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.
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.
Ivan is a professional advertiser and digital content marketer. Here are some famous brands he’s worked with.
When he’s not running ad campaigns, Ivan is helping people get more customers with bespoke interactive chatbots (i.e., virtual assistants for your website that turn prospects into paying customers).