa Scudds
Canford’s website project was complex and multi-faceted. In this session Philippa skilfully demystified the stages from concept to launch, providing useful insights from first hand experience along the road to achieving a highly successful outcome.
Many school websites follow a predictable pattern. Be heard, not herd.
What prospective families want
They arrive on your site with high expectations of a quality product, and it's important that your site delivers.
A variety of elements, plenty of calls to action and simple navigation will all go a long way towards creating a strong and lasting impression, leading not only to making a visit but also to positive feedback to other prospective parents.
Education is dynamic - and so is your website. Crucial to the success of your overall digital strategy is a website provider which is as innovative and as on top of its game as you are as a marketer.
Philippa's key insights
- Do your research – and don’t restrict this to sites within your sector.
- Trust your instincts – While it is important to hear different viewpoints, ultimately you must control the outcome.
- Never underestimate the power of an image – you are marketing a high quality product. Low quality photography and film will quickly undo much of the good work you put into your content and design.
Hands On: Advanced Composer
Speaker: Alexander Wack, Finalsite
Alex took a deep dive into composer, exploring all those settings in the elements. We toured linked elements and the "open in" feature and had some fun on the way!
The benefits of Finalsite's CMS - Composer
- Composer's intuitive, simple drag-and-drop interface helps you to create beautiful mobile-friendly pages.
- Use Composer's modules like Calendars and Forms to bolster the types of content you can add to your pages
- Mix and match any type of content with Composer's flexible elements -- and don't forget to use the "mobile preview" feature to see what your page will look like on different-sized devices
Did you find this session helpful?
- Yes, but I'm still unsure
- I'm confused
Composer is the core of a Finalsite website. Schools love that you can create, manage and publish content for the web without any prior web-development experience!
Digital Advertising 101: Where to Start
Speaker: Red Abbott, Finalsite
With advertising options in search, social media, and display, it's hard to know where to start. Red provided a primer on the features of these three online ad media and a framework for determining which is most capable of helping you achieve your admission, hiring, and/or auxiliary program recruitment goals.
Most campaigns that bid on your school name are hugely wasteful.
1. Search ads should usually be Step 1 for schools going digital
2. Display is a good mid-funnel tool
3. Social ads are better for long-term brand building
3 trends in school marketing:
- Ad budgets are shifting from print to digital
- Admission is a year-round endeavour
- No one has time to do it well in-house
Which is your primary digital ad medium?
Speakers: Meredith Kaplan & Max Eisl, Finalsite
Was this session helpful?
- It was a good refresh
- I knew it all already!
– Video Marketing Crash Course
– Intro to Messages (all new bulk email tool)
– Google Analytics 101
Video Marketing Crash Course
Speaker: Charlie Gauvain
Company: Eye Film
Video is everywhere and schools need to know how to make best use of it. Charlie Gauvain made sure of this in his mission to help schools understand how they can best embrace video marketing to appeal to their current and future students and parents.
There’s no such thing as ‘A’ school video anymore, schools need to be producing their own wide variety of video content on a regular basis.
Did this session help you feel more confident in video marketing?
- Yes! I can't wait to make a movie!
- No, I think I'll leave it to the experts.
Charlie's recipe for success:
- Careful planning will save hours in filming/editing
- Work in teams of 2 or more
- Sound is so important: don’t forget about it
- Always ask for copies of all the footage filmed for you
- Make sure you back up all your video content
- Invest in training
- Always consider who your audience is and how they are going to view your film. You may need to produce different versions.
- Engage with your students to help produce regular video content.
- For a small investment your video content can change from being amateur to professional.
Intro to Messages
(all new bulk email tool)
Speaker: Daisey Fahringer, Finalsite
Daisey showed us how to streamline home-to-school communications with the new new bulk email tool, Messages. She gave examples of how to slice and dice your constituent database to get the right content in front of the right people, and track your success! Voila!
Daisey's Recipe for success with Messages.
Create topic-based lists to ensure your messages go to those who truly want them
The easy-to-use drag and drop editor will help even the least design savvy user quickly create beautiful, mobile-friendly emails
Finalsite's user preferences and mailing list invitation feature will help your school stay GDPR compliant
Did you find this session helpful?
- A little
- Not really
Personalised, targeted email messages are the key to your digital marketing success
Google Analytics 101
Speaker: Red Abbott, Finalsite
Red cut through the vast array of website usage statistics available to you in Google Analytics to identify the things that a school marketer can use to work smarter.
No one on earth knows as much about school site stats as I do...
What do prospective families want?
- Basic admission process information first, then "your story"
- Interior pages are often making a first impression on people
- The home page needs to get people where they're going
- The more broadly you provide connection options, the more broadly they're utilised
How often do you look at GA?
- Daily to Weekly
- Weekly to Monthly
- Monthly to Yearly
- Hardly ever
– Gaining Advantage: Making the Most of Expertise on Tap
– Managing your School's Digital Footprint in an Age of Data Compliance and the Need to Protect 'Digital Me.'
– Hands On: Do Social Media Better with a Peer Audit
– Constituent Manager, Directories and Data Privacy
Gaining Advantage: Making the Most of Expertise on Tap
Speakers: Lynne Godding & Tracy Tigchelaar
During her presentation Lynne shares how Finalsite Advantage is assisting and enabling her to sharpen her skills and therefore better market AAS-Sofia in the current ever-changing environment.
Recipe for success
- Don't be afraid to ask for help!
- Be open to new ideas
- Be clear about what you need
- Decide on priorities and stick with them
- Don’t try to do too much at once
Marketing an international school is very different from a marketing a microwave, a lipstick or a chocolate bar!
Are you interested in finding out more about Finalsite Advantage?
- Sounds interesting - yes please
- I'm doing just fine thank you!
Managing your Schools Digital Footprint in an Age of Data Compliance and the Need to Protect 'Digital Me.'
Speaker: Mark Orchison
Company: 9ine Consulting
Schools are legally required to understand the impact of their digital footprint. Poor management can lead to reputational damage, financial loss and lasting damage to the perceived management and governance of the school.
- Articulating an understanding of data protection compliance will be a factor in choosing fee paying schools for parents
- A school's digital footprint expands beyond the website and social media
- Putting in place a 'protect digital me' strategy will touch every part of school life
Hands-On: Do Social Media Better with a Peer Audit
Speaker: Red Abbott, Finalsite
During this lively hands on session we learnt everything we need to know about competitor analysis and brand reputation analysis to improve our social media strategy. We took a live look into all the places people are talking about our schools!
Criticism means I think you have what it takes to do better, it's actually a compliment!
Would you like to find out more about Finalsite's social media audit services?
- I don't have time to do it myself - so, yes please!
- No thanks, I can do it myself
Constituent Manager, Directories and Data Privacy
Speaker: Dan Bonville, Finalsite
During Dan's session he suggested that we be smart about the way we approach our user's data.
How to make the most out of Constituent Manager
1. Constituent Manage can be used to hold all kinds of data about members of your community
2. Learn how to keep your users' data private and protected
3. Dynamic groups can be created to target users based on some attribute for display in directories or for email lists"
Fall in love with the customisation and control, and take courage in knowing how to control your constituent data privacy.
– #ifionlyknew: 7 Steps to Follow for your Next Redesign
– Round Table Discussions
#ifonlyiknew: 7 Steps to Follow for your Next Redesign
Speakers: Jess Clarke & Rosie Paxton, Finalsite
If you're serious about achieving your website goals, not only do you need to set those goals the right way, but you also have to get serious about avoiding distractions.
- Focus on foundational training,
- Pasting in content, inserting images and adding links to
- docs or webpages.
- Move to advanced, Posts, Calendar, Forms,
- Take a train the trainer model, create training groups based on their role with the website after launch.
Are you looking to redesign in the next 6-12 M?
- Yes, for sure.
- No way - I've just launched!
Round Table Discussions
There was no shortage of food for thought in the dining hall! Topics included:
- Social media is dumb - defend or refute
- The future of school marketing - where to place your bets
- GDPR - a benefit or burden
- Parent communications - finding the balance
- Finalsite product - who, what, where, when, why?
- Marketing to Millennials - is it really different?
Was this session valuable
- Yes! I'd do it again
- It could have been better
- Not for me
Thank You to our Exhibiting Partners
Special Thanks to Bonjour School Photography for the fabulous photography, Eye Film for the creative videography and Turtl for their assistance in creating the FinalsiteUniversity conference highlights.