Keene ISD is small 3A school district near Fort Worth, Texas.
Moon & Owl Marketing was tasked to run a campaign that drew a minimum of 30 transfer students. Each student is valued at $6,770 of funding increase for the district. If 30 students transferred into the district, this would result in $203,100 in increased district funds from the State.
Students were allowed to transfer into grades which had space within the current teacher structure while maintaining their ideal student-to-teacher ratios.
Over 70 students transferred into the small district which we directly tracked to the campaign. This number of transfer students was over twice the campaign goal. This means Moon & Owl returned in revenue a whopping 3,233% in new district dollars versus the amount spent on the campaign.
SMM Campaign Strategy
Run a multi-pronged campaign that includes:
- A capture landing page for parents to sign-up as interested.
- A geo-targeted social media marketing ad campaign on Facebook and Instagram.
- A billboard campaign.
- A radio campaign on the local radio station.
- A direct mail piece geo-targeted to areas in which we wanted to acquire transfers.
We continued to use the Big School Opportunities, Small School Experience slogan that we created for the client. The USP statement highlights that student opportunities rival larger districts while offering students a lower teacher-to-student ratio and more chances to participate in extra-curricular activities.
Ads highlighted the unique academic, sports, and extracurricular opportunities for transfer students. They also included awards and achievements of Keene ISD along with testimonials. We used pictures of Keene students to project authenticity and a caring atmosphere provided for each student. We also highlighted vocational opportunities and dual-credit opportunities.
All the media reinforced the other channels. By far, the largest driver of site traffic and actual transfers was the social media marketing campaign. When people in the region saw the campaign on their social media feed, they had “been seeing Keene ISD everywhere,” as one transfer parent stated. This multi-channel stacking amplified the social media catalyst.
Facebook & Instagram Ads
We created a robust number of social media ads for Facebook and Instagram.
All the ads used photos of actual Keene students to promote the value of authenticity. We made sure the SMM ad balance covered several areas of benefit:
• Academic Excellence (school ratings, recognitions, etc.)
• Academic Extra-Curricular (Robotics, Small Animal Science, etc.)
• Fine arts
• Sports / Athletics
Targeting the SMM Ads
We used multiple targeting criteria to A/B test ad performance.
We then targeted these ads in a geographical donut shape around the current district so not as to waste ad funds targeting existing district students.
We also used the target of “parents of children” and “parents of teenagers” on some groups to see if these outperformed ads without that additional targeting. They did, so soon we rolled all ads to this interest.
An additional group of ads was targeted to the same geographical areas with the added target of “friends of friends” of people who like the Keene ISD Facebook page. This applies social credibility where viewers also get to see which of their friends already like the district’s page. At the top of the ad, viewers see “Jane Smith, Sam Jones, and 12 Other Friends like this page.”
We sent a retargeting ad to anyone who visited the sign-up for transformation landing page but did not sign up on their initial view. We saw very high conversion rates on these warm leads. These were ad viewers who had already taken the time to visit the page and had possibly intended to get to transfer their student to the district sooner or later. We made sure it was sooner. These ads catalyzed an actual conversion.
We used great tracking mechanisms. These include:
Google Analytics – The gold standard of determining from where traffic was referred and how many unique visitors the page had.
Tend.io – This new platform allows us to see the exact sources of people who completed sign-up. It shows all the sources of ads the visitor experienced and how many times they came to the page before converting. This tool is invaluable to track actual conversion results.
Keyhole.co – This software tracks the hashtag that we used in correlation with the campaign. This allows us to interact with people sharing the content to further the conversation.
Keene ISD – A Happy Client
Keene Superintendent, Ricky Stephens, and the school board were extremely satisfied with the results. The goal of 30 students transferring into the district was more than doubled and the financial return on their marketing investment was over 3000%.
The district is planning to run a transfer student campaign for a fourth straight year with Moon & Owl Marketing in 2018.