Are you struggling with marketing your school?

Are you struggling with marketing your Christian school?

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.)


* Free for NBOA members; $75 for non-members

School marketing podcast #34: John Jantsch Pt 1 of 2 – guest interview with @ducttape #ducttapeselling

School marketing podcast #34: John Jantsch Pt 1 of 2 - guest interview with @ducttape #ducttapeselling

I’m so excited to finally have the opportunity to interview John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing!  John has been a marketing mentor of mine since I was invited to join the global network of Duct Tape Marketing consultants in 2007. At the time of this episode (May 2014), John is launching his 4th book, “Duct Tape Selling: Think Like a Marketer, Sell Like a Superstar“.  When I heard John was going to be launching this book, I reached out to him and asked if he would join me for this podcast and he graciously accepted.

I know that many in the Admissions community may not enjoy thinking of themselves as “selling”.  I do not pretend to equate what you do with that of a traditional salesman, I do think there is a similar function inside the organization. One premise of John’s book is that any disconnect or tension that has previously existed between sales and marketing, should no longer keep a business, nonprofit or school from adopting a new look at marketing and sales. In many schools, you may wear every single hat of communication, online presence, admissions and PR. But in many schools, the marketing arm is run by board members, the web/IT folks, a group of volunteers or a conglomerate of all of these players (where everyone considers their job as “marketing” yet no one is talking to the other!)


My interview was so good that I decided to split this interview into a 2-part series so we could continue our unique 14-minute/29-second podcast format.  In this first episode, I ask John a few simple questions about:

  • How do admission personnel serve both as marketers and salespeople?
  • What are the key elements of selling and how has this changed over the years?
  • How does this impact our relationship building with prospective families?
  • What is the role of social media in relationship building with current and prospective students and families
  • What has replaced the traditional pitching and promoting our “billboard and brochure” mentality?
  • What roles does storytelling play in this new way of marketing and selling in the school environment?
  • How do schools incorporate content marketing, SEO and social media into local search?
  • What kind of content should a school produce to effectively reach our ideal prospective family?

See our shownotes at the conclusion of this post for details, links, and other resources that we may have mentioned in this episode.

SHOWNOTES: (more…)

Social media, sin and scrapbooking

What are you posting on your Christian's school's Facebook page? Are you just posting SCRAPBOOK CONTENT? Why you should stop it now!

The sin of social media is self-promotion.

Just because social media is “free” (and it’s increasingly costing more to participate), it does not mean it is a venue for “free advertising”!  And worse, it does not mean it is a venue for incessant self-promotion.  In reality, you have to understand this mantra when it comes to social media:

“It’s not about US, it’s about THEM.”

When all of your social media postings are about your school, this is what I consider as “scrapbook” content. It is not evil, but it requires an important question be asked.

Who’s the audience?

Scrapbooks are typically a lot more interesting and compelling for those who have experienced something (a summer camp, a vacation, etc.) If you gather your friends who experienced this with you and shared your scrapbook with them, you could sit for hours and reminisce about all the wonderful memories. Everyone would already recall the specific people involved (i.e., those funny camp counselors or that hiking guide who seemed to always get his facts wrong!) You would find yourself pouring over that scrapbook for a long time, oo-in and ah-ing over every visual reminder of the experience!

Now try and gather 5 friends who did not experience what you did. This is common on mission trips to far-away places (I was a missionary for 10 years, so I got this feeling a lot). You get out the scrapbook and start to share detailed accounts of every photo and feeling that same enthusiasm — except that your realize your audience of 5 is less engaged. Sure, they start out interested, but eventually, they cannot make the connection because they do not have the emotional attachment that you do. In a matter of minutes, you find yourself flipping hurriedly through the stack of photos only to hear them say at the end, “Wow, that was neat. Now, where do you want to go to lunch?”

When your school exclusively posts “scrapbook” content on your Facebook page (or other social platform), you will showcase some interesting things about your school, but it is unlikely that your content will resonate with your prospective families.

Here are 5 sins of social media scrapbooking:


Why the state-mandated standardized test in the public schools may be your best enrollment marketing tool

Retention Course

In Texas, the STAAR (also referred commonly as the mandated standardized test – although the “test” seems redundant since the first “A” is for “assessment”) is the Spring standardized test administered to students of the Texas public school system (at various grade levels, there are different schedules). I am in Texas so it is the talk of the state about this time every year.  Even McDonald’s offers free food to students taking the STAAR!

Do you know your target market's biggest frustration with their current educational choice?

While the exam is mandated, the mandated standardized test has widespread disapproval by students, parents and even teachers (read what one Christian school teacher says about “teaching to the test”).  Yes, there are those who approve and feel the necessity of it. But as a private school, you should target those dissatisfied public school families.  These are families who are frustrated that the fun has been taken out of learning, that the anxiety level for their 3rd grader is too high, or convinced that their child is too young to wrestle with text anxiety.

Caveat #1:  just because a family is unhappy in their public or homes school environment does not make them your “ideal family” – I do not wish to equate the two. Your ideal family is the type of family that can become a “loyal ambassador” who embodies the values of your school AND repeats and refers with great joy. In marketing, you are hoping to target your ideal family who is frustrated with their current educational choice.

Caveat #2:  your school may administer standardized tests, or least be preparing your students for the college preparatory standardized tests such as the SAT or ACT. You do not wish to convey a false sense that “we do not believe in standardized testing” because this could set you up for disillusioned parents later.

Here are 3 key considerations when marketing to your ideal family’s needs, pains, problems, frustrations and fears:

  1. Provide, Don’t Pounce – yes, it is easy to prey on the frustrations of public school families and wag your private school finger at (more…)

School marketing podcast #32: Part 3/3 – 9 Steps to Marketing Your Christian School

School marketing podcast #32: Part 3/3 – 9 Steps to Marketing Your Christian School

This is the 3rd of a 3-part series called “9 Steps to Marketing Your Christian School.”

In this episode of this series, we will address the CARRYING-OUT component (or “implementation”) of the 9 steps, which includes steps #7, #8 and #9. You will learn:

  • How to have the end in mind and reverse engineer the process – and provide stepping stones, not stumbling blocks, or your prospective families
  • Where the gaps are and how to find and fill those holes so that your resources can be adjusted to meet your marketing needs
  • Why marketing by a calendar completes the systematic approach to marketing your Christian school

See our shownotes at the conclusion of this post for details, links, and other resources that we may have mentioned in this episode.

SHOWNOTES: (more…)