A while back, I did a post called, “100 Marketing Things To Do 100 Days Before School Starts” (link below). Now that school is back in session, it’s time for a similar post but focused on retention. Because the worst thing you want is to go through all of the trouble to get a new family, only to find out that they have drifted away without even knowing it.
Many of you know that I often talk about the 3 Rs of school marketing:
There’s a way to look at RETENTION as “re-recruiting” – and I think there is a lot of validity to that interpretation because just because you have a new family seated at your school, there is certainly no guarantee that they will remain a student until they graduate. The odds are in your favor that they will, but you must show INTENTION about RETENTION.
In the first 100 days of school, here is a list of the 5 most critical things to do in terms of re-recruiting families:
- Tell stories – continue writing blog posts, recording podcasts, and shooting videos that tell your school’s micro-stories.
- Follow up – depending on how many new families you had start this year, do your best to follow-up with each one within the first 100 days. If you started school mid-August, then Thanksgiving should be your target. A phone call is best, but an email will suffice. Even a face-to-face at a football game or in the pick-up line would work well (you can be intentional on spotting those families in the parking lot and getting a read on them pretty quickly – if you perceive a problem, invite them to a follow-up phone call or face-to-face conference).
- News and information – one of the hardest things about being a new family is learning the ropes in a new school. A continuous “out of the loop” feeling is hurtful to your re-recruiting efforts. Consider a bi-weekly “New Family” e-newsletter where you can inform them about various traditions around Homecoming, different class schedules on 1/2 days, or specific cut-off dates for High School spring mission trips.
- Leadership touch – invite new families to have coffee with the head of school once a month to talk about the school or shoot a bi-weekly video from your principal talking about a few key items for new families to take note of during the upcoming month.
- Handwritten note – this is so much easier than most schools say it is. If you have 100 new students, then the head of school can start writing one note per day (or batch process 7 of them every Monday morning). Or if you are already 75 days into the 100 days, split the list of new families up by key leadership. Give 10 to the Elementary principal, 10 to the Middle School principal, 10 to the High School principal, another 10 to the Athletic Director, Fine Arts Director, Spiritual Life Director, Admissions Director, teacher, board member and finally, give 10 to a seasoned parent. You could even rotate among this group throughout the year, and a new family could end up getting notes on a monthly basis from someone at your school. Powerful, huh?
In talks on lead generation (growing the pool of potential families), I will always argue that it costs a lot less TIME and MONEY to keep a family (re-recruit them) than it does to initially recruit them. So do not rest on your laurels and assume re-enrollment is a piece of cake. Get after it!
Again, show INTENTION about RETENTION!
If you are looking for someone to come alongside you this year to help you in your recruitment, retention, and referrals, I would love to talk with you about that. I only take a few new clients each year. I have room for one more to start in 2018. Click here to begin the conversation.Buffer