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The Social Media Dilemma

“Digital marketing” is used to promote businesses on the internet today. Complex tools are available to allow businesses to get the attention of target audiences on social medial channels including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, etc.

For the Classical Liberal Arts Academy, the parents who will thrive in classical Catholic studies are not the parents who are on social media. They are not on the internet following daily news (i.e., gossip), scrolling through mindless video content, posting pictures of their meals, etc. Rather, they are at Mass, saying their prayers, studying formal subjects, working, exercising, etc.

In the past, I have followed the advice of marketing experts, but have recently concluded that the social media crowd is not my target audience.

The challenges then, is to learn how to reach people who are relatively unreachable. I am one of these people. I watch no television, listen to no radio programs, don’t browse social media, skip ads, unsubscribe from almost all newsletters, rarely drive about or visit stores, etc. How do advertisers reach me?

They don’t.

When I need something, I search for it with specific keywords on Google. I already know what I’m looking for. That’s how I purchase anything I need: books, running shoes, computers, furniture, clothes, garden tools, office supplies, etc.

Reaching my target audience (i.e., people like me) is a real challenge. I think digital marketing has made business owners lazy and narrow-minded. While millions may be accessible through social media ads, the most important people are not, especially when we’re thinking of noble pursuits like classical Catholic education.

1. Google Ads

Broadcast advertising works when one is selling fast food, fashionable clothes or sexual immorality. It does not work, however, when one is selling classical Catholic studies. The general public is not our audience. In fact, the general Catholic audience is not our audience, nor are people indiscriminately interested in “classical education” or “homeschooling”.

Paid Google Ads allow us to present information to users who have searched for specific keywords. If someone searches for “classical Catholic honeschool curriculum”, or some similar phrase, the Academy will be there.

2. YouTube

Few realize that YouTube is the second most widely used search engine after Google. Like Google, users search intelligently and find videos that show the quality and content they’re looking for.

The CLAA has had great success connecting with interested families through YouTube.

3. Email Marketing

People who aren’t interested in social media subscribe to mailing lists for organizations they’re interested in hearing from. The Academy has a great mailing list that I have neglected.

Developing resources for our mailing list subscribers is a priority moving forward.

4. Inbound Marketing

“People like us do things like us.” This is the principle behind what’s called “inbound marketing”. This strategy seeks to connect with like-minded people indirectly. While I am a classicist, I also like classical and sacred music. People like me do things like me. Therefore, I can connect with people who would be interested in classical education by writing or speaking about classical and sacred music.

Classical Catholic Radio has been an effective means of connecting with like-minded Catholics through “inbound marketing”.

5. Church Advertising

Lastly, I plan to reach people through paid Church advertising. The first benefit of this is that parishes benefit financially, even if only a little. Second, it reaches people who are actually at Mass, not talking about Mass on social media.

I intend to start advertising at our own parish this month and spreading outward from there once I’m satisfied with our ad content.

So, while there’s a lot to figure out, one thing is clear: I’m not interested in advertising on social media.


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