Enrollment and Marketing Strategies for Private Schools
5/16/13 | Word of Mouth Marketing
Many of my blog posts and presentations focus on this concept as it relates to word of mouth marketing in independent and faith-based schools. Word of mouth is always the number one way that a prospective parent discovers a private school.
As I have thought about word of mouth marketing in light of the current discussion on Inbound Marketing and its differences from Outbound Marketing, it is time to refer to word of mouth marketing in a new way.
5/9/13 | Word of Mouth Marketing
If you have been a regular reader of my blogs or if you have heard me speak at a conference, you will recognize that word of mouth marketing is one of the main strategies that I discuss. In fact, it is the subject of a webinar I will be facilitating next week (see details at the end of this post).
In every focus group or parent survey that I conduct for a school, the power of word of mouth is evident. Your prospective parents first learn about your school from someone else.
In the parent surveys that I administer, I typically ask the question: “How can the administration increase the school’s awareness and improve its marketing effort in the community?”
Content is king for your school’s online marketing strategy.
Think about it.
What do people see, read, view or listen to on the web? Content.
Because of this, you really need a content marketing strategy. And, I am afraid that most school marketing leaders don’t have one. In fact, most can’t keep up with key updates to their own website let alone think about the type of content they should produce.
In their book, Content Rules, Handley and Chapman suggest, “Produce great stuff, and your customers will come to you. Produce really great stuff, and your customers will share and disseminate your message for you. More than ever before, content is king! Content rules!”
Most often when we think about content, we first think about the static copy on our website about our programs and processes. When was the last time you read through your academic pages on your website? Pretty boring and uninteresting isn’t it?
You might also think about the content that is focused on informing parents about your events and activities instead of the content that will tell stories about your school and content that will actually be helpful to people.
I believe that telling stories should be a key part of your marketing effort. This will help to drive word of mouth. While I have written about this in other blog posts, I wanted to discuss some other content considerations that take a different approach. Read more…
4/10/13 | Retention
This article 12 strategies to stop student attrition at your school was recently published in SSATB’s Memberanda Magazine. Because of the importance of this topic, I wanted to repost the article here in my blog. To read the entire magazine, you can view it on the SSATB website.
The most important indicator of your school’s overall health is its retention rate. While it’s true that this statistic reflects your school’s performance as a whole, the admission department is typically tasked with ensuring the retention of current families. While there are many strategies that influence retention, the most important are to offer a high-quality school experience, coupled with strong parent satisfaction. However, just because a family is enrolled this year doesn’t mean that they will enroll for next year!
Implement these 12 tactics as part of your re-recruitment plan to keep current families enrolled. Read more…
In our never-ending quest to implement the best school marketing strategies to reach prospective parents, it is important that we don’t forget the power of the student-to-student referral.
Students themselves not only have influence with their parents in the choice of schools, they can also influence their friends.
Current students can reach out to their friends in the community to recruit them to their school.
A couple of years ago I began working with First Baptist Academy in Naples, FL (www.fbalions.org). One of the marketing strategies they had already implemented stood out to me – Friend Day.
Because of the success of this program, I reached out to Rebecca Curran, Director of Admissions at FBA, to conduct a virtual interview with her and to share this with you in a blog post.
I first met Brendan Schneider virtually through his blog, www.schneiderb.com. I quickly discovered that we are both passionate about helping schools grow by using inbound marketing strategies that work in today’s world. And, we also have a common affinity for cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers!
What I appreciate about Brendan is that he writes about his own personal inbound marketing experiences at Sewickley Academy in his blog. Brendan is a thought-leader, inbound marketing guru and practitioner in the field of independent school enrollment and marketing leadership.
Last Spring I had the opportunity to speak at a one-day conference in Florida as well as participate on the faculty at the AISAP Summer Institute in La Jolla along with Brendan (We will both be participating at this year’s summer institute in Nashville). Not only does he communicate timely advice in his blog, he is also a gifted communicator who speaks from his own experiences.
Videos are a very important component of your school’s marketing and enrollment strategy. A video can provide an emotionally compelling overview of your school that will help draw the prospective parent to your campus. It can tell the story of your school in a way that can’t be shown in pictures or written in words.
I have seen many school videos in my educational consulting experience. While we live in the YouTube world where homemade, in-the-moment videos are appealing, there is still a place for a professionally produced video for your school.
If you are going to go this route, it is important that you develop a video that is creative and will capture the short, online attention span of your prospective parents. Read more…
2/27/13 | Word of Mouth Marketing
Word of mouth is the number one way that prospective parents discover your school. It is the power of a referral that will drive your enrollment success more than any advertising campaign you can develop.
Because of this, I was excited to discover and read Rob Fuggetta’s book, Brand Advocates. If you read no further, make sure you order this book for your continued professional development in word of mouth marketing. This book is an excellent resource for all school leaders seeking to turn parents into a powerful marketing force.
Rather than provide you with a book review, I wanted to share seven quotes that stood out to me as a sampling from the book and my reflections on how Fugetta’s advice applies to private school marketing.
I began working with Lane Rice, Director of Admission, and Eric Cook, Headmaster, at Covenant Classical School www.covenantfw.org) in Fort Worth, TX, last July. In our discussions, I recommended that they launch a Parent Ambassador’s Program to expand their reach and to increase word of mouth. The following blog post is a recent interview with Lane about how she launched this program as part of her school’s marketing and enrollment strategy.
Why did you decide to launch a Parent Ambassador’s Program?
“The Parent Ambassador program at Covenant is one of many enrollment strategies recommended to us by Dr. Rick Newberry. When Dr. Newberry visited Covenant in the summer of 2012, our enrollment was plateauing. While we continued to matriculate new students each year, our attrition numbers made us uncomfortable and hindered our potential for growth. In an area where the market is flooded with private schools – and indeed good schools – Covenant needed to implement enrollment strategies to help us communicate our mission, vision, and distinctiveness to our area.”
2/4/13 | Marketing
I remember when Apple computers first came out. I was in high school and we had an Apple IIe in one of my classes. During lunch and breaks, we would gather around the computer and play games. I don’t remember exactly what games we played but it is nothing like the games that my boys play today.
In college I purchased my first computer–an Apple IIc–as a replacement for my electric, self-correcting typewriter. It was cool to have a computer–especially an Apple–back in the mid-80′s in my dorm room even with its green monochromatic screen!
Since that computer purchase, I have been a PC user–mainly Dell laptops. While this has worked well for me, the time came a couple of weeks ago to make a new purchase and to go in a new direction.