How do you stand out in this competitive private school market? What's today's marketing landscape look like and what strategies work?
Today we're diving into 3 Areas of Growth schools need to focus on and the strategies to help them grow and thrive to meet marketing challenges. Let's get started!
As the book Blue Ocean Shift so nicely summed up, we're swimming in a red ocean full of sharks. It's a competitive environment. Independent Schools are not only competing with each other for that same, "quality" family but also with charters, magnets, and great public school options.
Schools are finding it difficult to connect prospective parents to what they do and why it's important.
And then we have our millennial families. We've got busy parents who don't have the time to come to your open houses and on tours. Or who don't even know you exist down the street (the "hidden gem" problem).
These families are looking for schools who share the same values, who are authentic and socially aware. And they need to get to know a school before they really consider any next steps.
So how do we compete in this competitive and complex environment?
If you're looking for a restaurant, you're going to read reviews and make sure it's worth making a trip. And that's just for a $20 meal!
Now imagine you're considering an investment of $14,000 - $20,000? You'd be checking out social media feeds, the website, online reviews, etc.
That's what our millennial families are doing. So if you don't have a strong online presence, it's going to become more and more challenging to get people to your campus, much less buy your product.
How do you create a strong online presence? Start by posting consistently on social media, producing authentic videos highlighting your students and staff, optimizing your Google My Business profile, and monitoring and securing testimonials for your school on every review site. Are you doing these things?
How do you warm up prospective families? As we mentioned, millennial families need to build that "know, like, and trust" factor with you. This means that prior to families even considering your open house or enrollment, they need a taste of what your school has to offer.
How do you engage prospective families? It's offering them value before the sale. This means you provide them with a way to experience your staff, school, and teachings before they go on a tour or pay for tuition.
For example, if your school has a fantastic art program, it's creating a series of art workshops for your target audience. Invite them to the workshops, warm them up, have them get to know your staff and the campus.
These warmed-up audiences will convert better to tours and enrollment. The key is selecting the correct target market and engaging them via email and social during the entire process. It's like dating!
Although I love marketing, there's only so much good marketing can do for schools. If you're dripping families like a leaking ship then all the marketing in the world won't solve that problem.
So what's the key to customer happiness? It's understanding your customer's experience and anticipating their needs.
It's more than retention. It's connecting your families to the school, classroom, teachers, campus and mission so that they don't want to go anywhere.
How do you do this? This depends on your school but it's basically looking for ways to bring busy parents into the life of your school and showing them the value of what you offer.
It's sending parents videos and photos from their child's day and classroom (reaffirming their decision!). It's creating opportunities for parents to volunteer (think short and sweet for busy parents!) or visit the classrooms for special gatherings.
It's sending surveys to parents at least once or twice a year and listening to what they're saying. It's calling families and asking how things are going. It's talking with teachers about children who are struggling and pro-actively supporting that family through the process.
Bottom Line: It's creating customer happiness through a personalized, connected experience.
Check out this week's video for a more detailed look at these areas of growth. Which strategy will you try?
Did you find this helpful? Let me know!
Looking forward to chatting soon!
Founder, Easy School Marketing
P.S. Connect with me on LinkedIn - I'd love to hear about your favorite tips!