School Advertising Ideas: Easy as ABC

School Advertising Ideas: Easy as ABC

A+ Advertising Strategies for Your Education Business

Are you in the market for an A+ school advertising strategy? Whether you’re targeting parents with younger children for your charter or private school, families that need tutoring services, adults who need certifications from your technical school, or teens and their parents for your college or university, all these education customers have one thing in common: they spend tons of time in front of screens.

To reach prospective students and parents, your school’s got to get their attention wherever they are—watching TV, on social media, or searching online on their computer or smartphone. Here’s a “cheat sheet” with some easy, effective advertising ideas to help you make the grade:


When you’ve got young children, leaving the house is complicated (who wants to spend half an hour loading up the minivan with baby supplies, or pay for a sitter?), so TV often becomes a major source of entertainment for both kids and parents. In fact, the average Millennial parent watches 4 hours and 40 minutes of TV a day!1 Fortunately, you don’t need the marketing budget of Harvard University to advertise on TV—in fact, a 30-second spot can cost less than a box of diapers.

For younger students, try advertising on Nickelodeon, Or, think about the programs that families watch together, like Hallmark Channel. Your local cable advertising professional, e.g., Cox Media, can help you select the perfect programs and times. Urge parents to visit your school’s website for more information; and make sure your website is mobile-friendly so busy parents can multitask.

Millennial parents do most of their browsing on mobile devices,2 and your local cable advertising division can produce TV commercials that also work online and on mobile. You can target digital ads to people who recently searched for information on schools or visited a competing school’s website. Since many moms spend time online discussing problems and reading advice, digital and online video ads on parenting websites and on Facebook are a great way to get their attention.

For older students and their parents, try advertising your secondary school or tutoring center on TV in the late afternoon or evening. Lots of students go online looking for help with homework, so consider running your commercial as an online ad in front of how-to YouTube videos explaining algebra concepts or French verbs.


Teens are in the driver’s seat when it comes to choosing a college, but parents have final say in the process. By understanding how teens and parents spend their time, you can create ads that work for both audiences.

Generation X (the typical parents of teens) spend more time than their kids watching TV. Focus your TV commercials on things parents care about, like affordable tuition or how many of your undergrads get jobs in their fields; then, drive them to your website to learn more.

Teens care more about dorms and food, athletics and Greek life, and what students do for fun. Since teens love online videos and like to see “real people” in ads, why not run an online video ad featuring a fun event at your school, leading to a longer “virtual tour” conducted by students?

As college gets closer, both teens and parents spend endless hours on websites about college rankings, admissions testing and financial aid. Run your digital ads there or target them to viewers who’ve searched for these topics in the past.

And if you’ve ever been around a teen, you know smartphones are basically part of their hand, so be sure mobile and social ads are part of your plan. You can even reuse your TV ads or your campus tour footage, depending on the audience you’re targeting.


Adult students don’t do as much homework as teens and their parents when choosing a school. They often spend just a few months researching options before applying. How can you target this “stealth” market?

People often consider adult education during a big transition, such as going through changes in their personal lives, career struggles or a milestone birthday. You can grab these soul-searching viewers with commercials on cable TV channels dedicated to self-improvement, like OWN or TLC, or programming focused around specific jobs or industries. For instance, if you own or manage a culinary school, advertise on the Food Network; double your impact with digital ads and online videos on and other recipe sites. A business school could run ads during financial news shows, while a technology school could focus on tech news shows and fictional shows like “The I.T. Crowd” or “Mr. Robot” that cater to a tech-focused audience.

Digital ads on job search websites and mobile job apps can reach people considering a career change. Don’t forget to reach out to employers who need to send employees to school for certification, training or licensing by running digital ads and online videos on industry websites.


Use a mix of cable TV, digital and mobile advertising, online video and social media to get your school’s message in front of your target audience. A Cox Media advertising professional can help create an advertising plan that will put you at the head of the class.


Contact Cox Media at 1-855-755-2961 to speak with one of our media consultants or click here for additional ideas on how to promote your educational services.


1 Nielsen, “Facts of Life: As They Move Through Life Stages, Millennials’ Habits Are Different and Distinct,” March 2016. 2 IAB, 2015 State of Modern Motherhood: Mobile and Media in the Lives of Moms, February 2015.


About the Author

Deborah Wooten-Joseph

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