- Independent Schools
Jessica Cotton is a woman with a plan. A marketing plan, that is. She's the Director of Marketing and External Relations at Kingham Hill School. Tucked in the heart of the Cotswolds, Jessica says: "The school is a big family, really. A gem of a school, which in the past was best known to the local community." Jessica has big plans to increase Kingham's exposure, with the able assistance of Finalsite.
Kingham is a small, non-selective school with just over 300 students. The school prides itself on its intimate classes, beautiful campus, and most importantly, helping children of all abilities achieve the best they can. It clearly delivers this, reflected by The Telegraph who rated it as a 'Top Small Independent School' for highest A level results. One key aspect of promoting its mission involves attracting the kids who can thrive at Kingham Hill.
When Jessica joined the staff in 2015, she was tasked with reviewing the school's marketing strategy, in particular when it came to its former website. Firstly, Jessica had the following items on her agenda to tick off before she could get to the website:
- Rebranding: Time to reveal the shine of this hidden gem and rebrand the school's image!
- Videos: Jessica needed an effective, attractive way to convey Kingham's essence—the school, its students, their life there. Storytelling communicates powerfully; live-action, visual storytelling perhaps even more so. Have a look at them--they're short and sweet.
- Social Media: Establish Kingham Hill's presence on Facebook, Twitter , LinkedIn and Instagram
Then at last came 2017- Kingham's Year of the Website! Jessica already had vital pieces in place—fresh colours, language, engaging footage and social media. With those resources, she turned to Finalsite to create an attractive, clear digital framework for promoting Kingham Hill. Jessica's vision, plus powerful content like the aforementioned films made Finalsite's job easier.
Jessica needed to make what she calls the "journey to information," easier for site visitors. Finalsite helped her define the website's goals and looks, and the project took off from there. Even though the site launched less than six months ago, the school is already seeing solid results. According to the latest figures, the number of sessions per month has gone up by 40% and the number of users by 41%. Equally as important is where site visitors go. On the previous website, the most visited pages were (in descending order): 1) homepage; 2) job vacancies; 3) "About Our School" and 4) photos. Now, people head from the homepage straight to the headmaster's welcome. After that, it's on to the admissions page. Then, hopefully, straight to the Cotswolds!
Jessica and her Marketing Department are pleased with the recent statistics and beautiful new site. Another additional benefit has been the switch to Finalsite's e-Notify module, which has yielded huge savings in time. In the past, the weekly newsletter was created manually in Indesign and then distributed via the school's messaging system. The operation took several hours of Marketing Assistant Rachael Wallington's week, every week. Now Rachael can devote all but a couple of those newsletter hours to other tasks, including adding fabulous content and updating the school's shiny new website. Moreover, Jessica can now include the dynamic content she once only imagined in the school's newsletter and emails. "We've received really positive feedback from parents and staff, she says. "It makes reading the newsletter so much more fluid. People can just open the stories and click to read the stories of their choice."
This leg of Jessica's plan for Kingham Hill's marketing makeover was "completely worth the investment, she says. "We can do so much more with our website now, the increased functionality benefits both the school and its end users. I'm very pleased with the final result. It was a lovely project to oversee and deliver."
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Motor City Girl who: reads, writes & loves her three kids unreservedly; Also, gardening and proofreading. Believer in magic of all sorts.
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