Private School Marketing Basics: What You Need to Know to Get More Enrollments

private school marketing

Top Tips You Need to Know for Private School Marketing Success

Are you struggling when it comes to getting more enrollments? Does your private school marketing plan need an update? If your answer is yes to both, you’ve come to the right place. Here, we’ll talk about private school marketing tips that will help you get more enrollments.

Nearly 6 million children in the United States attend private schools. The percentage of children attending private schools creeps upwards, even as overall school attendance remains steady. With these positive trends, are you still struggling to bring more students to the door?

A private school marketing plan is more than just a billboard, a postcard, and a nice web page. It’s a roadmap to your desired results. But where to start?

You can succeed even if you don’t have a full marketing team in your office. Update your school marketing plans with these proven tips for private school marketing and see enrollment soar.

Read on for more.

What Is Private School Marketing

It’s not about school advertising ideas, how to create a great website or a catchy tagline. It’s about a plan to integrate and coordinate all the moving parts. The results you want? New students!

So let’s look at the research. What influences parents to choose a private school? The answers may surprise you. When polled, parents ranked “Positive school atmosphere” as the #1 reason to choose a private school, followed by “Preparing students academically for college” and “School safety”.

However, other studies reveal that actual school choice is made considering factors not among those mentioned by the poll. Revealed preferences indicate that

  • Academics matter, but not as much as some other factors
  • Commuting distance matters, even though it does not appear on the top of the poll choices
  • Length of school day matters, again not even on the list of poll items
  • Extracurriculars matter- music, sports, and clubs make difference in how the parents perceive school atmosphere.

So how do you get information to parents to influence their decisions?

Set Your Marketing Goals

This isn’t your accreditation self-study or an annual report. This is a working document. Skip the fancy language and go for some simple and direct measurements.

Write your goals with numbers in mind. It’s difficult to measure “parent engagement”, but you can certainly place a pass/fail on a goal like ” increase parent event attendance by 10%.”

Some examples include:

  • Increase enrollment by 10%
  • Create an after-school music program: enroll at least 20 students
  • Convert 6% of page views into qualified leads
  • Improve marketing position from unranked to top three private school choices

Assess Resources and Set Priorities

Think about the resources that you can tap. The budget is the obvious one, but don’t forget your timeline, personnel, and software. It’s one thing to say you want to redesign your website and get ranked #1 in Google search, but if you don’t have access to a graphic designer, digital marketing experience or contact management software, then you’ll need to build them into your list of required resources.

The list can become overwhelming very quickly. You might need print messaging, email, social media and more. Weigh your budget against the purchase of new products or hiring additional staff. The best choice may be to outsource your work to a professional.

Make Your Move

You know what you want to do, you know the end result you want to measure. So start building to strategy to get there. You might have the best school in the world, but unless you get that message to prospective parents, your chances of increasing enrollment are slim.

Start by having a simple and visually arresting website. Use good pictures and a well-organized layout to drive people to an online data collection point. You want parent information so you can follow up!

Search Engine Optimization

SEO increases the number of quality visitors to your website. When people are looking for schools, you want to be on the first page of results. Best case, your school website is #1 in search results for your target parents. Figure out what your prospective parents are looking for, and make sure your website delivers!

There are certain words and phrases that your prospects use frequently when searching for schools. Use keyword-rich content to teach your prospective parents about what they want, and why. Create and share your expert knowledge and insights with prospective parents. That way, you drive them towards more meaningful engagements.

Your website isn’t the place for a hard sell, it’s the place to explain and give examples of your school’s advantages.

Engage and Excite

Social media allows you to build your school’s brand organically. Share valuable content on your school social media pages. Answer questions and encourage interaction. Use the opportunity to engage in direct discussions to build trust.

Join interest groups on social media and participate in public conversations. Don’t sell! Remain honest and factual. Help people by answering questions and giving them resource links. Refer to your school website and others.

Outbound Marketing

A private school ad is a form of outbound marketing. Improve your marketing results by using paid advertising to reinforce and optimize the organic growth in traffic from your inbound marketing efforts.

Use the Google AdWords Keyword Planner to help you choose keywords that give the advantages of low competition and volume. Get familiar with current keywords trends. Use social media planning on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other platforms to reach your parent audience.

Off the internet, a targeted direct mail effort can get your message into the hands of the right people much more cost-effectively than billboards or TV. The U.S. Postal Service estimates some 60% of consumers have been influenced by direct mail to visit a promoted website. Combined with re-targeting efforts, your parents should be primed to enroll by the time you walk them onto campus for a free tour.

Ask an Expert

When your bottom line is more enrollment and your current efforts just aren’t making the grade, consider revamping your school marketing plan. A private school marketing plan need not be fancy or complicated, it just has to work! Use your existing resources to set priorities and bring people to your website.

From there, wow parents with the information they want, in simple and visual terms. Use outbound efforts to bring people in and re-target them for followup.

Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for expert help from someone who’s helped others in your position and gotten them incredible results.

If you feel you’re ready to STEP UP and move forward fast with your school, then click the button below to get your FREE CASE STUDY today.

FREE Provate School Marketing Case Study








8 Easy Rules For Successfully Promoting A School

How To Promote Your School 101 – important rules to work by

  1. Why is more important than how.

    We all know how to get traffic to a website (the easiest way is to just buy it from Google Ads), but really understanding and being fully conscience of why will make it worthwhile. Why do you want to get traffic to your website? Do you just want anyone going to your website or are you interested in a specific audience (i.e., qualified families for enrollment)? Why do you want these people to go to your school’s website? Is there something you want to tell them?

  2. One day at a time.

    Successful schools didn’t get to where they’re at overnight and you aren’t going to get your school there overnight either. This is a step by step, inch by inch, process. If you do 5 things, one thing at a time each day, each month you’ll have done 150 things to help promote your school and by the end of the year, that number jumps to nearly 2,000. Now imagine if you recruited a few people to do 5 more things… Lasting marketing success is built steadily and consistently one day at a time. Do something every day and you’ll be amazed by the outcome.

  3. This is not a race.

    School owners and administrators everywhere will want to kill me for this one but slow and steady promotion is more sustainable than fast and furious advertising. Just because you read about a school who found success overnight doesn’t mean it really happened overnight. Business isn’t linear. Every overnight success started with slow and steady work (even if they won’t admit it) until one day they were able to reap all that they’ve sowed. Drop the competing and comparing and make this an adventure (not a race). Persistence and consistency will serve you better than speed and stress.

  4. If everything matters, nothing matters.

    In some stages of promoting your school you may feel like everything is important and that it all has a place and you should be paying attention to it all. Remind yourself that if everything matters, nothing matters. It can’t all get your attention and budget. Doing one thing really great (like dominating your space on Google or killing it on Facebook) is far better than being okay everywhere (many schools have a Google My Business profile but barely rank for anything important and they have a profile on every major social media platform but no one cares). When you let go of what doesn’t matter you can give more of yourself to what does.

  5. Keep your eyes on your own doings.

    If you’re worried about how you will promote your school while some colleagues couldn’t care less, come back to your own stuff. We’re not aiming for overnight success and as people start seeing your progress, they start to have more appreciation for what you’re doing and they fall into place (either on their own or because you start to get some unexpected help from others). Demonstrate your desire to promote your school by doing the work every day persistently.

  6. Small progress is still progress.

    Always celebrate the baby steps and the small wins. Don’t just wait until the end. This is easy to overlook but so very important.

  7. Less school promotion is far from no school promotion.

    No one said you had to stop all your promotional efforts. You decide what’s important for your school and you put on blinders to the rest. Keep the initiatives that bring in results (see #1 above) and the stuff you enjoy provided they also bring in results and put on blinders to all the rest. When something doesn’t add value anymore, let it go. When you stop enjoying a task or it becomes inefficient to do it yourself, delegate it or hire it out!

  8. Holding on is harder than letting go.

    Ever hear someone justify something with “this is how it’s always been done” or “this is what you do”? Don’t be that person. Letting go of something that doesn’t work or isn’t measurable may feel hard but holding on is harder (and frankly, irresponsible). Holding on means paying with your money, time, attention, and emotion. You only have to let go once &em; and then you’re able to focus on more important things.

Follow these eight simple rules and you’ll be well on your way to reaching your enrollment goals.

If you find yourself struggling with how to promote your school, or you want the support of someone who’s done it before and has a proven system for helping schools get qualified families for enrollment, then I suggest you click here.

All the best!

How To Market A School On Google To Get More School Enrollments

As the owner or administrator of a private school, you need to market it just as you would any other business. As an experienced digital marketer in education, my passion is helping good schools get found online. I know how much of a struggle it can be to get enrollments, and how confusing the digital marketing world can be. If you want to know how you can make sure qualified families find your school on Google, take a look at my advice on making sure that you rank well in search results. Read on to find out my pro tips for marketing your school and getting more enrollments using Google.

Improving Your School Website’s Local SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is essential for any private / independent school who wants to improve how well their website performs on Google (i.e., how easily they’re school is found on Google by qualified families for enrollment).

Good SEO involves a large range of factors, usually separated into on-page and off-page. On-page factors include the keywords that you use on your school website, while off-page factors could be things like your school’s Google My Business page and links that point back to your site.

For improving your school’s visibility on Google, my top recommendation is to focus on improving local SEO.

Oddly, some private and independent schools target a more general audience that isn’t dependent on geography, though schools are essentially local businesses so it only seems right you should want to improve your local SEO – search engine optimization that includes specific location searches. Rather than trying to get your school’s website into search results like “private school” or “independent school”, you can benefit from using more specific keywords, such as “private school Martha’s Vineyard”.

Improving local SEO involves a range of techniques. They include building a Google My Business page to get your school on the map, and writing relevant local content. For example, we’ll create blog content for schools about family things to do in the area or articles showing parents what to look for when choosing a new school. This sort of content allows you to naturally incorporate local keywords and provides tremendous value to your target audience (many of which could potentially end up enrolling or re-enrolling at your school).

Citations in Local Listings

Schools have long used directories like the yellow book to find what they’re looking for when they needed a product or service. What’s changed is that things have moved online, and you now need to know how to make use of online directories.

Sites like Yelp, Yahoo!, and even the old Yellow Pages, and specialist listing sites like Great Schools are essential for getting your information out there and improving your school’s SEO.

The problem however with having lots of listings is that it’s difficult to manage. In an effort to provide the most relevant info available, many of these listings incorporate technology and automation to stay up to date and keep their listings fresh. Unfortunately bad user suggestions, poor data, and buggy technology causes many schools to have inconsistent data across their listings which negatively affects local SEO and more importantly, makes it difficult for families to find your school.

When something about your school changes, whether erroneously or you really do change a contact phone number or email, it means having to change all your existing listings. This is a critical component to your school being found online locally. There are a couple ways you can do this but the way I recommend for all my clients is a system that’s semi-automatic meaning some inputs are manual but then there’s an automated process that takes care of the more arduous tasks.

You can reach out to us if you’d like to learn more or see how it works for yourself by clicking here.

Improve Ranking for Existing Search Terms

Your school’s probably using a number of SEO keywords and phrases on your website already however if your school is ranking on page 2 or 3, or even just a few positions from the top of the 1st page, you’re not going to get the traffic your school needs. This is where content, advanced on-page SEO, and link building come into play. There are several ways we can improve a school’s site performance for keywords that attract qualified families for enrollment.

Introducing New Keywords To Your School’s Website

As well as optimizing your school’s website for the keywords you’re already targeting, it’s a good idea to find new ones to target. One easy way to find keywords is to research other schools. We already know these are search terms families are using to find schools like yours so by assessing and implementing what needs to be done to rank for these keywords, you’ll find that many times you can pretty easily rank for these terms over other schools in your area.

We refer to these as “easy wins” and incorporate it into our overall school marketing strategy to get immediate results for our clients straight out the box.

Improve Your Google My Business Page

Having a Google My Business page is essential for any private or independent school that wants to do well in the local search results. It helps to improve your school’s local SEO and literally puts you on the map. It doesn’t take much to set up a good school profile page, and it can be used to leave reviews (so important!) for your school too. Make sure you fill out your profile with as much information as possible and include many relevant photos and images.

Building Links

If you’re looking at how to promote your independent or private school, you need to remember there’s tremendous power in links. It’s the ultimate measure of popularity and authority which is why it can help to improve how well your school is found for local searches. Google, for example, looks for authority and a brand that’s respected by others when determining how to rank web pages for every individual web search.

One way to get links going back to your school website is to make sure you have online listings and citations set up (see above). You can also improve links to your school site through content marketing. We suggest keeping a blog that uses relevant keywords for most of our private and independent school clients.

Getting School Reviews

Reviews are fast becoming an uber critical component if you want to promote a school. Choosing a school is a very personal decision and families want to have all the information that they can find to make the right choices. They won’t just choose the school that appears first in search results or is closest to them. Reviews play a huge part in the decision making process because they show real people’s experiences.

PARENTS ARE ABSOLUTELY PAYING ATTENTION TO REVIEWS. This is so important to understand because reviews are quickly becoming “that thing” that makes or breaks a strategy and companies like Google and even Facebook are doing more and more every day to highlight those little review stars alongside search results and listings.

So how do you get more reviews for your school?

You need real reviews, so you need to encourage families to write them for you. One simple way to do this is to ask them – many people are happy to write a review if they are only requested to do so. You can make it easy for them to write a review by, for example, including a link in emails that you send out. There are lots of ways to get people to leave real 4 and 5-star reviews of your school (and we’re always implementing new ways for our clients).

You probably figured by now, we encourage all schools (private, independent, charter, and even public schools) to include Reviews in their overall strategy. It’s a great to build credibility and establish / re-establish authority in your space. We use a proprietary system for our schools but even if you need to go at it manually, do it! You can suggest one review site for them to use, which makes it easier and more likely they’ll leave a review.

If you want enhanced results and more 4 and 5-star reviews, you may be interested in creating technology to make the process more efficient and improve your results. The proprietary system our school clients use puts getting 5-star reviews on auto-pilot. It requests reviews, follow ups on requests, distributes it to multiple review sites, and even gives our schools a chance to handle issues before they turn into bad reviews for everyone to see.

You can learn more about this amazing system here.

Enhancing Your Google Ads So It’s More Profitable & Easier To Manage

So we’re a strong proponent of local SEO but sometimes a struggling school can’t afford longer term strategies like SEO. A few weeks sounds like an eternity. These schools need IMMEDIATE RESULTS and people booking tours NOW.

This is where PPC (pay per click) advertising comes in. It’s essentially SEO but instead of being dictated by authority and popularity, price is what determines where you show up and in what position. Essentially, it’s a pay-to-play platform where bids determine your school’s ranking and by enhancing some components of your campaign, you can get prominent positioning in search engine results, as well as on other websites including ad networks such as Google Ads (previously AdWords), Bing, and Facebook Ads.

You can also use techniques such as remarketing to retarget people who have visited your site and can benefit from a reminder to visit again. This technique is very effective and extremely cost-efficient when done right. Managing your PPC ads however can take some practice if you’ve never done it before and even if you have, requires considerable commitment of time and expertise which is why a lot of our clients ask us to help optimize their campaigns and make them easier to manage.

Also, the networks above are systematically shutting down remarketing campaigns retargeting faith-based or religious sites. Basically, the better your campaigns perform and the bigger your school’s reach as a result of it, the more likely you are to get your ads shut down (we personally experienced this a few years ago and have since found a great workaround for our faith-based private and independent schools).

I can help you to promote your private or independent school online and get it seen in Google search results by qualified families for enrollment.

Get a campaign tailored just for your site with my proven methods. I’ve helped schools just like yours do all of the above to improve their position in search results and successfully grow their enrollment predictably and consistently.

Get your free case study now if you want to do the same.