The 3 Biggest Mistakes Independent Schools Make With Google Ads

by Trevor Waddington, Principal, Truth Tree Consulting


It’s no secret that Google Ads is the single most important digital marketing tool on the planet. Why? Because no matter what, when someone searches “private schools in the Chicago area,” there is a 92.42% chance that person is searching on Google. And you are not going to be the first thing that person sees unless you pay to play. At Truth Tree, we spend countless hours creating and analyzing Google Ads for private schools and summer camps. We’ve seen some amazing ones (and maybe “borrowed” an idea or two from what we’ve seen 🤭), but other times, we see ads that are ineffective money pits. Here are the 3 biggest mistakes we see independent schools make with their Google Ads. 1. Leading with the school name - Unless you are the top school in your market, the name of your school is not going to mean much to a prospective parent. If they are searching for an independent school, there’s a reason. If you can address that reason in 30 characters or less (the length of a headline), you are going to find success with your Google Ads. In the example below, you can see I don’t even use the full name of the school in the ad. And that’s okay. It’s not about your name. It’s about what you can do for their child(ren) and family.


2. Keywording your school name - Keywords are used by Google to identify the best pages to display and in what order to show them. Unless the name of your school is Amazon Academy or Disney World Prep, there’s no need to use your school name in your keywords. In some industries, like eCommerce, it’s commonplace to the point of necessity. Because of this, the “bigtime” PPC firms follow their script and keyword the name of their customer. Here’s the deal, if someone is searching for your exact school name chances are they are looking for….wait for it... your school. In all likelihood, it’s a current parent looking to access the parent portal or check the calendar to see when the next soccer game will be. So naturally, they click on the first thing that has your name. So unless your competitors are trying to capture some of your glory and their ad is showing above your organic snippet when the user types in your exact school name, nix the name in your keyword bank. 3. An ad that points to the homepage - What if you were shopping for a 1989 candy apple red Porsche 911 with the G50 transmission. While you know exactly what you want, you go to Google and start a bit broad with your search. #HangWithMeIAmGettingThere


Then bam, the first listing you see describes precisely what you are seeking. You are so excited and click the page snippet. While you were expecting to see this.


The ad points to this...


...a gorgeous webpage, but nothing about the Porsche and no way to immediately contact the dealership to inquire about the car. Just as important as the ad itself, you need a landing page that continues the story that started with the ad. If you talk about your International Baccalaureate program and small class sizes in the ad, the user should end up on a page that speaks about IB and the benefits of such a program in a small class setting. It should also have a contact form above the fold so you can capture the user’s information and start the all-important initial conversation with them. There you have it. The three biggest mistakes private schools make when creating their Google Ads. Email me today and I’ll send you two bonus mistakes that are becoming more prevalent: trevor@truthtreeconsulting.com

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