Lutheran School Marketing: How to Create a Great Marketing Plan

Lutheran School Marketing: How to Create a Great Marketing Plan

May 4, 2022
(Reading time: 4 - 7 minutes)

Your Lutheran private school’s marketing plan serves as a roadmap to success. You need to have an effective, well-designed plan that will boost all your marketing initiatives and propel you to success in the future. 

Your Mission and Vision Will Guide You

Your organization operates under the guidance of two important statements that dictate your organization’s direction and values. These are called the mission and vision statements.

Having said that, every plan you create and all actions you take must jive with your school’s mission and vision. This includes planning the marketing strategies to implement.

Any marketing plan for K-12 private schools and initiative that doesn’t align with your mission and vision are not helpful and should not even be considered in discussions. This must be clear to all participants in your planning sessions.

Challenges Faced in Creating Marketing Plans for Lutheran Schools

From the planning stage up to the marketing plans’ actual implementation, schools meet a lot of challenges. These were even made worse by the Covid-19 pandemic, not only in creating a plan but in finding funds to implement it. 

However, you still need to create a plan and ensure that it will produce encouraging results once you have implemented it, such as a steady income flow and operational support funded by student enrollment. 

The problem is how you can create an effective plan. This is one challenge that needs thorough analysis and discussion.

The marketing plan for your private school – whether it’s Lutheran, LCMS, Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, or any other private Christian school – should: 

  • Be well-crafted to always keep your organization on track.
  • Provide a way to measure your marketing performance and progress.
  • Help determine specific marketing efforts that can produce optimum results.
  • Provide guidance on re-executing proven effective parts of a marketing campaign.

When all aspects are carefully considered in coming up with a plan, the chances of creating a sound plan is high. 

At some point, plans may require some tweaking within the implementation phase. This depends on different factors like staffing and access to resources, natural disasters, and educational policy changes, among others.

At any rate, it is important to start the process and to take it one step at a time.

Steps for Creating a Lutheran School Marketing Plan

When creating a plan, using a template is always helpful. You can find online services that offer sample plan templates for free like the one we have here

Once you have found a template to use, begin the planning process that involves the following six steps: 

1. Identify Your Goals

Determine your marketing goals based on the available information, details, and documents. This will include documents or information that can help establish enrollment, donations, after-school activities, event attendance, or communication with parents. 

Based on the data you have, come up with specific goals like the following:

  • Higher enrollment by 15%
  • A new after-school activity with no less than 20 student participants
  • Create a newsletter with at least a 40% readership.

Make sure the goals are both attainable and realistic.

2. Set Your Priorities

It may not be possible to achieve all your set goals. Some may be achievable within a short time. Others may require a longer period that may require dividing into smaller goals that can be achieved sooner. 

For instance, doubling your enrollment in two years may be unlikely. Instead, you can set a sub-goal like increasing enrollment inquiries by 10 to 15 percent.

Or, you may tweak the bigger goal into something smaller like an eight to 10 percent increase in enrollment in one or two years. This may be more attainable and realistic for your current situation.

3. Assess the Needs vs. Your Resources

One crucial aspect of effective and realistic school marketing is the budget. Without the proper budget, you cannot implement a plan, no matter how sound it may seem. 

As you create a plan, you should also consider how much money you will need to spend for implementation. Aside from the budget, you also need to consider the available tools, skills, and time.

Let’s say, for example, that your goal is to revamp your online marketing approach by focusing primarily on optimizing your website design’s SEO. This is a sound strategy that will help improve your online presence.

The problem, however, is if you don’t have the capability for that. If that’s the case, outsourcing can provide the solution.

If budget constraints make it unrealistic to achieve your goal at the moment, wouldn’t it be an eyesore each time you see the particular line item in your plan? Everything must be financially and realistically feasible to merit inclusion in the plan.

4. Brainstorm Strategies to Accomplish Your Goals

In-between the first step up to implementation, people often forget one crucial step: brainstorming strategies. However, if you thrive on showcasing your creativity, this is the most fun step. This is an opportunity to show your original ideas (or even borrowed but modified ones). Take this chance to keep your creative juices flowing.

At this point, everyone is welcome to suggest strategies. Ideas may be new or traditional strategies that might work for you, depending on your situation.

Put all suggestions you gather in writing, ensuring each idea is clearly illustrated with an example. Explain how each particular strategy can help your school.

Following are some examples of written target strategies:

  • Free coaching and discounts for sports-minded students
  • Home visits to provide feedback on student needs, performance, and areas that need improvement
  • Send a message to parents explaining your security protocols, ensuring the children’s safety on the campus.

5. Visualize the Implementation of the Plan In Action 

In this step, you present the timeline and the required tools for each of your set goals. The more detailed the presentation, the better you can explain why a particular activity is necessary.

Visualizing the plan's implementation can bolster your commitment to finish tasks within a set time and avoid engaging in randomly requested activities during the implementation stage. In a respectful manner, you can decline any request that will prompt you to deviate from the planned task. 

At this stage, you can also include snippets of alternative courses of action or plan B’s in case something comes up that will derail the accomplishment of any part of the original plan. 

If you are facing staffing issues or lack tools that prevent you from completing a task, can you tap a temporary replacement? Make sure to include alternatives in your plan to address such issues.

Assess And Improve

All plans come with inherent strengths and weaknesses. Thus, creating a marketing plan and implementing it isn’t enough. You need regular reviews to ensure that all necessary courses of action are done. Also, make sure that there are tools in place that you can use to measure results after each completed task.

How effective was your plan, and how was its implementation? What were the limitations or bottlenecks that you faced during implementation? What specific parts of the plan need deeper scrutiny and analysis in your next meeting, and what parts are unnecessary and must be removed?

Final Thoughts

Coming up with your school’s marketing plan may feel overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time. Just follow the steps outlined above to put you on the right track.

As there is no perfect plan, it is not uncommon to initially develop a plan with some or even many flaws and just refine it along the way. Having said that, it’s now time to sit down, brainstorm, and begin drafting your first goals.

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Adam Bennett

Written by:  |  May 4, 2022

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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