Best Practices for Creating a Marketing Budget for K-12 Private Schools

Best Practices for Creating a Marketing Budget for K-12 Private Schools

March 20, 2023
(Reading time: 3 - 6 minutes)

As a private school administrator, you understand the importance of marketing in attracting new students, reaching your enrollment goals, maintaining strong relationships with current families, and ensuring the long-term success of your school. Advertising and marketing budgets for private schools can often be challenging, especially with limited resources and a need to make every dollar count.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the essential elements of a successful marketing budget for private schools, provide tips for maximizing your budget’s impact, and provide an example of a digital marketing budget.

5 Steps to Setting A Marketing Budget for Private Schools

Determining your marketing budget is integral to creating a successful marketing plan for a K-12 private school. Your marketing budget should be aligned with your overall school budget and should take into account your marketing goals, target audience, and available resources. Here are the five steps to help you determine your marketing budget for a private school:

Step 1: Understand Your School’s Unique Needs

Before you start putting together your marketing budget, it’s essential to take a step back and consider your school’s unique needs and goals:

  • Are you trying to attract new students to your school?
  • Do you want to better retain current students at higher grade levels?
  • Do you want to increase engagement with current families and alumni?
  • Are you looking to promote a specific program or initiative?

Knowing the answers to these questions will help you identify the right marketing channels and tactics to reach your target audience.

Step 2: Determine Your Marketing Needs and Goals

The next step in creating a marketing budget for your private school is determining your needs and goals. This involves diving deeper into your unique needs and setting goals around them.

  • You will need to look at your school’s current situation.
  • What is your target audience (prospective students and families, current students, alumni, etc.), and what are their needs and preferences
  • What results do you want to achieve through your marketing efforts?
  • What channels and tactics will you use to reach your target audience?

Your marketing goals should be measurable and aligned with your school’s overall strategy and what you want to achieve. You will also want to track your progress and make data-driven decisions about the next steps.

Step 3: Consider Your School’s Unique Needs and Circumstances

In addition to the cost of marketing channels and tactics (which we will address shortly), you should also consider your school’s things that can impact the cost of marketing efforts, such as:

  • The size of your school
  • The competition in your area
  • Existing marketing materials and resources
  • Budget constraints and overall financial situation

Step 4: Set a Realistic Budget and Allocate Funds Effectively

Now you can start to think about and set a realistic budget. When setting your budget, it’s important to consider the following:

  • The cost of executing your marketing plan, including salaries, contract services, and materials.
  • The potential return on investment (ROI) includes increased enrollment and visibility in your community.
  • Any contingencies or unexpected expenses that may arise.

Step 5: Measure the Success of Your Marketing Efforts

The last step is to measure the success of your marketing efforts and adjust your budget as needed. You will want to track key metrics such as:

  • Website Traffic
  • Social Media Engagement
  • Email Open Rates (including calculated open rates)
  • Enrollment Numbers
  • Overall Visibility in Your Community

Based on your results, you may need to adjust your budget to invest more in specific channels or tactics that deliver better results. You may also find that you aren’t investing enough in one area and need to allocate more. By continually measuring and adjusting where you are investing, you can maximize your efforts and deliver the best possible results for your school.

Optional Private School Marketing Channels and Tactics

Ask any marketing professional what is the best way to market your private school, and you will get different answers from each. However, there are some tried and true methods. Here are some of the ones we have found work:

  • Content Marketing: This involves creating and distributing valuable content, like blog posts, videos, and infographics, to attract and engage your target audience. Content marketing can be a cost-effective way to build your brand and drive traffic to your website.
  • Digital Marketing: This tactic takes content marketing to the next level. Tactics like search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click advertising (PPC), social media advertising, and email marketing are considered part of it. If your target audience spends a great deal of time online, then digital marketing is crucial.
  • Events and Outreach: Hosting events, participating in community events, and reaching out to local businesses can help you build relationships and promote your school in the local community.
  • Print Materials: Brochures, flyers, and other print materials can effectively reach families and provide them with more information about your school.
  • Public Relations: Working with local media and influencers can help you build brand awareness and reach a wider audience.

Sample Budget Focused on Digital Marketing

You and I both know that schools must invest in marketing to increase enrollment and continue to grow. And now is the time to determine how much you can spend to grow.

For this example, let’s assume you are an established and growing school, and you decide you need to push your marketing to the next level. You determine you can invest $12,000 over the next year. We will also assume your website needs an overhaul to attract the audience you are looking for.

With an investment of $12,000, a small agency such as Cube Creative could do the following for you:

  • Design and develop a new website for your school
  • Host and perform all updates and maintenance on the site for you
  • Help you write and optimize your existing website content while adding new.
  • Develop a 12-month content plan
  • Ensure the website is search engine optimized
  • Create and post landing pages and blogs
  • Optimize and help you monitor your Google Business Listing
  • Post on social media for you
  • Manage Google Ads (PPC Ads) for you
  • Provide monthly reporting


Remember, your marketing budget is a valuable investment in the future of your school. With careful planning and execution, you can create a marketing strategy that will deliver results and help your school thrive for years to come.

We hope this comprehensive guide on marketing budgets for private schools has provided you with the information and insights you need to create a successful marketing strategy for your school. If you have any questions or want to learn more about optimizing your marketing efforts, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Adam Bennett

Written by:  |  March 20, 2023

Adam is the president and founder of Cube Creative Design and specializes in private school marketing. Since starting the business in 2005, he has created individual relationships with clients in Western North Carolina and across the United States. He places great value on the needs, expectations, and goals of the client.

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