What Should a Montessori School Spend on Paid Advertising Channels?
Before diving into the heart of this topic, the obligatory disclaimer that needs to be stated is that every school is different. There are a myriad of factors that impact your paid advertising campaigns such as location, market, and competition, to name only a fraction.
With that said, because we have over 600 member Montessori schools we have had the unique opportunity of being able to examine what may be the largest available data set on this very topic. Through that process of examination, we have been able to develop what can be considered to be very good guidelines that can inform marketing strategies for Montessori schools.
Please keep in mind that these recommended spend thresholds are for ad spend only and do not include the budget necessary to pay a professional ad manager should that be your intention.
Less than $500
Because advertising networks like Google and Facebook require a certain threshold of traffic in order to properly optimize, you’ll want to avoid any of the more competitive advertising channels. Small budgets won’t allow you to compete for high value phrases or traffic which means you’ll be burning through your available ad spend before you’ve had the opportunity to reach the visibility thresholds necessary to actually yield results.
If your paid advertising budget is less than $500 a month, we recommend focusing solely on remarketing ads. Remarketing is a process that allows you to place ads in front of prospects who have already visited your website.
This is an excellent way to make sure you’re staying top of mind for prospects who have already indicated an interest in your school! And, best of all, remarketing is extremely cost effective. In fact, you don’t pay anything unless a prospect clicks on your ad. That means you could position your brand to be visible to a prospect dozens of times without spending a dime!
You can build remarketing campaigns in Google and Facebook
$500 - $1,000
With a budget that lands between $500 and $1,000 you now have the ability to begin bidding on more competitive traffic. However, this is still considered a “microbudget” as far as pay-per-click marketing is concerned so you’ll want to make sure you’re being as targeted as possible.
In this range, we don’t recommend using Facebook or Instagram at all. While those channels are extremely valuable when it comes to remarketing and, in some instances, branding, they aren’t delivering prospects who are actively looking for you the way Google is.
Even within the Google Ads ecosystem, make sure you’re only bidding on keywords that intrinsically qualify the person searching as being ready to take the next step. For example, if someone searches for “best Montessori school 85260”, that is an excellent phrase that signals consumer intention. On the other hand, you don’t have the budget to bid on every possible variation of “Montessori school” since you’ll be attracting prospects at every level of the sales funnel.
Also, be sure you’re also using the “exact match” type inside of Google Ads wherever possible. This will ensure you’re only bidding on the phrases that both define and protect you from broader match types that may position your ads in front of prospects who aren’t relevant or ready.
Lastly, we wouldn’t recommend bidding on your competitor’s brand names at this budget. It can be an extremely effective strategy but you could burn through ad spend before it has the opportunity to prove its worth.
At this level of budget, we recommend committing completely to Google Ads.
$1,000 - $2,000
You are now positioned to begin getting aggressive with your advertising! At this level, we would strongly recommend diversifying your Google Ads campaign further. You can begin targeting some of the broader keywords that might have been too competitive earlier. You can also begin targeting competitors (other Montessori schools) and competitive alternatives (Kindercare, Nannies, etc.) in an effort to capitalize on their branded traffic.
In addition, you now have the budget to begin running Facebook and Instagram remarketing campaigns. This ensures that parents who land on your site (organically or through paid ads) will continue to see your brand throughout their browsing experience.
Our strong recommendation is still to maximize the value of inbound, intention-based search prior to branching out to Facebook or other advertising networks in any meaningful way.
At this level of budget, we recommend Google Ads and Facebook Remarketing.
More than $2,000
With this more robust budget, you are probably positioned to capture the optimized amount of inbound search traffic on Google as well as branch out into more targeted branding and content marketing strategies through networks like Facebook and Instagram.
At this level of budget, you can run campaigns across the Google Ads and Facebook ecosystems.