Running a private school can have some tremendous advantages, especially in the marketing department. You’re a natural alternative to the public school system and your small class sizes and focused one-on-one attention can really help local kids succeed in a wide variety of ways. To get that message out to your community and increase your enrollment year over year, you’re going to need some marketing ideas that make a positive first impression.
It begins by leading with your strengths. If you’ve got awesome test scores, promote that. If you’ve got one of the best special education programs in your region, then talk about that. People have no problem investing in their children if it makes sense and they can afford to do so.
Great Private School Marketing Ideas
1. Be Innovative With Financial Aid
With rising education costs, parents are more concerned than ever about how much a private education will cost. Offer a wide range of tuition options that are based on an income index that will make your programs accessible to the most people possible.
2. Tell Your Story
Parents want to know more than statistics about how good your education efforts are. They also want to see real examples of your program in action, so tell your story through student testimonials that have found real success in your programs. This will give parents or guardians the confidence they need to send their own kids to your school.
3. Make Your Prices Competitive
If your efforts at financial aid isn’t as effective as you’d like, then there’s a private school out there right now that is willing to cut their margins more than you’re willing to do right now. Take another look at your finances, see if you can make your prices more competitive, and your race to the bottom of the price scale will likely pay off in the long run.
4. Clone Your Ideal Students
If you know your target demographic, then you can clone your enrollment based on the families in that demographic. Find out what it is that attracts your target families to your school, market those features to others in your community, and you’ll create a wide enrollment base that will keep your enrollment numbers high.
5. Parents Buy Why You Work
High test scores are good and high grades are better, but parents buy your philosophy more than they buy your results. You might get good grades through a strong fear of discipline, forced outdoor classwork for failing grades, or rote memorization of test answers. State the “why” behind what you do and you’ll have a better response.
6. Address Concerns Quickly
Your plans to fix problems as fast as possible will give you an advantage because it shows that you care about feedback. If you have a concise, step-by-step plan in place to address concerns, then kids will come to your school even if a problem hasn’t been completely resolved as of yet.
7. Have a Clear Mission
How many teachers, school janitors, and administrative personnel can tell a parent instantly what your mission statement is? Although having the mission memorized is nice, people who are focused on the mission are more likely to implement it because they’re invested into it.
8. Host a Safety Night
School safety is becoming the #1 priority of parents today, so host a safety night where you can show parents all of the security measures that your private school has in place should something unexpected occur on the grounds. This will ease minds, parents will get to reinforce the policy with their kids at home, and everyone’s comfort levels will rise – which naturally leads to higher enrollment rates.
9. Be Vocal
If you say nothing, then how can anyone hear about the benefits you’re able to provide? If your private school is a non-profit or tax-exempt entity, then use this status to get yourself onto local televisions, radio stations, and other media to talk about your programs. Media outlets often offer severely discounted advertising for these agencies as well, which gives you a good chance to market to parents during peak times.
10. Be Inviting
Keep your school organized because disorganization will be the biggest detriment you’ll face as parents and kids tour your school. Even one messy, unorganized room can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
11. Sponsor an Educational Event
Students are competing in a number of different of events every year and at every age bracket. These events need sponsors, which gives you a prime place to advertise everything that you’re able to do.
12. Use On Hold Marketing
Your message that is said to people on hold is a great place to talk about the advantages you can provide at your school. Although no one really wants to be placed on hold for a long time, it is a way to market to people if you have to hold them on the line while you research a question they may have asked.
13. Get Your Website Into Local Searches
Parents use the internet to search for schools in new communities more than any other tool available to them. If your school’s website is listed in local searches, then there’s a good chance that you’ll never be found. Focus on local keywords that relate to your school, maximize your site’s SEO, and provide a quality user experience on your website for the best overall results.
14. Direct Mail Still Works
A postcard or other direct mail campaign will put your services and prices into lots of hands and that’s ultimately your goal, right? Produce high quality materials with a catchy headline to get the most views.
15. Time It Right
The reason why many private school marketing campaigns fail is because they aren’t timed right. To boost enrollment for the next fall session, you’ve got to begin the campaign around the 1st of March. If you wait until school is out to begin marketing, you’ll have lost a lot of families because they’ll have already secured their plans.