Graduation is one of your school’s best marketing events. Tears of joy, cheers of pride, and years of experiences tell powerful stories of your school’s ability to produce top graduates who are ready to change the world!
However, like many campus events only witnessed by insiders (current families), many marketing opportunities are missed. When prospective families, your ideal target audiences and investigating students want to learn about your school, you need evidence to prove every claim you make on your website. Families are too sophisticated (and appropriately suspicious) of “marketing speak” they see on your brochures or website. They want validation. Highly emotional moments in the life of your school offer numerous opportunities for evidence.
In my recent guest article on EdSocialMedia.com, I mention some marketing opportunities you may have overlooked at your recent graduation event.
– in the commencement program, have a full page dedicated to the cumulative amount of scholarship money awarded to the graduating class and from what universities such money came. This is powerful evidence of the type of scholar produced by your school!
Click to read: “Marketing Fail: 7 Opportunities You Missed at Graduation”
Learn more about our Enrollment Marketing Roadmap PLUS+ to get your enrollment strategy back on track!
In a previous post about winning over prospective families for your school, we looked at 4 popular marketing tools that private schools use in showcasing themselves, including your school’s website, the printed marketing collateral, your high-priced overview video and recruiting events.
But let’s be honest: while these are likely necessary elements in your overall marketing mix, there are many prospective families who are not yet ready to commit. One of their most obvious questions is: “does everyone really look that nice?” While some families are easily convinced, others shout out for proof: “Sure, you’re a great school, but show me the evidence!”
Here are 3 ways to showcase this evidence: (more…)
If you are like most schools, you spend alot of time (and money, too) seeking to impress families, showcase your very best, and eventually convert students into full-pay families for not just one year, but until they graduate!
Typically, I see 4 main areas where schools spend alot of resources: (more…)
Sorry to burst your bubble . . . but . . .
You are not the best private school in your city.
You do not have the best teachers.
You do not have the most amazing students.
You do not have the world’s most challenging curriculum, the best teachers, nor do you have the prettiest campus in town.
These are subjective claims most likely also made by your competitors. I once did an exercise with a Christian school client where I extracted all of the copy off their website and their competitors’ home and about pages. Then I removed all the graphics and even replaced each school name with a made-up school name. I then asked them to read through both and pick which one was actually their school. It was shocking to them how long it took for them to decide (and one Head of School even got it wrong!)
Now, if you do get voted “Best Private School” by a local newspaper, you are allowed make this claim with a badge and banner on your website. However, do not put your entire strategy behind this gimmick because you and I both know that the voting next year could go to another school.
Boast about the things that make you unique, different and the things that stand out to a prospective family:
- the dollar amount number of merit-based scholarships received by your graduating seniors
- the number of years your school has been in existence
- the longevity of certain faculty members or your administration
- the specific and recent athletic successes
- the extracurricular offerings you have (which might set you apart if you are the only school in town with MS volleyball)
- the distinct values or worldview by which your school operates and how this is realized on a day-to-day basis
- the fact that your school has all grades on one campus (if it can boast of that)
The above items are just a few examples of what you can state about your school that will be unique, different, or exclusively part of your value proposition.
However, you know what is even more important than bullet points and stats?
Your stories are your #1 guarantee against subjective copycat marketing.
- STUDENTS: Your student success stories tell of accomplishment, achievement and academic or attitudinal transformation that no other school can promote. Their personal journeys are unique to what your school provided them. The power is in their testimonial.
- ALUMNI: Your alumni success stories lay out a consistent future path for prospective parents worried about which college preparatory option can truly produce results.
- PARENTS: The positive experiences of parents who have invested heavily in your school speak volumes to other parents contemplating what educational option offers the best ROI. Positive 5-star online reviews on Google, Facebook and GreatSchools.org are essential in your marketing strategy.
- INSTITUTIONAL: Whether academic, artistic and athletic, your school’s success stories are more than trophies in a glassed-in case in your hallway. They give prospective families an optimistic outlook about their son or daughter experiencing success on stage, on the court, or on the field.
When you listen to the radio, do you ever hear car dealerships claiming things like “we offer the best customer service in town” or “the friendliest staff”? Now ask yourself: do you really believe them?
No, me neither.
When schools make subjective and generic claims that could easily be mirrored by the competing school down the street or across town, they are not offering prospective parents the best story they can give. Rather, give these future moms and dads very specific and unique stories that make your school stand out. Let your school become the new standard in their search for the best school for their child.
Let us help you install a customized marketing system for your school that will help you clarify your unique story.
Randy Vaughn, Christian School Marketing Consutant
Are you struggling to market your school? Do you know how to properly target your promotional communications? What factors should your school consider when implementing an effective and practical marketing plan?
Learn the do’s and don’ts of effective marketing, and discover new and innovative strategies to improve your school’s outreach. Participants will learn how to develop a highly-targeted communication strategy, as well as creative approaches to improve marketing efforts.
Join me on December 11, 2014 at 4p (CT) / 3p (ET) as the guest presenter during the NBOA Winter Webinar Series. (NBOA is the National Business Officers Association.)
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* Free for NBOA members; $75 for non-members