Learn how to market your school by understanding the four pillars of student enrollment marketing in K-12.
With students leaving their zoned neighborhood schools and having more freedom of school choice, K-12 school competition is tougher than ever. And that means so is convincing families to choose you over everyone else. How do you garner interest in your school or district? Where should you focus your marketing efforts for maximum impact? Before you can tackle these broad questions, it helps to first understand the four pillars of student enrollment marketing in the K-12 space.
The 4 Pillars of Student Enrollment Marketing
Today, declining birth rates and the abundance of options for families are driving competition for each student. With budgets being dictated by the number of students in attendance, attracting and retaining families is critical to your school’s financial health.
Read on for a high-level look at the four pillars of student enrollment marketing, and be sure to check out the full-length, on-demand webinar at the end for an extensive deep dive into each pillar.
There are fundamental building blocks you must have in place to run a good enrollment marketing program. Some critical pieces you should establish are:
- An understanding of your enrollment data
- What other options (schools) are available to families
- An understanding of the journey that families go through to enroll at your school
- Your school’s brand (who are you?) and message (what is your story?)
- How you compare to other schools in your area
The more you work at these, the better everything else will be.
With your strategic underpinnings in place, then you can focus on the second pillar of enrollment marketing — actual marketing. This pillar has three main objectives:
- Making families aware of your school
- Delivering a message that makes them want to enroll with you or learn more
- Identifying families’ contact information for future marketing
Online reviews (particularly those with Google, Niche, GreatSchools, and reviews on your school’s Facebook page) and your school’s website are your two biggest marketing opportunities.
Your efforts with the third pillar should focus on deepening the engagement with prospective families. At this stage, you should have families who are interested in your school, but they just need more information about why they should trust you with their child. What should you do?
- Let families learn about you in such a way that they can envision their child attending your school through experiential tactics
- Make it as easy as possible for families to enroll, such as with an online K-12 enrollment platform
- Ensure students actually show up on the first day of school
Once you recruit families, use their experiences as testimonials on your website. If you have a student who goes on to graduate from an Ivy League school, let the world know! Video testimonials from successful students can be one of your most powerful recruitment tools.
Even if you’re doing great with enrollment, if families are leaving, it doesn’t matter. It’s easier and cheaper to retain a family than attract a new one. In this fourth and final pillar of student enrollment marketing, you should focus on:
- Understanding retention trends
- Creating an environment that allows for open communication
- Ensuring all stakeholders are treated well
Although leadership is accountable for retention, everyone at all levels of your school plays a part in retention. At the critical grade levels for retention, digging in to find out why you’re losing students can be key to fixing long-term retention problems. Gathering data through third-party, anonymous surveys and other tactics can yield insights you may have otherwise never known about.
Watch the Webinar
Amid the pandemic, declining student enrollment and how to reverse the trend are top of mind. That’s why SchoolMint’s chief enrollment officer, Nick LeRoy, hosted a webinar on August 23, 2021, covering how you can improve your school marketing to boost enrollment and retain families for years to come.
In the webinar, Nick dives deeply into the four pillars outlined above and offers small tips and tricks that add up in big ways for your marketing efforts. You’ll also get answers to burning questions, such as:
- Of the four pillars, which is most important for me to get right?
- With the pandemic’s effects on schools, how can I market my school’s safety story?
- What marketing services and consulting does SchoolMint offer?
- What is the best way for me to track interest, build relationships, and communicate with families?
Want to watch the full, on-demand webinar? Click the button below!
To get more information on SchoolMint’s K-12 strategic marketing solutions, click here!