5 Ways to Involve Parents in Your Private School’s Word-of-Mouth Marketing Strategy

Parents are typically motivated to begin searching for a school because it is the right time to look, or because they are experiencing a pain point at their current school.

For example, preschool and kindergarten are natural entry points for a child. Parents know they have to choose a school at this time, and are motivated to find the best fit for their family.

On the other hand, a pain point is when something prompts a parent to consider moving their child

to another school. This pain point could be caused by dissatisfaction in their current school, social issues, relocation to another area, or a myriad of other reasons.

In either case, word of mouth from other parents is a primary source of information for those searching for a school. Parents usually begin the search process by asking friends and family about their own school choices.

Word of mouth — the number one way a prospective parent discovers a school.

Think about it. A parent begins the search process. She reaches out to her friends who have children. She asks about their search process and school choice. Then, based on the friend’s experiences and perspective, the parent will determine whether or not to take the next step. It’s a simple process that occurs over and over again. 

Your parents are your most important marketing tools because their word of mouth is rooted in their own passion and experiences at your school. It is the story they tell that will help motivate their friend to consider your school…or not.

Empowering your most powerful marketing tools — parents.

As you consider your marketing efforts and your ultimate enrollment growth strategy, it is critical that you work to inspire your current parents to intentionally share word of mouth with their friends. While this word of mouth will and should occur naturally, your goal is to take it to another level.

Ways enrollment and marketing directors can maximize the power of word of mouth:

  1. Ask Parents. While general asks of your parent community may motivate some, I think it is best to select specific parents and ask them to be involved. Parents are honored when they are chosen and selected to become part of your team.
  2. Be Specific. It’s important to take the guesswork out of what a parent should do to help spread word of mouth. You will need to be specific with them. Lead and guide them, and they will respond.
  3. Don’t Pay. School leaders often make the mistake of implementing financial incentives in the form of tuition discounts with the hope that this will motivate parents to share word of mouth. This strategy rarely works. In fact, it cheapens word of mouth. My advice: don’t do it.
  4. Share Stories. I don’t believe in elevator speeches when it comes to word-of-mouth marketing. Parents don’t speak from a memorized list of benefits. Instead, they speak from their heart and share their own personal stories. As you inspire your parents to share their story, word of mouth will spread.
  5. Always Encourage. Your role should be that of an encourager to parents. As you work with them throughout the year, you can encourage and inspire your parents to continue to help you. No one else will facilitate this better than you, since your heart is invested in spreading word of mouth.

Are you utilizing your parents to intentionally share word of mouth?

Word-of-mouth marketing should be a part of every private school’s growth strategy. If you are interested in learning more about practical solutions for solving your marketing and enrollment challenges, contact Enrollment Catalyst today.