4 Areas Small Schools Waste Marketing Money

Mar 14, 2020

Hey friend, 

I'm excited to chat with you today about four areas small schools waste money. 

Why is this important? Because small schools have limited resources, especially time and money! And I don't want you to waste those precious dollars and staff time.

So, let's get started. 

1. Outsourcing Ads (before you know how to do them)

Look, I get that Facebook Ads Manager is not the most user-friendly tool. It's clunky and complicated. Most schools take one look at it and shove it off their plate to an ads agency. 

However, if you're a small school, paying money to an ad agency is eating up dollars you could be using on ad-spend instead!

I recommend that all my clients consider keeping ads in-house at least for 6-months.

Why? Because you need to know how to create, track and evaluate ads in order to tell if an agency is actually getting results.

Yes, it's true. Even if an agency takes over your ads, you should be always check on the performance and results. You never want to just rely on someone's word.  

You won't know if your ads are effective if you don't know how to run them and evaluate the results. 

Another reason to keep ads in-house is that when (not if!) a recession hits, you're going to want to cut unnecessary spending and that means your ad agency.

That'll leave you with all your digital ads sitting in your lap again. And if you don't know how to run ads, you'll most likely panic, get overwhelmed, and do more harm than good. 

I recommend outsourcing $10/hour tasks instead of $100/hour tasks (like Facebook Ads). 

Why? Because you want to be the ones holding the value, having that high-level skillset on your team and inside your school. It'll save you time and money!

2. Hiring Big Teams 

As schools, we like to hire people for many different positions and then overwhelm them with projects and additional responsibilities.

What if instead, as I mentioned above, we focused on outsourcing $10/hour tasks and operating with a "small but mighty" team that worked efficiently and effectively?

Imagine a small "humble, hungry, and smart" team (read The Ideal Team Player!) that is so effective at producing, creating and collaborating that you're never behind.

They're focused and results-driven. They get more done than a team twice their size.

Would you want this small, productive team or a large but less effective team in charge of moving your school forward?


 3. Attending Professional Development

As schools, we value professional development. It's critical to our growth. It can also be pretty expensive. 

And unless we're strategic, it can be a waste of our money.

For example, small schools often attend "one -size-fits-all" conferences where the strategies offered will not work for your school's limited resources.

I've seen small school marketing directors walk out of conferences so overwhelmed. They have no team and only a very small marketing budget. Yet the strategies recommended to them might be to consistently post on social media 7 days a week on all platforms and spend $6,000 a month in ads.

It's a one-sized-fits-all strategy that doesn't work for everyone!

Another common issue I see with professional development is when a marketing director or Head of School attends a "one-size-fits-all" conference and wants to take action.

They either come back inspired but with no actionable strategies or try to take action on strategies that are not a good fit for their community. 

Or they're the only ones who went from their school. They returned excited but there's no way to implement what they learned, no way to educate their team on these strategies and there's no accountability to hold the leader or team to the plan. So what happens? It gathers dust.  

So is professional development a complete waste of money? Of course not! Its value lies in networking, learning broader concepts and hearing best practices of other schools.

But in order to reap the full benefit of conferences, small schools need to either 1) hire a coach to guide them through implementing strategies that work with their resources and communities, or 2) limit spending on one-size-fits-all conferences and instead focus on conferences/workshops that are specific to their niche or a skillset their team needs to learn. 

Something to chew on...the cost of most larger conferences is equivalent to 6-weeks of strategic marketing coaching!

So you could have six weeks of personalized strategy, accountability, and support for your team to implement the move-the-needle-forward actions OR you could attend a two-day conference. Hmmm...I know which one I'd  choose!


4. Not Asking "What's my return on investment?"

Whether it's the pens you order with your logo or the money you're spending on Facebook ads, every team needs to ask "what's the return on our investment?"

Sometimes the return on investment (ROI) is keeping a family or attracting a new one. Sometimes the ROI is to create a warm and fuzzy "we value you" feeling which will further connect a  family to the school. 

However, there always needs to be an ROI. And if you can't see the intangible or tangible return then you need to cut it. 

So often small schools spend money on the perfect marketing brochure or thousands of logo pens but they never stop to analyze the ROI.

For example, on further investigation, a school realizes that it's not the flashy (expensive!) brochures that are impressing prospective families, but the handwritten notes from teachers using student-created cards that convey the mission of the school best. 

How can schools save money? By always asking "what is the return on my investment?" 

Want to learn more? Watch the video for more great tips. 




Aubrey Bursch, Founder of Easy School Marketing

#privateschool #schoolmarketing #easyschoolmarketing 


P.S. Connect with me on LinkedIn - I'd love to hear about your favorite tips!