Summer Marketing Priorities

For a number of you, your enrollment is wrapped up for next fall. You are putting the finishing touches on the package of kiddos who will sit in your seats for the upcoming school year.

Others of you may sit at the other end of the spectrum, scrambling, praying, and laboring daily for every single inquiry, hoping that in some way you defy statistics and enroll 100% of those who even ask you about your school.

Both groups have marketing things you can do during the summer months:


While this group has already wrapped up enrollment, I know you are not taking off 3 months in the summer. In our business, who really gets to do that?! But since you have completed your enrollment, here are 3 things you should do to get a jump start on the fall:

  • REVIEWS: the end of the school year can be a great time to ask parents to review your school on Google, Facebook, Niche, Private School Review, and Yelp (because it is linked to Apple Maps app). Be selective because you also may get irritable parents also in need of a summer break! So ask who you know will give you a 5-star glowing recommendation.
  • PLANNING: something most people in our business tell me is that they never have time to truly plan their marketing. Take time this summer to walk through the critical steps of your marketing system. Do you have the components of a strong word-of-mouth marketing system? Do you know what your lead-generation system looks like? I love helping schools with this – contact me if I can be of service this summer.
  • BACK-TO-SCHOOL WOM: before summer fever takes over, take some time with your team to map out specific events and experiences that will propel your word-of-mouth marketing in the fall. I’m working with a school now to outline a word-of-mouth marketing and retention system. It helps when you think about retention about a year-round effort.


OK, now for the next group. If you are nearing the filling of your final available seat, or if you are desperately trying to do what you can to meet budget, your priorities will be different.

  • SOCIAL MEDIA: while things might be crazy, you need to take a few minutes to look at social media for the next 3 months. Plan out themes and develop a list of content that you need captured before the kids leave the campus. Look at any way to incorporate a virtual experience of your campus so your admissions team can show the campus in the summer months when no one is around. Capture videos, QR shows (since most smart phones now automatically read QR codes, it is much easier to incorporate this technology), a podcast, or any other way to tell stories. Even if you need to take a few days for summer vacation, you can use a variety of scheduling tools on various platforms to post your content even while you are away.
  • TARGETED PERSONA: while you might be tempted to blanket a “one-size-fits-all” message to anybody and everybody who might be looking at your school, you will be more effective by targeting your message. Create some piece of relevant content targeting young Kindergarten moms who are nervous about putting their little one in the hands of an education system. Make a blog post about the transition years to Middle School and how your school can help ease the move. Videotape students in high school talking about their college readiness which ensures every parent that your college preparatory experience is worth every penny!
  • COMBINE THE FIRST TWO: your best bet is to create social media content that targets specific personas and blitz this out for the next 3 months. Batch process some videos of high schoolers talking about how your school has equipped them for college and then dribble this out throughout the summer with a similar message: you come to our school and we turn our confident kids ready for college!

If you want to work together for 6 months or even just 1 month, I would love to visit with you about how to help. Click here to email me and we can discuss customizing a consulting arrangement that is best for your needs.


Get started! Randy Vaughn



3 Retention Ideas When Enrollment Numbers Look Terrifying

When your Head of School, Board, or even a parent asks, “how many of our families are returning next year?”, do you start to squirm in your seat? Even as hard as schools do to recruit new families, that pesky re-enrollment number is often so frustrating. Families often choose not to re-enroll because of a few common reasons:

  • MONEY – probably the most common reason given (true or not)
  • MOVE – don’t you hate hearing that a good family is being relocated?
  • MALCONTENT – while you hate to see them go, sometimes it’s for the best
  • MAYBE – these fence-sitters are some of the most common culprits

So what can you do about these reasons?

  • In terms of MONEY, it is likely not really the COST of tuition/fees, but the VALUE they perceive they are receiving. Even a 4% increase in tuition does not usually make it suddenly unaffordable. It just happens to be the straw that gives families a reason to jump ship because of a lack of perceived value. To minimize this, showcase student successes, especially in graduating seniors (scholarships and college acceptances) and alumni (have them testify to their preparedness for the university-level of work).
  • On those who are MOVING or in the group of MALCONTENTS, there is not a lot you can do here. However, conduct personal exit interviews face-to-face so you can tone down any frustration they may have (the latter group for sure). By offering a listening here, you are absorbing their rage/frustration so that they are less likely to rant on Twitter or give you a negative 1-star review. Give them a voice. On the flip-side, if someone is happy but forced to move because of a job out of state, invite them to give a glowing 5-star review as they leave!
  • As far as the MAYBE group, these fence-sitters must be identified, by name. Ensure each division leader (principal) has a list of every student in their grades who yet to re-enroll. Enact a swift communication plan for personal phone calls and hand-written notes (don’t just send emails). Find out the reason behind their hesitation. Sometimes, they are waiting on a tax refund or a summer bonus. But do not assume, only to find out in August that there was something else behind their not re-enrolling.

With these three ideas, I hope you retention numbers climb back up!

If I can help you with installing a recruiting, retention, and referral (word-of-mouth) marketing system, contact me so we can have a free phone consultation to see if we might help you.








Tips for Making a Great Video for Your Private Christian School

GUEST BLOG POST: My brother, Donny, has recently spent some time getting more and more into video production. I asked him to share some tips for this post:


I recently spent some time helping with the video production of a great 5 minute “story telling” video. I learned a great deal from listening to the video production and editing crew that I wanted to share with you. Follow these 5 tips to help you tell a great story for your private Christian school:

  1. DETERMINE THE STORY:  Everyone wants that “viral video” that gets lots of clicks and lots of shares. We’ve all seen those great, compelling videos on social media or on someone’s website. And we all assume that we could do the same kind of video. But FIRST, you must have the story. What is the message? Is it compelling? Is it exciting? Does the story resonate with your prospective families and make them want to take action in contacting your school? Does it cause current families to rush to the re-enroll button on your school’s website. The “story” is key and you need to have it written out like a script before an SD card is placed into a camera or someone yells “Action!” (not that they would in making a short video but it sounded fun to say! HA)
  2. VIDEO EQUIPMENT IS CRITICAL: If you are shooting a well-produced video, getting the right equipment is extremely critical. Do you have an older DSLR camera? If so, it may be time to upgrade to a more modern camera that can shoot 4K video. Are you wanting to shoot the video using your iPhone? Yes, it’s possible to do that with most smartphones improving their camera quality with each and every release. The latest iPhones can produce 4K video which is amazing. But if you are using an old iPhone 6s or some older version of a Samsung phone, your video will suffer because of the quality of the video. Also, beyond the video, make sure you have good lighting too. Maybe God has produced some amazing natural light and that’s great. Or maybe you need to invest into a 3-point lighting system so your subject(s) can be well-lit … I mean we are going to be staring at them for a while so the lighting needs to be good.
  3. CAPTURE QUALITY SOUND: This one will be short. The bottom line is your subjects need to be mic’d in some form. Do NOT rely on the microphone from your camera to pick up quality audio – it just won’t. Whether you are using a wired or wireless lavalier microphone, a boom mic overhead or some kind of directional recording device, it’s critical to get good audio. Plain and simple.
  4. FIND A GOOD EDITOR: If you think you can pull this off from your mobile device and some cutesy app you found online, you’re just flat out wrong. Find someone who is a good editor. Most of the good editors are skilled in Adobe Premier or Premier Elements. If the person you are using has never heard of that program, it’s time to run. There are other programs out there but this seems to be the standard. But don’t let them use Windows Movie Maker – please!! It’s not 1987. You can do some good stuff in iMovie but the precision and details you get with Premiere are worth it. But finding the right person to do the editing is key as well. The editor I used on the recent project was in his early sixties but was a wizard with Premiere and brought a great many years of video editing experience to the table. We also had a co-editor on the project who was just finishing high school and he was able to teach us old dogs some cool new tricks. In the end, the video was about 5 1/2 minutes long. For some, they would think that’s too long. It didn’t follow the “well it has to be under 3 minutes or people will lose interest” theory. But this video had tremendous pacing all because of the editing. The almost 6 minutes flew by and no one who has seen it would want the story to be told in any shorter length … and that’s because we had good editors.
  5. USE “NATS”: This was a term that was new to me but made so much sense after I learned more. So often we produce videos that have the “talking head” subject and some good music behind it. Then we throw in some b-roll footage which is helpful. But all you have are 2 layers of audio – someone talking and the music. When our video crew introduced the term “nats” it didn’t make sense to me at first because I’d never done it that way. But when we starting capturing “natural sounds” (that’s the nats), it made the whole video take off. A flag waving in the wind just “sits there”. But when you add the sound of the flag whipping in the wind or maybe a chain hitting the flag pole repeatedly, it takes it to a whole new level. Video of kids playing is great but what if you actually had the fun sounds the kids are making in the background. It brings them to life. Even showing a waterfall can be a peaceful look but adding in the water dripping sound can take your video to a new dimension. Those “nats” or natural sounds can do wonders for your video – give it a try!

And those are just 5 simple tips to help you tell a great story for your private Christian school. And here’s a BONUS: Find a videographer or a video production team who you can trust and use them when you can. You may not always have the budget but when you can, use a professional. The “look and feel” of your video will be amazing and you thank me for it!! 🙂

If you need help in telling your story through video, contact Randy for a FREE, 30-minute consultation.

Thanks for letting me guest post!!

– Donny

Back to School Marketing – Social Media & FDOS – Part 2 of 2 (School Marketing Podcast #87)

Back to School Marketing - Part 2 of 2 - Social Media and FDOS

Click to download MP3



5 Website Tips for Schools

School Marketing Website Tips - Randy Vaughn

The web is in a constant state of change.

In this video, Randy Vaughn, Christian School Marketing Consultant, offers 5 tips on making your school website the very best it can be!

It is FREE and is accompanied by an article giving additional details about these 5 important tips to improving your school’s website.


  • (we promise not to sell or distribute your email address to any third parties)





Creating a Total Online Presence for Your School

Have you ever had this thought:

If we could just get a new website and improve our social media, we’d be fine.

First of all, I do support your efforts to get a mobile-friendly, responsive school website.

Secondly, I wholeheartedly embrace having a strong social media strategy (if you need help with this, we coach schools specifically in this area of social media for schools – click here for more information).

But in reality, your school needs a total online presence. A comprehensive, holistic effort to dominate the web, drive traffic to your site and strengthen the telling of your school’s story online.

Creating a Total Online Presence for Your School

I am a Certified Duct Tape Marketing Consultant (since 2007) and have been trained by and collaborate with a global network of marketing consultants working in a variety of industries (I love helping the niche of private, independent and Christian schools install an effective marketing system).

In a recent blog post on the Duct Tape Marketing website, John Jantsch (founder) describes the elements of a Total Online Presence:

  • Marketing activated website
  • Content with editorial approach
  • Social media
  • Online networking
  • Email marketing
  • Search Engine Optimization

I love to help schools install an effective marketing system focused on the 3 Rs of school marketing: recruitment, retention and referrals. If I can help you focus on a total online presence, click the image below or click here to schedule your FREE phone consultation.

Get started! Randy Vaughn