In an upcoming episode on our private school marketing podcast, we are talking about retention and the efforts it takes to cultivate “loyal ambassadors.”
Today, I read 2 articles to encourage your school retention efforts:
- What can we do to encourage our families to re-enroll early? (by Rick Newberry of Enrollment Catalyst)
- Increasing Student Retention – The Power of “Thank You” (Hyatt Bolden of The Ratner School in Pepper Pike, OH)
The article by Bolden reinforces how simple efforts play such an important role in cultivating an environment where families return year after year (loyal) and they talk enthusiastically about your school to their friends as if they were on staff with the school’s marketing department (ambassadors)!
To learn more about retention ideas, download the free ebook, “3 Rs of School Marketing” at the bottom of our website. It’s FREE!
NOTE: If you missed any of the posts in this 3-part series, click here.
In the final post of this 3-part series, we look at some ideas and realities of referral and word-of-mouth marketing! As we discussed in part 2 of this series on private school retention strategies, I want to remind you of the term “LOYAL AMBASSADORS.”
Loyalty speaks of the extent to which your families are not just re-enrolling out of a lackluster attitude of “aw shucks, I guess we’ll stay put.” This lukewarmness will never produce a quality referral. Loyalty is retaining families who would do whatever it takes to have the opportunity to continue another year. And they are not swayed by another school’s tuition rate or even extra-curricular offering. Fierce allegiance is earned and is intentionally cultivated.
In the same way, ambassadors speak with boldness and clarity. Just as the United States Ambassador to Benin speaks on behalf of the President, your school will struggle or thrive based on how many ambassadors you nurture. (By the way, read a little more about why I lived in this French-speaking West African nation.) From a biblical standpoint, 2 Corinthians 5 speaks to believers as being “ambassadors” as though God were “making his appeal through us.” Ambassadors serve at the pleasure of the one who appoints them and they represents the interests to those to whom they are sent. Does your school’s leadership “appoint” your families as ambassadors? Do you place expectations on families to “make appeals” to their friends? Probably one of the sins (am I sounding preachy?) committed by any school is the omission of asking for referrals . . . better yet, asking your families to make them for you!
There’s an old adage in business marketing: the referred lead is easier to close and costs less to obtain. In lieu of spending thousands and thousands of dollars strictly on advertising only to generate a few clicks, an ambassador’s referral optimizes the leverage of their friendship to validate the lead. In other words, you are going to listen to and trust suggestions from your friends more than you’ll believe bullet points from a slick brochure. And when I ask schools, most of the time, they admit that referrals are by far the best source of new students. So why are you still having trouble filling seats year after year?
3 of the most common reasons why referrals are not made: (more…)