It doesn’t matter if you’re running a sandwich shop or a private school. The reality is that without a solid marketing plan, you and your business will not go as far as you hope. In today’s ultra-competitive market, your private school faces a lot of competition to attract top students.
Therefore, no matter how good your school, programs, and teachers are, you can’t expect families to flock to you without a dependable marketing strategy. You need a reliable marketing plan to create solid engagement for your school. But, before we get to the specifics, let’s briefly review what a Marketing School Plan should do for you.
The Ultimate Goal Of a School Marketing Plan
Nowadays, having great teachers, staff, and facilities will not automatically boost your enrollment unless people know your school exists. That’s what marketing does.
A reliable marketing strategy will help attract prospective parents and students by showing them life inside your school. It lets you highlight your strengths, such as special financial aid programs, academic achievements, scholarship opportunities, and of course, great teachers.
Now, it’s time to list some effective school marketing plan ideas that will help create solid parent and student engagement, boost your online presence, and help increase your enrollment—all within your budget.
16 Steps to a Great Private School Marketing Plan
You can always improve your school marketing plan as you move forward, but try implementing these ideas as a starting point.
1. What is Your Mission?
Yes, it may sound very cliché, but we’re not talking about fancy talk. Simply define what you want—your purpose for doing what you do. In other words, why did you establish the school in the first place?
Your general goal may be to boost enrollment numbers, but what about the student body? Do you want to create more diversity regarding ethnicity and income level? Is your goal to create college-ready graduates? Did you develop your program to educate a wonderful population of students with special needs?
Answering these questions will determine your core demographic and show what you need to highlight.
2. Define Your Ideal Demographic
Once you define your mission, it’s easier to determine your ideal demographic. Find out why students come to your school. What do you offer that solves their challenges and helps them achieve their goals? Once you find out what’s bringing them to your school, you can highlight those benefits in your marketing plan to create a large enrollment base.
3. Tell Your Story
Parents and students want to know about your school services and programs. They want to see real-life results. They want to hear success stories. Using testimonials of those who have become successful through your programs assures prospective students that this is the right place for them.
Of course, you don’t always have to rely on testimonials. Always play to your strengths. Whether it’s a notable sporting achievement, excellent test scores, comprehensive fine arts program, or another standout characteristic of your school, emphasize them in your marketing plan. If parents know that your school fits their needs and goals, they will surely invest the money to enroll their kids.
4. Assign Responsibilities
Maintaining accountability is hard if you don’t know who controls what. You need a summary of the marketing plan that describes the entire process. It’s better for team members, too, because once they fully understand their job and the deadlines, they can move forward with more focus.
Plus, as you map out the responsibilities, you may realize you don’t have enough staff, expertise, or infrastructure in certain areas. That’s great because you can hire a team of experts to handle some of those tasks.
5. Make Prices Affordable
Tuition costs have always been a significant factor, and it continues to be the case for most families. Private education costs are a concern for most parents. Offering a range of tuition alternatives based on income levels can help ease the burden.
Take a look at what you’re currently charging for the services you are offering, and consider what you can do to adjust the structure to make it more appealing. Many private schools will be willing to cut tuition fees to boost enrollment numbers. So, be sure your school offers as much as possible as affordably as possible. Identify where you can make needed adjustments.
6. Design a Clean & Fast Website
Your school website is one of the greatest marketing tools in today’s tech-driven age. Most parents will check out your website to learn more about your services because they can find all the information they need in a matter of minutes.
To ensure they get that information, you must build a clutter-free website that loads up quickly and is easy to navigate. With the growing speed of internet connections, people will only wait a couple of seconds for the website to load. If it doesn’t, they will hit close and find another school.
Too often, the problem is that you jam so much content into the website that it takes longer to fully show. Plus, creating clutter will make the website more confusing and harder to navigate. A wiser strategy is to optimize your school website design with a clean look that simply guides visitors to the information they need.
7. Work On SEO
It’s time for search engine optimization (SEO). It can surely seem complicated because it covers a wide range of aspects, but we’ll focus on a few SEO elements for marketing your private school.
Google Analytics can be a powerful tool here. Through keyword analysis, you can identify the main keywords your target audience uses when searching for a private school in your area.
That’s great because you can incorporate those keywords into your website and give your school an excellent chance to appear in the top rankings. But, it’s not just about keyword placement. Identifying those keywords will show your target demographic’s main questions and challenges.
You can then use that information to create social media posts, blog articles, and videos answering those questions. That’ll surely catch their eyes and even increase your chances of getting backlinks because now you’re a source of information, which will take you to higher rankings.
8. Make It Mobile-Friendly
The website design makes a huge impact on first impressions. An unresponsive website that’s not designed for smartphones will surely harm your reputation because it shows that you’re not in touch with the world. Today, most people use their smartphones a lot more than their desktop computers or laptops.
This particularly applies to millennials and Gen Z users, who comprise a large portion of your core audience. You want smartphone visitors to easily read texts without constantly zooming in/out and then fill out search boxes and contact forms without pulling at their hair.
9. Make a Great Content Offer
Content offers are basically a piece of content you give parents or students in exchange for their contact details. It creates a fantastic opportunity for conversion because if they provide their contact information, you’re probably on their shortlist. In other words, all you need is to create a tailored piece of content that shows what you can offer to that specific group.
Don’t be too specific or too general. Stick to the point and show how your services can solve their problems and help them achieve their goals. If you want to incorporate research, don’t add the whole paper; it’s overwhelming. Just mention relevant stats, figures, and quotes.
If you’re covering different topics in one piece, divide them using headers so readers can skip straight to where they want to go. Be sure to use real-life examples instead of general claims, further proving that your school works.
10. Use Promotional Videos
People prefer learning through videos over reading lengthy articles because it’s easier to digest. That’s why promotional videos are a great way to highlight all of your private school’s benefits. You can add short clips to complement your blog posts and point out facts people did not notice while reading the article.
Plus, videos can do things that no text can. You can showcase your campus vibe, classrooms, activities, and the general school vibe in ways that can’t be done with text. It’s no wonder 86% of businesses use promotional videos in their marketing campaign.
11. Speak From the Student’s Point of View
In most cases, private schools feature teachers and staff narrating videos, and that’s perfectly fine. But, when it comes to promoting your private school, there’s no source more credible than students. Parents will believe their children far more than any third-party institution.
Creating story videos that show a student’s day in school or student Q&As can uniquely present the school experience. It’ll also help people connect more intimately with your brand.
12. Get Regular Feedback
You can’t accurately measure your performance unless you let the core audience be the judge. Conducting surveys can be helpful, but it’s even better to ask families about their specific concerns and how they think you’re working to address them.
That’ll show what you’re already doing great and where you need more improvement. You can praise people for their good work, acknowledge shortcomings, and assure parents that you’ll work on those issues immediately.
13. Address Concerns Quickly
Your plans to solve problems as soon as possible give you an edge since it indicates that you value input. If you have a clear, step-by-step approach to handling issues and expectations, students will come to your school even if the problem hasn’t been totally fixed.
That’s a great marketing move in itself because it shows that you care about the students who attend your school and their concerns, goals, dreams, and desires and not just as a way to boost your enrollment stats.
14. A Strong Social Media Presence
On average, people worldwide spend more than 2 hours/day on social media, which may be even higher for millennials and Gen Z kids.
Use your website and social media accounts to promote future events or celebrate programs’ success. This keeps people talking about what you do.
Use Facebook posts, news articles, and blogs to share your thoughts and your school’s values to demonstrate the philosophy that drives your success. If you don’t have a robust social media strategy, get a team of experts to handle that task.
It’s even better if you can get people to express their views about your school via social media comments. Doing so lets you pay attention to people’s views and shows that you are listening to their feedback.
Keep in mind that the top posts feature photos and videos. You don’t have to share any images or clips about specific students if it’s inappropriate. Just make sure to share your journey with current and prospective students and their families on social media.
15. Timing is Vital
Some private school marketing plans fail because they are not appropriately timed. To increase enrollment for the following autumn term, start the marketing around March. If you wait until too far into the current school year to start promoting (dare we say, “advertising”), you will have missed out on many families since they will have already picked their schools.
16. Create an Inviting Environment
We spoke about the importance of online marketing, but prospective families will physically tour your school. That’s why you must keep your school environment clean and in good working order. The last thing you want others to see is a chaotic environment.
A school’s aesthetics provide a solid first impression. Colorful, professional wall art can quickly highlight what makes your educational environment unique. Custom-made graphics may express your vision and values, engage and motivate students, and create an engaging and inspirational learning environment.
How We Can Help
There’s no doubt that you face a lot of competition, and parent expectations are really high. These tips and strategies will give you enough power to turn the odds in your favor. You can put your staff and money into creating the right marketing plan for your private school.
Of course, your time and budget may already be tied up in the core business that is running your school. It’s probably best because marketing is an experience game, especially for private schools with too many working variables.
That’s why hiring a website service provider like School Webmasters is wiser. Our team is always a phone call away to answer your questions and devise a future-proof marketing plan for your private school.