Your school’s academic offering is not a differentiator.  It’s just not.  The public school down the street can teach your students to read, write and do arithmetic.  (Sure, you think that you do it “better” but “better” is never a differentiator – NEVER).  If it’s not tremendously different than what a family can find at the public school two blocks away from their house, then you’ll never create life-long families for your school.

In order to cultivate an atmosphere of referrals and word-of-mouth and to ensure loyal retention, you must be intentional about fostering a remarkable consumer experience for each family at your school.   Consumers consume alot of things, but they don’t repeat or refer unremarkable experiences.  They won’t continue to give you $10K+ (per child) if the experience is not truly remarkable.

Highlighting your school’s unique experience can be masterfully created in a different ways, but sometimes the experience can be pretty basic (but often overlooked).

  • When families first come on your campus, what signage do they see – Rick Newberry from Enrollment Catalyst does a nice job showcasing some of the work he has done with a school in the area of signage.   Even for enrolled families (who return multiple times to your campus each week for activities, this signage is of critical importance to keep those positive impressions happening).  Even the “signage” on your Facebook presence (customized landing page) can be a way to differentiate and used to showcase your uniqueness.
  • I love student-created content – this is always some great stuff!! Marketing includes fostering an environment for word-of-mouth, and viral quality content.  And in this social media rich culture, why not? How are you encouraging STUDENT-PRODUCED CONTENT like this video.
  • How are the student leaders at your school given opportunities to lead?
  • Are you providing unique experiences to your school that families cannot get at the public school in town?  Faith-based schools have the freedom to celebrate Christmas and Easter in ways government schools cannot do.  Are you taking advantage of this and promoting this unique content on your social media platforms?
  • How does your school differentiate itself from the public institutions or competing private schools in your area?  How does your school offer ways for families to taste, touch, see and excite the senses of families looking for a strong educational choice for their kids?

The amazing consumer experience of your school is not naturally known by future families.  And quit saying, “once you get here, you’ll understand it”  (this is not an mentality of intention).  Get out of your bubble and realize that, while you live daily in this wonderful Christian environment inside the confines of your campus, the average prospective family really doesn’t know much about it.  Sometimes you have to simply showcase what you got, and sometimes you need to brainstorm about ways to highlight what makes you unique.  And if you can truly create a remarkable experience, your families will reenroll in spite of economic challenges and they will tell their friends about it as well.