Whether it’s the Christmas Break, Spring Break, Fall Break, or even Summer Break, you probably think, “I need a break.” Yes you do.
However . . .
Your prospective families are likely on break as well and this is when they are finally finding time to check out schools. While you probably won’t schedule a one-on-one private tour of your school the day after Christmas, you cannot afford to go silent. Your marketing must continue by communicating your school’s core marketing message through a variety of ways. Here are 3 easy ways to make sure your school’s marketing doesn’t go silent:
- A BANNER THAT GETS RESULTS– Run down to your local sign company and have them print up a banner to hang on a strategic location of your campus where visible by passersby (at the front gate or on the sports field fence if it’s near the road). Some families may think some of the administration or admission folks may be on campus so they may want to stop in for a visit. How disappointing to find everything locked up, shut down and totally silent. It’s like running to the cleaners at 7:15pm only to find out that they closed at 7:00. Ugh. Why not greet them with a banner that might say?:
- “We want to visit with you. Leave us a note on our Facebook page and let us know you stopped by.” (this is very passive, but you get the idea.)
- “Sorry we missed you. Visit our virtual open house on our website.” (send them to a short URL that opens up a brief video where students have put together a walking video tour around campus with brief interviews of faculty, staff, and other students.)
- “Scan the QR code to get a copy of 5 Stories of Families At Our School Who Are Just Like You.” (perhaps it takes them to a page where they upload their email address to have an autoresponder send them the link to the video. They get interaction with you and you get their email address for future follow-up).
- SCHEDULED SOCIAL CONTENT – since Facebook added the scheduling feature for posts, you are without excuse about maintaining a steady stream of content in the news feed of families. Before you walk out the door for your break, schedule a few Facebook posts to go out while you are gone. You can schedule tweets as well if you are using HootSuite or Buffer to provide content to your followers while you are off. Perhaps look for 3 different types of content (so it’s not always about you):
- Find a good informational/educational article about helping your child do better at school or even the unique benefits of private / Christian education. Look for a 3rd party site who can do your bidding so you don’t seem braggadocios. Let another source reinforce those benefits you say on your website. I have put together a Pinterest board called “Parent Articles” that might be a good clearinghouse of articles to post online.
- Next, post a promotional event – perhaps your school’s next marketing/admission event. I always prefer posting this kind of content as a photo with the details in the photo description – this is typically more effective than simply posting the text about the event. If you have enough likes (minimum of 400), you might consider promoting the post as well.
- While still about your school, grab a video link from your school’s Vimeo or YouTube channel with a testimonial from a family.
- EMAIL MESSAGES – most email marketing systems, like MailChimp or Constant Contact,allow you to draft a message and then schedule it to go out at a certain date. Don’t miss this opportunity have a quick touch point with families who are in your email database. Be sure the email message has both current AND prospective families in mind.
- If it’s the Christmas holidays, certainly a holiday greeting about Christmas or Happy New Year would be appropriate.
- If it’s Spring or Summer Break, you might include something beneficial, like “Read this article about Tips for Parents on Setting Limits with Technology” (I pinned this on my Parent Articles board mentioned above). Offering something of value makes you an important influencer in their life. Helping your families navigate parenting is something we all need!
That’s just a few ideas to make sure prospective families looking at your school don’t find you MIA during the break.
** UPDATE: as many schools begin to use on-demand media like podcasts and webinars, these tools provide exploring families the opportunities to interact with you, be inspired by your stories of success and become informed about who you are and why they should check out your school! Click here for a podcast episode I did with Brendan Schneider on how they are using webinars in their school marketing.