School marketing is part art and part science.
You want to attract the best students to your school, boost enrollment, and keep your standards of education high.
Yet, there are challenges in getting enrollment numbers up. There are more opportunities for students than ever before, and homeschooling continues to rise.
Private school enrollment is on the decline, and surprisingly, it’s led by affluent families who can afford private schools.
If you want to beat the trends, you have to get creative in your recruitment strategies.
Here’s how you can market your school and increase your enrollment.
1. Get Testimonials from Parents & Students
You’ve probably had students graduate from your school who went on to do some incredible things. You more than likely have parents who are thrilled at the quality of education their kids have received.
The problem is that no one knows about those stories.
Not even you.
Why? Because you never asked them.
Asking parents and student for testimonials is a powerful way to prove that your school is worth attending.
2. Create a Parent Evangelist Group
Parents can be your school’s biggest cheerleaders and recruiters. They also have a significant investment in the success of your school.
Get them involved in the process of recruiting other students. Create a parent group that advocates on behalf of the school when it comes to recruiting.
Parents know about the programs, they know the teachers, they know the impact your school has had on their kids.
They can be great to have on tours, coffee sessions, or neighborhood meetings. They can also follow up with parents personally after a tour to answer questions.
When you do recruit parents, be sure that they’re well-versed in your school’s messaging and give them talking points to share about the school.
That ensures that your messaging is consistent all the way around.
3. Utilize Public Relations
Creating a public relations strategy along with marketing your school creates a powerful one-two punch to keep your school at the top of parents’ minds.
The biggest challenge with public relations is that it’s hard to get coverage. You have to know what the media is looking for and pitch those stories to them.
Classroom safety is a big topic in the news. You can pitch a story about your school taking active safety measures to protect your students.
This type of story could also put parents at ease and assure them that their children are safe at your school.
4. Have School Information Kits
Creating kits for students and media that are filled with brochures, and information about your school.
You should include a list of parents who are willing to discuss the school with the media or other parents with questions.
These kits can be ready to distribute to the local press when they do a story on your school. They can be sent out to community events, neighborhood meetings and realtors.
These will be people in the know as far as what’s going on in the area, and they have access and influence with families who are new to the area.
5. Update & Optimize Your Website
With all of these tactics that rely on a personal connection, you can’t forget about the digital world.
When people are researching schools, they will start with an online search. When search results appear, they’ll then click on the first page of results, without even going to the second page.
That’s why it’s so important to have your site updated and optimized for search engines.
If you don’t know how to get your site ready for search engines, there are professionals like Ivan Jimenez, who specializes in working with schools to be found online.
7. Develop a Social Media Strategy
Social media also plays a significant role in your digital marketing strategy, but it’s only useful when it’s well thought out.
You have to know where your audience is online to reach them.
For example, you might find that the parents (and some kids) use Instagram the most, and the kids are on Snapchat.
To make social media work, you have to have quality content to deliver on a consistent basis. It’s not enough to post something now and then.
8. Develop Relationships with Feeder Schools
Do you know which schools your students come from? They might come from pre-k schools, private schools that only go up to a specific grade.
These schools are your ticket to higher enrollment.
That’s why you need to develop relationships with these schools. They can potentially refer students and parents to your school.
The best way to do that is through direct connections. Get an introduction to the school’s leaders and invite them to tour your school.
9. Establish Shadow Days
When you do get parents and students interested in your programs, invite the students to experience the school for themselves.
These days are great for kids who are getting ready to transition to another school, like elementary students moving on to middle school.
The timing of these days will be critical because parents tend to decide early on where their kid will be going to school the next year.
10. Create a Marketing Plan
Now that you have a bunch of great school marketing tactics to use in marketing your school, it’s time to create a cohesive plan to make all of the pieces work together.
There are many advantages to having a marketing plan.
It outlines your vision and goals for your school, and it gets everyone – staff, administrators, and parents on the same page.
A good marketing plan has measurable objectives, and you have a way to evaluate what’s working and what’s not in your plan.
This crucial to know what the return on investment is for each marketing tactic.
The best marketing plans are strategic. They align your vision and mission with your marketing strategies and define what your school’s brand stands for.
School Marketing That’s Too Cool
School marketing is going to make or break enrollment at your school. If you don’t have that many students, parents will be concerned that their kids aren’t getting a quality education, despite the smaller class sizes.
There are plenty of ways you can promote your school, and these recruitment strategies are designed to do just that.
For more information on education, check out our education blog today.