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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!
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!)
BUY JOHN’S BOOK – DUCT TAPE SELLING
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.
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!
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:
- 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…)
Coming on the heels of Episode #28 where we discussed the definition of school marketing, now we talk about a term “loyal ambassadors.” In previous episodes, we talked a little more in depth about what it means to be a “loyal ambassador” (see the SHOWNOTES below for the links to those shows). When you think about what you are doing in school marketing, only pushing “enrollment” is short-sighted. You need to recruit new students, but also focus on retention (loyalty) and referrals (ambassadors and word of mouth). Making this episode even more interesting, we also talk about Taco Bell, Amy Grant, Quebec City and Randy’s upcoming speaking engagement at the National Christian School Association Annual Conference in Nashville.
RELATED: Download our free report on “The 3’s of School Marketing”