Key takeaways:
  • If you have an out-of-date website, you’ll need a budget sign-off to replace it
  • You’ll need to convince your school’s senior stakeholders of the benefit of a new school website
  • This post gives you the tactics you need to get your budget sign-off

So you’re interested in developing a new website for your school. Maybe the old one was clunky and unresponsive, or perhaps it was designed in a bygone era, when comic sans and flashing graphics were popular. Whatever your motivation, having a modern, engaging, and optimized school website is a foundational element of your school’s brand and online reputation

In the digital age, schools that don’t have an optimized website can’t keep up with the expectations of prospective families.  After all, your website is used for so many things, from attracting new admissions to sharing the latest news and events, which makes it a hub for the community and a core point of contact and connection. 

As a school marketer, you know that a website revamp will help to grow your school. The downside (at least in the eyes of your school’s senior stakeholders) is, of course, the cost. It’s understandable when you think about all the important things that need to be funded — books, salaries for teachers, school facilities, and the list goes on! However, your website truly is an essential part of your business, and your job is to get the stakeholders to see this. 

At Digistorm, we’ve worked with a number of marketing, IT, and admissions staff who wanted to get a budget signed off for purchasing our website products. We know how to support these clients, and how to help them advocate for a new school website so they can secure the budget they need.

Consult relevant staff members

One of the first steps you should take is to get any other teams who’ll benefit from a new school website onside. It’s likely that others are suffering from the same deficiencies you are, and it’ll only help your cause if you can rally these team members. Approach them with some of the concerns you have about your current website and tell them about your ideas for developing a new one. 

Be sure to point out all the benefits that can be gained — faster load speeds, aesthetic graphic design, enhanced lead generation. If you offer a solution to the problems they're facing, they’ll come to see the value of your plan and support you to get the budget signed off. You should also ask them for any feedback they may have or suggestions. They may have thought of a benefit you hadn’t even considered, which can only make your pitch stronger!

Develop a business case

Now that you’ve mapped out all the benefits that can come from a new website, it’s time to communicate them to the budget decision-makers. Use a business case to outline exactly how a new website will improve your school’s marketing and admissions goals, in a brief and succinct document. It’s all about the art of persuasion.

Your goal is to highlight the consequences of not investing in a new school website. It’s also important to outline the risks and costs involved, so your stakeholders have all of the facts at hand. Don’t be surprised if some of them want to continue with the old way of doing things, change can seem a little overwhelming at first. This Is why you need to really call attention to the risks of doing nothing, and show them a positive way forward.

Use references

A reference from another school who decided to invest in a new website and were happy with their decision can be a powerful tool to showcase the benefit of your proposal. A company like Digistorm has a long list of clients who chose to go the route you’re thinking of, and who were glad they did. These clients can give you a reference to show to your stakeholders, or jump on a quick call to provide living proof of the soundness of their decision.

After all, the benefits are hard to ignore if you can see them right in front of you. Simply showcase how it was before in contrast to how it is now. It’s also a good idea to check out the competition. Have a look at what rival schools are doing, and point out their strengths to the stakeholders. This can motivate them to take action and develop a better website. At the end of the day, it’s only natural to want to outshine the competition.

Show some examples

Showing an example of the type of website you want to develop is a powerful way to display the benefits you’ve been talking about in a real and practical way. This can tie in with your reference, as you take your stakeholders through a modernized and optimized website from a similar school. You can show off the new features and compare the old ways to the new ways, so they can see just what they’re missing out on. 

You can also book a no-pressure website demo with our friendly team to learn more about the development process and the range of customisation that’ll be available to you. You can preview all the features and focus on those which solve specific problems your current school website is facing. For example, if you still have a paper-based admissions system, you can use a website demo to show your stakeholders how much simpler the process is once digitized.

And if you ever have any questions, simply head on over to our website support hub or get in contact with one of our helpful staff members, and we’ll run you through a design workshop where you can learn all you need to know.

Approved! What’s next?

Great news! You’ve spoken to your colleagues, developed a business case, and showcased all the benefits of a new website to the stakeholders and they’re on board! So, what now? Now you get to develop your dream website with all the fancy new features you know will help to grow the school, attract new families, and engage with your community.

There’s a few things to keep in mind before you go ahead and develop the website. Not only does it need to be SEO friendly (check out our SEO deep-dive), but it needs to be aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate. You can also use our ultimate guide to school website design to get down to the nuts and bolts of the process.

In Summary

It’ll be a great feeling having your budget signed off after using the tips in this post to make it happen, and you wake up one day to a shiny new website with all the features you dreamed of. Gone will be the days of slow load speeds and broken buttons, and your colleagues will thank you for taking the initiative and making your school more efficient. With first impressions being so important, a strong website will enable you to put your best foot forward when introduced to new prospective families, and help to build your school’s reputation.

Learn more about websites!
If you’re interested in developing a new website for your school, visit Digistorm today for a no-pressure demo.
Published March 2 2022