Digital Marketing 101
Craig Group partners with Texas school districts to reach their constituents
In the spring of 2021, Katy ISD needed to put a $676.23 million bond package before voters, but they faced a big hurdle. The social distancing required because of COVID 19 prevented them from having the traditional town hall meetings to educate the public about the package.
So what to do? Pivot and go digital.
In a first for Katy ISD, the district partnered with Craig Group to target taxpayers with an educational message via paid search and social media.
Over the two month campaign, over 500,000 impressions were served to Katy taxpayers. In May of 2021, all four bond propositions passed with more than 70 percent of voters supporting the first two propositions and more than 60 percent voting in favor of the other two.
The district’s outreach secured funding for more than 400 projects, including the building of new schools and renovations for existing ones, as well as needed technology upgrades.
TAKING VOTERS TO SCHOOL
“We wanted the bond education campaign to be a very focused one,” said Libby Covington, Partner at Craig Group. “With the district’s help, we determined and sized target markets in the correct zip codes before launching a paid search and social media strategy.”
Craig Group also conducted keyword research and audience building for more targeted communications initiatives.
The goal of the campaign was to educate voters and let them know when and where to vote. As with other clients, Craig Group used the data from the initial online efforts to enhance the campaign in real time.
A+ FOR EFFORT – AND RESULTS
Before the affirmative vote on May 1, the district reached more than 90,000 voters through digital means, increasing voter awareness about the benefits of the bond. The two avenues for our outreach were Google Ads and Facebook.
With messaging like ‘Why Bond Now?’ and Go Vote,’ the district was able to effectively communicate with residents in the targeted zip codes.
In addition, a refresh of the campaign’s creative components drove higher click-through rates as well as a higher percentage of landing page visits. The video from board members also added to higher engagement.
Overall, district officials found the digital campaign to be a relatively low-cost, highly efficient method of delivery.
REPLICATING THE SUCCESS
When the Cleburne Independent School District learned about Katy ISD’s success, they contracted with Craig Group for an ongoing engagement campaign.
Cleburne ISD, located south of Ft. Worth, is a smaller district, comprised of 6,700 students on 11 campuses served by more than 1,000 teachers and staff. But they have an eye to the future.
They had already passed a $90.7 million bond and wanted to show the community how they were spending those monies – and to recruit new employees and promote the school district to families with school-aged children.
Understandably, they also wanted the biggest impact possible with their budget.
FOLLOWING A FORMULA THAT WORKS
The digital marketing plan for Cleburne ISD also utilized Facebook ads and Google ads with videos and creative content created by the district.
Craig Group also advised on search engine optimization to help the district’s websites rise in the rankings. And once there was some data, Craig Group targeted the campaigns to a more specific audience.
The district had two needs. The first was to share their academic success and plans for the future with new families in a rapidly growing part of the DFW area. And the second was to recruit staff in what has recently been a very tough market for employers.
BIG DIVIDENDS FOR THE INITIATIVES
The click-through rate for their Facebook ads has increased more than 400 percent. Overall campaign clicks have increased by 29 percent. And more than 250 people visited the online application portal for the district – with 133 of those coming directly from paid media sources. Cooper Miller, Marketing Coordinator with Cleburne ISD, commented, “Cleburne ISD’s digital presence has increased greatly since engaging with the Craig Group. We have seen measurable improved results with both increased website traffic and social media engagement. They have been an important extension of our marketing team.”
Recruitment ads on both Google and Facebook also had a strong showing, especially the ads for substitute teachers, custodians, and groundskeepers. The click-through rate for the recruiting campaign on Google is more than two times higher than the industry standard of 4%.
“Any click through rate on a niche audience campaign that is above the education sector average is fantastic,” said Covington.
“The model we set up for these school districts could be adapted to any school district who needs to build awareness,” said Covington. “It’s a low-cost way to reach constituents and deliver a message.”