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Homeschooling is one of those things that many parents prefer to do, but only a few are confident enough to move forward with.  

As a part of its unyielding mission to encourage and empower parents and students who are considering the alternative learning route, Horizon Charter Schools regularly hosts community events. These events are designed to move homeschool-seeking families one step closer to making the switch by introducing them to and preparing them for the many dimensions of a home study program.

Horizon knows that a quality homeschool education is only possible when a family has the right level of support, knowledge, and resources.

What it didn’t know, however, was how to attract homeschool-seeking families to its educational events using one of the fastest, most targeted options for business advertising: social media.

About Horizon Charter Schools

Horizon Charter Schools (HCS) has spent the last nearly three decades perfecting its commitment to providing and preserving the pillars of home study education. The organization is just that sort of good citizen, and its portfolio of curriculum resources and home study options demonstrates where its heart is. For obvious reasons, HCS focuses on the programs and resources that serve as the cornerstone of every great K-12 alternative learning experience.

The Challenge

For the most part, Horizon has been successful in getting families to attend its free community educational events. However, its past few events have primarily attracted families who were already a part of the HCS network. By its own admission, Horizon has found it increasingly difficult to reach families who do not already have a child or children enrolled in one of its home study programs—a struggle that has become evident in the number of past-year information requests and enrollments.

The organization attributes the absence of new family attendees to its dependence on somewhat stagnant means of advertising, namely its newsletter and collaborative marketing efforts with its educational partners.  

HCS knew that in order to reach, and more importantly appeal to, homeschool-seeking families in the greater Sacramento region, it would need to advertise using avenues it wasn’t used to using—the most necessary one being social media.

Social media advertising was an option HCS had tried in the past but avoided pursuing further for two reasons:

  1. Previous social media advertising efforts were unoptimized and therefore led to razor-thin ROI
  2. Rising ad costs threatened already tight budgets and resources

The Objectives  

With a pressing need to engage and attract non-matriculated families via social media, Horizon collaborated with Jay Nine to launch a unique Facebook ad campaign.

After brainstorming with the HCS team about their expectations for social advertising, we were able to pinpoint three key elements that were missing from the organization’s prior social efforts: optimized messaging, cost-efficient audience segments, and split testing.

Using those elements as a starting point and foundation for the campaign, we designed a funnel-first strategy that served to optimize awareness, reach, and consideration – all factors that would drive conversion and attendance.

All things considered, the end-goal for HCS’s Facebook event marketing campaign was manifold:

  • Home in on a target audience in the greater Sacramento area
  • Boost visibility of HCS’s upcoming educational event
  • Maximize event responses
  • Drive qualified traffic to HCS’s event landing page
  • Convert qualified landing page leads into event attendees

 

The Results

J9i optimized HCS’s campaign performance by forging a relationship between social media and brand recognition, resulting in tangible, high-ROI results*:

  • Optimized campaign reach with audience of more than 64,000 over 19 days
  • Optimized total ad spend at $2,100, which is 65% less than expected ad spend
  • Achieved 365 event responses, of which 26% were landing page leads
  • Drastically increased attendance of non-HCS families

By strategically re-introducing social back into its marketing strategy, we helped HCS break its reliance on stagnant, inconsistent practices that did nothing more than cause the team unnecessary heartache.

Perhaps most impressive is that the final results released HCS from the burden of avoiding social media advertising. By getting more leads for much less ad spend than the organization initially anticipated, it reassured Horizon of the power and potential of social as a differentiating (and integral) element in its marketing strategy.

Enriching New Learning Experiences

Horizon’s longstanding reputation in the greater Sacramento area gave it a natural advantage with advertising on Facebook. HCS had done well to establish a relationship with Sacramento locals, one that is welcoming and familiar both on- and offline.

HCS’s interactive, hands-on approach continues to make all the difference in increasing family-driven home study participation both in the greater Sacramento area and throughout the nation.

*Results are compared to HCS’s previous social advertising efforts that were not managed by J9i.