7 Tips for Success as a New Private School Marketing Director

Several years ago, I worked with Riverside Christian School in Yakima, WA, to hire their first Director of Enrollment and Marketing, Kaleen Goodeill. She was a perfect fit for this position as I provided ongoing coaching for her in her new position. Since then, she now works for North Star Marketing as the Education Marketing Manager. She helps their school clients implement inbound marketing strategies. I have asked Kaleen to write a guest blog post on some tips for new marketing directors. Kaleen, thanks for sharing your expertise in this post.

7 Tips for Success as a New Private School Marketing Director

Marketing directors at private schools may have different job descriptions, but they typically have one thing in common: a full plate. If you’re stepping into this role, it doesn’t matter whether you’re replacing a former marketing director or filling a brand new position, you’ll likely be wearing several hats — community promoter, website master, open house organizer, and social media manager. With so many tasks of great importance, you may be wondering how to prioritize and get it all done. It may take a little time to learn the ropes, but these seven tips can help lead you to success in your new position.

  1. Come to Work With An Inquisitive Mind
    Do not hesitate to ask questions as you dive into your new role, even the hard questions. Being intentional in understanding the school’s history, vision, current marketing plans, and challenges will provide you with clarity on what is expected of you and what your priorities will be. No one expects you to be an expert on the school right off the bat, but asking questions will help get you there a lot faster.
  2. Define Your Success
    The first step in putting together a successful marketing strategy is to define what success looks like for your school. Create specific goals around the growth of your brand, lead generation, and retention strategies to lay the foundation for the rest of your work.
  3. Put Together An Action Plan
    Whether you start on the first day of school or mid-enrollment season, it is imperative that you map out your marketing strategy for the remainder of the enrollment season. Ideally, craft a strategy that is built out over a full school year, outlining each campaign, project, and individual task. This helps you clearly see (and share) the overarching goals, but keeps you accountable for the milestones and deadlines required along the way.
  4. Partner With the Admissions Team
    When it comes to achieving enrollment goals, it is crucial for a school’s marketing staff and admissions departments to work together. Without a consistent line of communication and teamwork, your marketing department’s strategy cannot be not aligned with the work of admissions and enrollment. When there’s a disconnect, it’s sure to cause frustration and failure.
  5. Evaluate Your Budget
    One of the most important questions for a marketing director to ask is, “Do our investments align with our strategy?” It’s always helpful to allocate funds to specific initiatives such as online marketing, direct marketing, social media advertising, and print collateral. Establish a percentage of your budget for each, and continually evaluate what items in your budget are delivering a strong ROI, and what items could be phased out.
  6. Engage Your School Community
    Great leaders listen.As the leader in your school’s marketing, it is important to reach out to your students, staff, alumni, and parents. Ask them what they love about the school or how they’ve been impacted by their time on campus. These are the stories that your prospective families and stakeholders want to hear. By building relationships within your school community, you give yourself opportunities to capture these stories and share them on your website, social media, and other marketing materials.
  7. Build Your Team
    You may be a one-man team, but you cannot do this alone! By building strong relationships with your administrative team, the admissions team, faculty, and even parents, you create a powerful network to help accomplish your goals. Parents are especially helpful in generating positive word of mouth; consider establishing a team of parent ambassadors that you can call on to multiply your efforts in the local community. Learn more about launching a parent ambassador program at your school and how Rick Newberry can guide you in that process.

Download Our School Marketing Cheat Sheet
Like the advice in this blog post? Want to keep it fresh in your mind? Download our “cheat sheet” for a visual representation of the seven tips above.