A Better Way to Market Your School’s Open House

Word of mouth marketing should occur naturally. When parents are satisfied with their experience at a private school, they will tell their friends.

However, just because word-of-mouth should occur naturally, you should make every effort to facilitate it at your school. Facilitating word-of-mouth should be a marketing strategy you use to encourage prospective parents to attend your school’s open house.

Recently, I began working with Lakeland Christian School in Florida (www.lcsonline.org). This private, Christian school of nearly 1,000 students was searching for a way to encourage and motivate parent involvement in the recruitment process.

Open House FlierTheir team launched “Welcome Wednesdays” this year. Every few weeks the admissions office hosts a Welcome Wednesday from 8:30-10:30am. It’s really an open house held during the day so that prospective parents can see the campus in full life.

What sets this open house apart is their marketing strategy. Rather than spending limited resources on ineffective print ads and direct mail, they printed a flier and package of business card sized invitations.

Then, they mailed this flier and a packet of 10 cards to their current parents asking them to hand out a card to a friend to invite them to a Welcome Wednesday, or any other time that they can visit campus.

What I like about this idea is that the staff has taken the traditional open house format and empowered parents with the tools they need to invite their friends to campus.

I am not sure what this packet cost them to produce and mail. However I do know that this strategy is innovative and works to facilitate word-of-mouth. 

This is a much better approach than placing ads in newspapers, magazines and radio stations. Since word-of-mouth is the number one way that prospective parents discover a school, shouldn’t you redirect your dollars to more strategies like this one implemented at Lakeland Christian?

It makes sense to me.

What do you do to facilitate word-of-mouth at your school and to encourage your parents to invite their friends to visit?

4 Responses to A Better Way to Market Your School’s Open House

  1. Randy Vaughn says:

    Rick,
    Love the idea! Much better to equip existing fans with the tools to be the school’s ambassadors. Alot more trust factor than a direct mail ad. Good post – as always!
    -Randy

  2. Love this idea. I have done a similar version of this – we sent postcard size pieces home in student folders with a letter inviting parents to help spread the word about our admission events.

  3. Pingback: Blogging, Speaking and Helping Schools Grow | Enrollment Catalyst

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