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.