Marketing for k-12 school enrollment can be a tricky task, but the benefits to doing it properly make it necessary.
Lately, k-12 schools have made sure to include staff dedicated to marketing and have noticed positive changes.
For the Fall of 2021, schools were successful in enrolling the families who applied and retaining enrolled students.
Now that schools are marketing with more intention, they are able to attract more families and encourage them to take action by applying.
This blog will go over:
- What is enrollment marketing
- The importance of including a marketing team
- Tools and tips to properly market for k-12 enrollment
Want to know how to effectively do this for your next enrollment season? Here are some ways to get started.
What is enrollment marketing?
Enrollment marketing is the strategy for education that places importance on reaching and attracting potential students and encouraging them to enroll.
It is often in reference to higher education, however it can apply to k-12 schools as well.
With a background in education and nonprofit work, we at Flylight Creative support various organizations in their efforts to enroll young leaders of tomorrow.
What does enrollment marketing look like?
For example, have you ever done a search on a specific school or recreational program and afterwards, you receive several pop-up ads while visiting different sites?
Maybe you see commercials about this particular school or other schools when streaming your videos?
These advertisements feature what is great about the school and the words “Enroll today!” come up.
These materials are examples of enrollment marketing.
Once you’ve expressed interest in school, no matter the level, these ads begin to target you in hopes that you will carry out further action.
Does your Enrollment Marketing Need Help?
Your marketing efforts could be what’s holding you back from reaching your enrollment goals.
Maybe your school is having trouble attracting parents and/or encouraging them to take the next steps.
Adjusting your enrollment marketing strategies may make a huge difference in the results you see.
Benefits of upgrading your approach include:
- Increased attention to the school
- More enrollment applications for students
- Retention of parents and their children
What were your goals for previous years?
Review the enrollment goals you’ve set for previous school semesters.
Were you able to meet or exceed them?
If not, note how close you were to completing them so you can adjust your goals for upcoming semesters.
Tracking the progress of your goals will help refocus your marketing plan to meet them.
Get A Marketing Team!
Why is this important?
According to Niche, “Thirty-two percent of schools reported significantly more (25%+) inquiries than in 2019-20 and previous years, and 27% of schools reported significantly more (25%+) applications,” after investing in marketing teams.
Investing in the right professionals is necessary to see more results like this while also maintaining student enrollment and parental relationships.
A freelancer could serve the purpose of a marketing team for the time being while you gather the resources for an official team.
Be sure to hire people who specialize in this form of marketing.
Understand your audience
When marketing for k-12 enrollment, remember that the parents or guardians are who you need to appeal to.
Here’s some questions to get to know them better:
- Who are these families?
- What are their interests?
- What are their demographics: age range, location, race/ethnicity?
- What needs do their children have?
- What are their values
Use these questions to build brief profiles of the parents that will help you and your team visualize them.
With these profiles in mind, your team will prioritize the parents when creating marketing content.
You’ll learn what they look for in a school and gain insight into how to build relationships with them.
Now to your message!
Create a narrative about your school
What do parents need to know about your school? Why is it important to them?
Remember that your school is where students spend a significant amount of their early development.
With this in mind, why should a parent choose you for this point in their child’s life?
DON’T SIMPLY PITCH!
Yes, pitch why your school is great, but do more than talk about how amazing your school is.
Include how kids and their parents would fit in the school. What can they do there and how can their kids excel?
Help them see themselves there.
Get that website in order
Websites are the best option for displaying important information and links.
Put yourself in the parent’s shoes. What are some things they would search to locate a school?
This is the first step to optimizing your site for visibility.
Incorporate SEO keywords or phrases that parents or guardians might use in their search.
For example, parents might search “elementary schools in (specific city)” or “elementary schools with music programs.”
Include things parents want to know in your web copy to distinguish your school from others in search results.
Another thing to ask yourself: What would be the most important things for you to see first?
This is what should go on your landing page.
Make sure that important dates, news, and instructions for enrollment are some of the items they see first.
Your site should be optimized for mobile view.
Parents today will access the website via cell phone, so having a site that’s visually appealing and easy to navigate across these devices is key!
Turn web views into email subscriptions and vice versa
Get parents to see the value in joining the mailing lists.
This could be through:
Early access to enrollment
Show parents that receiving the emails is more convenient than having to remember to check the website on their own time.
We say this all the time, but it’s always true!
Select a specific day(s) for emails to go out and stick to it!
Whether it’s one weekly email, twice a week, or every other week, keep up with your schedule so parents know to expect these updates and check their email.
Nothing new to share this week? No problem!
Use this as an opportunity to check in with the families or promote an activity or program at your institution via email.
The right visuals matter!
Here is another area where the importance of a marketing team comes in.
Personally crafted images and graphics are typically favored over stock images that anyone can access and use.
This will help you have a better handle on the branding of your school, rather than relying on other creator’s content.
The colors, fonts, etc that you use should become a staple that the parents will recognize.
Take live photos of your school and events as well as students in action– with consent from their parents, of course.
Bring your school to life with videos
Videos are more compelling than text and images– they can create strong emotions in viewers.
According to the Wyzowl video marketing report, 86% of marketers say that video has helped them increase traffic to their website.
Hire a team of professionals to create a promo video for your school.
Get the administrators and other faculty members involved to put faces and personalities behind the people running the school.
This is the time to share what you love about the school and what you appreciate about the environment created.
Talk about some of your values when it comes to educating your young leaders.
Bragging is welcome!
Speaking of shameless promo
This could be the time to encourage currently enrolled parents to leave positive reviews about the school.
According to Everyonesocial, campaigns that use user generated content (UGC) have 29% more web conversions than websites without it.
People tend to trust the everyday user.
These reviews can be in the form of brief quotes that go on the web page as a carousel.
You could even include them in the video briefly to say why they chose to enroll their child into your particular school.
Authenticity comes first!
One of the most crucial things to remember is that these reviews and testimonies should be genuine.
Hiring actors to oversell your school or fabricating reviews may come off as gimmicky and fake to your audience.
If you have people share their opinions of the school, keep authenticity at the forefront.
Consider using display ads
We briefly mentioned this at the beginning of the article in our example of what enrollment marketing looks like.
These ads combined the elements of enrollment marketing we discussed: audience, message, and visuals.
Using tools like Google Ads can help you reach more parents that fit the profiles you created.
Events will further liven up the school!
A school event is often a driving force in a parents decision to enroll their child.
84% of event attendees say that they have a more positive view of a brand after attending their event.
The same can apply to school events.
Sometimes it takes putting a face to a school for parents to be on board.
Events give parents the opportunity to meet and ask questions of the administrators.
It gives the enrollment team an opportunity to share the message of the school.
AGAIN, your school is the place where children will spend a significant amount of the critical stages of their development.
They’re going to want to know who is in charge and what their child will be exposed to.
Host info sessions, school tours, meet the faculty events, etc. and invite parents of prospective students.
Be sure to let parents know to sign up for emails, then market these events to those in your mailing list.
In case you’re wondering:
Should my school have social media?
Use Social media only if:
You’re sure your audience is on social media
You intend on making content that brings people to your site
You won’t simply post to go “viral”
To the last point, your school’s enrollment goals should be priority over virality.
DO NOT GET CAUGHT UP IN CLOUT CULTURE!!
While it may seem important to get your message out there to as many people as possible, it’s not necessary.
Remember your school’s missions and produce meaningful messages.
If you’re sure your audience would be on social media and you have decided which platforms to use, (tips on this in our previous blog) then make sure your posts stay on brand and are intentional.
I got their attention, now what?
This is exactly what the parents/guardians are wondering!
Now it’s time to take them to the enrollment process.
For your website, make sure that the link to the enrollment information page is visible to parents on the home page.
If you decide to create an FAQ page– which we strongly recommend– come up with questions that parents may have about enrollment and address them here.
Questions such as:
When does the enrollment period begin/ when do enrollment applications open?
What requirements must I and/or my child meet in order to enroll?
How do I enroll my child/what does the enrollment process look like?
When is the last day to turn in enrollment applications?
What if I miss the enrollment deadline?
Answer these questions thoroughly and add more if necessary.
You should link the enrollment page in the FAQ page as well.
On the Enrollment page itself
Include a step-by-step of how to apply and what materials they should have on hand when doing so.
Use words like “Easy!” “Brief” and “short” to make the application process seem quick and simple.
The bottom of this guide should have the link to the application; whether it’s electronic or a PDF file for them to submit email later.
Let them know who they can directly contact for anything regarding enrollment and include their titles, emails, and numbers.
Encourage them to sign up for marketing emails on enrollment so they can get deadline reminders.
Enrollment marketing can be beneficial for student enrollment numbers.
Like other forms of marketing, it requires dedication and intention.
At Flylight, we have been in the business of marketing for grade schools as we are driven by values.
If you’re looking to hire someone for branding and marketing services, check out what Flylight Creative has to offer and schedule a consultation call with us today!