The success of any school depends heavily on attracting more and more students ‒ especially early on near the foundation of the institution. At the core of that there should be a great marketing strategy that understands the target market and acts accordingly. Today, we will talk about how to bring more students to school. Read on to know more about how to increase enrollment and how to increase admission in school.
To be frank, marketing for schools is not that much different from marketing for other services. At the beginner level, all you have to do is to stick to the basics of marketing. Which are:
Now, what does that mean for a school? Let’s explore.
The best way to begin your strategy to bring more students to your school is to start by defining the advantages of joining your school. Identify what makes you unique, and what should attract students (and parents). Every school is different with different history and culture ‒ and so define yours. Some unique factors in your school could be:
You are offering a precise service useful only to a certain section of the population. Therefore, figuring out the perfect demographic for your marketing strategy is paramount, or else you’ll be preaching to the wrong crowd. Start with the basics of demography, like,
Add to this some advanced concerns of your customers:
A very important factor comes here in the form of buyer personas. Buyer personas are detailed imaginary personal profiles you create for your standard customer. It will include as much pertinent information about the imaginary person as possible, like past education and family culture and political leaning and food habits, and even when do they go to sleep and how much time they spend on Facebook.
This detailed profile will help you and all other stakeholders to understand your customers quickly and help enormously in decision-making. Obviously, there are many kinds of people with many backgrounds, and so you may have to build two-three personas ‒ for example, one for each stakeholder member of the family. Like, one persona of the prospective student, one persona for his/her father, and one for the mother. Then you will know the life and habits of each of them and you can target them individually, taking a holistic approach to generating a lead.
To do this efficiently, proper market research is necessary. If you have the budget for it, your best bet is to get an agency to do the market survey for you. Otherwise, you can do it by brainstorming with your staff and do it by trial-and-error, but that doesn't guarantee much good in the result.
Depending upon your school’s scope and your target market, your market strategy may differ a lot. But for a standard case, the following marketing strategies give good ROI (Return On Investment).
It may sound dusty and rusty for the new-age school principal, but don’t ignore the power of word of mouth. Ask for referrals. Utilize those elements of your school that are directly connected to the community, like existing students, teachers, non-teaching staff, parents even. Let them tell the story about your school and inform the community about your culture, your courses, your certifications, and programs. This self-run method of marketing is awesomely targeted and gets great results if you can do it enough.
This is the digital era and most of your target audience will be online. Therefore, your website is one of the best channels of generating more enrollment. Do make sure your school website is not just an information page, but is actually designed to generate interest in your school. Also ensure your website is created with mobile users in mind, for obvious reasons.
Once you get a proper website up, it is time to promote that website in the proper circles. Make sure your site offers interesting information regularly via a blog or social media (or both, preferably). Get an agency to do SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to stay on top of the search page. You may be sure that your competitor already sitting on top of the search result page is indubitably doing it.
One of the easiest ways to get to the top of the google search results page is to use PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising. It does cost you a pretty penny, but it will give you great results if done expertly.
Everybody is on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. these days. Your target audience ‒ especially the younger generation ‒ spends a big chunk of their day on social media. And that’s why you should target that time as much as possible. Figure out what they do all that time on each platform, and post interesting stuff with your school name in those areas. Much like erecting a banner on the road, your social posts should be right where eyeballs go most.
One of the best ways to do effective social media marketing is to spread user-generated content out there. Do encourage your staff and students and parents to write about or take pictures inside the school and facilities, and share them on their own profiles and in various pertinent groups they have.
Don’t forget to show off your school on social media. Make sure your social media profiles ‒ especially on LinkedIn ‒ are well optimized and full of bright and interesting posts about your school, culture, events, facilities, etc. Just get the message out that what a heaven this place is for the students and that will be a great hook.
Don’t ignore the power of traditional marketing methods now that we’re in the digital era. Roadside advertisements, commercial media ads, and even leaflets and handbills work well in increasing brand awareness and generating leads. Just make sure your content for all this is powerful and engaging, and pushes your selling points powerfully across verticals.
Few marketing strategies work better than the direct approach BTL (Below-the-Line) marketing. If you have a good list of potential customers, then why not reach out and make a personal touch? Use email marketing and send old-fashioned posts with brochures attached. This will require some expense but gives good, personal-level connects which are very valuable. And you know what, some people in fact prefer it this way ‒ they don’t like the impersonal nature of advertisements.
Participating in or organizing public events is a great way to increase the reputation and generate more leads. You can join existing prestigious and popular competitions, seminars, online events, etc., or if budget permits, create your own. Do remember to offer some incentives to the attendees, and do make sure your event offers something worth their time. If you are able to feature something or someone particularly notorious in these events, then your school’s reputation and popularity will skyrocket in a night.
It is a no-brainer that to sell a product successfully, the product itself has to be really good. The same goes for school education as well. Your teaching will depend upon the faculties, of course, but other than that, make sure you can dazzle parents with your school facilities. Your library should be comfy and well-stocked, your laboratories should be futuristic and perfectly equipped, your sports facilities should be spacious and healthy, and so on and so forth.
Just because they have already bought your pitch doesn’t mean your work with your present students and their parents have finished! Make sure your present clientele hears from you regularly. Make sure that these communications are valuable. And for the love of god, don’t communicate once a year just to ask for more money!
Instead, find out what is valuable to them and find ways to offer them that. It can be something directly or indirectly related to school, no matter, as long as they see that you do care for their needs they will remain impressed with you. An impressed customer is a loyal customer and will work for free to get more customers for you voluntarily.
Yes yes, you are enlightening the community, building the educational backbone of the nation, and all that ‒ but at the end of the day, by sober reckoning, you are still only doing business. And only that business grows which makes the best offer in the market. To that end, make sure your offer is SUBSTANTIAL as compared to your nearest competitors.
Your pricing strategy and your products are what are going to give you that competitive edge, when expertly managed. You can become a haven for the LIG (Lower Income Group) with your radically low fee structure, or you can offer awesome scholarships and placement opportunities. There are plenty more to explore here, and your limit is your imagination.
People love references from other people. They have a strong urge to believe reviews they read online. And they do not trust things with no reviews and testimonials. Why not take advantage of this fact and build on people’s trusting nature? Get some good testimonials up and running on your website, emails, social media posts, brochures, etc.
If you are dealing with MIG and HIG parents most, you are encountering parents who are very analytical customers and just love data. So make sure all your customer-facing media has lots of nice-looking statistics on them. Throwing juicy fat numbers at customers is a good way to hook them.
For example, think about speakers. When you want one, don’t you first look for its wattage? And this number is what makes and breaks most speaker sales. The same principle works for schools as well. Let prospective students and their parents know about your school capacity, existing student number, graduation rates, and other KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and you will be sure to impress a lot of good minds out there.
Getting a good school filled is a big task that has to be approached thoughtfully and through multiple avenues of marketing and internal work. The key to success here is to punch a really good infrastructure and service with good old offline marketing and the new-era online marketing strategies.
Figure out who should hear you and make them offers they cannot resist, in the most enticing manner you can think of. Repeat your USPs (Unique Selling Points) in front of multiple audiences, through multiple channels. Pay attention and further offer opportunities to your existing students. Combining all, your school will bring in new enrollments so much that soon you will eventually get to pick and choose your students.
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