Private School Marketing Lessons on Love

I enjoyed hearing Andy Sernovitz share three lessons on love at the Word of Mouth Crash Course earlier this year (

He said, “Essentially, word of mouth marketing works when there is love — a love between someone and a product or service.” 

First, he said that new love is powerful; it makes you talk.

Think about when you met your spouse. While you were dating your new found love, he or she was all you could talk about. Your conversations with friends and posts on Facebook focused on your new relationship.  

A few years ago, I met my wife, Janine, on eHarmony. I was her first and last eHarmony date. After our third date we both knew that we had found the love of our lives and our search was over. While there is much more to this story, I told this story to everyone in greater detail. And, we had thought about submitting our story with eHarmony so that we could be featured in one of their ads. We could have been one of their featured couples in their TV ad!

Think about your new families. They love your school and are the ones talking about your school in a very positive way. Since they are so new to your school, they haven’t found anything negative to talk about. Therefore, you need to seize the moment and harness their love for your school. New parents can be some of the best word of mouth marketers for your school. The following are eight strategies that you should do now with your new families: 

1.  Ask all of your new parents to share a testimonial with you regarding why they selected your school for their child. This will be an important story to collect that you can use throughout your marketing effort in print, on the web and on video.

2. Ask your new parents to write a review on, or Google on why they selected your school for their child. 

3. Survey your new parents to find out how they first heard about your school and assess the marketing strategies that worked and didn’t work.

4. Meet with your new families to discuss their connections in the community at their previous preschool or daycare, church group or neighborhood. Ask them to help you reach out to these schools and churches to share your school with their friends.  

5. Ask your new parents to host a dessert and coffee event in their home so that they can invite their friends with children to discover more about your school.

6. Give your new parents something with your school’s logo on it—a T-shirt, car magnet, or a coffee mug—to welcome them to your school. 

7. Encourage your head of school to call all new families or send a personal, handwritten note welcoming the family to your school.

8. Hold a new parent coffee meeting after the first few weeks to discuss how their transition to your school is going. 

Second, love and money don’t mix.

You can’t buy love and payments or incentives can kill word of mouth. While it may be tempting to implement a referral program, don’t pay tuition incentives to your parents for referrals. These programs never work. You end up spending money that you shouldn’t have to spend since word of mouth should happen naturally. Last year I wrote a blog post on this topic and it is still relevant today: Paying Your Parents for Referrals.

Third, nobody talks more than a lover’s scorn.

If your parents aren’t happy, then their negative word of mouth will spread quickly. This lesson is simple and should be your priority. As much as you can, it is important for you to focus on your parent satisfaction level. If something isn’t going well, then you will definitely hear about it. You want to do everything you can to avoid relationships with your parents going in the wrong direction.  

Andy Sernovitz’s lessons on love are applicable for your school and your word of mouth marketing effort.

In what ways will you reach out to your new families to capitalize on their love for your school?