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April 3, 2015

4 min

Mark Holley

Method Students Launch Online Marketing Campaign

Is This Project Based Learning?

There are so many definitions of Project Based Learning (PBL) it's hard to keep up. As a non-educator, I might not be the expert that some are. But I have worked in the K-12 market for 15 years, and I don't think anyone owns the definition of PBL. It's open source, it's public, and there are many variations of it. It's one of those things that you know it when you see it, regardless of what people define it as. With that in mind, I wanted to share a project some of our high school students have been working on.

The Project

A group of Method Schools high school students (some are pictured above) embarked on a pretty cool online marketing journey. The student marketers ran a marketing campaign in anticipation of Method's expansion to Los Angeles County in 2015-16. To introduce students to online marketing, Facebook newsfeed advertisements were chosen as the marketing channel for this project. These ads are easy to run, and they're cost-effective when the message, target audience, and timing all come together well.

The Goal

The target metric was 10 leads, which is a reasonable goal considering it was March, a relatively quiet month for school marketing. At Method, we enroll about 1/5 of the people who show interest in our school. We agreed upon some prizes if the students reached their goal (the real motivation).

The Steps

  1. Students assigned responsibilities (who would help with the message, the creative, the online components, etc.) to each other.
  2. A campaign was set up in HubSpot. Method uses HubSpot as a marketing platform so that keywords could be determined (to develop the marketing message), results could be measured, landing pages could be developed, and so forth.
  3. The target audience was determined. We actually use what are referred to as "buyer personas" when marketing Method Schools. Students were introduced to the concept of personas.
  4. A message was developed that would be used for the Facebook ads and the landing page that people would be directed to after clicking on the ads.
  5. A landing page was developed that corresponded with the ads. The goal of the landing page was to convert website visitors into leads (parents of prospective students).
  6. A video was developed that would show up on the landing page and on the Method Facebook page. This was completely thought up, filmed, and edited by the students. I can't tell you how much value high school students can add to marketing projects like this. They just get it.
  7. Once all of the pieces were in place, the ad went live (it's still running as of this post).
  8. We're currently watching and refining the message just a bit.

Here's an actual ad from the student campaign:

actual_method_ad

Their landing page:

student_lp_screen

Their video:

Tools they're using to analyze their project:

hubspot-dash_blog

We're not sure what the results will be, or if the students will reach their goal of 10 leads. But it was very refreshing to work with students, and to hear them talking about inbound marketing, messaging, campaigns, landing pages, etc. To me, this is true project based learning. Real-world, breaking down classroom walls stuff.

What's Next?

After we analyze the results, we could run more ads. Or more likely, students will use HubSpot to build an inbound marketing campaign. Over the next 6-8 weeks these students and others will get the chance to become Inbound Marketing certified. This is project based learning in action, and it's not a bad alternative to the old way of learning.

Do you think the students will reach their goal of 10 leads? Let us know in the comments below. Or, do you want to learn more about how your student could benefit from projects like this one? Method is open to students throughout all of Southern California in 2015-16. Click below to get started!

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