A successful school needs students—and with effective Christian school marketing, you can begin engaging parents and helping them consider your school today! Here are 8 tips that can help you lead a successful recruitment effort.
1) Brag a Little
Share your school’s unique advantages with parents up front! Is your school centrally located in the community? Is your school committed to keeping student resources and equipment on the cutting edge of technology? Those benefits can set you apart from other schools and help convince parents you have something special to offer. For example, if you have an exceptional art program, why not make student art projects the focal point of your entryway? A student mural would be a great way to accentuate and advertise such a unique benefit point to visitors.
2) Address Concerns
What are the key educational concerns of parents in your area? Academic excellence? School safety? Class size? Credentialing? Your qualifications in these areas will be the main reason parents choose your school over other private and public institutions. Why not host a parent safety night at the beginning of each school year so issues can be discussed in an open forum and parents can be invited to be a part of the emergency procedures your students will be learning? Effective Christian school marketing includes showing you are willing to host events where parents can communicate concerns and staff can answer questions are invaluable occasions for attracting new families. Welcoming prospective families shows just how open and accessible your school truly is.
3) Say It Well
Does your Christian school have a mission and vision statement? Does every staff member know and have a heart for these statements? Remember, your mission and vision should illustrate the passion of your school and be purposefully concise. Once you have identified your critical benefit points, make sure you and your staff can articulate them clearly. In addition to establishing your values, post the statement on the wall of the office and in the front hall. Include it in advertisements and on the bottom of your letterhead. Above all else, make sure every decision and action taken by your school is filtered through the words of your mission and vision statement. These key messages will become part of who you are as a school and help build your reputation
4) Say It Often
Communicate often with your community and let the people around you know the great things you’re doing, not just during your enrollment drive. Frequency in your message—through a variety of communication methods—is the most important strategy toward becoming the first name that comes to mind when Christian education is mentioned in your community. If your school wins something like the state spelling bee, for example, why not send out press releases? Print a banner to display outside your school. As a result, it will make students proud of their academic success. It also communicates to passersby that your school is active and doing well—thereby increasing your chances of reaching new families.
5) Get Ready, Company’s Here
The quality of your facility is under scrutiny, especially since parents are typically paying extra for their children to attend a private school. Parents need visible proof their money is being well spent. Ideally, your facility should have a clean, welcoming, professional look. Make sure your main office—the place a parent’s visit usually begins—is neat and orderly, since this sets the tone for the rest of their experience with your school. The children’s area should be cheerful and inviting, with obvious attention to cleanliness and safety. Parents should be able to enter the school and immediately find the classrooms, office, and bathrooms. If your facility is organized, friendly, and inviting, parents will assume your school is, too.
6) Schedule Tours
A tour is typically the first opportunity new parents have to interact with your school and students. Therefore, it can also be the most influential factor in selecting your school. So don’t leave this important and strategic marketing opportunity to chance! By scheduling regular tour times, you can make sure the best parts of your school are ready to showcase. Try to feature a variety of classroom activities including academics, creativity, and technology. Finally, make sure there is a comfortable place available for you and your visitors to sit and discuss the school’s benefits after the tour. Giving parents your undivided attention and a little hospitality can be the foundation for a positive ongoing relationship.
7) Build an Informative Website
Because today’s culture is technologically savvy, a website is an essential promotional tool in effective school marketing. It’s also a great way to build community within your school. In many circumstances—especially with new families moving into the community—a website is the first place a parent will begin their search for quality educational institutions. Your website should accurately reflect your school’s demographics and facility and be informative enough for parents to assess if a visit is worth their time. Contact information should be prominent, and the site should be up to date in information, technology, and style. (Note: Please be cautious about the use of students’ names and photos on your site. Always get permission.)
8) Campaign for Enrollment
To boost enrollment, it is vital to execute a strategic marketing campaign that will raise public interest. Therefore, your fall enrollment campaign should begin in March or April and should include multiple approaches to get the word out. A direct mail postcard campaign is a wonderful way to personally invite families in your community to learn more about your school. The postcards should have an “offer” (free tour, gift, information booklet, etc.) and have an easy way for someone to respond. Complement your direct mail campaign. Place a banner in front of your building, ads in local parent’s magazines, and start a referral campaign with incentives.
Closing Thoughts on Effective Christian School Marketing
Remember, the best form effective school marketing is word of mouth. Give parents and students a school they can be proud of. They will be your best marketers when they believe in what you are doing. This is where the excellence of your reputation and Christian values will make you shine. Also make sure to gather any positive comments you get from parents and students and include these testimonies in your materials. Effective school marketing also includes case studies of students who have improved grades or behavior are an invaluable way. As a result, you’ll prove the impact your school can have in a child’s life.