Oak Hill Academy
How does a small admissions team in a remote, rural area attract students globally by showing them how special (and rewarding!) it can be to attend a boarding high school in the Virginia Highlands?
- Brand & Messaging Strategy
- Enrollment Strategy
- Integrated Marketing Strategy
- Social Media
- Online Advertising
- Content Marketing
- Email Marketing
- CRM Selection, Implementation, Customization, and Support
- Marketing Automation
- Video Production
- Website Redesign
- Strategic Partnership Recommendations
- Print Collateral & Swag Materials
- Analytics & Data Reporting
2019, with ongoing work
Located in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of southwestern Virginia, Oak Hill Academy is a coeducational Baptist-affiliated boarding school that provides a college preparatory education (grades 8-12) in a small, structured, and nurturing environment. Like many private schools today—but particularly for a niche boarding school—Oak Hill has faced challenges in recruitment, enrollment, and retention.
Branding, Website, and Operation Initiatives
Our journey with Oak Hill Academy started in 2019, when Oak Hill’s leadership team partnered with NewCity to leverage our expertise in enrollment strategy and marketing. We began by learning about their target audiences and evaluating their existing brand messaging. Discussions with stakeholders raised our awareness about the need to reposition their brand.
The consensus was that their long established tagline “The Turning Point” did not adequately represent how their faculty and staff inspire academic success, foster personal growth, and embody a healthy community, while also fostering relationships among students and families.
NewCity’s team developed a comprehensive branding strategy for Oak Hill that entailed refreshing the school’s visual identity and adopting a new tagline, “Where your potential becomes possible,” which meaningfully conveys that Oak Hill is a place where students discover and create real, positive change.
From there, we created a cohesive suite of print and digital materials to accommodate all of their communications needs, from online communications to conferences and campus visits. NewCity’s team traveled onsite to Oak Hill to provide the art direction and scripts for photography and video shoots, and we worked closely with one of our partners through the video editing/production process.
Through journey mapping the Oak Hill admissions process, it became evident that Oak Hill would benefit from process improvements, including implementing a CRM to help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their admissions team. The NewCity team worked through a full selection, implementation, and customization process for their new CRM, which included setting up custom marketing automations.
Oak Hill has a very personalized admissions process, and the addition of a CRM has been helpful in creating structure and efficiencies to support their team, and also provides an excellent data source for tracking trends in visits, applications, and enrollments over time.
NewCity also designed and developed a new website for Oak Hill that showcases their new brand. In addition to creating a positive first impression, the primary goal of their website is to support student recruitment. Prospective students and families can discover content that tells the story of Oak Hill and take key actions: request information, visit, and apply.
With site performance being so key for both marketing and SEO efforts, one of the largest improvements we were able to make in this redesign was to improve the average page load time by more than 30%. Our team continues to maintain and optimize their site to ensure it performs as a fine-tuned marketing tool.
Ongoing Marketing Services
In addition to these larger initiatives, NewCity has been consulting with Oak Hill’s Admissions team since 2019 to provide comprehensive, integrated enrollment marketing services to support student recruitment. Multi-channel campaigns raise awareness and consideration, focusing on the prospect’s journey through Oak Hill’s enrollment funnel. Tactics include:
- Paid search
- Paid social (Facebook and Instagram)
- Display ads
- Video ads
- Email campaigns
- Landing pages
Our team regularly refreshes and creates new digital ads for Oak Hill with copy and creative assets that are relevant and engaging. We use a variety of audience modeling and targeting tactics to ensure that their ads are seen by the right people. This includes using demographic data, interests, and behavior to create custom audiences.
Alongside creating effective ads for Oak Hill’s target audiences, we build landing pages designed to convert leads and make it easy to request information. We optimize Oak Hill’s campaigns on a consistant basis which means we track campaign results and make adjustments as needed. We use a variety of tools to help us optimize their campaigns, such as Google Analytics and Facebook Insights.
NewCity continues to collaborate with the Oak Hill team to assist them with their content marketing needs as well. We advise their team on their editorial plans, which are tracked via a shared editorial calendar. Our team provides copywriting and editing services to ensure content is developed and optimized for search engines to help increase the school’s online visibility and attract more visitors.
Data collected from Apr. 4, 2021-2022 and Apr. 4, 2022-2023
- Increases in Unique Pageviews (Number of sessions during which the page was viewed at least once)
- Admissions/Cost Page: 24%
- Basketball: +62%
- Student Life: +21%
- Academics: +14%
- International Students: +24%
- Request Information: +13%
- Bounce rate lowered by 9%
- Pre-launch to Post-launch, Average Page Load Time decreased by 31.43%