From No Marketing to All-In-One Platform
Founded in 1996, Lincoln Minster School offers its pupils a rich and varied education that stretches beyond the classroom. As with any independent school, Lincoln Minster School needs to ensure that it encourages enrolments and develops its profile as an institution of excellence. With this in mind, the newly appointed Headmaster, Mark Wallace, created a dedicated marketing department in 2016.
“There are currently just two members of staff on the Marketing Team and with a school that covers three sites, we have a wide and varied remit, from photographing nursery activities to negotiating with global education consultancies,” explains Gemma Lowe, PR and Communications Manager at Lincoln Minster School. “Our main aim was to get more leads and to manage them more effectively. We were concerned about how many enquiries may have been lost in the past due to the previous software package not being fit for purpose, and it was also a challenge to keep in regular contact with all of our leads effectively. Even losing just one potential pupil would represent a significant loss of potential income, so we needed a system in place to make sure that we were handling enquiries efficiently and robustly.”
The Marketing Department started by using point solutions, such as MailChimp for emails, and dabbled in PPC advertising, but were struggling to get the results they needed. It was crucial that the team made a change and the competitive education market meant it was more important than ever to get the message about the nature of the school’s strengths into the local and wider communities. The team realised that an all-in-one marketing automation platform was the best way forward. The team were already aware of the HubSpot software and when a colleague from a nearby university told them that they were already using it, they took the opportunity to pay a visit and see how it worked.
“We saw how well it was working for them, and it was clear that this was something that had significant potential for us. It was easy to use, and its automation features would be a real timesaver. We signed up in September 2017.”
Automation with Personality
Since using the HubSpot software, Gemma and the team have completely transformed the school’s website. It has an active blog, and it encourages traffic by creating shareable posts through the Social tools in Marketing Hub. It has also gated some of its important content, such as the school prospectus, behind forms that require visitors to leave their details.
“We build up progressive profiles of our contacts and then enter them into workflows that speak to their interests. For example, if we see that contacts are interested in their child studying music, then they will receive an email inviting them to attend one of our ‘Lunchtime Live’ music sessions or popular concerts, held in Lincoln Cathedral. This ongoing engagement welcomes them into the Lincoln Minster School family so they already feel part of our community before they enrol.”
Lincoln Minster School is enjoying great success with this more tailored approach. Leads are automatically nurtured with regular communications, which cuts down on manual tasks and saves time. Once contacts do visit the school for a specific event, they convert to enrolment much more quickly because they have been nurtured in the right way.
Gemma has also trained the school’s administrative teams on how to use the HubSpot platform.
“Our administrators are often the first point of contact for an enquiry, however, they used to have to pass any enquiries up the chain, which wasted time. Now they can input the details themselves. Hubspot has become so much more than just a straight marketing tool. For example, if our Headmaster is meeting a family, he can simply open up the CRM and see all the information we have about them at a glance, ensuring a tailored approach for all individuals.”
There is no doubt that Lincoln Minster School’s Marketing Department is making a difference. In fact, it has been so successful that it is the process of hiring a new member to join the team.
“Teachers and management are noticing the changes as well”, says Gemma, “They see how effective our efforts are on the ground with more people visiting the school and more interactions on social media. This is tangible proof that what we are doing works. They have a lot of faith in the systems we are using. We are really pleased with the positive feedback from academic staff.”
Results from Day One
Lincoln Minster School started seeing results right away and in just six months, website traffic increased by 53%, with enquiries up by 118%.
“We’ve really focused on creating and promoting our content, and it’s working wonders. For example, in the weeks when we publish a lot of news stories, our website visitors increase by up to 30%.”
“We now get around six enquiries every day whereas before, we got an average of sixteen a month. This is a huge increase, and we can directly trace it back to our actions. We’ve definitely noticed an increase in pupils enrolling in the school mid-year as well. We've had about 30 new pupils so far this academic year, and that is nearly double our mid-year intake compared to last year.”
Lincoln Minster School is part of the United Learning Group, which includes several independent schools. Gemma is attending a meeting with the other independent school marketing teams in the group shortly, where she plans to recommend that they adopt the HubSpot software.
“Marketing in independent schools can still be very old fashioned, but HubSpot has put us at the forefront of the movement to change that. We are proud to be making an impact and we’re showing that effective marketing can make a real difference in increasing the number of pupils on roll in independent schools whilst at the same time treating parents as valued partners whom we have a real interest in.”