A Countdown to the First Day of School — Six Marketing Strategies
It’s hard to believe that the first day of school is only a few weeks away. In fact, my boys start back on August 12.
We just began our final summer vacation this week. We are visiting the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes National Park near Traverse City, MI (Check out my personal Facebook page for pictures). I love this part of the state. Last year it was voted to be the most beautiful national park in the United States. My boys have never been to this area since we moved to Florida when they were very young.
With the first day of school quickly on its way, it is important to think about what you can do between now and then to get your families excited as well as the first impression you will create when they arrive back to school.
Recently, Krista Dulaney, Director of School Relations at The Frankfort Christian Academy, posted a question in The SchneiderB Bloc group on Facebook: “Are any of you planning anything amazing for the first day of school?” (By the way, if you haven’t joined The SchneiderB Bloc Facebook group, you should do so today. This online community allows you to interact with the other members of the group by posting questions, responses and ideas.)
I had already been thinking about writing this blog post when I saw her question. You have an opportunity to make a great first impression on your first day of school.
The following ideas will help you in your planning for the first day of school.
1. Begin a daily countdown on Facebook towards the first day of school – I actually say this idea on the Mayfest 2013 Facebook page, a community event in Fort Worth, TX. Thirty days before Mayfest they featured a countdown post every day showcasing a photo with a person holding a sign with the days left until the event. Each day featured someone different holding their handmade sign. This daily Facebook post generated excitement about the upcoming event and featured key people from the community.
This idea is easy to replicate on your school’s Facebook page. You can use students, parents, faculty, board members, alumni, new families and anyone else that you want to feature in your countdown post. You could even use an empty hallway with a post that shares how the hallway may be silent now but it will be filled with students in just a few days.
You could even get creative in your posts by showcasing numbers around campus and/or including the person posing with the number of items that represent an area (for example, your IT director could pose with a stack of 12 iPads on the countdown day number 12). This was an idea posted by Krista in The SchneiderB Bloc and an example is shown in the photo (view the TFCA Facebook page for more examples)
2. Send personal, handwritten notes to all of your families and students welcoming them back to school. While you might get writer’s cramp, this low-cost initiative could go a long way in demonstrating the individual attention that your school community reflects.
3. Give something away to your parents on the first day of school. One school gave away a school-branded coffee mug with a special invitation to the head of school coffee meetings for parents. Another school gave away muffins and coffee to parents and donuts and juice to students.
4. Create a festive environment to celebrate the first day of school. You may want to hang up banners or balloons to create a celebratory and welcoming environment on the first day of school.
5. Do something different and memorable on the first day of school. You could have a welcome back cookout for the students served by the faculty and staff. You could hold a special commissioning service to dedicate the school year to learning and development.
6. Ask parents to post first day pictures to your school’s Facebook page. This will encourage all of your parents to create online buzz by sharing pictures of their child on the first day of school.
Are you planning anything unique or creative in the upcoming weeks to welcome your families back to school?
What are you doing intentionally to create a memorable first impression on the first day of school?