Researching the challenges the school was facing and its competitive reality was the first step.
This sought to uncover:
Typical parent profile 'persona'
A survey of existing parents was run. This turned out to be a rich source of material that fed into the concepts for the school re-brand. Parents responded enthusiastically and revealed what they loved and valued about the family-run school.
Factors such as class sizes of max 15, whole child development, emphasis on outdoor learning, scholarship potential, focus on ‘old-fashioned’ courtesy and values, and sporting opportunities scored high.
The survey provided real voice of customer and information on parents’ opinions, fears and desires. This feedback was then used to add authenticity to the website copy by using the parents’ words in the headlines, body copy, and calls-to-action.
It’s often the smaller stuff that is most resonant and phrases that stood out were some of these:
“Children can actually climb trees”. “The school’s like Hogwarts”. “There’s lots of old fashioned courtesy”. “Children actually open doors for one another”. “Kids get to do den-building, exploring copses and collect conkers”. “My children can now identify sparrow hawks and buzzards”. “Confidence-building: everyone gets to be on sports teams, in plays and music concerts”. “My child’s no longer lost in a crowd like she was at her state school”.
Competitor school assessment
Sompting Abbotts is one among other (bigger) independent schools in its area. It became clear via online research and review mining that what differentiated it in a positive sense was the fact that it was not a big school.
The traditional values and homely atmosphere of the small prep school were what really appealed to parents.
They felt they were getting more value for money from the individually tailored approach offered by a school where every staff member knows every child. They saw this as a plus over and above the one-size-fits-all style, more ‘hot-house’ approach of larger establishments.
Value proposition and USP
The combined research gave rise to the school’s new tagline: Education to future-proof the magic of childhood.
It emphasised the fact that the school gives children what its parents want. That's a rounded, excellent academic education that prepares their offspring for careers ahead, coupled with a safe and traditional childhood.
Parents clearly appreciated that the school is somewhere children still collect conkers, build dens and climb trees. A protected place where children really could be children in a world in which they’re often forced to grow up too fast.
SEO keyword targets
Keyword research showed that the content on the current website meant that the only target phrase Sompting Abbotts ranked for on Google’s first page was its own.
Page content was carefully written. It leant on strategic keyword use and crafting of SEO meta elements.
A Wikipedia page for the school was authored. This was good for credibility and SEO visibility. A Google My Business listing strengthened this.
The result is that the school is now on Google’s first page for all its target terms such as: West Sussex independent school; Worthing private school; Prep schools near Worthing; Preparatory school Sussex; Independent schools in Worthing; Private primary school Sussex; Private primary school worthing and Independent school Sussex.