The number one reason (hands down) that we are called upon by schools is for strategies to drive enrolments. There’s usually a major issue or a challenge.
The issues range in reasons, but more often than not they are lagging across the board in key areas like Prep, Year 7 or Senior (Year 11 and 12) and they want help in fixing that problem. Or they have a challenge, like they are wanting to grow substantially as are investing in new facilities or are ready to add a new stream (class) which they will take through the school.
Common Limiting Factors
We often find the marketing of these schools is in a surprising situation. And we’re not talking about the lack of resources either (people and budget). Let us give you some examples:
- They have a new WordPress website – but one that hasn’t been designed to cater to their audiences – a) prospective parents and b) existing school community
- No Open Days. They run lots of tours or events but no actual event called an Open Day (or similar). And if they are doing an Open Day, it could be done a lot better.
- An out of date (or dated looking) Prospectus or one that is not well-designed or well-written.
- No marketing plan that is outlining their marketing activity e.g. traditional advertising, digital advertising, events – no strategy or calendar to drive it.
- Amazing facilities but no mention of them (or focus on them) in their marketing materials.
- Advertising that misses the mark (showing an Award they’ve won, or a building they’ve just opened or their anniversary)
- Too much focus on PRESS. And they’re not doing digital marketing yet.
- They’re not managing the list of prospects they already have.
- The Principal isn’t actively taking an interest in the marketing
- But most of all – we find the school isn’t clear on their brand, their key messages and what it is that sets them apart from others.
5 Strategies to Drive Enrolments
When we advise schools on strategies to drive enrolments, there are many things they need to focus on – but these 5 will get the most results:
- Invest in the best website you can. Make it on brand/on message and ensure it focuses on your principal, your open day, your tours, your prospectus, your enrolment strategy, your news and get it up and running ASAP.
- Develop the best Open Day experience you can. Make it attendance-worthy and ensure your Principal is front and centre. Showcase your quality teachers, facilities and students and get families excited. Follow them up!
- Develop ads that are on brand, on message and stand out from the crowd. If you’re doing them in-house then we hope they are good! Photography, design and copy are key. We’ve seen so many bad school ads that they are waste of money.
- Media placement is key. Be selective on your placement and ensure you are looking at traditional and digital. A mix of outdoor, radio, press, mags, cinema and digital (SEO and SEM) should all be part of your media buy. You need to be strategic and targeted.
- Big Ideas – Clever Content – Create word of mouth in the community. If you want to get people talking about you there needs to be an element of newsworthiness or word of mouth spreading. You may think you have nothing to shine the spotlight on but if you delve deeper we bet you do.
Will leave that with you to ponder today…