Growing your private school comes down to marketing strategies.
Schools are finding it challenging to keep their enrollment up because family size is shrinking and social trends are changing. In today’s educational environment, parents have an increasing range of options when choosing a school. There are thirteen different types of schools common in American school districts. Most schools today are using marketing strategies to engage with families.
Private schools offer a great deal of value to their students. Your staff and faculty are dedicated to the success of their students and you have diversity in the programs you provide. But are these setting you apart from other schools in your area?
As parents start researching schools, they are asking these types of questions:
- What is unique about this school?
- What is the mission of the school?
- What criteria is used to hire faculty?
- What academic outcomes can we expect by sending our child to this school?
- What communication expectations does your school have for parents?
- What are the strengths of this school? Challenges?
Parents want to know their student will be successful at your school and after. Students may or may not have an idea of what programs they are interested in, but they don’t know why they should go to your school.
Your job as a marketer is to help families understand why they should enroll their student in your school. Here are 10 of the most successful marketing strategies for attracting more students.
Get to know your potential families
Before you do anything else, you have a good understanding of the ideal student and parents you want to attract to your school. Not everyone is a strong candidate for your school. What makes a family a good fit? What goals do they have for their child? What challenges are they facing? What does your school offer that will address these challenges?
Once you know and understand the ideal families you want to attract, your marketing strategies will become more focused and targeted.
Identify your core marketing message
Your marketing message will be a strong influence in helping you achieve your enrollment goals, as it can make the difference between an inquiry or a prospective family moving on to a competitor. For this reason, you need to craft a marketing message specifically designed for your ideal families. It should also address the challenges they are facing as well as how your school will address their challenges.
When your marketing message speaks to the needs of your family, you build trust with them. It’s worth investing time and energy into crafting the best marketing messages because parents need to establish trust in your school before they will consider applying.
A major factor to consider when crafting your marketing message is your value proposition. Your value proposition highlights what makes your school special. It clearly states why parents should enroll their child, and that is exactly the point of a marketing message.
Evaluate your website
A bad website experience, especially if it’s on mobile, can end your relationship with a potential family before it begins. According to Think With Google, 79% of people search for another site when they don’t like what they find on the first site.
Redesigning a website is a lot of work but your website is the foundation of your marketing strategies. If your website is more than three years old or not mobile-friendly, is not aesthetically pleasing or user-friendly, you need to consider a redesign.
Improve your search engine optimization (SEO)
An SEO strategy is crucial for your school’s marketing strategies. SEO is the link between searchers typing a query into a search bar and your school’s website or blog. Since 90 percent of all online experiences start with a search query, SEO provides you with the opportunity to connect with potential parents who are looking for something related to your school. Furthermore, since people rarely click on a link beyond the first search results page, it is crucial your school rank high in Google results.
Need help with your school’s SEO? Learn more about how SchneiderB Media can help.
Set up automated email marketing workflows
Email marketing is essential for school marketers. Email allows you to build relationships with prospective parents, parents of currently enrolled students and alumni. It’s your opportunity to speak directly to them in your inbox, at a time that is convenient for them. In conjunction with the right messaging, email can become one of your most impactful marketing channels.
Email automation is a staple of a school’s inbound marketing strategies. Also known as an email drip campaign. An email drip campaign is a series of emails set up to automatically disperse over a period of time in response to an action on the part of a subscriber. The action might be filling out an inquiry form, downloading a lead magnet or subscribing to your newsletter. You can segment your different subscriber groups so you can send emails tailored to each group. Best of all, once you have your drip campaign set up, it happens automatically, saving you (or someone on your team) a lot of time.
Evaluate your blogging strategy
First of all, if you don’t already have a blog – start one! Here’s a list of topics to get you started.
But if you already have a blog (hopefully you do), take some time to evaluate how well your blog is performing. One of the most important aspects of a successful blog is choosing the right keywords. Keywords are a major factor Google uses to determine how to rank your content. If you use the right keyword it will make it easier for Google to rank your blog post higher in response to a search query.
Wondering how to find the best keywords for your blog? SEO Coach will not only make recommendations, but also track the top keywords your competitors are using.
To learn more about creating a successful school blog, visit “The Ultimate Guide to a Successful School Blog”.
Create an inquiry magnet
This goes along with email automation, but an inquiry magnet (also called a content offer) can go a long way in capturing information from people who are visiting your website. Many private schools only capture information from people who are submitting an inquiry form. Most people already have done the research and know about your school before they submit an inquiry form, so you’re gathering information from people who most likely have you on their “shortlist”. People who are just visiting your website may be just learning about your school. If you don’t have an inquiry magnet you may be missing out on prospective parents who have you on their “long list” but don’t know your school well enough to put you on their “shortlist”.
For a full list of lead magnet ideas, click here: 20 Task Automation Tips for School Marketers in 2022
Consider running pay-per-click ads (PPC)
PPC ads are a powerful tool you can use to generate traffic to your website and increase awareness of your school. A PPC ad can help your website/blog rank higher in Google, give you valuable information about your target audience and keywords. PPC ads work especially well in local markets, so you have an advantage if you’re marketing to local families. Of course, Google Ads are the most well-known of PPC ads, but Microsoft (formerly Bing) is another option.
Consider running ads on social media
Google Ads aren’t the only show in town when it comes to online advertising. Social ads can be very effective as well. Prospective families spend a lot of time on social media, so this is a smart way to reach them. Social ads are usually less expensive than PPC ads and you can play around with the ad formats. One of the reasons social ads are so valuable is how granular you are able to be when targeting your audience.
Invest in more videos
Investing in video marketing is one of the best ways your school can connect with potential families. According to Animoto, videos are consumers’ favorite type of content to see from a brand on social media.
- Build trust with parents
- Increase brand awareness
- Improve search engine ranking
- Increase inquiries
- Improve your content strategy
Parents have higher expectations than ever when it comes to marketing online. As your school begins to plan your digital marketing strategies, use the tips in this article to help you plan. This will help ensure you include all of the most important marketing strategies in your plan.
Do you agree these are the most important marketing strategies in 2022? What strategy would you add and why? Please comment below…