Here are five powerful techniques you can start today to market your school and boost enrolments.
1. Share your students’ stories
Stories have power. We remember them. We identify with them. Do you use student stories in your marketing? It is valuable to offer a range of stories, not just the ones about outstanding achievements. Ask students about their ‘every day’ experiences of school. After all, these are the moments that can truly represent school life.
You can gather material by asking themed questions regarding a range of topics such as favourite school events, most challenging experience or funniest moment.
2. Create a school brand that shows your special qualities
What makes your school special and unique? Does your school branding consistently reflect these qualities?
Branding can include:
Specific messages (more about this later)
Graphic design elements
Branding allows you to have an identity and consistently communicate it. Ideally it should be used uniformly in all marketing, including school publications and signage.
3. Use key marketing messages
What are the top five messages you would like to communicate about your school? What are the characteristics that make it unique or special? Decide on what your top three to five messages are and ensure that you convey these messages in your marketing materials. Use stories and examples to illustrate your messages and provide credibility. For example, if you state that your school is a friendly place, you might publish a profile story about how a new student was made to feel welcome.
Encourage your school leadership team to understand and embrace branding messages so they can also champion them to internal and external audiences.
4. Harness word of mouth
Word of mouth is one of the most influential and persuasive forms of marketing.
Once your key messages are determined, you can use them to build a word of mouth strategy. This includes digital word of mouth, or social media.
Communicate your key messages to your school community and leadership team at school events and via publications, so they can articulate them to others. Many school families are proud to share feel good stories about their school community, they just need to be given the information.
5. Foster relationships with feeder schools and other organisations
Does your school foster relationships with key figures in feeder schools and related early learning or child care programs?
Look at whether there are other organisations or programs that you can naturally look to for enrolments. For example, these might be church groups, performing arts clubs or sporting bodies.
Send regular communications that may be of interest to key figures at regular intervals. For example, provide them with relevant information on open days or developmental and learning topics.
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Emma Reeves is a copywriter and marketing consultant based in Melbourne, Australia.
Connect with me on Facebook for marketing advice and trends.