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Article-3-SRM-version-2

Engaging with schools – the right tools for the job

Posted on Friday, April 19th, 2013

When the planning is done, the project has been signed off and the work begins, the first step is to pull together a list of the right institutions and teachers to target for the new programme.

At National Schools Partnership we have a core schools database of all 33,000+ education institutions in the UK, ranging from nursery, infant and junior schools to secondary schools, further education colleges and higher education institutions. Recent changes in the education landscape have meant that this database can never stand still; it’s constantly developing as more academies and free schools open on a monthly basis.  And it’s one that you need to keep alert to; only last weekend 13 new studio schools were launched across the country, each one with a particular vocational specialism.

This database allows us to target educational institutions very specifically according to the bespoke brief for your campaign, selecting target schools by many different criteria – size, gender, location, funding type, achievement and deprivation, to name just a few. Recently we have mapped to cinema locations, supermarket postcodes and areas of affluence.

In addition to this we can overlay your own targeting requirements, whether it’s certain postcodes you want to reach, specific areas you would like to target or the profile of the family you want to engage with.

The layer above this is our own personal database of over 52,000 teachers who have opted to receive information on National Schools Partnership programmes and activities. We can profile these teachers by activity history, their role within an institution or subject interest areas.

The result is that we are able to select the right teachers and right institutions for your programme.

So once we have identified the right target audience, the scope of work moves on to deciding which methods to use to reach them. We utilise many different communication tools to reach teachers and educationalists, ranging from the more traditional (e-comms, direct mail, paid-for advertising and direct telephone targeting) to the more innovative (micro blogging, content sharing, communities, networking sites and collaborative communities).  Different methods are pulled together to create a bespoke Activation Plan for each project.

When it comes to the effectiveness of each of the tools we use, we report via National Schools Partnership analytics on e-comms open rates, click-throughs and click-throughs to registration. As a result of running over 200 campaigns we understand the best time to send an email, which subject line will work, whether an e-comms template will reach a teacher’s inbox and how to write benefit-led copy that will engage those in the education world. Our judgment is used to decide when a direct mail piece is going to work, how to maximise its results and when it’s appropriate to call the teacher directly.

I hope this has given you an insight into effective school engagement. In future editions of The Channel we will be covering social media best practice in the ever changing education world, the use of relationship and awareness channels to increase traction with your programme, and how to successfully utilise owned, earned and paid-for channels. If you have a particular question you would like answered in relation to the above please email us on moreinfo@nationalschoolspartnership.com

By Louise Weisbloom, Head of Engagement, National Schools Partnership

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