Private schools are just like businesses. For a school, enrollments are the equivalent to a service- based business acquiring clients. So in many ways, it can be helpful for a school to view themselves as a business, their students as their clients, and the other schools in their district as their competitors.
Though your students may not be around, you know there is still plenty of work to be done. Because as we argued you’re a business, and businesses can’t get complacent with their marketing and business development as clients come and go. As such, here are our top school marketing tips for those of you needing some inspiration.
You can’t attract your ideal student if you can’t describe them. The most effective school marketing campaigns work because the marketers behind them know and understand the target audience. To get you going, create a profile of your ideal student based on their demographic. To get you started on that student profile, ask yourself what are your ideal students’ gender, age range, and economic background? What are their parents’ priorities? APA classes, dual enrollment, career and technical education? Answering these questions will help you write better copy and know how where to delegate your efforts.
Besides your target audience, another thing you need to identify is your school marketing goals. Every marketing campaign needs a goal as it guides what kind of content you produce and the category of your paid social media advertising efforts if you go that route. Some common school marketing goals are enrollment, donations, event attendance, and after-school programs.
A blog is not only a great way to improve your SEO, but it can also provide valuable content for prospective students and their families. Your blog could be used as an outlet to spotlight students, special events, and school awards.
Another avenue you can explore with your blog is tip-based articles. You don’t want to post just content that is just there to sell your school. Families will crave informative based content too. As you know, your school isn’t just there for its students, it’s there for the parents and guardians too. Check out the blog posts we write for North Shore Christian School for some inspiration. On their blog, we not only write posts about school happenings, but we also have articles that help parents support their students with their schooling.
Newsletters are another excellent way to communicate with your target audience. Consider doing a monthly newsletter if you’re not doing that already. Like your website, make sure the format of your emails is meeting the needs of the growing number of mobile email users. Your newsletter can include recent blog posts, new hires, and upcoming events.
Your website is the hub of your online presence and as such needs to be great. It is often the first impression prospective students and parents will have with your school. Your website should be responsive (this means it appears nicely on every screen be it a desktop, laptop, smartphone, or TV screen), easy to navigate, professional, and personable.
The website should also be ADA compliant. You may have heard the word ‘ADA’ be thrown around a lot recently. It stands for the Americans with Disabilities Act. It became an act in 1990, and last year the state of New York saw 1,564 ADA cases. A portion of these cases were for websites. Every type of website over the last couple of years has been targeted by ADA lawsuits, both small businesses and big name brands. With that said, it has become increasingly important for all websites, especially school websites, to be accessible.
20% of the population has a disability of some sort and one in ten people have disabilities that present obstacles with using computers.
Developing relationships with local newspapers and journalists is an awesome way to get the word out about your school to the community. You want to make sure major school events like tournament wins, the opening of the school play, prom, and honor roll are documented in their publications.
Networking is a must for small business growth and since we’ve already agreed that schools are businesses, you should be sure to network like businesses do. The relationships that are worth building with are counselors at lower schools since they often give referrals to students. Local chamber of commerce events are also worth checking out. You could make your school more marketable if your students are able to job shadow or intern at local businesses.
Testimonials are powerful. They are more persuasive than any sales pitch. Getting testimonials from alumni can help build trust and credibility for your school. Not to mention everyone loves a good story about how somebody was transformed by a school. Consider taking your testimonial to the next level with a video.
We hope you found this article helpful. Sperling Interactive has worked with many schools in its eleven years in business. We would love to help yours if you need to outsource any work. We can be reached at (978) 304-1730.